Wednesday, April 20, 2005


I'm off to Kolkata for about 10 days (2 in a train, really), to attend both my cousin's wedding, and my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. The latter takes place in Sikkim, with close to 40 relatives tagging along for the celebrations. Should be good.
I learnt to cook curried eggs this morning, from our housekeeper, and it didn't turn out too shabby. This is for my cousin Gap who asked me to cook her something when I came over. Lets hope I can recreate it when its most required. Do you want the recipe? It'll be good practice for me to type it out. Here goes:

Bengali Curried Eggs
You will need:
  • x eggs
  • x potatoes, peeled chopped into quarters
  • x/2 onions, peeled and chopped (1/2 quantity as fine as possible,the other 1/2 roughly to save time)
  • x/4 tomatoes
  • chilli powder (1/2 tsp for 2 eggs)
  • jeera powder (1/2 tsp for 2 eggs)
  • salt (1/2 tsp for 2 eggs, and then as per taste; go easy on the initial salt for safety)
  • turmeric powder (1/2 tsp for 2 eggs)
  • galic (1 pod per egg)
  • ginger paste (1/2 tsp for 2 eggs)
  • 3 tbsp oil for frying
  • cloves (1 for 2 eggs)
  • elaichi (1 for 2 eggs)
  • cardamom pieces (3 small pieces for 2 eggs)
  • water (1 cup for 2 eggs; this makes for a thick curry)
  • chilli/jalapeno sauce (use your imagination here, just make sure the sauce you pick is spicy)
  1. Boil eggs and potatoes together in a saucepan for about 10-15 min. Then remove the egg shells. Make slits along the top and sides of the eggs to prevent them from breaking while they're frying, and to allow the masalas in.
  2. Place the finely chopped onions, garlic, ginger paste, chilli powder, jeera powder, turmeric powder, salt and tomatoes in a food processor (sic: mixie), blend on high power for 15-20 seconds, or till the tomatoes and onions have disintegrated completely, forming a thick paste.
  3. Heat one tbsp of oil in a kadai. To the hot oil, add the eggs and potatoes and fry for a minute or so, remove and set aside.
  4. Heat another tbsp of oil. To the hot oil, add the remaining onions, and fry till golden brown. Then proceed to add the blended masala, and then the cloves, elaichi and cardamom.
  5. Add another tbsp of oil and then the eggs and potatoes and cook for a minute. Add the water and cook till the curry becomes thick and consistent. Check the salt and add more if required.
  6. Serve hot with boiled white rice.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Art of Faffing

faffed,, faffs

To pass time at leisure, idle

Yeah, well, thats what I do. All the time. And I'm damn proud of it too. Why do I do it? Because its the easy way out, and its so fulfilling. But there's a certain way of going about things if you want to indulge in some quality faffing. A novice might just laze about at home and consider him/herself a prime faffer, but thats for, well, novices. Quality faffing involves taking a further effort in making sure that what you're doing (or not doing) is from every possible angle an absurd waste of time. One must also take care to ensure that once the activity in question is initiated, absolutely no effort may be made by the faffer to do anything. Thus, we can conclude that faffing essentially involves indulging in an activity that is passive in nature, seemingly fruitless (to the untrained eye), and physically relaxing. NOTE: Faffing also means doing something out of the ordinary in an endavour to unwind. Therefore, watching television is not considered faffing, however passive it may be. Listening to soul is a classic faff activity, as is sitting on the pavement. Notice the lack of consequence of the aforementioned activities. Also notice that I'm taking time out of my heavy faffing schedule to enlighten you (blogging is SO not faffing...). Entering a restaurant and not ordering anything is also defined as faffing (since all one does is engage in altering one's surroundings, but not circumstances, which may go from not eating to eating). So you see, its all very technical. But you'll get the hang of it, if you're lazy enough. If you're enough to ignore this, you're already a faffer. Good on you!
Of late, I've been looking at some photography, over at Deviantart. I've never had an eye for it, but I'm slowly beginning to appreciate this contemporary art form. The site had a very good news post that featured some wonderful work by several artists who specialise in many varied styles of photography. Check it out here. One of my favourite shots can be seen here. Enjoy.

