Monday, September 24, 2007

Back from Minneapolis

Over the last weekend, I went to visit friends in Minneapolis. It was a full, fun weekend. Saturday was the most amazing day of all. We slept in late, and left the apartment only at 1:00pm, but between then and midnight, we managed to experience, and even indulge in as many fun activities as it is humanly possible. We even agreed that it seemed more like a weekday than the weekend. Aarti and Anand ought to be event-planners. They'd give anyone a bang for their buck and manage to pack in as much punch in a day of fun than most mortals experience in a week-long vacation.

We also watched two movies, quite diametrically the opposite of each other. Ratatouille was a delightful movie and I was enraptured by it. Add to that the fact that we watched it in a quaint little theater that was quite unique and done up in a very retro style. It was a scrumptious experience altogether. The other one was Ram Gopal Varma's Darling. I wasn't expecting anything even approaching cinéma vérité, but this movie managed to make me lower my standards of what I think a bad movie might be by at least about two score points. Consequently, we had to watch the movie in three installments. We simply hadn't the energy to take it all in in one sitting. The saving grace of the whole experience was the three of us being sarcastic and wry and witty about our criticisms of it.

All in all, I had great fun. Aarti, I know you'll check in on my blog sometime. Thanks a bunch to both of you for helping me have so much fun!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Luciano Pavarotti is dead. He died twelve days ago on September the 6th. I love Pavarotti. However, you can tell how little I have been following news about him, or any news in general, by how many days after he died I came to know about it. I actually happened to read about it not even in a newspaper, but on someone else's blog (Thank you Mr. Skidmore). But in any case, I loved him and I am rather sorry that he is dead.

I love the opera, but being very ignorant about it, I immerse myself only in the auditory pleasure I feel while listening to it. I know nothing about the intricate technicalities that people who know more than I pay attention to. I have heard people expound on how Pavarotti, despite having a wonderful voice, is rubbish. It makes no sense to me. I enjoy listening to Pavarotti, and that is enough for me. His rendition of Schubert's "Ave Maria" made #1 on my "Top Ten Songs I Would Listen To While I Am Pregnant" list several posts ago. I post a video of it here in memory of this wonderfully gifted man.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I have been cataloging the non-academic books I own. I have discovered that I have ninety-two novels and six books of verse. I actually possess more books than these, but am going to exchange them for store credit at the second hand store. Leaving the books of poetry aside, ninety-two books! I had no idea I owned so many! They don’t look nearly as numerous as they sit on my bookshelves. None of the books I own, excepting War and Peace, are abridged. And indeed, I don’t think I would ever be able to read an unabridged version of that tome. I have read nearly half the books I own in their unabridged entirety, thirty-four to be precise, and am in the process of reading a thirty-fifth - Silas Marner. I also have read several (thirteen) when I was younger in their abridged versions, buying the unabridged versions as an adult hoping to read them in all their glory. And I am yet to read about another half (forty-four) of the books I own.

The last category was the one that surprised me the most. When I was younger, I had a desire to own only those books that I had read and reveled in. Consequently, I never read the books I owned, I only kept them as mementoes of the parts of my identity that had been shaped by them. But now, I think I am insatiable in my conquest of editions of literary work, my purse permitting of course. In any case, eight more books to go before I score a century! My hundredth would have to be especially special.

P. S. Interesting bit of history: This day in the year 1875, the very first newspaper cartoon slip was published! My favorite bit of the newspaper really, following close at the heels of the crossword, jumble and the sudoku puzzles.


I spent most of the weekend in a semi-intoxicated state. I have discovered a delightful new wine: “Nachtgold”. It is the very first ice-wine that I have ever tasted. I bought it mainly because
the bottle looked pretty
and because the description of it on the display case sounded exotic. I was with people when I bought it, and they all admired the prettiness of the bottle. I could barely wait for it to chill before I opened the bottle, and was all impatience until I finally did on Friday night. And as I sipped it, I realized it was the sweetest wine I have ever tasted. Reading the description at the store, I had expected a bouquet of orange blossom, but as I sipped it, it seemed more reminiscent of peaches or figs. Technically, once a bottle of wine is opened, it starts to sour. I could not afford to have such a delicious wine doomed to such a pitiable state. But neither could I drink the whole bottle at one sitting, or I might have passed out! So, spacing myself out, I drank the entire contents of the bottle over the whole weekend, hence my state of semi-intoxication for the last two days.

I think I might have developed an affinity for ice-wines now. I want to try as many of them that are out there. Here is a description of Nachtgold from the Eiswein website:

In the darkness of the early morning hours, when the night frost has taken the temperature in the vineyards down to below 19°F (hard freeze), work starts on picking and crushing the frozen grapes. The water inside the grape skins has been frozen to ice so that the grape juice is concentrated to a golden-colored liquid, often called "Nachtgold" or "gold of the night".

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

September Begins

I am back from a long, beautiful weekend spent with my sister. Four days, and so much done. And indeed so much more to do. When, oh when will I have time enough to do everything that needs to get done?

I took my car on his (I have decided that my car is a boy) maiden voyage out of Iowa. He held up beautifully and we drove all the way to Kansas, where my sister and I decided to embark on an impromptu visit to Colorado, and then he carried us there and back, and then me back home. In any case, I am glad he isn't spitting and sputtering and running up huge mechanic's bills for me.

Nisha and I had a lovely time. We decided on the spur of the moment to go to Denver, and changed our minds halfway there and decided to go to Colorado Springs instead. We did a bunch of wonderful things that I would love to write about, but I haven't the time or energy to. We did visit the "Garden of the Gods", and the "Cave of the Winds", of which we took a lantern tour with no electricity and actual kerosene lanterns stuck in metal buckets, and our guide told us ghost stories, and so on. We wanted to also go to "Pike's Peak", but were late and the road up there had closed for the day. But, on the whole, it was a thrilling experience.

Once I get used to being around my sister, it always is rather difficult to get un-used to it. We fight sometimes (it's all her fault), but are best of friends too. And she hero-worships me, and that helps a great deal. Today she won an award for being a wonderful listener and an ideal employee. I'm posting her certificate here. :) CLICK

I have finally finished reading The Way of All Flesh. The book could quite easily pass for my biography and chronicle of thoughts. I am the Salieri to Butler's Mozart. Except not jealous at all... but rather admiring. So I think a better analogy would be that I am the Mike Jackson to Butler's Psmith. No, that isn't it either. In any case I am Ernest Pontifex! I thought that the end of the book was very rushed, but it managed to capture the essence of my belief. Nothing else seemed to matter.

While in Manhattan, I went again to The Dusty Bookshelf and this time discovered a beautiful leather bound edition of The Oxford Book of English Verse. It was quite a find, and I plunged right in. I even persuaded Nisha who hates reading poetry to read me some while I was driving. I discovered a new love poem in it. It was written by Thomas Moore who also wrote one of my other favorites: "Believe Me... " I think this poem is beautiful!!!

"Come, rest in this bosom, my own stricken deer,
Though the herd have fled from thee, thy home is still here;
Here still is the smile, that no cloud can o'ercast,
And a heart and a hand all thy own to the last.

Oh! what was love made for, if 'tis not the same
Through joy and through torment, through glory and shame?
I know not, I ask not, if guilt's in that heart?
I but know that I love thee, whatever thou art.

Thou hast call'd me thy angel in moments of bliss,
And thy Angel I'd be, 'mid the horrors of this,
Through the furnace, unshrinking, thy steps to pursue,
And shield thee, and save thee, - or perish there too!"

~ Thomas Moore