Sunday, 26 July 2009

My Job Sucks Because

A job only ever sucks because of people. I don't think you can genuinely hate a job enough because it's stupid or too glamourous or whatever lame reason anyone can think of, because there are always trade offs. You get a fun job, you get paid less. You get a high-paying job, you better slog it out to get there and/or stay there. Jobs generally even out in terms of pros and cons.

It might seem like I'm just pulling out another one of the things from my people-loathing repertoire, but I really think that if anything ever tips the balance about how bad a job can be, it's the people.

No one can make a job you're doing suck more than the people you have to work with to get your work done (I'm talking about bosses and colleagues, not customers here. Customers are part of the work, and as I will explain later, are to be bravely dealt with). And nothing can make you feel like your job is crappy as much as people around you can. We're all wired to count our blessings or we're all doomed to depression, so we're very well capable of deluding ourselves that our jobs are perfect. So what gives? People around telling you your job is shit or making your job shit, that's what.

So, as I was telling a colleague of mine, if you're quitting your job because of the people, or because of one boss who can't wipe his ass cleanly enough so you'll have to help him too, it's not a spoilt or prissy thing to do. To quit a job because of the work might very well be ungrounded, floaty and wussy because it means you can't take the work you've set out to do, and if the work didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, why wasn't a more informed decision made before you decided to do take it up? That's the gay part of quitting. But leaving because you can't put up with stupid people - now that's more like it.

Oh, you hate your job? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.
- Drew Carey

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Responsibility Of The Stranger/Not-So-Close Friend/Acquaintance

For anyone out there who is, at any time, a stranger, an acquaintance, or a friend who's just not-so-close, which is basically everybody, you have a responsibility. That responsibility is to not give sympathy-seekers any form of sympathy whatsoever.

I must admit that I, in part, do not like to give sympathy for various reasons, the biggest of which is that I feel most insincere doing so. Half the people out there do not deserve sympathy anyway, so why should I give it? The only time someone is deserving of sympathy is when it is not asked for. This rules out providing sympathy to anyone who is a sympathy-seeker.

Giving sympathy to those who want it will only make them desire it more, and especially so from you if you're someone they could get easy sympathy from. People who indulge in seeking sympathy do not seek to change themselves for the better, and in receiving sympathy will only strive to hunt it with an even more ravenous appetite in future. This will simply result in a world that is full of whiners who do not believe in progress and self-improvement to make things better.

Thus, the onus is on you, especially if you're not a girlfriend, boyfriend, next of kin or very close friend (to avoid any unnecessary trouble because of emotional complexities), to not give sympathy where it isn't due. By not giving these people sympathy, you force them to face their own problems and deal with them. If everyone could create the impression that there's no free emotional lunch to ride on, then there wouldn't be the expectation that wallowing in self-pity is a valid way out.

To falter on this responsibility is to endorse the idea that being stagnant is an acceptable place to be. To falter is to allow yourself to think that humans are permissibly pathetic.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Choose Thy Poison

I was having a lull period during my soccer tournament which resulted in an interesting discussion with my teammates about Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen, and at one point the discussion turned towards the two female characters of the show - good ol' Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) and Decepticon Pretender Alice (Isabel Lucas).

I dunno about you, the reader of this post, but I've always had the assumption that Fox would win hands down hotter compared to Lucas. But I had my doubts today after a sizeable number of my teammates revealed that Lucas was just as hot too, if not hotter.

All Fox fans will go WTF at this point. But that does not discount the fact that they genuinely thought Lucas is a contender to Fox. Sure, she's hot in some way. But surely she can't hold a candle to Fox, right?

After deeper probing, the reason essentially seems to be this. My teammates are generally apathetic personality-type guys, who can't stand the fuss of putting up with women. To such guys, the appeal of Lucas' Alice character is in the fact that she's 'easy'. Fox, with Mikaela on the other hand, posed a much bigger challenge to confront should one consider her as a potential mate. Guys who wouldn't want to have to deal with self-respecting smarter girls would find Alice very attractive.

If this is indeed true, then there might be the possible generalization that such guys will have an inclination towards blondes, as blondes are often subconsciously associated with being 'easy'. Guys who, in real life, prefer girls who have more fight in them would go with Fox.

