Thursday, December 31, 2009

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?

For the first time in about five years I am going to be spending New Year's Eve at home. I have absolutely no plans whatsoever, and I plan on sitting up and watching re-runs of my favourite cartoon show and eating ice-cream all evening. Then I am possibly going to get dragged out to watch fireworks at night. I suppose this is not what most 22 year olds are supposed to enjoy doing, but what could possibly be a better way to start the year? I am surprisingly looking forward to this plan muchly.

As mentioned before, I have never been too fond of the arrival of another new year because I always feel the pressure to do better than I did in the previous year. Also, as you get older I have found that this gets harder to do. However, I do think I will survive for another year, maybe with a little bit (or a lot of) of whining ahead.

I hope everyone else has managed to do something substantial this year; I would like to think that I have! I do know a lot more than I knew at this exact time last year, and that sufficiently satisfies me. I have never been good with resolutions, so I am going to steer clear of them. World peace can wait for a couple of more years, for now. I don't have any agenda for the year; I am going to try to worry less about things and see how that works out for me. From my relatively brief life experience I have learned that things mostly work out for the best at the end of it all.

I am going to approach the new year with high spirits (the exams I have next week can be damned) and I hope that the year goes well for everyone else as well.

And now, bring on the ice-cream!

Friday, December 25, 2009

The first noël, the angels did sing...

Milan under snowfall

Its Christmas and my favourite time of the year, which is weird because I have never once celebrated Christmas in my entire life; being a good, little convent educated school girl that I am, I can't help love this season as much as I do. I am one of those people that everyone gets sick of because I start listening to Christmas music since early December and have an embarrassing amount of it on my iTunes. This is my first Christmas away from Milan. I have completely missed the snow storm over Europe last week and I can't help but be a bit sad about this because snow in Milan is quite rare. I really love it when it snows, the city seems so beautiful even if it does mean suspension of all means of transportation within the city and mushy sludge all over the roads, in addition to the freezing temperatures. However, I shouldn't really be discussing the weather because it has been 25°C in the place where I spent most of of time last week and I am now sporting an awful tan.

I haven't been away for a vacation with my family for almost two years now, so I have been looking forward to the mini-trip we had around South East Asia last week. I just got back to Hong Kong this morning actually. Travelling with my parents is one of those things that is exhaustive and so much fun at the same time, and I am in much need of sleep. I will write more about the trip later on, but for now I just wanted to wish everyone happy holidays and a merry christmas!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

As we go on, we remember, all the times we had together...

Last weekend was my graduation ceremony. I was really not looking forward to it because university graduation is one of those days that you just have to spend with your family, and mine currently lives a continent away and could obviously not make it. So, I was all whiny about it for the last month and was generally not looking forward to it, but it ended up being such a great day and I had a good time. This is because my friends are the coolest people in the world who not only sat through the boring ceremony, but also spent the rest of the day hanging out with me. I really just don't deserve to have such awesome people in my life, and I should be nicer to them!

Talking about my family, I am seeing them next week! I can't wait to see them and get back to Hong Kong again. I haven't seen them for three whole months, and I know this isn't a big deal to most people, but I have always been a clingy person who is overly attached to her mum and dad. I blame it on the fact that I am an only child and HK is generally very awesome. This also means that I have to pack this weekend and have so much to do that the best thing for me to do right now is to just avoid thinking about it. Avoidance is the best solution to your problems! Please, do not take my advice, as you can see, I am awful at it!

I am also very excited because I am probably going on a family vacation to Vietnam and Cambodia sometime over Christmas. There shall be more information on this when my dates and tickets are fixed, but traveling in South East Asia has been like a dream for me ever since I was thirteen and read The Beach (yes, go ahead and make fun of me, I am beyond all caring because I know how pathetic my teenage taste in most things was).

But I shall not think about vacations and fun for now! I have a week before I leave and too much to finish in this short period. I am full till the brim with work and my week consists of me traveling back and forth from uni. If I am feel particularly adventurous and hungry, I might venture into the supermarket, but this has been the extent of my travel for the last couple of weeks. In addition to this, the highlight of my week, which was my Korean drama series, has come to an end, and now I literally have nothing in life to look forward to. There, that is a paragraph of Pan whining, since I haven't been doing it for a while on here now!

I have been listening to 80's music all day long and have spent the day making an epic, generally awesome playlist on my itunes. This has also been my only accomplishment for the day, apart from realizing that I know the lyrics to Total Eclipse of the Heart creepily accurately without even consciously ever trying to memorize them.

I love how this post has deteriorated to a random collection of paragraphs with absolutely no link between them, but it is almost half past one at night and its been a long day, so I am unable to be coherent.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Student life

You know what I hate about being a student? No, its not the perpetual poverty, although that is also pretty bad; its the fact that your day never truly ends. When you work, however awful your job is and however long your hours are, you can be sure that once you get home, you don't have to think about it any more until well, the next day. The problem with being a student is that I have a ten hour day at uni filled with all kinds of stressful things, and then I have to come home and actually study or finish my projects. The day doesn't officially ever end because you constantly have to be thinking about your lectures, projects, etc.

That said, student life has all kinds of perks! I am lucky enough to have at least two more years till I graduate and I suppose, I should really make the best of it, right? And I know I complain about uni all the time, but to be honest, I really do love student life. I figured I haven't done one of my trademarked lists in a while, and as I always like to say, one can never have enough lists in life, so here it goes: I like being a student because:
  1. I can go out on a weekday and come back home at four in the morning because I have afternoon lectures the next day that can always be skipped if my headache is particularly bad.
  2. I can go out on a weekday, come back home at four in the morning, still end up going to a 9 a.m lecture, and actually manage to follow most of it.
  3. I get a discounted price for most museum trips.
  4. I also get a heavily discounted public transport pass.
  5. I can go to the gym at completely odd afternoon/morning hours to find it absolutely empty, at my disposal and pretend that its my private gym.
  6. I get almost three weeks off for Christmas, one for Easter and two months worth of summer holidays. Its worth going to uni and working hard just to enjoy your vacation time!
  7. I can have lunch/dinner standing up at some shady street stall without getting odd looks from people because you can't expect any better behaviour from students, can you?
  8. I can efficiently multitask, i.e work on two different assignments, chat with three different people, while talking on the phone with my mum.
  9. I can fly with Qatar Airlines, FinnAir and Aeroflot half way across the world without being embarrassed or laughed at.
  10. I can have meaningful and un-ironic discussions about Pokemon, the Flintsones, politics, America, Ralph Fiennes, stock market crash, Britney Spears and the Lisbon Treaty with the same set of people.
  11. And one more because we all know how great prime numbers are: I love being a student because I am awesome at talking knowledgeably about things I have no idea about. This, my dear friends, is an art that can be mastered only once you have attended university.

Friday, November 13, 2009

And she was...

I know, I know, its been a while, but fear not, your beloved narrator is not going to give up on her blog so easily. I have just been really busy this semester with uni. Grad school is such a torture, and I would whine so much more about it if I did not actually enjoy most of what I am currently doing. But it does keep me crazily busy, and I don't think I have ever been this busy in my entire life. I have always been a one-day-at-a-time kind of person, but right now I am literally living from one project deadline to the other, and for some strange reason, I don't seem to mind.

I can't believe its almost mid November already, and that the year is almost over. Guangzhou and China seem like a world away even if I was there just a couple of months ago. To be quite honest, I love China and had such a great time this summer, even if I was cooped up in an office looking at Chinese tax regulations for most part. I know its hard for most people, but I have always found it easy to adapt to new people/places/food etc. because I am a ridiculously easy person to please. I know, a lot of my friends will laugh at me for saying this, but its actually true. Give me a laptop with an internet connection and a bed, and I am pretty much satisfied wherever I am.

