Deccan Chronicle Classifieds

Pipe pointed these out to me. They’re hilarious! I never thought you could ever have fun reading the Classifieds but Deccan Chronicle has managed to break the stereotype once more. Let’s see what they advertise:

  1. Male Gorgeous: Male to Male only. Head to Toe complete relaxation body massage, Hygienic North, South India masseurs anytime.
  2. Body Massage: Male to Male (Hotels/Doorstep). Complete Relaxation. Good Looking Guys. High Profile. Only Male Service.
  3. Mohini Friendship Club: Hi profile male/female contact for nice, real friendship (for earning).

There are hundreds more of these Friendship Clubs, each of them offering nice, sober friendships (for earning) and many more massage parlours all offering exclusive male-to-male massage only from hygienic, good looking guys to relieve tension. Ha ha, yeah right.

Wheel of Time to be finished

This man has an awesome task ahead of man. He must complete the Wheel of Time series: tie up each of the myriad story lines, satisfy hardcore fans of another man’s style, and continue characters with exaggeratedly crazy personalities. I don’t envy him his task. Whatever he does he’s going to be disliked by one bunch at least, the original snobs, people who will grumble even if he does it perfectly simply because he’s not RJ.

Man, what a series! After a while it just started to go on and on, and there was that 10th book, which was about just one day. The whole goddamn book was just one day. I’ll admit, I want more Rand Al’Thor and less braid-tugging and sniffing. He’s more fun, killing off his friends and shit, and moving time back and falling down dizzy. Yeah, pretty cool.

Ah well, I’ll be waiting. In the meantime, I’ll go look for his other books because he seems like a pretty nice chap [2]. That interview also just shows how old the series is. He read The Eye of the World when he was fifteen, for god’s sake. I remember reading it at the same age. How come I wasn’t asked to finish it?!

[1] Dragonmount article about the announcement.
[2] Dragonmount Interview with Brandon Sanderson

Dumbledore is gay

Well, I suppose that once your only bestselling series of books is done, there’s little you can do to attract attention. I have nothing against gay people, just that this is a ridiculous addendum. Everything after the words ’19 years later’ is ridiculous. Really! I mean, I’m no great Harry Potter fan, and I actually enjoy the trouble the Church goes to ‘warn people about the dangers’ of Harry Potter, but this is … I don’t know. It’s just…odd.

Tarmon Gaidon came too fast – Jordan is dead

Robert Jordan - Photo by Jeanne Collins We knew it was coming, last year he disclosed that he had amyloidosis. Sure, he has that little rebuke to those of us who’d probably say, “But he said 4 years!” in the middle of that letter but I’ll go ahead and think it anyway. Apparently, amyloidosis is a really rare disease. It’s awfully unlucky that he should’ve gotten it. Rest in peace, J.O.R.

The Wheel of Time is probably my favourite long fantasy series, even though it seemed to be winding down a bit near the end. The climactic battles at the end weren’t so much fun as they were before and there seemed to be a lot of whining and a lot of annoying bits where the Aes Sedai just act like little kids. On the whole though, I’m happy I started reading it (my uncle let me borrow a whole bunch of the books in the series and I filled in the rest by borrowing from Nerus) and I wish he’d kept up the pace that he had in the beginning. Those first few books were fascinating and filled with story, lots of it while the later ones seemed to focus on minutiae. It didn’t seem like they were going to end. Now it looks like they won’t.

Or more likely, the publishers will hire someone to ghostwrite the last section of the book. Though personally I would love it if everything were left open-ended, this isn’t the way I wanted it to go. If RJ had said, “I’m not going to write an ending book. Enough for me.” and left it at that it would be fine. After all there are just too many plot threads to close up. No ending could possibly be satisfactory, there’s just too much to do. Atleast one thing is for certain, we won’t see a Rand Matrim Aybara going to school in a separate One Age Later epilogue added to the rest of the book, unless the ghostwriter is some kind of a misanthropist who secretly dislikes Robert Jordan but admires the Perrin Aybara character. In any case, most of the significant plot details will live on after him because he spoke about them with his family.

Wheel of Time is all the Robert Jordan I’ll ever read, probably. I’m not a big fan of the Conan series so I shan’t be reading all of them that he wrote, and he wrote lots. There’s something to the Wheel of Time, it seems so internally consistent and has some nice references to other things outside. The best part is wondering about the pasts of each of the characters though RJ seems to put a lot of trouble into describing those things in such a way as to leave few doubts. In fact, one slashdot member commented on how he goes into so much detail describing the trees in the forest that you can’t have a clear picture of the forest in the end. Ah well, it’s his book, not mine.

Imagine if the whole series were 6 books, that would’ve been so awesome. I wonder why it was so long. I tried reading the whole series again because by the time I got to 11 I’d forgotten what had happened before and I was surprised at how much I was skipping, there are whole chapters which are just boring. The most horrible thing about the later books is how they ignored the Big Two and instead focussing on fringe characters. I don’t know. I’m confused. I guess I have mixed feelings about the series.

