Thursday 31 August 2006

OgBl day comes by once more

As we said last year
the numbers 3108, the date today (we're cheating and sticky-posting this a day in advance*) if you use the right typeface, and squint at them out of the corner of your eye, look like the letters BlOg. Unless you're American, of course, in which case today is OgBl day.
So, here's Nir Ofir's new (kinda, as in, we just found it) Blog Day blog (try saying that fast, six times).

And here's the drill (quoting from Nir's original charming post, because for some weird reason, he has the text-as-image thing happening on the new site, instead of copy-pasteable text)
I believe that we bloggers have to have one day in the year which will be dedicated to know other bloggers, from other countries or areas of interests. I think, that not only that we need to know other bloggers; we need also to recommend about them to our Blog visitors.

When I’m trying to see the end in mind, in this is day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs (in the same time). In this day all Blog web surfers will find themselves leaping and discovering new, unknown blogs.
Right. Clear?
1. Recommend five blogs
2. Introduce them
3. Link to the Blog Day site :
4. Use this Technorati Tag: <a href="" rel="tag">BlogDay2006</a>

Off you go the. The sun's up. It's time we slept. We shall be back before the 31st to post our recommendations.

Update: Desi Pundit introduces its own D.I.Y. Indan Bloggers Directory (it's a wiki; you go enter your URL yourself). So with that, plus the IndiBloggers Index of Indian Blogs (pretty much the best indie-index we've seen), and perhaps the Indian Bloggers List and a glance at this post on Quick Online Tips, you should be able to scrounge up a list. Though we recommend that you observe the spirit of this thing (and what, to us, is the essence of the web) and go global. If you've been kind of parochial in your blog-reading, you could do no better than go visit the most excellent (we've finally forgiven them for not giving us a job) Global Voices to find interesting blogs from all over the world.

(Hm. That's five blog links. Sort of. Megalinks. They'll give you so much more than five. So you think you can let us get away with not posting our list-of-five?)

*Consistent, aren't we?

Tuesday 29 August 2006

This is a case for Supergeek: please help baby get candy back

We were wandering the web in our usual aimless way, link following link, when our eyes lit up as we stumbled on this Rolling Stone page that promised "the best Bob Dylan songs you've never heard." Imagine then, our exreme distress when we plugged in our earphones and leaned back .. to silence. For some weird reason, Rolling Stone—or perhaps it's the music industry lawyers—has decreed that we're not allowed to listen in. Here's what the pop-up said
We're sorry. We have detected that you are outside of the United States. This service is currently only available to residents within the United States.
Any friendly geeks around to help this poor blog get around that?

MSM is falling on our heads!

Harsh Man Rai is someone we knew in college. Well, actually he was out of college by then, but he was one of them chick-magnet jock types, and he used to come there in the evenings to play basketball, which we, in a manner of speaking, played ourself. We recall one of the best Xavier's Sports Club teams we ever saw playing the annual season-opening Javed Khan tournament. Two goras, Marco Antonio and Joe were in the team. Harsh was too, if I remember right. They almost upset the Nagpada team that Tom Alter played for (we mentioned it a few posts ago) in a dramatic foul-filled game full of incident. Joe: You have a big mouth. Tom: Not as big as your stomach. (Joe was one of those large, corn-fed American youths.) After what the totally partisan Xavier's crowd thought was an bad referring call for a fourth foul, Marco lost his cool and fouled out spectacularly, flooring one of the Nagpada lads and slamming his palm into the backboard on the way down. Ah, the memories.

But yet again, we digress. Harsh is an hugely talented photographer, among other things, and last night, Kai Friese, editor of several magazines, our favourite in the whole world, Outlook Traveller, among them (you'd better be reading this, Kai) told us that Harsh has recently started a blog. So off we went to look at it, and we find that it gets even better. For there's a link to Harsh's Flickr stream as well, and a reproduction of Kai's Outlook piece about The Strange Saga of CNAC 58 the trip the two of them took into Arunachal Pradesh to the wreck of CNAC 58.

Go read. We shall try and persuade Kai to put some of the behind-the scenes stuff he was telling us about this story online.

An we shall ponder about coincidences. The Tom Alter memories a few days ago. A book we reviewed for Outlook Traveller last month, that had to do with China, and mentioned the flight one of the central characters took over The Hump, a phrase that stayed in our mind. A conversation with a friend about the trek our own grandpa took from Rangoon to Assam. And now this. Weird.

