Monday, December 31, 2012

HELLO 2013!



New beginnings.

A couple of resolutions to start things off: the first one -- i.e., the 0th Resolution -- is that I will post a fresh resolution every day for the first month of this year.

So here's the first:

01: I will update this blog every day of January 2013. After which ... well ... I'll see how it goes. The update might take any form -- a picture, a shared idea, a haiku -- whatever. But there'll be a fresh post every day for 31 days.

Amongst the things I'd like to post about is the movies I've been seeing. I have a NetFlix streaming account (augmented now and then by a one-DVD-at-a-time account too). Since I don't have a TV -- or else I would be a total video-zombie -- I feel it's acceptable for me to indulge my current primary addiction, i.e., movies. So I plan to write brief (sometimes not-so-brief) summaries and reactions to the entire list of those I saw in 2012. Once I've caught myself up, I'll keep going with the ones I hope to see this year, as I go along.

This is, in part, to avoid writing about Me, Myself & I and/or Family and Friends. I'm sure no-one wants to feel they're going to be blog-fodder whenever they say or do something funny/clever/ghastly in my presence.

I don't want to blog about current events either, except very occasionally.

There's so much comment out on the web these days. In the end, all that registers are the shrieks, the blasts, the maniacal laughter fading into the distance.

Whereas what interests me are slight things -- the smart pop of a well-placed full-stop, the soft sigh of an ellipsis -- I like slightness -- the passing second, the current breath, the leaf that falls unseen, without being memorialized on YouTube or made into a post-card. All the unremembered non-events that fill the mattress of my days, making it comfortable to lie on.

***

The last couple of months have been especially hectic. I got back to Newport in late October (the 21st is when I left India, according to my passport. It's amazing how easily I forget the dates of my journeys. At once.) with the plan of staying still for two months. But almost immediately, there was the momentous election, then Thanksgiving, then my sister Su travelled to India for a week, which meant that I stayed at her pretty new home in Randolph, MA (suburb of Boston) for the duration. Briefly, I had the idea that I wouldn't leave for India till the end of January. Then I changed my mind and chose to be in Delhi for the New Year, staying most likely for six weeks.

So ... here I am.

Arrived early on the 31st. The flight -- KLM: Boston-Amsterdam then Amsterdam-Delhi -- was practically enjoyable. A very rare event these days. I believe this is ENTIRELY because my seat allocation for the final leg of the trip was the best there is in Economy, i.e., the window seat in the exit row of a 747-300. Plus I managed to see three movies that I've been wanting to see, yet not enough to be willing to pay for them, either on screen or on DVD.

Three animation films: Tim Burton's FRANKENWEENIE, PARANORMAN and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA. I would rank them FRANKEN, TRANS and PARA but the best animation was unquestionably Burton's since it was stop-motion as well as stylishly black-n-white. I mean ... can you imagine the nerve of doing stop-motion animation film in B/W?? Breathtaking. The story is cool too: Boy Loves Dog; Dog Dies; Boy Re-Animates Dog, Creating FrankenPet. Mayhem Ensues -- all the kids in town want to re-animate THEIR pets too.

Funny-weird and also just funny, but with a big helping of clever on the side. When the re-animated Sparky touches noses with his poodle dog-friend next-door, she (the poodle) is zzzzzzapped with electricity, transforming her bouffant of curls into the classic Bride of Frankenstein hairdo, with its streak of white on the side. Neato.

TRANS is about Count Dracula creating a monsters-only hotel so that monsters can vacation in peace without being pursued by cruel, pitch-fork-and-stake-and-fire wielding humans forever trying to kill them. Plot twist? He has a teenage daughter, Mavis who falls in love with a young human who accidentally enters the hotel in the midst of her 118th birthday celebrations. Adam Sandler is the voice of Dracula and he does a great job. All the creatures and monsters featured are funny/clever/manic too and though the plot is a bit clunky there are lots of good moments.

PARA is a slighter story all round -- Norman sees dead people and talks to them, causing his friends and family to treat him like a freak/nerd/geek. However, the town was cursed by a witch 300 years earlier and when the film begins, the curse is about to take effect once more. Norman has to save the town. He does so (oh come on! You knew he would). End of story, but the secondary characters were well-realized, especially the overweight fellow-geek kid and the school bully and all nine of the city's ancestor-ghouls, the councilmen who had originally condemned a young girl to be burned as a witch.