I am also living alone this year, which is really great. I have the tiniest flat in the world in the middle of the city, and I love it so much even though it is a perpetual mess. I try and be as neat and tidy as my mum but somehow I just can't manage to keep it half as nice as my mum used to keep our home while battling an annoying teenager, an unhelpful husband and a job with long hours. One day, I promise to reach that level of efficiency, but for now I am happy being my lazy self and lounging in bed all evening.

By the way, if anyone is wondering why Pan is being pathetic and making blog posts on a Friday night, its because I have sprained my ankle in the most painful manner while coming home from uni this evening. So all I can do is lie down still in bed and limp painfully around the house. My dinner consists of cereal and an apple, and I am taking the evening off to catch up with my favourite television show. Life is pretty much good for now, I think! But its Friday and after the week I have had, there is absolutely nothing (not even my life threatening foot injury) that can bring my mood down right now, so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, August 24, 2009

You make me sick

Has anyone ever had one of those weekends where you need a day off just to relax and get over your weekend? I just had one of those, and it didn't even involve hard partying, drugs, alcohol and all the things people do these days during their time off, no; it was because I have the most awful sore throat and cold. I don't know why it seemed like a good idea to go out for a day trip even with my illness yesterday.

The problem with living in tropical climates is that even the most tedious of activities require double the effort because of the sweltering temperatures. I'd totally be able to handle the heat, you know. Its the humidity that just drives me crazy, and I'm not just being biased against humidity because of my permanently damaged hair. There are days when by the time I leave my apartment and reach the front of my building, I'm already sweating and the whole point of having a shower before leaving home is kind of useless.

Also, I have learnt that being out all day long in the heat when you have the most awful cold in the world is a really bad idea, not only for you, but also for other people around you. This morning when I woke up, I was pretty much unable to breathe because of my blocked sinuses and my voice sounded that of a 60 year old man, and I think at this stage there was nothing left to do but call my boss and ask for a day off. So I find myself on a Monday morning at 10.00 am in bed, sipping tea, with music blaring loudly on my itunes and lying next to a pile of dirty tissues. This would actually be my ideal Monday morning (sans the tissues and coughing, of course) if I wasn't so ill. This how I should have spent yesterday instead of going on that stupid day trip, but the little tourist in me couldn't have missed out a day of Chinese palaces.

I should probably get up, have a shower, get out of my pyjamas, clean up the mess in my room, have hot soup in the restaurant downstairs for lunch, and buy medicine for my cold; but all these things involve me getting out of bed and everyone knows what an effort this is for your dear narrator.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The one where Pan has swallowed a gallon of coffee

Its 2.30 a.m. in the morning and I have to wake up at 7 tomorrow for work. So one might ask why your lovely narrator is up at such an ungodly hour writing blog posts instead of being in bed in deep slumber. I think this should be a lesson to anyone who thinks drinking vats full of coffee with infinite spoons of sugar at 4 in the evening is a good idea. I have been trying to sleep since 11.30 and have finally given up after getting all the way through the 'zzzzs playlist' on my ipod; and mind you I have never ever gotten through this playlist before because I always fall asleep less than halfway into it.

Last night I was sitting in a small Chinese restaurant on the street having dinner with a friend, and it suddenly struck me that I am getting used to living in a random city in China that is not Beijing or Shanghai. Who has even though that China has other places to live in? Its like thinking about India beyond Bombay and Delhi, and nobody does that. China is such a big, big country and I do wish I had the time to travel over here, but for now I am going to have to be satisfied just staying over here for the time being. I had seriously expected that I would be miserable over here all summer long, but I've been surprisingly having a good time.

I was away in Hong Kong last weekend to visit my family and just got back to Guangzhou on Monday morning. I had a great weekend, but what can I say, it almost felt like coming back home when I got back to my little room here. Plus, I love living on my own. Sometimes, it scares me how much I like it because it just confirms my awful suspicion that I am never going get used to living with anyone else in my life. I just think that its one of those things that I will eventually have to deal with in the future, and what is the use of having problems if you can't push them away for another day, right?

So as I was saying, I've been having a semi-decent/almost-good time over here and its really weird to think that I've been here for almost a month now. It really doesn't feel like that long. I'm so not looking forward to go back to Milan in September because Milan = university = lectures + exams = misery, but I kind of miss my home and my bed, especially my bed. I also miss having good hair days because the humidity here kind of makes it impossible for my hair to be decent no matter how hard I try. Sometimes I'm such a girl, aren't I? But hair has always been a touchy issue.

Its almost 3 a.m. and I really must try and get some sleep otherwise I am never going to wake up tomorrow morning (which is in 4 exact hours).

Friday, July 31, 2009

On the world's favourite boy-wizard

Its 31st July, also known as Harry Potter day to most of us nerdy HP fans and I've never done a Harry Potter related post in all the years I've had this blog, so I thought I might as well. Even though I don't talk about it much at all, Harry Potter has always been a big part of my life ever since I can remember. Its something that I have pretty much stopped being embarrassed about (hey, at least its not Twilight, ok?) because once you become twenty-one, all the things that used to embarrass you so much when you were a teenager don't really seem that important any more. Also, when I started reading HP, none of my friends even knew what it was, and so I never bothered bringing it up. Even when I was a kid, I used to have this irrational fear about talking to people about things that were important to me because I used to be terrified that they were going to use them against me or ruin them for me by dismissing them. I, unfortunately have this ridiculous fear even now, which pretty much stops me from having meaningful relationships with people.

But as usual, I digress, I stared reading Harry Potter when I was about twelve. A few years later the first film came out, and suddenly everyone was a fan. The other day it just struck me that there are going to be a whole load of children in the future who are going to grow up reading all the seven books back to back and miss out on a painful, yet exhilarating anticipation of waiting for each book to come out. I must admit that as I grew older the wait did start getting less painful although I did spend a week of having HP related nightmares/dreams before Half Blood Prince came out because of sheer nerves.

I must absolutely point out that even though I used to be and still am, to a certain extent, quite over-invested in the series, there is a slight difference between being a decent fan and being creepy and I'd like to categorize myself in the former case because creepy!HP fans are just really creepy. So no, I haven't attended fan conventions and written porn about underage fictional people (reading it totally doesn't overstep into that creepy frontier, by the way). I don't have some hidden HP related tattoos up my sleeve, haven't stalked the actors from the HP films and I don't listen to wizard rock (which is a genre of music bigger than you would expect it to be!). I don't even listen to the podcasts from fan websites or post/read deep, meaningful discussions and editorials on forums. So, from HP standards I'm a really terrible fan actually.

All that said, I'm still a pretty big nerd when it comes to HP related trivia; or at least I used to be until a couple of years ago. I may not know how many sickles there are in a gallon but I do know all about Ali Bashir and his magic carpet, and who the hell Euan Abercrombie is. Harry Potter has been an important part of my adolescent life and I have come to accept it without any shame at this point of my life. Even though I never got tortured by my friends, my parents have always given me so much hell for liking Harry Potter as much as I do. Who needs crappy friends when you have parents at home to tease you about your nerdy obsessions?