And we shall also remember that the reason for the post title was to make some statement along the lines of: if more excellent pros like Harsh and Kai get online, wethinks there will be some major rearrangements in the ranks of the most popular blogs. But we forgot to say it, so never mind.

I protest

In the United Kingdom, apparently, you need a license to protest within a kilometre from the Mother of all Parliaments. With advance notice and all. Crikey.

But it gets weirder. The easiest and quickest (six days' notice) licence to get is for "lone protest"—a single person carrying a sign).

Imagine. What if our netas decide that since we inherited the Parliamentary system from the Brits we should copy this too? Imagine: one more source for ghoos! Except, of course, the cops might whack the crap out of you anyway. Because they can.

But we digress. According to Times Online, the comedian Mark Thomas "has called for hundreds of solitary protests next Thursday — all at the same time.

Officially, then, they'll be protesting about all sorts of things. War. Student fees. Belly-button fluff. Anything. Secretly, they'll all have a common cause — protest at the requirement to apply for a licence to protest in the first place."


[Times link via Confused of Calcutta, the most recent addition to our Bloglines feeds.

Monday 28 August 2006

in case you've ever wondered what atheists say in moments of extreme passion.., you know. [Via.. damn. We can't remember. Will come back and fix if we do.]

Er, don't let these folk find out.

It ain't an unconference unless there's a T-shirt. Un.

9th and 10th September, in Madras.

We're planning to be there. Meanwhile, we're helping out with the wiki, and generally pottering around being officious.

You can check this page to see who's going to be there, this one for a tentative break-up of the sessions, and this one to get a peek at what's going to be discussed. You can sign up on the unofficial updates newsgroup, the Flickr Group is free to join, and you can keep an eye out for BlogCamp tags on Technorati and YouTube. And watch this space fro details of a planned IRC channel, audio feed and video feed.

Meanhwhile, as with the lead up to any conference, un or otherwise, a Very Serious Matter is being debated. What should the T-shirt say?

These were our suggestions. Opinions appreciated. Suggestions welcome and will be passed on. (Insiders tells us that number 19 has been looked upon favourably.)

1. No whacky message. Put the BlogCamp logo on the front.

And if we must be funny..

2. Cogito, Ergo Blog.

3. Cogito sumere potum alterum

("I think I'll have another drink")

4. veni, vedi, blogi

5. Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur

(Familiar? No? You haven't looked at our masthead for a while, hm?)

Right. Enough already with the Latin. Some take-offs on T-shirt cliches next.

6. Bloggers do it sitting down

7. My blog went to Chennai and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.

8. I [heart]

9. Be kind to dumb animals. Feed a blogger.

10. Bloggers are people too. Really.

11. What's your URL?

(or, for the geeky purists, "What's your URI?"

12. I will not blog during office hours. I will not blog during office
hours. I will not blog during office hours. I will not blog during
office hours. I will not blog during office hours. I will not blog
during office hours. I will not blog during office hours. I will not
blog during office hours. I will not blog during office hours.

(repeated as many times as necessary to fill the front of the shirt, in hand-written chalk-on-blackboard style)

13. My dog ate my blog.

14. It ain't heavy. It's my blog.

And some more arbit stuff.

15. I blog. So?

16. I'll blogroll you if you blogroll me.

17. Link-love. The purest emotion.

18. Warning: whatever you say may be written down and blogged against you.

19. I'm blogging this.

20. Waah! I'm gonna go tell my blog!

21. Will blog for money.

22. Pretty please, with sugar on it and bells on top, read my blog.

23. Blogger Pradesh

24. Blogorrhea

25. Blogolepsy

26. Neoblogisms: silly made up words that only bloggers laugh at.

27. I'm a Slogger. I blog on office time.


I'm blogging this is in the lead at the moment.

A new idea is to use a Hugh MacLeod cartoon. Permissions are being sought. We're a big fan, so quite happy to have our pristine prose rejected in favour of his kick-arse doodles. The problem is, of course, that the man's prolific. Which particular cartoon? Do you guys have any recommendations?

dirty minds

One of those sites which puts us in a quandary. Laugh hysterically or just get hysterical?

The Forum against Obscenity.

