Saturday, 30 October 2004

Oh God!

This article in The Times of India:
In a major security scare, an SPG sub inspector and a CISF constable were spotted riding a scooter at the IGI airport runway even as an international flight was about to take off.
According to sources, sub inspector Ashok Bhat and constable Kusumlata were spotted on a scooter on the runway around 6.55 am by flight safety superintendent Ashok Muthiah. 'This was even as the Royal Jordanian flight 192 stationed behind them was about to take off. The operation area vehicle was immediately alerted which forced them away and allowed the plane to take off safely,' said a senior airport official.
The two staff were immediately arrested for security breach. Bhat later told the police that he and Kusumlata were going to the Pir Baba shrine located near the cargo building on the other side of the runway. They were, however, unable to produce the pass which must be carried by any individual who is going there
...prompted Sepia Mutiny to observe:
Since the shrine is only open in the afternoon, and only with a special permit, and the female constable was not assigned to the airport, 'm guessing that security was literally screwing around.
...and got us to wonder if there should be a ground staff chapter of this club.

Wednesday, 27 October 2004

And their number was "Seven."

It all starts one quiet afternoon at the brew-pub. I'm sitting with my associate Bobby, enjoying a pint of the house ale, when Stephen Covey (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) suddenly appears on the bar television. I can't quite describe the level of annoyance that the bald business guru brings to a room of gentle drinkers, trying to enjoy themselves while the rest of the populace is at work, but a sudden wail from a man in the far corner, similar to that of a small dog yanked forcefully by the tail, alerts everyone that something is terribly wrong. In a matter of moments all eyes are fixed in distress upon the television.
Soon customers with clenched fists start to share horror stories of managers who force-fed Covey's book to them. And of group leaders who scurried around the office pasting up signs like: "Synergy!" or "Be Proactive!" or "What would Covey do in your situation?" Rage and desperation had finally forced our fellow drinkers to leave their professions and find solace in the thick, rich ales fermented by the pub's microbrewery.
Bobby and I are amazed. Having spent ten years carving out lives as professional grad students, we've been oblivious to the rising tide of worker despair. I remember seeing a Covey infomercial several months back; it seemed harmless enough. Watching employees become automatons spouting Covey's catch phrases at every opportunity was the funniest thing I had seen on television in quite a while. But now, as the man in the corner begins weeping, Bobby and I realize larger issues are at hand.
Covey is no business guru, but rather the result of a world gone awry -- the world of work made worthless. Gone are the large expense accounts. Gone are the smoke breaks and three martini lunches. Gone are the innocent office flirtations. Good lord, who would want to work in an environment like that?
I slam my fist on the table. "We need a book about the Seven Vices of Highly Creative People before the whole country ends up in a straitjacket!" Bobby agrees enthusiastically, grabs a stack of napkins and begins writing. All the years we've spent studying history and literature are finally paying off. It isn't easy. But after six hours and five pitchers we finish the job. The pub closes so we gather the napkins and head for a late-night bar to celebrate. It isn't quite a book, but what the hell. We have better things to do than write another damn self-help book.
And so:
Vice One: Be a Drinker
Vice Two: Begin with a Smoke
Vice Three: Put Gambling First
Vice Four: Think Oysters
Vice Five: Seek Fashion First, Then seek to be Understood
Vice Six: Sex
Vice Seven: Abuse the Card
Go read the complete text at The Seven Vices of Highly Creative People.

Tuesday, 26 October 2004

Blorgot

Blogging has already given the language a few new words. Starting with "blog" itself, and of course, blogger and blogging, going on to hybrid creations like blogosphere, blogroll, moblog, and cyborglog (glog for short).

We obviously have too much time on our hands, so here's some more we thought up. (You venture capitalists can queue up on the right, please.)

Collablog - a term we invented to replace Group Blog (hasn't caught on yet *grin*)
Kleptoblogger - someone who uses your links without attribution
Bloglugluglug - too many blogs, too little time, drowning in blogs
Hobloglin - blog reader who makes mischievous comments
Glob - typo on blog that the blogger attributes to dyslexia, not to too many hours spent staring at the monitor

Got more?

Monday, 25 October 2004

They shoulda told him to just Puck off.

NBC has decided to remove exterior shots of this New York City building from Will & Grace after a viewer complained its sign looked like the name began with the letter F. [Source: The BBC Comedy Blog]

Saturday, 23 October 2004

Dubya v/s that Heinz chap. And the winner? It's AB, baby!

Badmash (well worth a bookmark, by the way), the Weekly South Asian Comic Strip has a hilarious new offering. Go see Dishoom. Lots of little in-jokes, cool animation. [Thanks Roma!]

Friday, 22 October 2004

Wot's dat werd?

Normal dictionaries wait until a word is old and stale before publishing them. They need to have proof that a word has written, published citations, or is in wide popular use.
The Dicshunary aims to provide a home for all the small, endangered werds that might only exist in the language of one neighbourhood, one family or even one person.
Via The spectacularly obtuse blog.