Minimal // Thought | Expression

I saw a few other blogs today... really small posts, compared to mine. I think I want to take the same route, and instead of post huge paragraphs, just say a few lines each time. And maybe post more often. That should make this blog easier to read, my thoughts easier to digest, all while fulfilling my need to say a whole lot.
You can check out those blogs here and here. They're quite interesting. The second one is a friend's blog, while the first is Craig Newmark's. Craig is the creator of, a huge forum-cum-marketplace for San Francisco. It started as an email listing of events in the area, but has now snowballed into a full-fledged website. Inspiring.
Now playing:
  • Symphony X - V & The Divine Wings of Tragedy. This is Michael Romeo's brilliant progressive metal band. Both fabulous albums.
  • Death - The Sound of Perseverance. I keep hearing, "What, you DON'T have it?" I'm glad I do now. Its just that I don't know what to make of standard 4/4 music anymore. That cuts out a whole lot of rock (I daresay all rock). Well, alright, not completely. I still love listening to my favourite rock bands from when I was 13. Its just that I enjoy music that requires a little concentration, music that grips you, music that twists and turns, takes you to the edge, asks you to take in the view, and then urges you to just revel in its brilliance. This album does that. Its raw, and it gets the point across.

I bought a pair of Converse All Stars recently, and they're easily the best shoes I've owned in a while. Whats even cooler, though is, a site where you can watch 24-second films by independent filmmakers based on Converse footwear. Worth a look. I loved them all. My favourite: Eat & Run by Christopher Davis.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Rants and Raves v1.0

I watched a play the other day, called 'Heaps of Broken Images' (Directed by Girish Karnad, starring Arundhati Raja). Its about this struggling author who writes in her vernacular (Kannada), and her sudden rise to fame and fortune when she releases an English novel that takes the world by storm. But it turns out that she's got a lot (or should I say, a heap) of skeletons in her closet which slowly tumble out as she discovers her true self in a television studio.
What struck me more than the plot was the way it was done. The protagonist appears on television to talk about her new book and dismiss the critics and skeptics who questioned her sudden change of language. Once she's done with her spot, the screen in the studio retains the image of her in her seat, and begins to converse with the real character. Its very well timed and co-ordinated, and I've never seen anything like it. Very clever, fast-paced and altogether solid. Two thumbs up!
I also watched Kill Bill Vol. I. I had exams to write, places to go, and so on, and so never got a chance to watch it before. Not bad. A bit overrated, but isn't everything? At least its different. True, creating something different does not completely shield you from criticism... your 'different' work can suck more than 50 Hoovers on overdrive. Great action sequences. And its different. I have so many politically incorrect things to say about the majority of the world's population right now, but most people have trouble getting over it, so... just picture me bitching and start hating me, and everything I have to say will miraculously materialise in your head. Cherish the moment.
Anything else? Ah, yes. Have you heard of Chuck Schuldiner? He's a genius. Died of brain stem cancer a few years ago. He formed two (to my knowledge) fabulous bands that raised the bar in their respective genres, quite a few notches each. Death (Death Metal) and Control Denied (Progressive Power Metal) have churned out some marvellous music that has influenced several bands of today, and should have influenced many more. Their music is complex, intense, and utterly wonderful. Its a shame that most of today's metal bands don't even aspire to achieve the levels of brilliance Schuldiner did. I mean, maybe small-time bands should get away with it, but once you're making money doing what you love, shouldn't you be striving to expel the best and only the best that you can produce? And if the best you can produce sucks, shouldn't you pull out and walk away, or do something else? Shoeshining is a very respectable trade, if you can break through into the mainstream...
Books - Hari Kunzru: Transmission. Interesting, but why do Indian authors who write in English only write gritty tales of povery-stricken, ribs-exposed India? Or about FOB-struggling-to-adjust Indians migrating to the west? Get over it, I say. Didn't any of you ever live in a nice Mangalorean-Christian neighbourhood in Bangalore? Weren't you friends with Anglos and Tam-Brams and Madus who had money pouring out of their noses? OVERfuckingRATED, all of you. Write about reality. Stop painting pictures of the world as you see it through your Oakley sunglasses, in shades of gray. Its so easy to just pick up an advance for a few million dollars and write inconsequential stories encased in matte-finish hardbound covers about slum-dwellers and part-time waiters, and make a name for yourself. Write a real story, one with substance, and call me when you're done. In fact, don't. I'll call you. Till then.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