Tuesday 22 August 2006

When Busybee came to New Bombay

It felt like a school picnic day. That's going back 60 years and more, but never mind that. By 9.45 a.m., I was at Apollo Bunder, standing next to a public toilet, clearly designed like a mini Gateway of India. Nice, if it had not been stinking so much. The SKS Supercrafts booking office was next to the urinal, punching out tickets for the hovercraft that would take me across the harbour to Navi Mumbai (the official name for J.B. D'souza's New Bombay). Below me was a floating dock, steep steps leading to it, three chairs in one corner for VVIP passengers to sit on and rock to the gentle roll of the waves. My friend, Shankar Menon, IAS, recently retired from government service had arrived by then, apparently taking his retirement seriously, wearing a baseball, cap, keds, a poetry book under his arm. Also with us was S.S. Thakar of CIDCO. So, we were all set to spend a day in Navi Mumbai. As I said earlier, like going on a school picnic.
Read the archived article on Mumbainet. From nine years ago, and somewhat out of date as a consequence, but Behram sounds as fresh as ever. Rest in peace.

Monday 21 August 2006

Macerate isn't the latest saloon

Aioli, Akawi/ ackawi, Amatriciana, Asian pesto, Beignet, Bisque, Blanching, Borage, Braised, Bulgur / Burgul, Capers, Caponata, Carpaccio, Charmoula, Compote, Consommé, Conpoy, Confit, Coulis, Crackling, Dashi, Drunken, Emulsion, Flash fried, Ganache, Glutinous rice, Grana Padano, Gratinate, Haloumi, Harissa, Jus, Kombu, Macerate, Makroot, Maki, Mirin, Miso, Moutabel, Nigiri, Nori, Naugatin / nougatine / nougat, Provolone, Quadrucci, Ragout, Reduction, Roulade, Salmoriglio, Sambal, Salsa verde, Scarmoza, Seared, Squid Ink, Sumac, Sashimi, Tabbouleh / Tabouli, Taleggio, Tapenade, Timbale, Tobbikko/ tobiko, Tomato petals, Truffles, Yuzu, Za'atar.

Fancy words on menus. Are they a way to be different? To acquire snob value? To confuse the heck out of us? Since we started doing the odd food review, we've beguns studying menus more closely, and we confess to sometimes being rather confused. Thankfully, this last Sunday, Mid-Day ran a double-spread explaining all the words in the previous paragraph.

Words we knew from that list: 13
Words we thought we knew but were wrong: 6


English movies and soaps dangerous now?

Mysterious stuff happening with my cable operator.

We have several channels cut off: Star World, ZeeCafe, AXN, Star Movie, HBO, Zee (whatever their English movie channel is called) Cafe, Sony (whatever their English movie channel is called). I checked that my channels—the nature and news channels—were okay. Didn't really look around much, but all else seems okay.

A WTF call to the local cable chappie got the response "Government block."

Any clue, anyone?


Amit and Dina, via comments and email, tell me it's a High Court order being implemented.

Update 2:

While I was posting that bit, all the news channels have disappeared too. And so have (weirdness factor steaily rising) the nature channels. The History Channel's still up, though. You suppose that's the only channel that minors can watch?

Update 3:

Really, really, really, WTF!?!?!? The kiddie channels are off too! Except for Pogo. Music channels, ditto. ESPN's on.

Update 4:

Deep posted this note on the Bloggers' Collective newsgroup:
My cable channel's screen shows this:

Due to unprecedented raids on the cable operators for carrying
satellite movie and entertainment channels having Adult content, All
Maharashtra cable operators have shut down the channels till further
directions from high court. Kindly bear with us. CODA.

Alter boy

On the weekend, I got to be in the same spotlight as Tom Alter. Except, of course, that there was no spotlight, it wasn't a stage, and the audience was around 40 people. Anyway. Hadn't crossed paths with him for quite a few years. The last time was in a recording studio where he was doing American accents (while I was attempting the Brit) for some docu or the other. Before that, we played in the same basketball tournament quite often, the Javed Khan season opener at St Xavier's College, me for a team that always lost in the first round, TA for Nagpada YMCA. (Or was it Central YMCA? Never mind. The lads of the team he played with (and indeed the entire Bombay Central area) were famous, aside from their truly sublime court skills, for their fluent cursing. Many of the lads from Nagpada went on to play for the top two sides in the city at that time, the Central and Western Railway teams, for the State and for India. Man, that was one long parenthetic ramble.) And before that, of course, we had seen him in many a movie and on stage, and had developed huge admiration for the man.