Here's a little trivia though. The 2-second scene of Alice transforming into a robot took 3 months to complete, and here's why.


The last line for those who find the text too small:
'Well, you better comebackwith a godamn sandwich.'

I'm not a big fan of misogyny but this is the best response compared to the miserably unfunny, downright unwitty comebacks the other two ladies are suggesting.

[Update - 210709]

The picture shows 2 thumbs down for the misogynist and 3 thumbs up for lousy comebacker.

If you do a quick search on Yahoo! Answers for this question, you will find that the best answer comes from misogynist, with 70% of votes garnered in favour.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

What, You Think She's Actually Hot?

Ever thought a colleague or some remote person you've seen around in the office, whom you'd usually rate as a sub-par potential romantic candidate in normal circumstances, was 'interesting'? That's just another way of saying that the person is actually attractive enough to you.

I think it could be an argument, and evidence if proven, in favour of biological processes at work when we think of the science of love. It is hard to think of any other reason why you'd consider a 6/10 person at work fascinating when you could easily find more attractive people on the train.

The reason why we end up making such irrational considerations, especially those who are not already attached, is that we are always seeking for potential mates. Because being in the office poses numerous issues, such as the lack of other potentials as well as the close proximity leading to possibly increased contact with that person, our innate need to seek a mate alters our psychology to convince ourselves that these other office people are potential material even though we typically would not think of them as so.

Because we can have a higher chance of getting to know a colleague or remote office person better compared to the good-looker on the train, a switch gets flicked in the head, inducing us to gain interest and perhaps encourage us to make a move. This could all just be biologically tailored to increase one's chances of getting a mate.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Men and women weren't made to understand each other. Only this way will they ever remain interested.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

See, The Months They Don't Matter

it's the days I can't take
when the hours move to minutes

and I'm seconds away


Is the world really a sad place? Are we as humans flawed, sorry beings? I personally don't think so, because I believe human nature isn't a choice, and insofar as the extinction of a species isn't brought about by a conscious choice to self destruct, I wouldn't think of us as any less.

Let's say I know everything about the design of a lab rat - from its psychology to its personality down to its programmed instincts and behaviours. If I were to get a population of lab rats and place them in a setting that has been specially tweaked to ensure that they are all doomed to die, I wouldn't blame them for their demise. Even if I placed them in a random, unbiased situation and their rodent nature causes them to implode as a species just because the conditions so happen to be arranged in a manner that causes them to behave in a way that is detrimental to them, I wouldn't fault them for it. I would only feel that the lab rats are messed up and sorry only if they went against their basic instincts to kill themselves. That leaves them no excuse anymore. Death as a choice and not by chance is unpardonable.

I won't even go so far as to declare whether anyone deserves anything, because in the bigger scheme of things we are entitled to nothing. The lab rats didn't deserve to die even if they finished themselves off in a stupid manner against their will, and neither do they when they 'just so happen' to be designed for doom in a damned setting.

One human's individuality has little bearing on the world at any one moment. Without the movement of a revolution, one or a few men cannot do anything. Human nature only rears its seemingly ugly head when the masses display what they are capable of, or 'what people really are'. Judging that human nature is inherently evil is like saying that ageing is a sin. To judge what we do that ultimately destroys us as wrong is a flawed way of declaring that we are 'just screwed up anyway' in typically glamorous, self-handicapping manner.

Audio Candy:
Papa Roach - Lifeline

Monday, 13 July 2009

Because I Am Boliao

If I were to trace back my intellectual development and chronicle it into a timeline, it would look something like this.

pre-secondary school:
chaos theory

secondary school:
aliens/conspiracy theories
religion I

junior college:

religion II


Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.
- Nikola Tesla

Audio Candy:
Cavo - Let It Go

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Brimful Of Asha

eka sadi asha jena sadi sooka bella nah dinner bonothia ha kimmir kar ke!