All three movies revolve around the theme of Being Different -- that's right, my favourite theme -- so it's not surprising that (a) I wanted to see the movies (b) I liked them.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

LOCKED OUT! Of my MacBookPro

One of the (many) negative ways in which movies condition us is to assume that all events, good or bad, will be heralded by some kind of audio cue. As a result, when one of us -- okay, let's just be brazen and say "I" -- when I sat down last week at my computer and began what I thought was going to be a simple exercise in changing the User on my machine, there was no Jaws-style jing-jang-jing-jang to warn me of impending DOOOOOOM ...

So yes. I got locked out of my computer. I thought I was changing the User, but instead it turned out I was stepping off the gangplank of my familiar Universe and straight into the Ocean of Otherness that awaits those who mess around with their log-in codes in an ignorant and witless manner.

One of the downsides -- perhaps the only one? -- of owning a Mac is that it confers upon the User a confidence in its perfection such that we forget the Blue Screen Of Death and other nightmares associated with the Other System. It has a welcome screen into which the User enters her name and password. Misspelling either of these results in the little onscreen rectangle giving itself a three-second brrrrrr, a tiny death-rattle jiggle to inform you that you've messed up.

Having created a new log-in name, I logged out of my familiar ID and then ... you know what's going to happen, right? ... I tried to log back in, the welcome screen went into its death-rattle mode and NEVER CAME OUT OF IT.

This is where it would have helped to have the scary music. Lacking it, I just sat there, very calm, very composed and told myself it was nothing. Just a CAPS LOCK issue. Just a misspelt log-in name. Just a misspelt password issue. But after running through the usual series of maneuvers, turning off, turning on, turning of and on, making coffee, turning on and off and on and off, I realized eventually that this time I was really and truly locked out. Six years worth of saved work, dozens of half-written stories, plus one very-close-to-being-finished book had all, potentially, vanished into oblivion.

I am a very calm person. Let me explain why this is not really a good thing. It means not merely that I don't get frantic and hysterical when things go wrong but that I dislike feeling upset to such a degree that I simply refuse to react at all, regardless of what's happening. The worse the situation, the less panicked I get. With the result that, during (say) an all-out Martian attack, instead of leaping up to fly suicide missions deep into the heart of the mothership, I would become dreamy with detachment, completely unable to respond to the threat. 'Who needs the Earth?' I would say. 'We're headed towards eco-disaster anyway.'

This is pretty much what happened last week. While being too becalmed to tie my own shoe-laces, I and my house partner E went on-line, found web-forums at which dozens of users moaned about this exact same (or anyway, very similar-sounding) situation. We read up the instructions and spent much of the day following the moves described by various web pundits. The result was: death-rattle, death-rattle, death-rattle.

By evening, I was looking up the price of a new machine. 'I'll get a MacBook Air,' I told myself. 'That will cure me of any residual sorrows related to losing access to pretty much three-quarters of my conscious mind.'

I'm not going to describe the entire two-day ordeal of getting back in -- YES, that happened --  because it's boring to read the thoughts of someone who can no longer think. The main purpose behind writing this account is to heap praises upon the Apple Care tech team in Bangalore (the City Now Known As Bengaluru). E called them on the morning of the second day and spent about ten hours, working through three different people and dozens of interrupted phone calls (the cellphone service broke down in mid-instruction) before magically returning my computer to its own true desktop, sans death-rattle. Everything was back to normal, as if the entire experience had been a simple nightmare after all.

Two people in particular, Catherine (don't know if this is the correct spelling) and Deepak Kumar Singh talked E through the process of interrupting the MacBook's start-up in order to locate the "black screen" where the codes reside. Once there, E had to pick his way carefully through the neat rows of letters and numbers, lines, colons, slashes, commas, full-stops and all the other paraphernalia that is the supporting superstructure to this virtual world that so many of us take for granted and changed the System Log-in password. All over the phone, via verbal instructions.

Basically, there were two options: to get behind the barriers set up on the machine, download the user-content to an external disk, then erase the memory and start afresh OR to change the password. This second option was of course far superior but involved following instructions for inputing data very precisely. E was a superhero and did that, but Deepak Singh was even more of a superhero, for being able to do the whole thing remotely, without access to our screen.

The moral of this story is: Call Apple Care in Bangalore. They really know their stuff.

And also: whenever possible, run out and buy a MacBook Air.





Thursday, October 11, 2012

ENGLISH VINGLISH, directed by Gauri Shinde


For perhaps the first time EVER, I have seen a Hindi commercial film that I enjoyed. It stars Sridevi as Mrs Shashi Godbole, an "ordinary" housewife living in Pune, who goes to New York to help her sister plan the sister's daughter's wedding. The catch? Shashi speaks Hindi and is extremely uncomfortable/awkward when attempting to speak in English. Nevertheless, her husband Satish, played by Adil Hussain (a stage actor, I'm told) insists that she travel alone to the US, three weeks in advance of himself and their two young children, Sagar and Sapna. Once in NYC, she finds her way to an English speed-learning class and painstakingly builds a new voice for herself.

I admit to being biased against commercial Hindi cinema. For me to like a soppy family-values film like this one was like a carnivore eating raw zucchinis with a happy smile on its face. Even now, several days later, I continue to think about my enjoyment of the film with surprise. Mind you: I would not watch it again. It's a one-viewing movie with a uni-dimensional pay-off. The single most riveting feature of the film was its star and also, in some ways, its greatest flaw. Sridevi's presence was dazzling, but I mean this in the way of a deer caught in the headlights of a hunter's jeep on a moonless night. I couldn't look away from her for even a second. 

While most of the supporting cast were flesh-and-blood characters, Sri-D was like the CGI element in a live-action film. Her waxy-fair skin, unmoving eyebrows, Bambi eyes and gorgeous saris were all so blemish-free as to be completely unreal. But she lent a quality of absolute conviction to her role. I would for instance be shocked to discover that the actress wasn't herself someone who believed 1000% in the values that her character upholds in the film, i.e., that of considering her family and "Indian Culture" as the gods of her heart's religion. She came through as the ideal of Indian Womanhood that all our mothers would like their daughters to uphold, even though we all know it's unattainable.

The mystery for me was that she managed to hold my attention nevertheless. I didn't want to like her, but I DID. Was it because of the golden laddoos that she made and sold as a successful home-enterprise and the fact that she had a passion that really did go beyond family? The hurt feelings she wasn't afraid to show when her husband described her as "… born to make laddoos!"? The reality of India's cruel Hindi-English divide even within that impregnable fortress, the Indian Family, where Shashi's ten year old daughter feels free to express absolute contempt for her mother? The brave struggle she (Shashi) puts up when bullied by the cashier at a New York cafĂ© to make those ghastly choices about latte/cappuccino/small/medium/whatever/whatever when any sentient being can see that a simple human connection would solve the log-jam?

Well, it was all these things and more. It was a good script and a thoughtful idea. The familiar struggles of a new arrival to the US are rendered in a sympathetic and recognizable manner but the local residents are not flattened into caricatures either. They, as well as all the other secondary characters, behave fairly naturally and with conviction. 

The "Indian Culture" in this film is what we see in Indian TV commercials -- smoothly self-confident in its assertions about one-ness, authenticity and modernity. It presents a curious pan-Indian ethos, with a Punjabi-style wedding and the Maharashtrian Godboles speaking the same kind of Hindi as the idli-loving Ramamurthy of the language class. There's a moment when the French chef and love-interest (wholly vegan, not-even-a-cheek-kiss) Laurent from the language class tells Shashi that Italy and France are distinct and separate interpretations of "European" culture. The fact that we're watching a film that makes exactly the same kind of mash-up regarding "Indian" culture suggests to me that the decision to do so was conscious. Ramamurthy is given a mumble-line about (this is not an exact quote) "… we're all Indians after all, so of course we must speak Hindi" is another clue.

So yes, this is not the same India in which khap panchayats behead young lovers, where ever more girl-children are destroyed at birth each decade, where farmers commit suicide unnoticed and unmourned by the Government. It's that Other Country where joyous citizens cavort together under a soaring tricolor, their skins bleached white, their underarms pristine, their vaginas tight-as-virgins*, their kitchens Italian and their cars German but … oh, all right! It's a commercial film. Its aims are uncomplicated and the reason it succeeds is that the editing is crisp, the script is tight and the supporting characters are clearly realized.

I especially liked the Adil Hussain character because he seemed so comfortable in his skin as the insensitive-yet-loving-husband. It certainly helped that he was satisfyingly DARK -- I am so utterly sick of the universally milk-white complexions of TV-Indians that just to see someone who looked as if he had not spent his entire life in pursuit of albinism was a relief. I was impressed by the extreme scorn Sapna displays towards her mother, utterly blind to her parent's goddess-like beauty and other accomplishments. Even the little boy Sagar, a made-for-Amul-ads awwwww-generator, performed with flawless precision. The entire audience at Bombay's venerable Regal Cinema swooned at his every lisped syllable. 