For Marc: Remember what you said Vijayalayan said? Well, uh…

Live Forever – Learn Sanskrit

Some time ago, I clicked a random ad on a site because it had a funny title proclaiming that the author of a certain book knew how to live for ever or for thousands of years. The name of the book is “Bible of the undying”, but letting his creative juices flow, the author named the web page on which he plugs the book, “Bile of the undying”. The latter sounds like some B movie about zombies, but hey he didn’t say you wouldn’t have a fascination for brains, did he?

Now naturally, seeing as he can live forever, Dr. Barrie wants you to buy his book, so that he won’t live forever starving. We present to you, from the author of The Egyptian Mystical Box, “Bible of the Undying“. There is atleast one man who has succeeded at this but he isn’t willing to share, so you’ll have to count on Dr. Barrie.

Craziest comic I’ve seen!

Venus Leopard Women Firing Comet Intensified Blasts from Head-Guns while riding Space Lizards This is the pinnacle of the Golden Age of Comics, and is characteristic of the work of Fletcher Hanks. The way he thinks up origins for his super-villains is hilarious, and the nutjobs that result are like something out of a surrealist comedy movie about incredibly bad luck. For example, take the origin of Professor Zomax. Brilliant! Simply brilliant! Makes even Venusian Leopard Women shooting from Head-Guns while riding Space Lizards look tame. Sir, I take off my hat to thee. Your skill with the legendary weapon Copy-Paste will be remembered forever, passing from history to legend but never to myth.

For more Comics of the Absurd (forgive me, Eugène), go to Mister Kitty’s Comics. Oh jesus, the craziness.

Update: For a book on Fletcher Hanks that includes some of his more obscure stories and a commentary, look at I shall destroy all the civilised planets.

The Room that George lived in – 2

DSCN2729thumb.JPGIn the absence of having anything else to talk about, I shall continue in this vein. I would’ve opened the windows when I took the photograph but it was raining at the time and the last thing I want is a wet bed in the corner that won’t dry. That and my books, books don’t like water. In this slide, class, we meet my venerable old cupboard. If you have the strength of a 5-year old at least, you can pull the handle clear from the door. Naturally, that doesn’t help you to open it, so you have to shove it back again and turn it the right way. Ah wells. On top of the cupboard is the empty box for the music player. Boxes are useful, especially when you’ll be moving.

The book rack contains most of my lecture notes and worked problems, but there are also a bunch of books (another Wheel of Time, in there), The Grundrisse – Karl Marx, two German textbooks and a couple of Reader’s Digests (right-wing nonsense, but the jokes are good) and a tape cleaning set I haven’t used in years. The green books are my English textbooks from college, and they have some nice poems and a couple of good plays. Worth keeping if only for that. Most of the books on the lower racks are covered with a thick layer of dust, I haven’t touched them in ages. The ones that are in pencil I sometimes reuse, because going out to the stationery store to get more notebooks is a pain in the ass. DSCN3885rotthumb.JPG This is one of the cupboards, there’s a shelf with a couple of binders on the top, above the drawer. In the drawer is part of my collection of tapes, some coins from a coin collection spree I went on a long time ago, a bunch of stamps in a stamp book and some emirates phone cards. Also, my original Airtel pack. Pink Floyd Fan Badge for the person who can spot the one album that’s there on top of this pile instead of in the bottom shelf of my table.

The shelf underneath the drawer contains some textbooks, some novels and the book I track library borrowings in (so that all are returned in time). There’s also a packaged photo frame, I have no clue why that’s there. At the back of that shelf are some books I haven’t read in years (like 2-3 years) and when I looked they were covered in a couple of millimetres of dust like some long forgotten archive. Find the Peter Hamilton book for a small prize.

The bottom shelf contains my brother’s collection of those small polybutadiene bouncy balls and the bag (I’ve opened it for your viewing pleasure) contains a couple of human femurs and one side of a pelvis. There are also a couple of tibias in there. At the back of the shelf is my collection of Hot Wheels cars from when I was a kid. Ah good times, we didn’t need much to keep ourselves amused then, did we? I used to play with this bunch of wooden blocks, sort of like lego, except no interlocking pieces. It was rather neat, the best part about building a three foot tower of wooden blocks was kicking it down, or rolling one of the cylindrical blocks right into the bottom block in case the whole construction is one of those little tricks where you’ve got only one wine-glass stem style pillar and everything else is built to balance it.

Oh and that reminds me of marbles, I’ve lost my marbles (heh heh) and I can’t find them anywhere. I had this lovely collection with these wonderful shapes inside, blue, green all colours. Oh, good times. There’s nothing like looking back at childhood, it’s always through rose-tinted glasses. Good times, good times.