There's dancing
Behind movie scenes
Behind the movie scenes
Sadi Rani
She's the one that keeps the dream alive
from the morning
past the evening
to the end of the light

Brimful of Asha on the 45
Well it's a brimful of Asha on the 45
Brimful of Asha on the 45
Well it's a brimful of Asha on the 45

And dancing
Behind movie scenes
Behind those movie screens
Asha Bhosle
She's the one that keeps the dream alive
from the morning
past the evening
to the end of the light

Brimful of Asha on the 45
Well it's a brimful of Asha on the 45
Brimful of Asha on the 45
Well it's a brimful of Asha on the 45

And singing
illuminate the main streets
And the cinema aisles
We don't care bout no
Gov'ment warnings,
'bout their promotion of the simple life
And the dams they're building

Brimful of Asha on the 45
Well it's a brimful of Asha on the 45
Brimful of Asha on the 45
Well it's a brimful of Asha on the 45

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom
Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom
Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom
Mine's on the 45

Mohamed Rafi -45
Lata Mangeshkar -45
Solid state radio -45
Ferguson mono -45
Banc Public -45
Jacques Dutronc and the Bolan Boogie, the Heavy
Hitters and the Chichi music
All India Radio-45
Two in ones -45
Argo Records -45
Trojan Records -45

Brimful of Asha on the 45
Well it's a brimful of asha on the 45
Brimful of Asha on the 45
Well it's a brimful of asha on the 45

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom
Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom
Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom
Mine's on the 45

seven seven thousand piece
Orchestra set
Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Mine's on the RPM!!

Brimful of Asha on the 45
Well it's a brimful of asha on the 45
Brimful of Asha on the 45
Well it's a brimful of asha on the 45

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom
Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom
Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom
Mine's on the 45

Here's a fantastic explanation of the little known Cornershop song by Splitpeasoup from Kuro5hin (written in 2003):

Cornershop is an East-West fusion pop-rock group. The East part comes from Tjinder Singh, who grew up in England but is of Punjabi origin. Tjinder strongly identifies with his Indian heritage; the group's name itself derives from a play on the stereotype of the Indian/Pakistani street-corner grocery store clerk.

"Brimful of Asha" came out in 1997. With its catchy refrain it became a hit on US radio, as well as in Cornershop's native UK.

To understand the song, one must understand the Indian movie industry. Ever since cinema was introduced to India, most commercial movies have been heavy, sweet, musical productions. The song-and-dance interludes are not incidentals, but staples, and often are what make or break a movie. An American friend of mine was under the impression that singing was a necessary skill for Indian actors and actresses! Actually, the singing is almost always done by background singers. The background singers, of course, are not required to possess charisma or looks, and in fact in early times, care was taken to not expose them in the media, to preserve the romantic association with their voices in the minds of the moviegoing public.

Why is all this so important? Right from the beginning, movies took over the hearts and lives of common Indians in a manner that nothing has done before or since. The happiness, the tragedy, the passionate and tender love, and the conflict are all designed to speak to the melodrama-loving Indian heart. As Hindi grew more popular, Hindi movies took over the whole country. The heart of the Hindi film industry in Bombay, whimsically nicknamed Bollywood, eventually became a force larger than the one it was named after. The songs are no exception, and over the last sixty years or so filmi music, as it is called, has become by far the most popular kind in India.
Two female background singers perhaps distinguish themselves from the rest in sheer prolificness and popularity: Asha Bhonsle and Lata Mangeshkar. The two, as it happens, are sisters, and recently there has been much focus on their professional and sibling rivalry. At any rate, their singing formed the emotional soundtrack of India, as it were, for many years.

That, in essence, is what "Brimful of Asha" is all about.

Here are the lyrics, with notes:

There's dancing behind movie scenes,
Behind those movie screens - saddi rani.

Saddi rani - "our queen", in Punjabi.

She's the one that keeps the dream alive,
From the morning, past the evening, till the end of the light.

Brimful of Asha on the forty-five.
Well, it's a brimful of Asha on the forty-five. (x2)

'Asha' is a pun. It refers to Asha Bhonsle, but the word also means "hope". What does "hope" signify in this context? The movies and songs are in many ways a fantasy of something better than people's own lives. For instance, Indian youth whose overbearing parents would never permit them to marry those they fall in love with may yet indulge themselves in the romances they see onscreen and hear about in these ballads. The "45", for you of the CD player generation, is the 45 revolutions-per-minute record player.

Incidentally, the word 'Asha' is normally pronounced with both 'a's long, as in 'father'. Tjinder, with his British accent, pronounces it like "Asher", touchingly making the song both more and less genuine at the same time. As a result the refrain often gets misheard, sometimes in quite hilarious ways. "Grim poodle basher" is my personal favorite.

And singing
Illuminate the main streets and the cinema aisles.
We don't care about no government warning,
About the promotion of the simple life and the dams they are building.

What is he talking about? The movies and songs are an escape: they are what allow people to forget important concerns, at least for a while. The reference to dams might need a bit of explanation. In India, these often are unnecessarily huge and costly projects that are designed that way with the aim of being points of prestige, and besides, for lining the pockets of politicians and contractors. They displace thousands of people and impact the environment in massive ways. The project currently approved on the Narmada is one present-day example. So these are issues that people should be worried about.

But this escapism is not presented as being bad. The spirit of the song is that movie fantasy is a lovely and comfortable thing.

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow, everybody needs a bosom, (x3)

Isn't that a beautiful line? But the last one's even better:

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow, mine's on the forty-five.

To me, at least, that's poetry.

Mohammed Rafi - forty-five. Lata Mangeshkar - forty-five.
Solid state radio - forty-five. Ferguson Mono - forty-five.
Banc Public - forty-five.
Jacques Dutronc and the Bolan Boogies ...
The Heavy Hitters and the chi-chi music ...
All Indian radio - forty-five. Two in ones - forty-five.
Argo records - forty-five. Trojan records - forty-five.

These are historic icons of filmi and pop music. Rafi and Mangeshkar are other background singers. Solid state radio is self-explanatory. All-India Radio is the one, public radio station that existed all the decades before privatized radio stations and FM came to India. Two-in-ones are radio-cum-casette players. I confess the other references are strange to me.

7-7,000 piece orchestra set,

Huge orchestras are intrinsic to filmi music. Of course 7000 is a little hyperbolic.

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow; mine's on the RPM...

Why do I find this song so remarkable? Most people, when talking of Indian culture, tend to make statements which fall in two categories. The first consists of glorifications of classical Indian culture, philosophy, tradition, and so forth. The second consists of lamentations about the corruption, poverty, dirt, and how the whole country is going to the dogs.

It is relatively unusual for someone to touch on the spirit of the ornery hard-bitten yet cheerful street-corner Indian, the one who always has to worry about the expenses for next month but yet decides on an impulse to splurge on hot samosas. Cornershop manages to celebrate and showcase this joie de vivre, and to do so with skill and sensitivity, and for this, they deserve to be congratulated.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Clenching; Stretching For The Recoil

On edge. That's what I am. That's where I am. This is almost the brink, I think. A people oppressed will revolt. Look at Iran. When driven to the smallest of corners, even the tiniest rat will counter-attack, teeth snarling. That's because there's nothing to lose anymore; in sight of a better alternative out there, with the knowledge that there simply can't possibly be anything left to forgo. Give anymore, and the soul gets eroded away. A change beckons, and either you let yourself wither in the doldrums of surrender or snatch at any perceived inch of hope of a revolution.

I wonder how long more I can wait, or how much more I can take, before the snap happens. My arteries of patience are being sapped dry.

Thursday, 2 July 2009


The measure of a man's class is in his control. The criteria for this is fundamentally either-or; strictly whether you have it or you don't. Because there's no such thing as being a controlled person but choosing not to control oneself. If one has the capacity for control and restraint, one will practice it. Why would anyone with that capacity want to settle for less anyway?

There's no substitute or compromise for this criteria. Only the most controlled can be considered of class. It's like asking, what is the moral status of a person who is generally virtuous? Can we call a man who is somewhat dignified a man of dignity?

That's why there's a difference between having class and being classy. One could dress up to the nines and still be an uncultured mess. Class oozes so long as it exists. One could wear anything and have the knowing confidence of not being consumed by the emotional, unthinking mire of the masses who garner their identity and esteem from the social groups they are begging to associate themselves with out of fear of being left on the sidewalk. Class holds its own and gathers strength from self-identity and self-esteem. Class demands poise, confidence and consistency in practice. Class is a product of social intellect, from only which reasoned control and restraint can arise.

You can pay for school but you can't buy class.
- Jay-Z

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they're going to be when you kill them.

- William Clayton