And speaking of Regal: it was totally thrilling to actually go up to a regular booking-window and just buy a ticket. You know? Just like that. From a non-cyborg human who smiled when I looked surprised at how easy it all was. I felt I had time-traveled to college days and desperate moments at the Advance Booking counter, hoping against hope that the late-night show would not be sold out. And at the time of the show, the crowd that jammed the pavement was like commuters flooding out of Churchgate at rush-hour -- a calm-faced, slogan-free riot of perfumed and well-coifed Bombay-wallahs storming their way into upper stalls. Amazing. 


*If you don't believe me, go to this link.

CAST LIST:
English Vinglish, directed by Gauri Shinde

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

God Awful Poetry Fortnight ...


Below is my entry to Peter Griffin's Godawful Poetry Fortnight (go to the link above for more information)

There's something odd about this item, aside from being a stunning example of atrocious "poetry". If anyone succeeds in guessing what it is, I'll send them a set of my Women of the World cards. (HINT: it has nothing to do with words/content)

A CONVERSATION IN IDLENESS

A stream of iridescent soap bubbles
Spewing forth from a beer-mug
In a reflected technicolor phantasm
Of reflected light
From the brilliant solar nova
Exploding second by second
Over a writhing reeling splurge
Of corrupt homo sapiens.

Silverfish scintillating feebly,
In cool green waters
Splitting atoms with infinite precision.

A frothing cauldron of boisterous joeys.

A goblet of cynic mouth-wash
A crystalline crucible of death

Filaments of steel floating in a coalfield
Finding no night in shining armour

Flakes of purple snow
Filtering through the leaves of banana trees
Making the bananas freeze simultaneously
into fossilized fruit

A crescendo of dancing cockroaches
Pirouetting in glorious sympathy
to swelling tones

A vale of tears in a a valley of sunshine
Dripping with solid jelly
and crumbs of sandalwood cake.

Frosted heat standing rigidly at attention
Attending the melancholy mustard 
Of daily drudgery.

Galaxies of silk worms
Spinning with patient endurance
Reams of time-patterned silk
Clothing ethereal naiads
Worshipped by patent nymphomaniacs,
gasping at ecstatic visions
of pure grotesquities.

Queer musk-rats
Gnawing at decomposed humus
Rotting in the farmer's field.

Frustrating globules of fat
Glinting under a sunlamp
Enriched by infra-red rays
Discharging ultra-violet
And sodium bi-carbonate.

Mausoleums of tomes
Mouldering in vast encampments
Of all-conquering book-worms.

Floating in a bowl of incandescent whipped-cream
Eating a pink banana sitting on a blue strawberry
Looking at the bears fly by
At the velocity of light.

Star gazing on a cloudy night
Daydreaming in the wilderness
Lotus-eating on a wet pancake

Meatballs drenched in spaghetti sauce
Steeped in Marmalade

Castles of excelsior
Floating in the golden sunset
Of yet another day in the life.

-- by Manjula Padmanabhan

Monday, June 11, 2012

BEING 59







So: Some time this month (but NOT today), I will turn 59. Not 60, not 58, but FIFTY-NINE. The reason I'm drawing attention to the number is that I've been noticing a kind of ... maybe ... something of a ... possible ... TREND. It began a year ago, when a friend wished me for my 60th (with the best of intentions) and then apologized when I said that number was still 2 years away.


I didn't -- and don't -- mind! But many people are hung up about their age. Many women, in particular, treat the subject of their age as if it were their most precious crystal-ware, something that must not even be breathed upon and certainly must not to be mentioned in polite company. 


I really do not understand any of that. *shrug* Whatever. 


This year, someone else assumed that I would be entering the Six-Oh decade this month. So I corrected her. My birth year is 1953: hence there's one more year (and a few days) before I get there. I don't mind the mistake, but (like the spelling of my name) I think it's worth correcting. 


It got me to thinking about this number, this year, my 59th. Here's part of what I wrote to the one who wished me this week, about my response to each passing decade:


I remember the huge chasm that divided 9 from 10 -- the supreme excitement I felt upon reaching DOUBLE DIGITS!!!!


Then 19 to 20 was BIG too. No longer a teen. Childhood a distant dream (or nightmare). On the doorstep of majority.


29 to 30 was absolutely IMMENSE for me, for all kinds of reasons.


39 to 40 was an excellent transition. I had loved my 30s and loved my 40s even more.


After that, needless to say, passing the half-century mark was ... astounding. Humbling. Life-changing (haha). 