The Room that George lived in

They say a man can be judged by the way he keeps his surroundings. Well, no, they don’t say that, but I just did anyway. So now, you can authoritatively claim that ‘they’ said it. Lovely word, ‘they’. So anyway, images of my room to keep you amused, though it says a lot for you if you find rooms amusing. DSCN2730thumb.JPG
The board above the air-conditioner is useful for sticking stuff on to. There’s nothing I’ve got going right now that needs an entry there so all that’s there is a bunch of torn scraps of paper. The guitar is there because there’s nothing to ease a block like playing some music (at least I hope it’s music). The bag is my bag, nothing to say there. The books are the ones I’m currently reading and two I’m hoping to read:

  • My Name is Red – Orhan Pamuk: Yeah, this is taking ages. It’s rather slow.
  • Name of a Rose – Umberto Eco: Good book. I’m enjoying it so far.
  • City of Joy – D. LaPierre: Planning on reading. I’d just borrowed it from Bikram that day.
  • Being and Nothingness – J. Paul Sartre: The other one on the to-read list.
  • Couple of books on Stephen Hawking: Nearly finished one, yet to start the other.
  • One book I can’t recognise from the photo.
  • Economic and Political Weekly

The pillow against the wall is where I recline, with the laptop comfortably placed at arms reach at the right height. The black bag is the laptop case. The colourful cloth is a towel and the belt in the corner is a belt. That is my bedroom. My brother sleeps in another room and my parents in the room next to mine. The reason there are so many beds is that there’s just one air-conditioner and everyone but me crowds into this room to sleep when stuff gets hot. I just sleep in the heat.
This is the array of shelves which houses stuff that I need to grab quickly in case the government finally decides to send its men to get me, or in case I’m late to college. It’s also where the music collection is kept (other than the tapes and LPs which are kept elsewhere, besides I don’t want to listen to Bee Gees LPs and the tapes are rather old now, so I don’t pull them out any longer).

The book in the foreground is Suren’s and it’s part of Peter Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy (each book having two parts, making six real books) which is really good. Do not tell Suren you’re reading it or he’ll give you fake spoilers (I repeat this everywhere so that you may be warned that he is a dangerous being, not to be trusted). Other than that, the rest of the books are:

  • Two German-English dictionaries and some German instruction books.
  • Two guitar instruction books and one little anthology of some western classical music for the guitar.
  • Some of my notebooks from last semester and I’m not sure if that’s Differential Calculus by Ghosh & Maity or Fundamentals of Physics by Resnick, Halliday and Walker.
  • Two CDs, Bob Dylan and the other Paul Simon. That’s James Taylor on the lower shelf.
  • My wallet and watches, and the laptop charger. Also, my lovely Nokia 1100. I absolutely love this phone, it does exactly what I would expect a phone to do. I can message and talk and it has the least buttons of all the phones I’ve seen. When I replace it, I hope I can buy one just like this model.
  • There’s bonus points somewhere in the picture for the person who finds the Wheel of Time book.

The middle deck, with the remote, has the CD player and a large number of CDs. Also a couple of books and some guitar tabs for To Yelasto Pedi by Mikis Theodorakis (Sky 4 version, which I can’t find sheet music for, without paying. Heard it on cassette ages ago, and I could only recreate part from memory.) and Fade to Black – Metallica. The brown book is Absurd Drama, a collection of four plays that showcase drama of the absurd, good stuff. The cassette is The Ragpicker’s Dream – Mark Knopfler (the Dire Straits dude) and the cover contains the second book from the Discworld series. I found it in Landmark in Spencer’s the other day. I shall gift it to someone and then borrow it immediately :P

The drawer on the right is where I keep letters, notes (not my lecture notes), cards, and articles and poems that people hand over to me for the college newsletter. The drawer on the left contains god alone knows what. Those are my clothes on the floor, my favourite shirt! The door leads out to the balcony where the Lung Tas hang.

Ta-dah! That’s my room, and I love it but frankly, Bikram’s room back in Gangtok is the best place I’ve ever seen. On a cloudless day, you can see Kanchenchunga right outside the window and the view, oh the view! Lovely lovely.

Kanji and Freedom.

Kanji (漢字) are Chinese characters used in Japanese writing and just like all Chinese/Japanese logograms they look really cool when used in large sizes on banners and posters. Too bad they’re not that clear at the text sizes I prefer for the Latin alphabet. Funnily enough, there’s also Wasei Kanji (和製漢字) which are Chinese characters from Japan, which means that they’re in the Chinese style but they’re native to Japan. The best part is, some of them are adopted in China.

My favourite Kanji are Jiyuu 自由 meaning Freedom and 禅, Zen. There’s something about foreign scripts that makes them appealing. I wish I could devote some time to studying the language, but as my previous forays into French and German show, I’m not much of a language person. In any case, if you have a Character Map installed and you like these characters, you can just pick and choose what you want, without actually knowing anything, like so. Don’t you just love technology?

Ah well, link time: