Monday, February 27, 2006

Jokes from Fat-watchers Anonymous

Jokes like these make me feel good. Credit and Courtesy - Fat-watchers Anonymous (ok, ok - I got it off the Internet).

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolonglife. Is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you canextend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits andvegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a lamb eat? Leaves and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a kabab is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine. That means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have body fat,your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating ina regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophyis: No Pain... Good

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. What do body builders do to get those enormousmuscles??! You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO ...... Cocoa beans ... another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me!!!!

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! “Round” IS a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets and remember"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and wel lpreserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Chardonnay in one hand and strawberries in the other,body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming: WOO HOO! What a Ride!”


Saturday, February 25, 2006

I proud to be a CA

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a raging discussion going on Rashmi Bansal’s brilliant IIM-C blog. I’m a fan of Ms. Bansal and vociferously defend her right to express herself. In fact, inspired by her, I thought it’s a good time to look at my dear Institute of Chartered Accountants very own Bombay building.

  • Non-aligned movement: For the uninitiated, be aware (ahem, ahem) that the ICAI wears its non-aligned status on its sleeve. Mr. CA (ICAI-Kanchipuram) is on par with Mr. CA (ICAI-Jhumri Talaiya) is on par with me (ICAI-Bombay). Yes, that’s right OneIndia, OneCA.
  • Main ek clerk hoon: To remind us of our insignficance, us to-be CAs didn't have the luxury of being called "students". They called us an “article clerk”. Made me feel like the brooding patriot’s hero Manoj Kumar, in his completely underrated 1989 cult classic Clerk.
  • Straight out of the Matrix: So in my "article clerk" days, ICAI-Bombay, Cuffe Parade was the nerve centre. The place to be in. The place where I got my “studymat”, my exam results, paid my fees, etc. Located in the posh and plush area of Cuffe Parade, the ICAI building was naturally devoid of lakes. What it did have were floors and floors of rooms all of which looked the same. I’m sure this was the original inspiration for the Keymaker+Morpheus+Neo scene in Matrix Reloaded , but let’s leave that for the historians.
  • The Wailing Wall: Unfortunately, rather than inspire me, this place reminds me of the Wailing Wall. As the name implies, one often found clerks wailing and flailing after failing their exams. Yet-to-be confirmed statistics reveal that for every one clerk passing a CA exam, there are about 678 who failed.
  • Barbarians at the gate: Results day – ah what fond memories. The articled clerks lining up against the gates, freedom-fighters looking to break the shackles of clerkdom and commence corporate life or start their CA practice. We’d all begin crowding around 8am (some even earlier), knowing that the results would be out anytime around 8.30-9am.
  • You gotta fight for your right: Then, suddenly from nowhere, a bored peon (clerk?) would casually walk out with a bunch of wooden boards stuck with reams of the lists of people who had passed. The gates opened to tumultuous applause, sorry, absolute chaos. Each man and woman for himself, might is right and you better fight.
  • Armpits and crotches: So there I was, with my head snuggled in someone’s armpit, elbow rooted in somebody else’s crotch, fighting and battling to see if I qualified for freedom. That was the absolute brilliance of the scheme. Your number was there only IF you passed. So you can imagine the desperation in people then to find their number in that unholy mess.
  • Age no bar: Often we had senior citizens jostling in the crowd. Some were parents and some eager to check the result of their 545th attempt (no wonder the true full-form of CA is Come Again). I’ve also known people who have had to forsake years of their lives because they failed by one mark.
  • The Architect: Why? Because someone, allegedly the Architect again, from the Matrix Reloaded, had ordained that to pass you needed to have a minimum of 40 marks per subject and 50% overall. However, overcome by guilt, the Architect also made a rule called “exemption” (i.e. don’t give the paper in the next attempt). For this, all you had to do was score 60 in that subject, and at least 30 in others. Thank God for tender mercies.
  • The Final Verdict: So, finally I made it one day. I had passed both the groups at the Final level. That was that. For all my years of existence till then, my biggest achievement was being reduced to a one line output of a line-printer, which added the tag of “BOTH” to my name.
  • Its exam time: Probably that entitles me to give the Institute some marks. So here goes. That Humbling Feeling – 59/100 (come on, it humbles rich, poor, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta alike). Dazed and confused – 59/100. Aweome Architecture – 59/100 (I hear the Delhi building is impressive). Inspired and fired-up – 2/100. There you go. Failed. Next attempt. No exemption.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Nokiaind now on Alibaba - Fraud again?