But now ... 59? I can't recall anyone making a big deal about arriving at 59. Of course all those earlier dates were from the "9"s to the "10"s but -- if you see what I mean -- the ten was so massive that the nine before it acquired a certain glittery thrill. 

59? Most people, I suspect, are going to treat it as "... oh, you're NOT 60 yet?" I mean, already, the friendly person at the Bonanza Bus ticket counter (in Newport, RI) has asked me, "Senior rates, right?" I smile sweetly and say, "Uhh ... not yet."

With all of this vaguely negative weight bearing down on the number 59, I thought it may be time to show it a little love.

To acknowledge that I'm grateful to have lasted so long. In reasonable good health and nearly always good humour. With a fair number of good friends and an astonishingly large crowd of Family. Still growing too -- I have two niecelets now, one seven and the other just turned one. 

Plus, I like both the numbers that make up 59, FIVE as well as NINE. I have a fondness for primes and a special fondness for 5 because it's so friendly, so reliable -- like a precisely ticking clock -- its multiplication table so gentle on the nerves that it takes no effort at all to know it.

As for 9! Whoa. It's got quasi-magical qualities, for which reason it is so often at the heart of number-puzzles. Its multiplication table isn't quite as obvious as 5's but it's still very cool. For instance the digits add up to 9 -- you know: 18 (1+8 = 9); 27 (2+7=9) etc. There's a lot of stuff like that connected with nine. 

And the other thing I like about 59 is the sense of being on the brink of the abyss ... SIXTY! Woof!

I mean, 60 is such a huge, old, old age ... I mean, really and truly SIXTY? Wow.

Part of my continual excitement about my birthday, every year, is that I never expected to live very long. I honestly didn't think I'd make it past 30. Yet here I am, close to being one year away from DOUBLE THIRTY.

Not quite there yet, but one year away. One measly year.

(and I may not make it. Who knows? There are no guarantees. Except the fact that there are no guarantees).

Wow. 

59.

Wow.




Friday, May 11, 2012

PETER PYTHON MET A BEATLE ...

This is a clip which features JOHN CLEESE, RINGO STARR & PETER SELLERS together in a scene. No idea where it's from* but it seemed immoral NOT to post it here. I mean ... YOW! Three strands of delight all in one frame!

So it inspired an instant bit of nonsense:

Peter Python met a Beatle
Going to the fair.
Said the Python to the Beatle
'Shall I meet you there?'

Quoth the Beatle to the Python
'Always, anywhere!'
So they danced and laugh'd and sang
Of candy floss and hair.

*Okay got it: THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN

Monday, May 07, 2012

To (M)EAT OR NOT TO (M)EAT

This is the winning entry in an essay competition that appeared in the NYTimes magazine, about the ethics of eating meat. It's quite enlightening to go to The Ethicist section in the magazine and read an overview of the contest entries, judging process etc. But this essay is written in what I consider an enviably balanced and reasonable tone.


Here's the link: THE ETHICS OF EATING MEAT

I was interested to notice a point made by The Ethicist, Ariel Kaminer, in her essay introducing the results of the competition. She makes the point that meat-eating is connected to wealth and offers as proof that much more meat is consumed in wealthy nations. She adds, "In any case, a vast number of the world’s ethical vegetarians live in India." I think she's suggesting that since India is a poor country, it's not surprising that a majority of Indians are vegetarians.


But is it true that Indians are "ethical vegetarians"? I'm not so sure about that. The proportion of high- to low-caste Indians would definitely suggest otherwise -- i.e., since there are larger numbers of Indians of low caste and since strict vegetarianism is an upper-caste feature, it follows that a majority of Indians are meat-eaters. They may not actually get much meat because of the expense involved -- so they're vegetarian by default -- but they would eat meat if they got it. I have also read that manual laborers cannot actually "afford" to be vegetarian because hard physical labour requires a greater amount of protein than a pure vegetarian diet can deliver on a limited budget.

And again, I wouldn't say that even those Indians who are traditional vegetarians are "ethical" in their choice of food. They don't eat meat because they've been raised to consider it disgusting. Plus, eating meat can result in loss of caste purity and, by association, social status.

I certainly have friends who don't eat meat because they believe it's wrong to deprive a sentient being of life -- but the much vaster majority of the vegetarians I have known are merely following the dietary plan within which they've been raised, because being vegetarian is intrinsic to "who they are". Similarities can be found amongst those meat-eaters in the West who are horrified at the thought of eating dog- or whale-meat (and horse-meat amongst the non-French!) -- the distaste is real, but it's based on culture rather than ethics or cold logic.