It was a good phase, as far as phases go and it was awesome growing up right in the heart of it. I literally grew up with the books, reading the first one when I was twelve and the last one when I was nineteen. Also, I do have awesome HP related stories to tell people now, like that time in Barcelona where we basically spent three days searching for a theatre that showed Order of the Phoenix in english (which we eventually did manage to find) and stumbled onto the best beach of the city (with the least number of tourists) or the summer that I was in New York when the 6th book came out and entire America went psychotic about 'Snape killed Dumbledore' or the night spent in a youth hostel in Lisbon reading the last book (which we bought at midnight after queuing up behind 10 year olds) when we had a whole day of sightseeing early next morning. Incidentally, I also dragged/tricked my mother to watch Half Blood Prince, after a fifteen hour flight the night I landed in Hong Kong two weeks ago.

As far as teenage fads go, I'd like to think that mine was not that bad after all. I always thought that I would have been really upset once it was all over, but I think what I had when I finished the last book was more of a sense of relief that it was all finally over. There was no nagging sense of I want more, and I was quite ready to grow out of it slowly and steadily. I'm not going to count the films because I am quite indifferent to them, but still religiously watch every one of them during their opening week, if not on the opening day itself because that is what a good fan is supposed to do. I would also like to think that I'm forcibly going make my kids read one book a year, but I know what I'd do if my parents ever told me not to read something until I was older.

Another week gets over, and its finally Friday night. No work for two whole days, YAY!

PS: I watched The Big Sleep last night with Humphrey 'I'm so cool, I don't need an umbrella, I have a raincoat!' Bogart and Lauren 'why are we wasting our time talking when we could be in bed right now?' Bacall. There is absolutely nothing better than a black and white thriller on a rainy night in and I have always been such a sucker for old Hollywood.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

10 things I have learnt this week

  1. Chinese people move around with their umbrellas open everywhere they go. They use an umbrella when its sunny and also when it rains. It really disconcerting to go out on a bright, hot day and see like a sea full of open umbrellas everywhere. No one wears sunglasses. You are more likely to be stared at if you wear sunglasses rather than if you have an umbrella open in the hot sun.
  2. People in my office take power naps after lunch. They put their head down on the desk and actually SLEEP. Its really, really weird to come back from lunch and find half the office dosing on their desks. Some of them even have little cushions to be more comfortable while napping and the 10-year-old in me wants to make my mobile phone ring and wake everyone up one day just to annoy them all.
  3. Lunch is officially for an hour, but unofficially its for an hour an a half which always ends up extending to mostly two hours. I love our lunch breaks; they are awesomely long. People eat for an hour and then nap for 30 minutes or so.
  4. Most of the people don’t actually know what they are eating half the time when they eat out. So, if you order a dish and you ask someone (even the waiters) what is in it they have this blank expression. Also, everyone eats out, the concept of cooking food for yourself doesn’t seem to exist.
  5. Everyone has an obsession with visiting cards. Everyone has a visiting card. Even the bartender in Starbucks has a visiting card! Hell, even I have a visiting card (which is totally the best thing that has happened to me here, by the way! I actually have my name printed on a card, OMG!)
  6. Chinese people have Chinese names for everything including Coke, Sprite and McDonalds, which are not mispronounced words for the original names, but different words altogether Kekoukele, Xue Bi and Mai Dang Lau respectively.
  7. The Starbucks here puts coffee jelly in their frappuccinos (which I am kind a slave for, by the way). I know it sounds really awful, but it tastes so much better than it sounds and I might even venture to admit that it actually tastes good with coffee jelly. However, ever since I was a kid, I have never been rational around jelly, so my judgement is pretty biased.
  8. When you go to restaurants, they ask you whether you want ice water or hot water. There is no in-between; you are not allowed to have your water at room temperature in this country. Its either frozen and makes your throat numb or is tepid and tastes of pee (don’t ask how I know this!)
  9. I am one of the few people in this world that think that the Chinese accent is great. However, after spending a week here, I find myself talking in it at times and that has started bothering me.
  10. A lot of restaurants shut down at 10 at night and the underground stops at 11. I’m assuming Chinese people like to go to bed early. This will teach me to complain about the Milanese metro that shuts at midnight.
  11. And this is a bonus one: Cigarette packets warnings have the sign ‘smoking may cause impotence’ instead of death because impotence is so much worse than the fear of death.

PS: I'm really sore right now all over because I was forced to go out and play gaelic football for two hours straight on thursday. I'm really awful at it and yet I ended having such a lot of fun but my muscles are dead.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

WTAF China?

How stupid do you think people are? No, like seriously? Do you think blocking YouTube, Blogger and Facebook in your country going to stop people from getting around this in any case? I'm not going to say any more because I don't want the government tracking my blog or anything, even though the idea of the Chinese government secretly monitoring my blog to see if I'm divulging state secrets is quite funny considering I haven't seen anything worthwhile in the 12 exact hours that I have spent in this country.

I am currently in city of Guangzhou (look it up and be ashamed if haven't ever heard of it!) sitting in the bed of my expensive-but-really-crap-quality-room (I shouldn't complain, at least I have a working air conditioner and satellite television which has exactly 100 channels in Chinese, and none in any other language!). Growing up with an OCD mother has given me extremely high hygiene standards, which makes every other place that is not my home not good enough for me. But I am determined to survive for the next two months and yes, there will be a lot of whining from Pan but she will surely but steadily make it through.

Work starts tomorrow, and I'm kind of looking forward for that becasue I am possibly the only human being in the world who looks forward to work (since it is still a novelty to me!). For the first time in my life I was throughly checked through by Chinese custom officials who opened my suitcase because they couldn't imagine why anyone would need five pairs of shoes for two months and the conversation went something like this:

Official: You have shoes, yes?
Me: ummmm...yes
Official: How many?
Me: I dont know, maybe about four, five pairs.
Official: You sell shoes?
Me: UH...no they are all mine.
Official: You have five shoes for two months?
Me: But they are my shoes. I need them!
Official: Why you need five shoes? Can we see your shoes?
(which is when I had to open my suitcase and prove that the shoes were indeed mine! And mind you this was when I had removed like two pairs last night because the bag was getting too heavy. That will teach me to carry so many shoes around the world)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Updating Updates

We finally bought a table and some chairs for the balcony, which is awesome but pointless because we are leaving for the summer in less than two weeks. This leads me to the next thing I am going to say, I just have ONE more exam left for the year; its one of the harder ones and I seem to be having no inclination to study for it. All I want to do it lounge about in the balcony drinking iced tea and read. Why is this not possible?

Before this post disintegrates into one of those Pan's-life-is-so-hard-and-she-is-going-to-whine-about-it-for-the-next-five-paragraphs posts, let me stop myself. Its not really that hard, to be quite honest. I'm still enjoying the summer, sitting under the fan, listening to Michael Jackson and drinking iced tea as I type this out, so I promise no whining around on this post. I wish I could travel around for the holidays but I am no longer the free teenager that I used to be and if I want to have some sort of a future, I need to use my summers to do internships and build up my near-empty resume.

I'm going to be working this summer for the next two months in China. I'm a bit nervous about it but I'm sure its going to end up being a great experience, so I am kind of looking forward to that. Plus, no more studying for the next two months, so I'm hoping to catch up with all the books, movies and tv-shows (English and Korean!) that have been accumulating for a while now. I haven't seen a decent Bollywood film in a year and I think its about time to come out of the rock that I've been living under.

I was in the gym this morning and there was a Michael Jackson video marathon on MTV. I had kind of forgotten how amazing and emotional his videos used to be. I was literally running on the treadmill watching Man in the Mirror almost in tears and had to switch off the television for Earth Song because I would have started crying in that scene when the elephant dies (and I don't even like Earth Song!). I know, I know its probably a CGI elephant, but I am but a victim of my unstable emotions and just can't help myself around Michael Jackson videos :(

Friday, July 03, 2009

Somewhere over the rainbow


After having given exams for more than than a decade of my short lifespan, you would think that it would become easier to go through them, right? But I think it just seems to be getting harder each time for me. The lack of sleep, the gripping pit of fear in your stomach, the dark circles and not to mention the after tea/coffee breaks. Ugh!

I was pleasantly surprised to read about this a couple of days ago. It was pleasant because well, its about time that the law was changed and surprised because I really would never have thought that this would be possible in India, at least in my lifetime, but there are a few occasions where I love being wrong and this is one of them.

I also never thought there would come a day where I would be internally celebrating and being grateful over a ruling that gives people civil rights. These are rights that people are inherently be born with and should not have to struggle for. However, things like this give me hope for the future and even though I'm not naive enough to believe that this is actually going to end discrimination or hate crimes, I would like to think that it is a step forward in the right direction.

I would also like to add that anyone who thinks that this law should still be upheld is not only an idiot but also one of the most lowly forms of human beings to exist on this planet. I understand and even respect, to a certain extent, people's religious or personal beliefs about the matter, but if you think a whole subset of the human population deserve to be treated lesser than other humans based on their sexual orientation or race that is something that goes against everything human beings have struggled to achieved since we started existing.

PS: I've had the soundtrack of Hairspray on repeat all day on itunes and its made me ridiculously cheerful all. Have I ever mentioned my love for musicals before?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Room With a View - Part Deux

Since I did one in winter, I think its only right that I post pictures of how the view looks from my window in summer. Plus, I'm looking for a distraction to keep me away from studying. Its 8.00 p.m right now and look how bright it is outside! Sometimes, I think its really worth living with eight months of winter only to experience these four months of European summer.



The photos are not the best photos in the world, but I'd like to think that they have come out quite decent, considering how I terrified was that the camera was going to fall from my hand.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Glee!

Keeping up with my tradition of reviewing the obscure, I will now go ahead and talk about something that has the potential of either fading into obscurity or becoming the next best thing television has seen in a while. I kind of knew that the pilot was going to be awesome when I watched this trailer before the show premiered, and was quite excited about it.


Before I start gushing, I must confess two facts that can be potentially used against me in the future. But, my last post was on the Gmail Fox and I think I have kind of lost all my sense of shame after that. So, I shall go right ahead and confess:
  1. I love musicals. No, I unironically love them all. I even liked the movie version of Rent. This is how shameful my love for musicals is.
  2. I also love Journey, you know the band, Journey. What can I say? It all stems from my teenage love for power ballads. I promise to get over these songs one day, but I suspect that day is not going to come very soon.
The pilot of this show has somehow miraculously ended up involving both the points listed above, and there was no just no way that I was going to end up not liking this show after that. The show is a kind of mash up between Bring It On meets Election meets Mean Girls meets High School Musical meets Fame. Considering how amazing each of these films are, the show has not only a lot to live up to, but also a big possibility of becoming into some of the other not-very-good high school films that are out there, and believe me there plenty of those around.

The American high-school move genre is a very precarious one to invest into because 95% of the films it generates are simply awful. However, if well made, and mind you decent movies in this genre are extremely rare, the films have a potential of becoming into something special. There is a very thin line between the high-school films that are good and the ones that are not. Of course, you are going to make fun of me because I watch high-school films, but I do, and I love the good ones. I mean, how can you not? They are not just chick flicks; I like to look at them as a plethora of wit that give us a deep insight into American popular culture. Regardless for my blind love for this genre, I have to admit that the bad ones are simply painful to sit through. However much I would like to continue and point out the differences between gems like Clueless and the awful ones like The Prince and Me, I am well aware that I am digressing from the initial subject of my conversation.

Glee is not a high-school film. No, it is much more than that. It is a high school television show, which makes it pretty unique from everything else that is out there. What I mean by unique is that the show does well in trying to distance itself from other high school dramas that are currently airing like Gossip Girl or 90210. Plus it markets itself as a musical comedy, and not one of those musicals where people talking suddenly burst out into song and dance routines, but a musical where the music numbers actually make sense and are limited.

The premise of the show is pretty simple, it revolves around a teacher who is trying to train a bunch of high school misfits to participate in a national competition, which involves singing and dancing. To top it off, there are evil blond cheerleaders, evil dim-witted football players, rival schools and a whole set of quirky teachers (who are fit for everything else apart from teaching) involved in trying to make the lives of these six teenagers as hard as possible. All the want to do is perform on stage, dammit! Why should this be so hard?

Since it has the pretty conventional high-school plot, the show will probably have to do a lot in the future to make sure it remains quirky and witty, which is going to be hard. They also have a lot of expectations to live up to in terms of the music, epsecially after the amazing rendition of Rehab performed by a rival school and Don't Stop Believing that were used in the pilot. All this gushing aside, the pilot was not perfect. Few high school films are perfect, and I have yet to watch a high school show that is perfect. There were a few parts that made you go meh along with the traditional stereotypes of high school characters complete with thin, blond cheerleaders and a fat African American girl who wants to be Beyoncé.

The pilot was just a preview and the show is going to start airing later this year in September/October. I thought the pilot was pretty decent, and good enough to make me continue watching it for a while, but pilots rarely tell you all there is to know about a tv show. If the epic failure of Kings (which I thought started out as quite well, by the way) is to be taken as an indication, all we know is that audiences are fickle and unpredictable. I loved Glee, but I love Journey and watch all my television shows online, so my demographics and opinions don't really count in the big scheme of things.

PS: The lead actress has an amazing voice and I love her character so hard. She puts gold stars next to her name every time she signs it somewhere. How could you possibly not love this girl?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The grass is always greener


I love Google and everything Google related. But I have to admit when they came up with Google Themes to customize your Gmail, I was a bit peeved off. I am not much of a fan of customizable web sites (and yes I'm talking about you, MySpace). In any case, I swore off against them because I thought layouts were silly and preferred the original inbox design. This was until I was introduced to Google's most adorable creation in the whole world, the Gmail Fox.

The Gmail Fox, also known as the Tea House Fox comes with the 'Tea House' layout, which is an interactive layout that changes throughout the day according to the time. As time passes, you can see what the Gmail Fox has been up to all through the day. The Gmail Fox always makes sure that he is busy all day long. You'd think he would get bored all by himself in this little tea house and not do a thing all day, and yet, every time I open my inbox, he always seems to be up to something.

Is it wrong that I wish I could live the life of the Gmail Fox? He's a good little fox living in his adorable home by the lake. He has friends over all the time for tea parties, goes rowing with them in the lake, practices tai chi in the mornings, does his chores around the house diligently, has actual hobbies including but not limited to bonsai, and if all that was not enough, he even plays the flute and the mandolin. I know a lot of people would find this kind of a cyclical life that is full of routines dull, and yet I seem to find myself longing for it, especially these days.

I love opening my inbox and looking at what the fox is up to and checking up on him from time to time. At 3.15 AM every night, the Gmail Fox is visited by the spirits of is ancestors, who come each night and play Go as the little fox sleeps. I first actually noticed this when I was in Hong Kong because I hadn't changed my Italy timezone. I am such a ridiculous geek and even found an article that explains the backstory of these ghosts that visit him. I don't care if its not true, I am totally going to believe in it because it is just so cute, and everyone can go ahead and tease me to death about this.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Funny Face

The problem with Hollywood actors these days is that they are trashy and cheap, and there is nothing more to be said on this. Most people in old Hollywood were just as messed up in alcohol, drugs and cigarettes as every other person in Hollywood right now, and yet they did it with class. How can Lindsey Lohan and Megan Fox ever compete with this?

Friday, May 01, 2009

In which Pan gets butthurt

I've been living in Europe for long enough to not let these things bother me because I know that asking for things to change would be asking for too much. I let things go by without trying to let them affect my mental state. So, its okay if I am always called aside when I'm travelling to have my documents checked and double checked. Its fine if I get shifty looks from old women on the tram or while I'm going to pay the bills. I've even had someone asking me what vaccines they need to take if they are going to Malaysia for a holiday (it was because India and Malaysia are so close to each other, you see!) I don't let these small things bother me, not because they are okay, but because I really couldn't care less. However, when I see full blown advertising campaigns like this one, I get really irritated.

These are some of the pictures from the new India themed Zegna campaign that are plastered all over Milan lately. There is this huge blown up version of the picture below at the airport here that I saw a few weeks ago.

If you show the above advert to any other person living in this country they will not find anything wrong with it, but it seems to be making my blood boil. Look at the sari clad native woman welcoming the handsome white man in a suit and his Indian sidekick (who looks like Mohinder Suresh, by the way). Why is she bowing down so submissively, unable to even look him in the eye? Am I the only one who is overreacting at this advert? No one else seems to have noticed it apparently if they've covered half the airport in this city with the picture.

The thing is that I don't think that the adverts were made with a malicious intent. The Zegna marketing department didn't wake up one morning thinking that all Indian women are shy and submissive. The problem is that they don't even realize that they are being inherently racist by playing up to the Indian stereotype or that there is something clearly wrong with their ad campaign. It is them having some ridiculous notion that there is nothing wrong in showing subjugated Indian women bowing before their handsome European saviours. It is a classic form of white privilege, and white privilege bothers me so much more than the most obvious forms of racism because its so much scarier.

Look at this other picture from this campaign. Doesn't the above picture bring back fond memories of the Raj? The natives playing a wonderful game of polo on elephants while the Europeans enjoy the show in the gardens of their palaces. This blatant display of Raj nostalgia is just really creepy actually. I don't know how to put it in more eloquent terms. The above advert actually scares me. It scares me because it is celebrating a period in my country's history that no one is proud of, at least not so openly. I am just astounded that other people are unable to notice these things given the fact that everyone seems so keen on being politically correct these days. If this campaign was a German 1940s retro military themed advertising campaign, the world would have exploded right now. I am not trying to compare Nazi Germany with the British Raj, but trying to show how the campaign is a romanticism of a terrible period in the history of my country.

I know that I'm probably overreacting and making an issue out of something so trivial. I also know that if I was living in India right now, I wouldn't have even noticed the racist undertones of this campaign. I've read so many articles written by Indian journalists about how proud India should be that international fashion designers are turning to our country to film their campaigns and are seeing India as a new consumer market. But, you don't wake up one morning and start noticing these things, its more of a gradual realization which comes with experience. Although, I have to say that I haven't yet experienced any humiliating forms of racism yet because I simply tend to let things go and am generally out of tune with what is happening around me.

There seems to be this trend on the internet and also in real life about fetishizing the Orient and anything else that is seen as exotic from western standards, and this is frankly disgusting. We just seem to be unable to get over racial stereotypes. I do know that stereotypes stem from facts and everyone uses stereotypes, even without realizing what they are doing. I probably do it too. However, I do feel that it is our duty to try and overcome them and not let things continue the way they are. The problem is that no one seems to be trying, people are just really worried about being politically correct, but that isn't changing their way of thinking or the things they actually believe. Realizing that we are faily idiots is the first step towards trying to work on the problem, but how are we going to get people to admit that we are all racist assholes?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Randomisms

Ah, after almost 20 hour of travel I am finally home and too tired to be coherent, which is why I shall resort to one of my favourite forms of communications: lists! They're a great way of communicating a large amount of unrelated information using few words and this is why I love them so much.
  1. I have a new found insane love for German airports. They have free coffee/tea machines and places where you can plug-in electronic devices. What more could a tried traveller who has to kill three hours with a dysfunctional laptop whose battery doesn't last for more than 20 minutes want? Ok, there wasn't any free internet, but that would just be asking for too much, right?
  2. I totally stole tea packets from the airport tea stash. I'm Indian, hoarding freebies is in our blood, and this makes my behaviour totally excusable!
  3. Why hasn't anyone mentioned the awesomeness of Battlestar Galactica before? I have gone through almost three seasons in less than three weeks and I have no idea why I hadn't bothered with it for all this time.
  4. I have a crazy lecture time table for this week and I can think of so many things I'd rather be doing than attending lectures. Why can't I stay at home and watch BSG all day?
  5. After you've been out for a while, its really good to be back home. Nothing makes me happier than sleeping in my own bed after being away for long.
  6. I am officially immune to jet lag and can fall asleep at any given time at any given place.
  7. I hate unpacking more than I hate packing. I also hate putting the clean dishes away or folding up clean laundry so much more than washing dirty plates and putting wet clothes to dry out on the clothes' line.
  8. I have been desperately craving for something fried and unhealthy for the last few days, but I shall be strong and not give in to the pressure.
  9. I watched High School Musical 3 and Twilight on the plane. I'd like to think that it was time well spent. The guy next to me kept giving me odd looks at my hysterical laughter from time to time.
  10. This swine flu pandemic is really scaring me. I used to be a crazy dystopian fiction reader when I was younger, and a disease pandemic is like the start of every decent dystopian novel. If we are all going to die, I might as well skip lectures for the week, right? Right?
Meh, I should really be working on my thesis.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Buildings

I've mentioned it before and I'm going to say it again, I love skyscrapers! This is the fabulous view of the city from the terrace of this house and the pictures barely do it any justice because of my muchly lacking photography skills.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Y HALO THAR

I know, I know, its been a while, and I haven't been updating and I have no actual excuse for my absence. I am currently in the lovely city of Hong Kong, sitting on a sunny terrace, under an sun-umbrella looking at a spectacular view, which looks even more spectacular at night by the way. Growing up in a city of more than 10 million people doesn't seem to have put my off big cities. On the contrary, I love them. I love crowded places, traffic, congestion and all the things that people normally hate. This could be because I don't drive because apparently your perceptions of traffic and cities change when you learn to drive. Plus, I've always been attracted to bright lights and tall buildings, so I do suppose that I'm being very biased in my appraisal.

Hong Kong is as fabulous as one can imagine it to be. In fact, I'd like to say that its even more amazing than one would expect it to be because the food here is simply delicious, and its full of restaurants that are filled up with people eating at all possible hours. Food has always been Pan's biggest weakness and its very easy to bribe her with good food to make her like a place. But it is actually crazy here, and there are people everywhere, at all given hours, and it makes me wonder what all these people actually do for their living because all they seem to be doing is shopping all the time. That said, the best thing about being on holiday is to see other people going to work, and I get much pleasure out of watching people going to work in stuffy suits in this humid weather while I'm happily sightseeing all day long.

I'm going to be all girly and squeal right now about all shopping the that I've done, so go ahead ignore me! I have no idea how I am going to manage to fit so much stuff into my suitcase while going back home. I love shopping for junk and other things that I am probably never going to wear more than once but that always seem like a good idea to buy at that time. Of course, the things that I actually need are long forgotten. But after living in Milan for almost seven years now, everything seems inexpensive here when things are not even that cheap and how can I possibly stop myself?

I have no idea why but I haven't been taking too many photos. I think its because now that my dad lives here I know that I'm eventually going to make it back sometime, so I'm not feeling the need to have a lot of photos. But, I should really get around to charging my camera because this city has some of the most amazing signs that I have ever seen and everyone knows how much yours truly loves those.

I am going back home on Friday and I can think of lot of other things that I'd rather be doing than returning to uni because the next two months are going to be absolutely terrible. But duty calls, and I must get back to work, right? At least its spring in Milan right now, and that is already cheering me up a bit.

PS: Ever since my previous post, the amount of people getting redirected here by google searching for the term 'A Bug's Life porn' is most disturbing. But this is the internet, nothing seems to surprise me any more.

PPS: I had gone to the hairdressers here today and I must absolutely write a post about my enduring fear for that species.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Food Porn

I'm so hungry right now, and there is nothing edible in sight. I could of course, get up from the couch and walk to the fridge and get something to eat. But that would mean having to actually get up from this couch, which much harder than it sounds because I am the laziest person in the whole world. This is why for the last 10 minutes, I've been doing the next best thing apart from eating food, which is looking at pictures of food!

Last summer I spent some time in Singapore, and I have to say that the best part of the whole trip was the food. I have no idea how this was possible but every single thing that I put in my mouth was delicious, and everything was such a novelty to me that I couldn't stop taking touristy pictures everything I ate.






Lastly, how can anyone visit Singapore and leave the city without having an authentic Singapore Sling?

And now I should really go get that apple from the fridge, shouldn't I?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

and yet another post where Pan whines...

I've been so busy that I don't even have time to think how busy I am, and this is when I don't even have exams (those are still two weeks away). I know how silly that sounds, but its absolutely true. I'd like to make one of those amazing lists that I'm so fond of lining up the things I have to do, but I think looking at them might just freak me out, so I'm not going to do that.

No one ever told me university life is this difficult. Everyone always keeps mentioning how much fun it was for them, what an amazing time they hard, best days of their life and all that rubbish. Why do people forget to mention the important parts? Like standardized testing, lack of employment opportunities, impossible expectations grad schools combined with impossible fees and trying to handle your courses and exams through all this pressure. Its like the universe is trying its hardest to make your life as difficult as possible, and mind you, I'm one of the lucky ones because my life isn't even all that hard! I know I complain and whine all the time, but at the back of my head, I know that I don't have to struggle half as much as other people.

Its March already! MARCH! How did we end up in March? In fact, we are more than half way through March and I just noticed today that we were already in March and its almost spring, which is the most fabulous season of all time. I think the best time to enjoy Italy is spring. Its one of those periods where you are walking on the road and it suddenly strikes you that you are actually living in Italy. Who the hell even lives in Italy apart from the rich people and people photographed in postcards? At least that is how I imagined Europe to be when I was young. Its way past 6 in the evening and there is still daylight outside, and absolutely nothing that can make me unhappy right now. How can one possibly be unhappy in this weather? Its even making someone as grumpy me cheerful lately, even though I have absolutely no reason to be cheery.

Actually, I do have a reason to be cheery. I have exams until the 6th, but after that I'm going to go visit my dad half way across the world for two whole weeks. I'm really excited because I can't seem to remember the last time I had a vacation. I still have to work on my thesis during that period, but I shall conveniently ignore thinking about this for the time being. Two weeks in Hong Kong, what more could anyone want? Plus, I haven't seen my dad since January and I miss him! I also suspect that he misses me too, which means that he is going to pander to all of my irrational whims, and I'm really not going to be complaining about this.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Jai Ho!


When half my city was taken over by terrorists, there was not a single person who asked about what was happening or if I was doing okay, but now that Slumdog Millionaire has won a whole load of Oscars, I have random people asking me about Bombay at least once a day for the past week.

I don't want you to get me wrong, regardless of what I feel about the film, I totally wanted it to win in every category it was nominated for at Oscars. Its a weird Indian solidarity thing that we are just born with. And yes, I do know that its not actually an Indian film, but who really cares about these small details? Plus, I cannot think of anyone in the Indian film industry apart from A.R.Rahman (I love it how every person who reads the nominations out in award shows is unable to pronounce his name right. If you are called out to read the nominations of a certain award category, the least you can do is take some effort to get the names right!) who deserves this kind of recognition. The funny thing is that his soundtrack for this film isn't even one of his best works and yet, incredibly it seems to be getting crazy recognition.

All this said, I actually liked the film. I do think that it is overrated and the second half of the film was quite weak due to the inability of the two lead characters to act. This is really sad because I love Dev Patel and Freida Pinto. They're adorable in interviews, and Dev's next role is going to be as my favourite character in my favourite television series of all time, and I can't help but be ridiculously excited about this. In any case, my pleasure while viewing the film was muchly diminished because I kept getting distracted by Dev's fake Indian accent and Freida's pretty smiley face.

The first half of the film is fabulous. Its very Danny Boyle, and kind of reminded me of Trainspotting, which is an awesome film (I'm not not just saying this because Ewan McGregor has a naked scene in it!). As a side note, I'd like to say that I really do love all the Danny Boyle films that I've watched. Sunshine was amazing, and I don't care if I'm the only human being who liked it. I thought that it was really well made. Also, I know The Beach was awful, but I was going through a post-Titanic, Leonardo Di Caprio phase at that time and have fond memories of that movie. But I digress as usual, coming back to what I was saying, the first part of Slumdog Millionaire is really good. The child actors are brilliant, the colours, the imagery, the music, and the story have a great flow, and I can see why exactly the film was considered Oscar worthy. Then suddenly something happens, and I don't quite know what.

Actually I do know what happens, the kids grow up, the lead kid grows up into an awkward Dev Patel, who has this blank expression all through the film as if he doesn't quite know what he's doing there. His Indian accent kept making me cringe and distracting me from the actual film itself (Its a big budget Hollywood film, the least they could do is make sure they hire someone to help the lead actor get the accent right). Then, there is Freida Pinto, who smiles prettily all through the film. She barely has around 15 to 20 minutes of screen time in the film, so I suppose its hard to judge someone in that short a period, but she doesn't seem like a girl who has been sexually molested, almost sold off into prostitution and grown up in the most deplorable of circumstances, i.e the slums. You don't feel anything when you watch her on screen, apart from the thought at the back of your head about how way out of Dev's league this girl is in real life. The best adult actor in the whole film is the boy who plays the lead character's older brother on screen, the actor who has gotten the least publicity and recognition out of the entire film.

I know I sound really critical of a film that I claim to have actually liked, but I did like it. I'm just being knit picky about things that bothered me. There is also this whole part where the first half of the film is in Hindi with English subtitles and the actors randomly start talking in English from somewhere in the middle of the movie which I found a bit weird. But I kind of understand why they needed to have most of the film in English for international audiences.

The film tries hard to reach to the hearts of audiences and show them a kind of poverty, lifestyle and imagery that is completely different from what they have imagined or experienced. Everyone hears about poor people living with bad sanitation, children being sold off into prostitution and these kind of things, but here you get to see it first hand and are actually able to relate with the main characters even though they are so different from yourself. They are just two people who come from nothing and still end up being happy despite their lowly circumstances. What could possibly be a more heart-warming chick-flicky plot?

I suspect that I'd have enjoyed the film much more if I was a stranger to the country, rather than someone who has experienced and seen things like poverty, religious clashes and slums in Bombay. The people in India understandably haven't warmed up to the film. I think this is because the film hits on a nerve by portraying an aspect of the country that we are clearly embarrassed about. Do you know how slum viewing has become the next big tourist attraction in Bombay? Guided trips through the slums for foreigners to get a first hand experience of how poor people live. I hate this, and yet this is what is getting the slums the attention they clearly need from international organizations, charities and from the Indian government.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Last Generation?

The other day I was talking to someone and he mentioned to me that we are one of the the last generation of people who remember growing up without the internet. Once I got over my initial flashes about the end of the world, I kind of started feeling nostalgic and old. The point is that this is kind of true, isn't it? I remember growing up without the internet, but just barely. I think we got internet in our house when I was in the 7th grade, which makes me around 12. I didn't even know what it was or what it did. I think I only started using it properly (and from properly I mean using it to send ridiculous chain forwards, to download MSN messenger to chat with friends that I met in school every day and to use Napster, where it took me about five hours to download a single song) when I became fourteen.

I'm so glad I didn't have a blog, facebook or something equivalent when I was fourteen because there is nothing more embarrassing in the world than thinking about yourself at that age. If that wasn't enough, looking at pictures and your 'meaningful' thoughts displayed all over the internet will probably be quite mortifying later on in life. My friend's little sister has a facebook page where she keeps going on and on about her love for Nirvana, AC-DC and The Jonas' Brothers. This poor girl is going to die of shame when she's older.

Right now, I don't even know what to say about my dependence on the internet. The only thing I can say is that it is quite deep to the extent that I'm not sure if I could even live with a dial-up connection. Remember how much time you have spent waiting for the dial-up modems to connect to the internet? It wasn't just waiting for your internet to connect, even going from one website to another used to take at least 5 to 10 minutes. Every thing is much easier now, I suppose. Although, if we didn't have the internet, I'd have a lot more free time to do the things I've always meant to do but never quite got around to doing. I'd also not know a whole load of things about the world and live in my blissful bubble of ignorance.

Come to think of it, there are so many things that we take for granted now that we didn't have less than a decade ago ago, like mobile phones, ipods, dvd players, wireless, broadband, etc. We have adapted to these things pretty quickly and now find it difficult to even think of surviving without them. It hard to imagine that less than 6 years ago, I used to have boxes full of home made mixed CDs that carried not more than 20 songs each. Mixed CDs felt like such a digital revolution, as did owning a portable CD player (a 'diskman' as we used to called it) at that time. Plus, my CD player didn't have a shock absorbing mechanism, so even when there was a small movement, it used to literally fall apart and stop. It wasn't very portable at all actually.

New things will keep on turning up as it has always been happening from the start of human civilization. There is a whole group of people who grew up without television, moving further back into time, there was a whole group of people who grew up without things that I can't even perceive being without. I've always been quite open to technological change. I don't like people who don't want to learn how things work. I don't understand how they can just life their lives without the desire to learn something new. It goes against fundamental human nature! If I see something new, I get pretty excited and want to mess with it until I know everything there is to know about it, regardless of whether its going to be useful to me or not.

Its like using predictive text while sending messages on your mobile. It is a ridiculously simple mechanism if you bother finding out how it works. Yet, most non-teenagers I know are unable to use it, and send messages typing every single letter of the alphabet. It is so easy if you only put in a couple of minutes of effort in understanding how it works, and even if you don't send text messges regularly it slashes your message typing time by half. Its okay to not know things, no one is born knowing everything, but its extremely silly to not want to know how things work.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Somebody told me

Someone on facebook had tagged me to do a meme called '25 random things about you'. I thought that it would be better to do it over here rather than on facebook because I'm not actually friends with even half the people on my facebook and meh, I'm not sure how I feel about having random, known people know about the irrelevant details of my life. So here it goes:
  1. I don't have too many friends because I'm not a very sociable person, but the ones that I have are awesome. I don't think I could do without them, and I really should put more of an effort to keep in touch with them.
  2. I'm a bit of a book snob, but I can't help it! I just judge you by the books you read, but I'm anything but a snob when it comes to films. Its just that watching something is a passive activity, so in my mind I am totally excused for sitting through bad films.
  3. I'm mildly addicted to reading celebrity gossip websites. I do feel totally trashy when I do this, there is a strange sort of fascination in watching rich people looking pretty and making a fool of themselves.
  4. I love television shows of all sorts, but more specifically, I love Korean and Japanese TV shows. Not many people know this and the people who do know this are either vaguely creeped out or think that I'm making it up.
  5. I'm not very fussy about food but there are some things that I am unable to eat: I cannot eat peas in any form (just thinking about peas is making me feel ill right now), boiled carrots and cauliflower. I like meat, but I don't like eating meat or fish that looks like its original animal form.
  6. I suspect that I might have done better growing up in the 70s.
  7. I'm not really sure if I can live without my ipod or laptop. I know this is a contradiction of the above point, but I'd like to think that I'd have happily made it through with a gramophone and a typewriter if I had grown up in the 70s.
  8. I'd like to think that I'm a good listener because people are always unburdening their troubles on me, and I don't mind hearing them out.
  9. I don't like talking about myself. I never talk to people about the things that are really important to me. Its not because I'm modest or because I have something to hide, I'm just insanely private about my life, which is another reason why this meme is not being done on facebook but on my blog.
  10. I am such a not-so-closeted-romantic. Its not like I believe in romance in real life as such, I just wholeheartedly enjoy it on television.
  11. I am very confrontational when I'm annoyed with someone. I blame this on my family! We like to make scenes and argue in loud voices.
  12. I'm an alone person. I need my space. I'm not sulking, I just like being alone.
  13. I hate people touching my hair, ruffling it or playing with it. Its just something that irritates me to no end.
  14. I've bullied one person in my entire life, and this was almost a decade ago. To be fair, the girl I was mean to was really terrible. Of course, that didn't give us the right to treat her like the way we did and I still get guilt pangs about this from time to time.
  15. I had a really happy childhood. I was the only child and got practically everything I wanted, except that I was never a very demanding kid. I was a little bratty and extremely stubborn, but never in a spoilt, obnoxious manner. Whatever my shortfalls are, they are my own. I cannot blame my upbringing for any of them.
  16. I love chocolate in all forms apart from ice-cream. I don't like chocolate ice-cream. I've always been more of a vanilla person.
  17. I have an irrational, insane hate for Nicholas Cage.
  18. I like being on time. I'm always 5 minutes early and people who are meeting me are always 10 minutes late. This is where having an ipod becomes a must!
  19. I don't like dogs. Dogs don't like me either.
  20. Reading fanfiction on the internet has been my dirty secret since I was 15.
  21. I secretly love frilly dresses. I have no idea why. I've never owned or worn anything with frills, but I love them because they bring out my inner Scarlett O'Hara.
  22. I am obsessive about this show. Go ahead, tease me, I don't really care!
  23. I hate ellipses...no one uses them in the way they are meant to be used...if you get what I mean...
  24. It is really easy to make me happy. You don't have to try too hard!
  25. When I was thirteen or fourteen I decided that I wanted to be a philosopher. I liked the idea of sitting around and thinking all day long, while having other people write about my wonderfully insightful thoughts about the meaning of life. Unfortunately, this isn't as simple to do these days as it was during Socrates' times.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Praha

I am suitably bored and unable to think of anything to write about so I'm doing the next best thing, putting up pictures! I had gone to Prague last year during Easter hols. The weather was terrible, it was full of tourists and Italians (because Italians really do deserve a separate category of their own) If you thought that Mozart was oversold in Salzburg, you must see how they treat poor Kafka in Prague! But regardless of all this, Prague has inevitable ended up becoming one of my favourite places in Europe. It is so beautiful in such a conventional European way, and looks like a picture postcard that my mediocre pictures don't do enough justice to.