Check out Nokiaind on Alibaba.com and note his name as Mr. Jhon Iron and his address as "Avenue 23, New York, New York, United States".

Is he the same Nokiaind.com that I had highlighted earlier here in Feb-06 and earlier in Dec-05 ?

You will notice in the comments on both blogs that people have actually been duped by nokiaind.com. which is currently on this site. And he's still at it - notice how he has kept bookings open from 18th March 2006 to 24th March 2006.

Beware guys, this is a fraud. A big one.

Beware - Nokiaind is back !

I don't believe this. Check out http://www.nokiaind.net.previewyoursite.com/. Yes, he's back. The audacity of this thief is amazing. Refer my earlier blog, where I'd pasted my mail interaction with this random guy. Some unlucky people fell for this trick and landed up losing their money.

There's also a chat thread on the Reliance Mobile website where some more enthu guys have exposed this fraud and even have mails from ICICI Bank saying that the website is a fraud.

In fact after his domain name expired our villain has got himself a new URL (note the "previewyoursite.com" in his address)

The Police should put this thief behind bars. Probably even Nokia, ICICI Bank, Deutsche Bank, etc should carry some kinda warning on their website about this guy.

Monday, February 20, 2006

My movie mania, part 4 - world cinema

This concludes my four-part series on movies I've watched. For the earlier parts, you can click on Part 1: Drama, Part 2: Comedies and Part 3: Thrillers.

Thank God for foreign movies and world cinema. Be it form, substance, execution, cinematography or visualisation, I will never cease to be amazed by the canvas foreign directors use to tell a story.

The few foreign movies I’ve seen are largely Japanese and Iranian. So, I’m a huge fan of Takashi Miike, Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf. You couldn’t find two more contrasting directorial styles. If Miike’s gore disgusts and hence titillates you, the Iranians stark and simple stories can move you to tears. Thank God these Gods are so prolific.

Takashi Miike (Japan): Torture, abuse of women/ men/children, dismembered human organs flying across the screen, Yakuza, deviants, perverts, etc. etc. You either love him or hate this maverick. I loved him. Here are some of his movies that I've seen – Shinjuka Triad, Rainy Dog, Audition, Dead or Alive, Ichi the killer, Yakuza Demon, City of Lost Souls.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Abbas Kiarostami (Iran): Even as I was going gaga on Majid Majidi’s Baran, my friend scorned me and told me about these two. God almighty, how can they make such brilliant masterpieces! Again – they’re not the easiest movies to watch, so don’t get the pop-corn. Long-scenes, stark landscape, simple stories about real people and devoid of music and histrionics. I wish I could say more, but for once I’m falling woefully short of words. Here are the few I've seen so far – and believe me, each is worthy of much more than I can blog. The wind will carry us, Taste of cherry, Kandahar and Close-up.

Others: Ok, so you’ve probably heard of all of these, but I’d pick “Bus 174” and “4 days in September” as my beyond-the-obvious favourites. Here we go –
Motorcycle Diaries, 4 days in September, Bus 174, Amores Perros, Like water for chocolate, City of God, Tattoo (Mr. Schwenke’s also directed the recent Jody Foster beauty – Flightplan), Insomnia (yep, Chris Nolan’s cult favourite was in fact a remake of this brilliant Nordic movie).

Sorry but no links for above and my list stands concluded.

