Monday, February 26, 2007

12 Days of Christmas for the Brown Folk

And here's another little ditty that's a little late for Christmas, but entertaining nonetheless.

Indian Thriller Video

This video is hilarious. It's an unintended spoof of Michael Jackson's thriller. If you're looking to waste a little time, check it out.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Nature's Prozac: A Day On the Arm at Mount Baker

What an epic day of snowboarding I had yesterday. It has been dumping up at Baker, and I decided to take a vacation day from work and head up. I spent the previous night up in Bellingham at Camp Cody soaking in the hot tub staring into the forested hillside. It was only 2 inches of fresh, so we weren't all that excited to jump out of bed at 6.30AM. It turned out to be a great decision; the snow was uncharacteristically light - normal in Colorado or Utah, but not here in the chunky Cascades. Anyway, we hiked out the arm, and got some epic turns on virtually uncut powder. Ahh, this was a reminder of why I used to spend so many days of my life at the mountain. Since my main exercise lately has been toddler lifting, my body is soar and heavy, but of course, in a good way.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Book Review: The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

I just finished Ghosh's amazing book: The Glass Palace. I spent all day and night Saturday until I could finally finish the last few hundred pages. It is a saga fit for the big screen, and perhaps one day, it will wind up there. I had little idea what World War II looked like from Burma, and Malaysia's standpoint.

This book provides an intimate portrait of life during this historic time, weaving the lives of many families spanning multiple generations; Ghosh provides lush descriptions of the palaces of the Burmese monarchy, the jungles of Burma and Malaysia, and many urban locales in India, Burma, Malaysia, and other places. I had only a foggy idea so many Indians were involved in the conquering of Burma by the Brits, and the subsequent occupation and economic construction to follow. My own grandfather went to Burma to strike it rich back in the 40s. After reading this book I'm intrigued to find out more about my grandfather's experiences there. I was also fascinated by Ghosh's portrait of the confused state of mind of the Indian soldiers forced to fight on behalf of their own colonizers; they were often sympathetic to the Japanese conquests; one group jumps sides to fight against the British alongside the Japanese. I had read about this in Kushwant Singh's Sikh History series, but Ghosh's portrayal really brought it to life for me. In any event, here's a summary of the book from Publisher's Weekly:

Ghosh's epic novel of Burma and Malaya over a span of 115 years is the kind of "sweep of history" that readers can appreciate and even love despite its demands. There is almost too much here for one book, as over the years the lives and deaths of principal characters go flying by. Yet Ghosh (The Calcutta Chromosome; Shadow Lines) is a beguiling and endlessly resourceful storyteller, and he boasts one of the most arresting openings in recent fiction: in the marketplace of Mandalay, only the 11-year-old Indian boy Rajkumar recognizes the booming sounds beyond the curve of the river as English cannon fire. The year is 1885, and the British have used a trade dispute to justify the invasion and seizure of Burma's capital. As a crowd of looters pours into the fabled Glass Palace, the dazzling throne room of the nine-roofed golden spire that was the great hti of Burma's kings, Rajkumar catches sight of Dolly, then only 10, nursemaid to the Second Princess. Rajkumar carries the memory of their brief meeting through the years to come, while he rises to fame and riches in the teak trade and Dolly travels into exile to India with King Thebaw, Burma's last king; Queen Supayalat; and their three daughters. The story of the exiled king and his family in Ratnagiri, a sleepy port town south of Bombay, is worth a novel in itself, and the first two of the story's seven parts, which relate that history and Rajkumar's rise to wealth in Burma's teak forests, are marvelously told. Inspired by tales handed down to him by his father and uncle, Ghosh vividly brings to life the history of Burma and Malaya over a century of momentous change in this teeming, multigenerational saga.

All in all, I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. If you are interested, you can purchase the book at Amazon by clicking HERE

Monday, February 12, 2007

Images from Iran

Unlike most folks, I'm not convinced we are about to invade Iran, but if we are, this is what we will be destroying:

Some Art and Poetry Posts

I just posted a bunch of stuff on my art blog for anyone interested. The site is:

Friday, February 02, 2007

Goodness Gracious Me: Bhangra Man Comes to America

Courtesy of Youtube, Goodness Gracious Me episodes have made it to the web. My wife and I have been searching for these ever since we saw a bunch of episodes on an Asiana flight on route to Delhi. Basically, GGM is like an Indian In Living Color put on by the BBC. Hopefully I'm wrong, but my guess is Google has yet to find out these are copyrighted material, so enjoy them while you can. While much of the humor requires a desi vantage, much still makes it through, at least I think. Here are some fun episodes if you are web video enabled:

Bharat Homes
Chunky Lafunga
Indian wedding

and my personal favorite: Bhangra Man

Ms. Dewey: Heir to Clippie

I've never thought of search as entertainment, but this site is hilarious. If you've ever had any doubt what the future of search was all about, surely Ms. Dewey will enlighten you. Some fun searches to try: art, namibia, and my personal favorite, gangster. Check it out: Flash is required.

After being thoroughly entertained for half an hour, I realized this was a bit too polished for a Saturday Night Live skit, which is what I thought the site in essence was. After reading a bit more on the web, bizarrely, I found out this site is not a joke. I learn this was a serious attempt at search UI. Here's a quote from a Microsoft spokesperson courtesy of David Utter:

"This is not an advertising campaign. This [was] really just an experiment for exploring different ways to introduce people to search and Live Search specifically. We are not promoting the site but simply putting it out on the Web for discovery."

This is too much. How on earth could someone take this project seriously as a potential search interface? I think Microsoft should back peddle quickly and claim it was a brilliant online advertising tactic. More fuel for the branding fiasco fire.
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