Blurring the line between black and white

The White Album is arguably the best Beatles album ever. Jay-Z’s supposed final venture is The Black Album, which contains the heavily played “Change clothes”, and anyone who’s seen the video is sure to have entertained thoughts about using his mystical pimp hand on da supermodel ho’s.

Enter DJ Dangermouse: A renowned remix artist, came up with the brilliant idea of remixing the Beatles with Jay-Z to release the The Grey Album. I’ve listened to a couple of them and they are pretty interesting. EMI, which owns the rights to the White Album, sent a cease-and-desist to DJ Dangermouse since it infringed on their copyrights. Websites started offering pirate downloads and copies began to be found on-where else- Kazaa. The incident snowballed, with several sites protesting EMI’s tactics by greying their front pages.

Hence, Grey Tuesday was today.

I don’t use Kazaa, primarily because I don’t own a computer that I can use to burn my own CDs. Most CDs that I have are original. I purchased an original Radiohead on my trip to India. Not surprisingly, the CD provided “Anti piracy measures” which means I have to install a special player on every computer I want to play the CD on. As a result, I can’t play the CD on any of my college PCs. Nice going there, morons!

I believe that musicians should get their due for the music they create. (Of course, I’ve burnt a few CDs along the way but they were peer-to-peer in the true sense of the word. “Hey pal, could you burn me a copy of the CD you lent me??”). EMI and the RIAA have managed to turn IP protection into a farce. Hopefully, Itunes and Napster which offer per-song downloads for a fee, will help to prevent a total piracy drive by frustrated and penniless Kazaa users.

Diary of a Peanut Maniac

Help!!! I’m addicted to Planter’s lightly salted Peanuts!!!

It started out innocently enough. My ex-roommate once brought a can of Planter’s mixed nuts home. The can’s label features an anthropomorphic peanut shell, resplendent in top-hat, monocle and walking cane. It also innocuously says in big letters,”less than 50% peanuts”. Any desi worth his salt will know that ‘junk food’ in desi households in the US means ‘potato chips and coke’. Given a chance of a respite from the constant barrage of ruffled and classic Lay’s chips, I decided to taste some of these nuts. The ‘mixed’ here refers to a variety of obscure crunchies, such as almonds, pecans and god-knows-what. Contrary to its declaration of the less-than-50% reservation policy for peanuts, each grope into the can brought forth 75-80% peanuts and one almond, if I was lucky. Not heeding this ominous sign, I continued, stuffing my maw with salty and yummylicious peanuts that alluringly rustled out of their brown outer garments when I held them in my fingers and applied a gentle tweaking action. The can was soon empty, and I was left to avoid glancing at my roommate who had got it for himself.

Flash forward a few days: I walk into my RA office and what do I see? A can of lightly salted Planter’s peanuts, sitting on my co-worker’s table. Aha! Mr.Planter had decided to forgo the ‘mixed’ euphemism for his nefarious scheme of world-peanut-domination and concentrate solely on peanuts! Since my co-worker was not around anyway, I decided to taste these ‘lightly-salted’ peanuts and see if they were any better than the ones that came with ‘mixed’ nuts. These aforementioned salted peanuts were completely devoid of any kind of brown covering and stood totally denuded for my munching pleasure. I took one tentatively and tried it. These ones were definitely superior to the previous variety! I made a mental note to buy some for myself.

On the next trip to the supermarket, I entered the ‘Nuts and Cocaine’ aisle, trying to locate the logo of a dancing peanut from among the anthropomorphic honeybees and suicidal pecans who seemed happy to die and become your breakfast. I finally found a whole bottle of lightly salted peanuts, with the smug and knowing Mr.Planter depicted on the front. I placed this bottle in my office drawer and started to use it often.

My peanut habit grew exponentially and I began to open the drawer once every 15 minutes to get a fresh fix of peanuts. The daily calorific diet on the bottle suggests 39 peanuts per day and I tried to restrict myself to this amount initially. I soon gave up on this ridiculous restriction and I’m currently on 39 p/hr. My throat is sore from all the salt and I feel constantly thirsty. I lick my lips in anticipation every 30 minutes and unscrew the lid to see how much is left. Like a crack-hound on the scent of a higher buzz, I’m seriously considering adding more salt to the bottle. The bottle’s interior, and I’m not kidding, smells like cowdung. The bottle itself is rapidly emptying and I look forward to my next trip to the supermarket.

I recall the innocent days when I used to eat peanuts for 25 paise from the push-cart guy who roasted them in sand. I think about the pori that I loved; The pattaani that I hated. I decided to consult the great information superclusterfuck that is the Internet to see if anyone suffered from the same addiction. My first Google image search returned this horrifying image. So Kraft corporation knew about the habit-forming properties of peanuts all the time!!! The caption clearly reads,“No one ever stopped after eating only one Planter’s Peanut. After all, how could they!! “. Philip Morris has been sued for a gazillion dollars and made to display a statutory warning on its cigarette packets, while Kraft happily circulates its salted peanuts to beer-happy bar patrons and naive net-surfers.