Me? I would love, for ethical reasons, to be vegetarian. But I'm not. As it happens, I eat very little meat -- maybe half a dozen times in a month -- and I never crave it or miss it if I happen to be a guest in an entirely meatless household. But when it's offered to me, I enjoy it, try to be mindful of the Life Force as I eat it and do my best never to waste it.


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Lighting the Strawberry

I'm calling this one STRAWBERRY OMIGOSH. The pictures tell the story: Strawberry -- Sambucca -- Whipped Cream -- Teaspoonful of flaming Sambucca -- Strawberry (very briefly) Alight.

Actually, the last photograph is out of sequence, because I wasn't able to get one with the flame going in the first time around -- so I took another one, after the first -- and forgot to top up the cream.

Also, what I really wanted was to see the fruit lit from WITHIN*. But for that I'd have to blow the candle off first. And perhaps rehearse all my movements. And maybe find a more appropriate receptacle for the strawberry -- an egg cup with orange duck feet doesn't quite suit the purpose, does it? Hmm. Also I've run out of the really giant strawberries so today's had to double up with another one underneath. Hmmm again. As for the milk jug I used for pouring the Sambucca and the Clunk-Supreme spoon? Meh.

So! Major failures in the elegance department!

But taste? Purrrrrr. 

*If anyone sends me a good clear picture showing a Lighted Strawberry, I'll be delighted to publish it here -- what I'd like is for the fruit to be lit from within and a BLUE FLAME delicately flickering above the cream.








Saturday, May 05, 2012

INTRODUCING: Strawberry Jubiglee

It's a simple story. Two days ago, I bought strawberries. They were the usual Goliath Berries that I have gradually grown used to. I got them home, washed them and, using the deadly cute STRAWBERRY HULLER (Pic 1) given to me last year by my sister Su, I cored out all the berries. The huller is not merely cute but extremely efficient, leaving behind an echoing canyon within each fruit (Pic 2). I did this dozens of times last year and thought nothing of it. For some reason, this year, I looked down into that interesting cavern (Pic 3) and thought: supposing I pour some honey in there? (Pic 4) And supposing I go the next step and top it up with whipped cream? (Pic 5) The result needs to be transferred to a fork (Pic 6) and ... eaten immediately (Pic Nil).


Further possibilities abound for fillings: 
1) Liqueur -- Amaretto? Cointreau? Sambucca? -- instead of honey
2) Chopped walnuts with vanilla cream (ooohh!)
3) Walnuts. Brandy. Flame. Yum.




[please note: the final strawberry, e.g., the one in Pic 6, is NOT the same as the one featured in the other pix. The item lurking in the background of that pic is an egg cup with two tiny orange feet. MANY strawberries were fatally wounded in the course of shooting this photomontage. None, however, was wasted]



Pic 2

Pic 3

Pic 4

Pic 5


Thursday, April 12, 2012

So. Amongst the reasons I've been mostly silent all these weeks is that (a) I've been working industriously at an Interminable, Unnameable Project and (b) in between working at aforementioned IUP, I've been cooking up amusements in the form of cards, mugs, postage stamps and posters at my favorite customizable products site, ZAZZLE. Below, if I've managed to copy/paste the links correctly, there should be a panel displaying whatever's currently available at my online "store", Magnoliana.
make custom gifts at Zazzle

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Yes! I've not added any posts for a LONG TIME. Well ... that's about to change.

Maybe.

I mean, it's April First, so you know, I might be fooling myself! But. We'll see. Anyway. My post for today is an absolutely astounding video, from NPR's Science Friday. About real world shape-shifters, sometimes known as OCTOPUSES, SQUID & CUTTLEFISH. Watch this and tell me if you're NOT amazed ...
Camouflage Expert

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

February!

So YES, this is my first post for the year and a month has already passed. Tells you something about what the year's been like so far. Here's what I'd like to present as my first offering -- an extremely up-beat presentation of statistics by Hans Rosling, Swedish doctor, statistician and entertainer-analyst, performing in this clip for the BBC -- sent to me by my sister Su:

TWO HUNDRED YEARS, FOUR MINUTES

I hope it opens easily. As for my recent month and three days since leaving the US? Well: I arrived in New Delhi on the 29th of December, flew to Bombay on the 13th, helped launch my friend Kiran Nagarkar's new novel THE EXTRAS on the 14th, flew to Madras on 16th, spent eleven days there and flew back to Delhi on the 27th and have remained put since then. Not for long, however ...