New noises, new elixirs, newmismatics...

Fine, so I don't know anything about coins, but I can give you the low-down on some exciting rock/metal acts. First up on my list of mentionables is Reflux, a first-rate technical progressive aggro-metal band that is kicking a lot of dust in the metal warfields these days. Heavy, intelligent, and musically brilliant, their debut album The Illusion of Democracy has raised concerns regarding the credibility of other bands that are making the big-time out there, in spite of not being able to touch these guys. Any comparison? Well, they sound a bit like Shadows Fall and Lamb of God, but Tosin Abasi's guitar work is, in my opinion, way more wicked than that heard from the aforementioned bands. His playing is intensely melodic, and there's a strength in his notes that I'm yet to hear on another record. It feels like having your teeth kicked in, and let me just say that pain is sweet. I'm really glad to hear a band playing such a great blend of progressive, aggro and melodic metal so fearlessly. I just hope to see them rule the charts soon. Noteworthy tracks: The Keats Persona, An Ode To The Evolution Of Consciousness.
Next up is Revis, one of the best rock bands to ever set out from Illinois. Revis is pure emotion, and Justin Holman's vocals are the most beautiful I've ever heard. Its a pity this band has only one album out, since 2002. They could have reached the top, and then some. The brilliant songwriting all though their album Places For Breathing pretty much displaces any rock written this millenium, IMO. Holman's lyrics really dig deep and unearth emotion in the most imaginative way. Pardon me for waxing extremely eloquent here, but their music sounds exactly like what I've been looking for all my life. (Un?)Fortunately, I can't describe their sound by drawing comparisons to anything you've heard before. Check them out yourself.
Thats what music should sound like, for the time being. Thirsty? Google has something to chill your insides...
Anything else? No, not really. At least not right now. I'll be back as soon as something else noteworthy hits me. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