Uh-oh, I’m getting the munchies… I feel so cold… Time for my peanut-fix.
Time for my 12-step program.

CSS Woes

So I started designing a layout for this website I’m building… Now that I’m a certified Master of Science and am expected to be knowledgeable about computer stuff, I decided to make it conform to browser interoperability standards and use CSS without tables. The client uses IE exclusively and a Mac (I usually go “whatever…” when some I read some Mac geek’s “My OS is better than yours” spiel). I, on the other hand, am enamored by the beauty of tabbed browsing and thus use FireFox a.k.a. Firebird a.k.a Phoenix. I finally manage to make my CSS design HTML 4.0 valid and CSS valid but in the name of all that’s holy, I can’t figure out how to right-align images inside a DIV! Amazingly enough, IE displays the CSS layers as I want it, while Firefox plays havoc with them. I still haven’t got to the content part of the website and from what I hear about CSS’s ability to vertically align its layers, things are bound to get tougher. The temptation to throw my hands up and resort to tables is overpowering.

God and Gays

From a Farker:
Gay people are the reason that God is so popular.

It was the weak and effeminate members of the primordial bands of men who took the womens’ tales and superstitions and codified them so they would have something to do other than help out with the laundry.

They set up religion as an alternate power structure parallel to the chieftain and first warrior so they could have their share in the food without being strong or fast.

Hence, we have religion today. An alternate power structure, parasitic, and competing with the mainstream political structure.

That is one of the most intelligent trolls I’ve ever read.

Skating on thin ice

That was a crazy weekend! Went ice-skating with A. at Kansas City. Having heard fearful stories from past participants about falling on ice and breaking bones and other fragile protuberances, I was nervous about the whole thing. Thoughts of my encounter with the vicious bone-fracture fairy from summer kept running through my mind. First of all, those shoes – these are not simple slip-it-on-and-velcro-it-up equipment, but foot-encasing boots with half a mile of lace to tie up. I got a good look at the half-inch-wide blades on the shoes and mentally imagined tooth-surgery with it a la Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway’ – not a pleasant thought.

Literally walking on the edge, I reached the rink. Walking on those blades is surprisingly easy. Standing up on them on ice, however, isn’t. I started out by holding on to the perimeter railing and slowly circumambulating the rink like a nonagenarian en route to the restroom. A nice lady skated past and challenged, “Get on to the middle of the rink!”. The trick of skating on ice is to walk like a duck. Of course, we’ve all seen how ducks walk… no we haven’t. The closest recollection of a walking duck I have is Daffy wagging his feathery finger and lisping horribly.

After a couple of crunchy landings on my bony ass, A.’s friends decided to lend me a hand… make that two. With A.’s CC friend S. on on hand and her german conversation partner on the other, I proceeded to be lugged around the rink a couple of times. In normal circumstances, having two beautiful girls holding on to my arms on either side would have been a matter of immense pride and gloating. This time, pride was the farthest thing on my mind as I emulated a limp straw puppet being dragged around in circles. I eventually learned not to hold on to the side railings. In a couple of hours, I was skating with confidence, only occasionally inspecting the ice in a horizontal fashion. Except for a sore knee from when I landed on it after a triple-toe-axle, I retired from the rink, in a state of pleasant well-being.

What could top off a tiring excursion to the rink than reclaiming those precious calories in a suitably grease-molecule filled atmosphere? We chose the most American of all possible food-joints, a Denny’s diner. After an hour of waiting, we were finally treated to a fine set of pancakes. Good conversation around the table, with A.’s friend S. recounting his mother’s dubious jewish ancestry and A. herself confessing indubitable hickishness from her mom’s side. I wisely stayed away from my own genealogy, since I have no idea about it except for a kumkum reddened photo of my great-granddad who was a transport business owner. Hardly thorough or impressive, when compared to the American penchant for knowing one’s genealogy.

Why don’t Indians keep track of their ancestors? Of course, I could always claim that castes are a kind of ancestry, and that my forebear was the one-and-only Naidu McNaidu. But what about records, oral tradition, and other such evidence? Seeing how much importance we give to our elders and ancestors in general(yearly thivasams etc.), I would’ve expected a more detailed account of my great-great-grandfolks from my mom or grandma. Maybe it is time I started calling myself Dev2r, son of Dev2r Sr., son of Dev2r SrSr. and so on. Heck, the Welsh have it, and even Gimli, the son of Gloin does it!