Monday, 18 October 2004

Our fan club

A place to go when we need to bask a little. Stirring music, smoothly scrolling supers... Oh well. Might as well confess. Just take replace zigzackly in the URL with your own name (if you prefer it formal, separate first and second name with a dot, like so :http://firstname.secondname.youaremyfriend.com/) and you get your own personalised tribute.

Sunday, 17 October 2004

Profiling

From Sean Keane's Scenes From a Blockbuster Action Movie Featuring a Technology Expert With Approximately My Own Real-Life Skill Level, at McSweeney's.
'O'Henderson, nice surveillance work. The report you put together was incredible. Friends, associates, even his favorite movies and bands. We're a lot closer to finding that bastard Santiago now.'
'It's what I do, Lieutenant.'
'How'd you get all this information? Wiretaps? Hacking into the cartel's database?'
'No, sir. He's on Friendster.'

Thursday, 7 October 2004

In which we get our teeth into this writing thing

A college campus is the setting for Vampire Kisses and where Bimbette La Fleur and Zig Zackly first cross paths. It’s love at first sight, but as they become closer Bimbette discovers that Zig has a horrifying secret – he’s a vampire doomed to a bloodthirsty immortality! Although Bimbette senses danger beneath his soft-spoken manner, and even after Zig himself warns her away, Bimbette is drawn to this creature of the night and loves him as she has loved no other.

Bimbette and Zig meet at the library...
Spying a dusty red binding on the lower shelf, Bimbette pulled at the tightly wedged volume. Unbeknownst to her, her jostling had caused a book to dislodge and tumble from its precarious position on the top shelf. Then she heard it – the sound of a sudden movement and leather against flesh. She looked up, surprised.
“What?” her green eyes widened as she took in the sight.
“If I startled you, my apologies.” The man in dark silk smiled at her through electric black eyes and then reached up toward the skewed shelf, adjusted it, and returned the book. His voice was like his clothing, soft, rich, almost beckoning. The dim light fell gently on his black hair and shoulders. Impossibly wide shoulders...
Bimbette felt her heart skip a beat; how picturesque. His arms seemed not to stretch as he reached to resettle the shelf. Watching from below, comprehension dawned, she tucked her auburn hair behind her ears in nervousness. Ah, the noise. She eyed the angle, and a shudder wracked her body. The whole shelf could have toppled were it not for this curious stranger. She had to clear her throat before she could speak, her mind filled with images of heavy, sharp-cornered objects landing on her head. “Thanks for the rescue.” Bimbette said. Then with a grin added, “Quick hands.”
“Only when there is need, I assure you.” Zig Zackly smiled, teeth reflecting bright in the dusty air, those broad shoulders casting a shadow over Bimbette. He nodded in what might almost have been considered a bow and then turned sideways and was gone. One moment there, the next he’d vanished as though he’d never been...

Bimbette and Plainejane: a little intellectual repartee...
A lascivious grin was spoiled by the frothy mustache Plainejane wore; cross-eyed, she glared at it, twisting up her mouth, remnants of her latte still clinging to her lips.
“Do stop licking your lips that way; some man might get the right idea about you, and then where would you be?” Bimbette was only half kidding, green eyes ablaze.
“Where every cat longs to be, my sweet innocent little bookworm. Completely in the cream.” She batted her eyelashes outrageously making Bimbette laugh.
“So, your date last night?”
“Oh, it was perfect. A perfect catastrophe,” Plainejane grinned. “I told you he was in the adult education program, right?” She waited for Bimbette to nod, all-the-while choking on her own laughter. “Well, we finally got around to talking about what he studies.” Giggles began to emerge, making her slur her words. “That yummy little Brad-Pitt-in-Thelma-and-Louise I was drooling over is here studying to become a priest!”
“Oh, no!” Bimbette sat back and burst into laughter of her own. “What did you do?”
“Oh, I merely suggested that an in-depth knowledge of temptation and sin might help in his work. I even offered to give him a guided tour.”
“You didn’t!” It was purely rhetorical; knowing Plainejane, Bimbette was quite sure she had. “What did he say?”
“I thought I heard ‘get thee behind me’, but he was running the other way, so I could be wrong.”
If Bimbette hadn’t already finished her drink, she’d have choked...

Zig has vampire lust...
Zig sighed. He longed to go to Bimbette, to comfort her, to caress her, but he could not, and so he remained outside, just below her window, watching and listening. He thought of her silky auburn hair and dancing green eyes. His mouth filled with the bittersweet taste of longing. The first flush of dawn chased him away, but before he left, he thrust a note beneath her window sash:
I have watched from the shadows;
you are brighter than sunlight.
It might have been more poetic than literal, but he meant it truly; hers was a warmth that would not burn him to ash – though it did seem to have seared its way into his heart.