My movie mania, part 3 - thriller, et al

Life of David Gale http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289992/
I’m a huge Kevin Spacey fan, remember ? Tight, taut thriller with a neat kick in the end

Sin City http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401792/
Brilliant, simply scintillating visuals (animation?). Made me a Frank Miller fan.

Dog day Afternoon http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072890/
Cult classic crime thriller. Loved Al Pacino.

Panic http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0194218/
William H. Macy, underrated actor, underrated thriller

Confidence http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0310910/
Nice surprise package, almost reminiscent of “Things to do…”

The Rainmaker http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119978/
Arguably the best Grisham book and hence the best Grisham movie. Note – it’s also a Coppola movie

After the Sunset http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367479/
Slick, Bond-like stuff. Hotter thanks to Salma.

Exorcism of Emily Rose http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0404032/
And its actually based on a true-event. Watch out for Tom Wilkinson.

Manchurian Candidate http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368008/
Jonathan Demme after a long time. I think I should watch the original.

Land of the dead http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0418819/
Come on, it’s a Romero.

Final Cut http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364343/
Lovely idea, but perhaps not executed that well.

Friday, February 17, 2006

My movie mania, part 2 - comedies

Here goes the list of comedies (of all varieties)

Jerry Maguire http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116695/
The all-American perfect movie. Great dialogues, heart-tugging moments, etc, etc.

Swimming with Sharks http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114594/
I’m a huge Kevin Spacey fan, so this is a no-brainer

In good company http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0385267/
Surprise package.

Sideways http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375063/
Too much has been said already by others. I found it enjoyable

13 going on 30 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0337563/
Any fan of Jen Garner would see it. I did. Watch out for some good ‘80s music.

Along came polly http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0343135/
Fan of Ben Stiller, and he’s good in this.

Hope springs http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314431/
Just for the city of Hope. Ok, ok, Heather Graham too.

Wimbledon http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0360201/
I’m a Brit-comedy fan. But Kirsten Dunst was sad.

Legally blonde 2 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0333780/
This probably makes me a sucker for dumb, feel-good movies.

Be cool http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0377471/
Sad sequel to Get Shorty, but it’s got some great one-liners.

Little Black Book http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361841/
Holly Hunter and Brittany Murphy – nice twist in the end.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My movie mania, part 1 - drama

I'm beginning a list of the 130 odd movies I've seen since I bought my DVD player in Sep-99. I'm starting off with the ones I really, really liked. Puritans please forgive my classifications. The IMDB link is given next to the title, along with my brief comments (in red). First up are movies I'd call drama, serious, etc.

Crash (2004) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375679/
My views already given below. http://citymusing.blogspot.com/2005/10/crashing-into-lives.html

House of sand & fog (2003)) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0315983/
Hard-hitting, brilliant performances

Memento (2000) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0209144/
Chris Nolan, what else?

Lord of War (2005) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399295/
Brilliant - my best DVD in 2006 so far

Death and the maiden (1994) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109579/
Ben Kingsley again, great combo with House of S&F

Bowling for Columbine (2002) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0310793/
Truth indeed is stranger than fiction

Following (1998) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0154506/
Chris Nolan's original B&W cult hit

Glengarry glen Ross (1992) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104348/
An all-star cast and a mind-numbingly brilliant script

Things to do in Denver when you're dead (1995) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114660/
Probably Andy Garcia's best performance

American History X (1998) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120586/
Surely a tour-de-force for Ed Norton

21grams (2003) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0315733/
Inarritu and Arriaga. Can't miss this after seeing Amores Perros.

Sexy Beast (2000) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0203119/
Ben Kingsley in one of his best (of many?)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338013/
Script, script, script

Kinsey (2004) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362269/
Liam Neeson all the way

Gosford Park (2001) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0280707/
Robert Altman. No wonder so many actors wanted to be in it.

It's all about love (2003) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0273689/
Slow, but brilliant visuals