So, as I started out saying, there I was, having to gulp down nervousness about my first public reading, worsened by a fupped duck commute in to town (wouldja believe, three separate taxi breakdowns?), complicated by an aching butt due to a disagreement with some stairs earlier in the week (which, added to persisting discomfort from an earlier injury, means one is, at this point, unable to turn the other cheek), trying desperately not to look like the complete pretentious idiot, and one of the the other contenders for attention was The Alter. Doomed from the get-go, I tell you.

Ah Tom. The man is greying, there are a few wrinkles, but the voice is still amazing, and he exhudes charisma. His rendition of Sudip Sen's Rain turned something I thought was more gimmick than poem into pure magic. He also recited a few Urdu shers from memory, plus a poem he wrote as a young man. Awesome.

Oh yes. As if having Tom around wasn't bad enough, also in the overstuffed armchairs were Ranjit Hoskote, Sampurna Chattarji, Jane Bhandari and Menka Shivdasani, accomplished and published poets all, and Caferati buddies Manisha Lakhe and Rohinton Daruwala. The last two, and Jane and Menka being warm, encouraging friends helped only a little. They're all so frigging talented. And from all the pals I carpet-bombed with the event info, who should turn up but Sonia, with Ulrik, and Joan, one with a successful book out, the other a finalist in the Oxford e-Author short fiction contest. One is doomed to be surrounded by people vastly more talented than oneself.

As I said, my first time reading outside the safe environs of Caferati (I'm not counting Kala Ghoda because there I was in emcee mode, which I'm used to; couldn't see the audience, which always helps; and besides, there was a large and supportive Caferati turnout), so I'm afraid the evening went by in too much of a blur for me to be able to add much more than this. And I swear I didn't touch the wine until after the reading, and as a consequence, got one glass of luke-warm white. Damn. Anyway, one awaits verdicts from Joan and Sonia (who had taken a strategic position near the door and wasn't there at the end, so one doesn't know whether she actually stayed past the opening address) and Caferati cheerleaders, Jugal and Suniti.

Saturday 19 August 2006


Panographies are wide-angle pictures composed of several individual photos manually stitched together. When these component photos are assembled, they give the impression one would get standing in one place, looking around and unconsciously putting the pictures together in one's head.
From were you should go for a full explanation and some examples.

And If you're turned on by this, check out the Panography Flickr group:

Friday 18 August 2006

CRY America 2006 Walk

CRY America is delighted to present Walk 2006, its annual charity walk for child rights. Now in its' 3rd year, this event is a popular way for concerned individuals to show their support, while having a rollicking good time.

By participating, you will help ensure that children have the freedom to exercise their basic rights - to education, health, a warm and loving family, and fun - in short, to a happy childhood.

We urge you to take a walk in the right direction ... walk for child rights.

For more information about the walk please click on the name of your city.

Boston Action Center, Saturday, August 26, 2006
Portland Action Center, Saturday, September 9, 2006
Pittsburgh Action Center, Sunday, September 17th, 2006
RDU Action Center, Sunday, October 1st, 2006
Bay Area Action Center, Sunday, October 1st, 2006

Download CRY America WALK 2006 pledge form
Read Frequently asked Questions on:
CRY America Walk 2006 [PDF]
Walk 2006 Pledge process [PDF]

CRY is an organisation I have worked with and continue to support in little ways. I'd be grateful if you could pass this around to your networks. And if you live in one of the cities mentioned, perhaps you could do the walk yourself?

Individual action

Big props (or whatever it is the correct expression is - sorry, we don't do accents as well as we used to) to the folk at Sepia Mutiny for this:
I thought I'd take a moment to lay out for our readers how individual action in the context of a community CAN help change the status quo, particularly when it comes to political power and representation in the U.S. Here is step-by-step look at the BIG PICTURE.
(Background: An American Senator directs a racials slur against a young American desi.)

Wednesday 16 August 2006

"It's raining poems" [19th August, Worli, Bombay]

The Monsoon Chapter is an exhibition of artworks on the monsoon curated by Himanshu Verma. It opens on the 18th.

Jane Bhandari, poet and artist, has put together It's raining poems, a poetry reading, on 19th August as part of The Monsoon Chapter.

(Please note the open mike session. It's open to all who want to come and read their work. On theme, naturally.)