Zig – the first bite...
Zig looked at Bimbette, black eyes bright with passion; his hands shook. “Are you sure?”
She took his face in her hands, drew him near for a kiss as she gazed into his black eyes. His fangs fully extended; she traced them with her tongue, loving the taste of him. “I am.” It felt like a vow. “I love you.” Bimbette ran her fingers through his black hair then pulled him to her.
He stood it as long as he could, then another moment longer. But finally he had to move, or come undone.
Zig trailed kisses along her collarbone, nibbled her earlobe, making his way to the nape of her neck. Bimbette moaned beneath his attention, the sound making him shake with yearning, thirst, desire, and love. He hesitated for one eternal moment, fangs extended to their full length, throbbing, dripping the essence of his need onto Bimbette, her perfect skin glistening in the dim light. Slowly, but with nothing of uncertainty – he bit down not quite tenderly, knowing she would enjoy the feel of his teeth – but carefully to cause no pain. His fangs sank within her, pressed home, revealing incredible sensations for both lovers, a new consummation. Her heartbeat raced through them both. Bimbette kept her back straight and her shoulders remained still, but her thighs and hips rolled sensuously as music moved through her and her blood sang...
Nay, your humble blogger hasn't lost it. We just happened to chance upon Book By You, which apparently makes quite a decent living out of creating personalised 180-page romance novels. Here's how it goes: you pick your story, you enter details about the characters on an online form, you pay your US$30 plus postage, and bingo, you have a book starring you and your significant other. The extract above was from the demo section of one of their latest, er, books, Vampire Kisses. (They also offer kids' books, by the way, if you want take-home presents for the brat's next Happybirthday.)

Wednesday, 6 October 2004

Caferati moves home

Caferati, the website, is now at the URL it was supposed to be at in the first place, http://www.caferati.com/.
Please update bookmarks accordingly.

"Maa!" "Beta-tester!"

Be a poppet and go to http://getaforum.com/forums/?mforum=indiawriterscaf, register, and mess around a bit.
It's an experiment - a free message board facility to be part of Caferati. There are a few trial categories and fora already up, but you can add your own topics, or reply to topics, etc. Have fun. Use the Gossip topic for general faff. The other categories are self-explanatory.
Nothing you do will be seen by the world, aside from your fellow bakras - er, beta testers - and anyone else you invite to check it out. Will delete the entire board later (once some feedback is in, and we have learned a bit more about tweaking the controls) and create a new one for caferati.

Tuesday, 5 October 2004

Monday, 4 October 2004

To the diaspora - and Resident Indians too.

We'd like to point you to another subcontinent a forum on South-Asian art, film, food, literature and music. Why those and no others? It's a choice based on an excellent reason: "that is what the site's founders would like to talk about here." Quite an interesting place, from the brief while we've spent lurking in the woodwork, and what recommends it even more strongly, IOHO, is we didn't see a trace of lame desi jokes clumsily adapted from old Jewish-, Polish- and Italian-bashing forwards. Arnab, one of the site's founders, told us over e-mail that it's not just aimed at the diaspora, they hope to attract people who still live on the sub-continent as well, and encourage a multiplicity of views.

Sunday, 3 October 2004

Authors: here's how you save on airfare and avoid the bad food

As lit blogs get more and more powerful, it was, we guess only a matter of time before it came to this. The Virtual Book Tour has been offering authors the chance to be talk and be talked about in the blogosphere, with interviews, guest-blogging stints and the like. There's a rate card for the general tour, with guarantees and all, and even a matchmaking service, where VBT brings the less mainstream authors in touch with the blogs that are just right for them.
We're consumed with jealousy. We wish we had thought of this. Ah well. Blog on, Zig, blog on. Your time will come.

Friday, 1 October 2004

Got fiction?

And yes. Caferati launches the site with a contest. If you have any original, previously unpublished short fiction (up to 3,000 words) in English, please mosey on over to the Stories at the Coffee Table section.
For those of you in Bombay, the contest formally launches this evening at 7 p.m., at the Cha Bar in Oxford Bookstore, near Churchgate.

Here's my sick note, teacher

The week just past has been crazy. Haven't even had time to get the comics fix for the last five or six days. And here's the reason:
Caferati - a collaboration over too much coffee is now a full fledged site. Lots of exciting plans on how it's going to grow. And of course you'll hear it here first.
Your comments and feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Talk about put downs

Apparently, there's something called the Page-50 Club for people who have never been able to get past the first 50 pages of a Rushdie book.
Mid-Day asked a few authors "Which book have you abandoned and why?"
One wonders whether the question was framed in a rather more, you know leading way, considering that Rushdie popped up in quite a few responses. (Perhaps a certain author who has been known to comment on these pages could throw some light on that, considering she was one of the respondents?)
Anyway, they spoke with Mala Sen, Anurag Mathur, Ashok Banker, Manjula Padma, Anita Nair, Ruskin Bond,Sagarika Ghosh, Shobhaa De, Amitava Kumar, Farrukh Dhondy, Manil Suri, Ardeshir Vakil, and Ramachandran Guha.