File-sharing on mIRC

I was looking through my music collection this morning, and was delighted to find a whole lot of great new music. I'm a fan of all kinds of rock and metal. Recently, I've been feverishly collecting whole new complete albums of several genres, ranging from goth metal to progressive rock, and even some dance and R&B. Truth is, right now, i'm hungry for a decent music repoistory, not the music itself. I hardly have time to really listen to the stuff I've leeched. But I'm hoping that once I've got a few mp3 discs worth of music, I'll hook myself up to my cd player and rock out.
I just wanted to share a few tips on using IRC (internet relay chat) to leech files. IRC is an internet communication service that runs on servers all over the world. Once connected, you can join a channel (chat room), create your own, and get chatting. IRC also allows a whole of manipulation, and so makes word games and interactive topic discussion sessions possible. Plus, IRC can also be used to find and leech files quickly. It takes a little setting up at first, but once you're hooked up, its a breeze.
The following tips may not be universal in reference to every IRC client (IRC chat software that allows you to connect to a server and so on). I use mIRC (win 9x/2k/Me/xp) v6.16, because its fairly simple to figure out, and is also the most widely used client. Follow these steps for a hassle-free leeching experience. Please note, however, that common sense and statutory warnings do apply with regard to virus attacks. So don't leech weird looking files, and don't accept candy from strangers.
  • Download, install and run mIRC. In the dialog that pops up, enter your personal details (real name/username(come up with one)/etc.). Notice the 'Connect to Server' button. You'll have to click it later on. First, pick a server from Connect > Servers. I usually stick to EFnet, Undernet and PhaZeNet for my metal/rock requirements. A random server should be fine.
  • Under Sounds > Requests, check 'Accept Sound Requests', and uncheck 'send !nick file as private message'. This is essential, because otherwise your file requests won't be acknowledged. If you want, change the destination folders for the files you leech.
  • Under DCC, select 'Auto-get file' and check 'minimize'. Under 'if file exists', select 'Resume'. Then go to DCC > Ignore, select 'Method' - Accept Only, and add the following to the list, without quotes: "*.mp3" and "*.rar". The .rar is for when you hit the big leagues and begin downloading whole albums in RAR format (like .zip, but you'll need winrar for those files).
  • Finally, head to Display > Options > Tray, and configure it as you wish. I like my mIRC out of the way, so i keep it minimised in the tray all the time. Once you're done, head back to Connect, and click the 'Connect to Server' button.
  • Now, once you're connected, you'll need to find a channel. Click the fourth button from left on the taskbar, the one that resembles a globe. Under Match text, type a search term, such as 'metal mp3' or 'albums' or something like that, and click 'Get list'. You should see a list of channels that match your search definition. Double-click one of them. If the window yields unsuitable results, try again.
  • Once you've found a channel, you'll see a whirlwind of colour, hear a smorgasbord of whooshing sounds, and feel a blast of hot air that will cause your hair to separate at the roots. Fine, so I'm exaggerating... just checking if you're paying attention. Well, anyways, if there's something you want to find, type @find artist OR @find trackname OR @find album.Soon, you'll begin receiving messages with search results, which look something like !Abe Band - Track_name.mp3 :: INFO :: 4.20 MB. If you want that file, just select and copy !Abe Band - Track_name.mp3 (notice how i left out the :: INFO ::...) and paste it into the main channel window. Soon, you'll begin to receive a file. See where it lands up, and you'll have a file!
  • Sometimes you might want to see what your choices are. Thats when you'll have to head to the channel, and check out who the big kahunas are. They usually havean ! before their usernames. Example: there's a user named !Abe. To get his list of files, type @Abe. You'll receive a text file (which might be zipped) which contains a whole lot of filenames like in the example above. Follow the same guidelines and paste whatever you want into the channel. Leave out the info part to prevent yourself from getting kicked out of the channel.
  • Alternatively, you might want to automate everything by using a script (this is where mIRC scores, it has more scripts coded for it than any other IRC client), such as Autoget, available from Omenscripts. There are others available, which allow you to serve your files as well.
  • Lastly, mIRC may not have every single file on the planet. Thats why I suggest you check out Ares and Limewire, both of which are really good, easy-to-use P2P software. I use them when I feel the need to leech some Remy Shand, DJ Tiesto and N.E.R.D.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Neverland, Nevermind...

I'm switching to from, since this site is a lot more user-friendly... But there's a good post there about my poetry discussion group. Anyway, on to today's topic. I watched Finding Neverland (Johnny Depp/Kate Winslet/Dustin Hoffman) today (PVR, The Forum - Rs. 130). Good film, great acting by Depp. He really brings the movie to a higher level. Otherwise its not really worth watching. Same goes for Secret Window.
I also caught the Sunday Jam hosted by Guruskool last week. Lots of death metal, some good, some monotonous, but all the acts showed great potential. There was also a chap named Kamal who just sat cross-legged on the floor, pulled up a red Strat, plugged in to a low-level overdriven amp, and belted out a really good tribute song to Cobain, incorporating his lyrics into it. It was very touching, and the song had a nice feel to it too. You could feel the respect in the air. I love the atmosphere at these jams. The whole thing just inspired me to get down to writing some good riffs to jam up with and perhaps play at the next Sunday jam... can't wait!
Music Recommendations:
Symphony X - The Odyssey :: Prog metal gods ::
John Mayer - Heavier Things :: Great pop (yes, there is such a thing!) ::
Dexter Gordon - Live At Carnegie Hall :: Marvellous tenor sax work ::