PS: The last two pictures were taken from the camera on my phone, which explains their low resolution

PPS: We also passed through Liechtenstein on our way back. It is the most disappointing little country ever, but I've always wanted to have the satisfaction of telling people I've been to Liechtenstein, so there!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cartoon Heroes

I've always been addicted to cartoons. I used to watch Cartoon Network all the time. I know a lot of kids who find them inane (what is wrong with these children?). I also knew a lot of kids who weren't allowed to watch more than one show a day or had some sort of a television time limit. I'm really lucky that my parents didn't bother much about setting similar rules for me.

The only rule I actually remember having was bed time at 10 p.m. I used to like to read before bed, and never followed this arrangement, irritating my parents immensely. I remember crying so hard when my mum had threatened to lock up the book cupboard if I continued not following this rule. What kind of parents threaten their children with keys? They were evil, I tell you!

In any case, I kind of had a free reign over cartoons when I was young, which means I've watched everything there is to be watched, especially it was produced by Hanna Barbera. You name it, and I've probably seen it. It was a time where there was no Disney Channel, and all these creepy Disney child stars didn't exist. No, Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Camp Rock etc. It was all hand drawn old school animations. I really, really loved cartoons and there isn't any explicable reason for this because I find them silly when I watch them now.

There were these shows that everyone loved and I hated for absolutely no reason. Of course, it didn't stop me from watching them, but I remember them just irritating me immensely. I hated Popeye , Johnny Bravo, Pinky and the Brain, Dexter (I hated Dee Dee so insanely), Powerpuff Girls, Coyote and the Roadrunner, Johnny Quest. I also have insane amount of love for some other shows that other people didn't particularly care about like Captain Planet, Space Ghost, Josie and the Pussycats, The Fantastic Four, Top Cat, or The Jetsons, which is the most underrated show ever created. I love The Flintstones and everything, but The Jetsons is so much better and no one apart from me realizes this. There is even a special episode called The Flintstones Meet the Jetsons, which was aired every New Years' Eve and I've seen it at least five times. This channel had the most awesome shows ever, and I can't understand why kids would want to watch anything else.

It just annoys me to see my little cousins watching Disney channel all the time with its ridiculous shows. I knew I had reached the end of my patience with my 9 year old cousin when she started explaining her love for Zac Efron and the Jonas' Brothers to me. Its not normal for 9 year olds to have crushes on human beings. When I was 9, I wanted to marry Aladdin, which is a perfectly normal underage crush to have. I didn't actually want to marry Aladdin. I wanted to be Jasmine, so Aladdin could marry me. When I told this to my older teenage cousin, she looked at me aghast and told me, 'Do you realize that what she's wearing is not even a proper bra?' and I could never look at Jasmine the same again.

The only shows that I never had much of an opportunity to watch was animé because they didn't show animé in India when I was younger. I suppose this is a good thing because it looks really addictive and I get obsessive about things quite easily, but this does mean I have no idea what people are talking about when my friends have entertaining, meta discussions about Pokemon, Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Naruto etc.

I was just mentally going through the shows I used to watch as a kid and I have just realized that I watched a lot of television, which explains a lot really. This is also pretty weird because nobody in my house actually watches television. I still do watch a lot of television shows and have been forcing myself off them for the last couple of months because I have the tendency of getting obsessive about things and ignoring everything else that I have to do. I'm so glad Heroes has become crap because now I don't have to watch it any more, and that feels great. I'm just trying to stick to films but the awesomeness of The West Wing isn't really helping me keep this resolution.


NB: The title of the post is the name of an obscure song by Aqua. I must write a post about the joys of Europop one day. Its one of the most awesomely frightening music genre ever!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Because I Can



Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lost in Austen

It irritates me to see people of romanticizing Jane Austen. She is one of the most over rated writers I've read. That said every teenage girl I know has gone through a Jane Austen phase. Every teenage girl I know has also fancied Mr. Darcy at some point of her life. I, like millions of others succumbed to temptation and went through this phase when I was fifteen. As far as phases go, it was a good phase, filled with sentimental romances and cheesy endings. However much I love Jane, I just don't think she merits the attention people give her (Watch Becoming Jane and The Jane Austen Book Club to know what I'm talking about)

Persuasion is my favourite Austen; I unashamedly love it so much that thinking about it gives me warm, fuzzy thoughts enough to make any male within two meters of my presence to make gagging noises. Most people I know prefer Pride and Prejudice, I do love P&P (who doesn't ?), but most of the time I felt like smacking Elizabeth Bennet hard all through the novel. She thinks herself to be the paragon for virtue and righteousness, and just irritates me for some reason. Of course, this hasn't stopped me from watching the entire BBC series (and flailing over Colin Firth; if there is anything better than Colin Firth, its a wet Colin Firth) or the 2005 Kiera Knightely film.

Lost in Austen, is a 2008 British four part mini-series. What is it with U.K and mini-series? They're all so underrated and really good! You know how there are some book are just ruined when they are adapted for television/films? This is valid the other way round as well. If Lost in Austen was a book, it would have been a ridiculously bad one, however it surprisingly makes a humorous and an almost endearing television show that I, being the hopeless romantic that I am, really enjoyed.

Which girl hasn't dreamt of meeting Mr. Darcy in real life? Which girl hasn't dreamed of attending balls and wearing ballroom gowns? Lost in Austen brings every girl's fantasy come to life by transporting Amanda Price, an avid Jane Austen fan, from modern day Hammersmith, London into the Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and Lizzie Bennet from her world into our world through a mysterious portal in Amanda's bathroom. Amanda lands up in the Bennet household right at the time when Mr. Bingley first arrives in the neighbourhood (which is the start of the actual novel).

Poor Amanda tries her best to get everyone in this newly found universe to stick to canon (i.e. follow events according to how they went in the book), but she always ends up doing the wrong thing, which leads of events such as Mr. Bingley falling in love with Amanda instead of Jane, Jane marrying Mr. Collins, Charlotte Lucas going to Africa to be a missionary, herself falling in love with Mr. Darcy instead of managing to set him up with the absent Lizzie. She also realizes that the characters aren't as two-dimensional as Jane made them out to be in the book and have a minds of their own.

What I really liked about the show was that it didn't end up being a P&P adaptation with Amanda as another Elizabeth Bennet. There were pleasant twists and turns all the way through, and it was quite different from the actual book, which is something I didn't expect when I started watching it. I'm also glad that Amanda is not as annoying a character as I initially suspected of her of being. I cannot watch shows/films with irritating lead characters, its just something I am unable to do.

My favourite scene is when Darcy confesses his love for Amanda, instead of replying, asks him to go the lake fully clothed and says after looking at him, 'I'm having a bit of a strange post-modern moment over here.' and Mr. Darcy adorably asks, 'Is that agreeable?' and Amanda replies, 'Oh yes, very agreeable indeed' You can just see her mentally drooling. I'm not sure who the actor playing Mr. Darcy is, but he is really good looking when wet. I do have a thing for these wet types, don't I?

The best thing about this story is that Elizabeth Bennet is missing from the scene for almost the entire time, until the final episode. I don't know if anyone noticed, but she is played by the a very pretty, Gemma Arterton. P&P without Lizzie Bennet has always been my dream, so I suppose I enjoyed the show more than most people would have. For something that had a potential of being redundant and simply awful I thought Lost in Austen was quite well done. It doesn't try to be serious, and is a good if you want to stay in for the evening and watch something lighthearted and funny.