The Venue:
Gallery Art & soul,
1, Madhuli,
Shivsagar estate,

The Readers:
Tom Alter
Ranjit Hoskote
Menka Shivdasani
Sampurna Chatarji
Rohinton Daruwala
Peter Griffin
Manisha Lahke
Jane Bhandari

7-8 pm for the readers
8-8.30 (or longer if it's going well) Open Mike

Dress Code: Clothes...

Wine and snacks will be served.


Or as Google would prefer you to call them, "Labels."

Blogger has unveiled the beta of their upgrade.

We're messing around with it on Maa! Beta! Come jeer any time.

Our findings so far:
Wish there were stand-alone pages, wordpress style.

And the template editing isn't really drag and drop. You have to first find a template that has the basic structure you want, then mess with that. It is WYSIWYG, though. What I'll probably do is wait for them to enable the editing of the html, then use that to really tweak things.

The widgets. Can't see a gap right now. Will try and mess with that.

Ooh. And the best* bit? No "republish!" Yay!

*Aside from categories, that is. Which has us unabashedly going whoopdidoo and whatnot.
Now we have to get back to real work.

Saturday 12 August 2006

It's never to late for higher studies. (Or is it?)

This from a friend at the Limca Book of records.
I got a claim from someone who said he was the oldest person to get a tech degree so i asked him to send his details thinking he was 70+. But no, he got his degree at 35 and i keep telling him that that is NOT old by any stretch of imagination! He insists that no one can get admission to regular courses in universities if you are over the permitted age limit. I don't think that's true.

I have pointed out to him instances of people who have got Ph.Ds, Masters' degrees but he is not satsified.

That is the preamble. Could your networking find out if anyone has actually been admitted to regular courses (not distance education but on campus) when s/he was 30+?
Anything or anyone you know who could shed some light on this?

Wednesday 9 August 2006

Note to self: get new phone

Just noticed that Blogger now makes it easy to moblog.

Do not sip coffee as you read about..

..why DD doesn't mind cutting himself shaving,* or you will, like us, be hastily mopping spray off keyboard.

* Since the man shaves approximately once every two years, this isn't often, but that's not relevant. Go read.

Sunday 6 August 2006

can you imagine us years from today sharing a park bench quietly?


i was ryzing/orkuting/fiendstering by. u hav beutiful smil!!!!!


It is Frandship Day. Will you make frendship with me?

plz leave your footprints in my guestbook/scrapbook/comments.


Friday 4 August 2006


Wife of Second Life

And, by the way, if you're not subscribed to bLaugh ("The (Un)Official Comic of the Blogosphere"), get thee hither instanter.

Thursday 3 August 2006

Wednesday 2 August 2006

Who was on first?

We have been wondering who the first Indian blogger was.

For over a year after we first started reading blogs and then blogging ourself, we didn't really follow any Indian blogs. It was only post the Tsunami that we kinda pegged to the fact that there was a pretty vibrant Indian blogging community, both in the country and in the diaspora. So we're basically clueless. (And let us save you the trouble of thinking up smartarse remarks: yes, that describes us in general too.)

Now. Here's what curious minds want to know.

Let's break this up a bit.

Who are the claimants for the following:

1. Longest running solo blog at the same URL (occasional guest posts permitted, but the blog must be primarily by one person)

1.a. Solo blog with the largest number of entries.

2. Longest running blog with multiple contributors at the same URL

2.a. Collablog with most entries.

3. Longest running solo blog, with one URL change permitted (for instance, when the blogger has moved from a free service to her/his own domain name).

3.a. Solo blog (over a maximum of two URLs) with most entries.

4. Longest running collablog, with one URL change permitted.

4.a. Collablog (over a maximum of two URLs) with most entries.

All claims must be substantiated by some verifiable independent record. (And for the techies among ye, what are the reliable, verifiable ways to check claims? And that goes double for blogs that have shifted locations. Do tell, via the comments or mail -zigzackly at gmail - and we'll add to the post with credit to you.)


This much we know for sure:

This blog started on the 10th September, 2003, with a post that stayed all by itself till December that year, after which we've never really shut up. We have, to date, 820 posts up (this will be #821). Hurree Babu, who you can blame for pushing us into blogs, has had Kitabkhana rolling since April 2003, and has 1229 posts online. Both HB and I know that we were far from being the pioneers, so we're using that as a cut-off.

Caferati has been around since August 2004, and has 856 entries from its 75+ contributors. So that's the cut-off for Collablogs.

Clear? Questions?