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Category: the odes

01/02/09 07:28 - 32ºF - ID#47248

Hope as a construct.

This is going to be a rather boring abstract stream of thoughts from some of yesterday's conversations. Thus, feel free to skip this journal. I am writing it because really, the construct of hope continues to fascinate me. I am not sure whether its this particular holiday season - the only one I have spent away from immediate family or because I am at this crazy unsure point in my school. Every step seems to take an eternity because a thousand thoughts flow and ebb before I complete it.

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At the last minute I see patterns in the waves and that changes the place where my step is finally going to take root. I am almost about to place my foot down but I look down and I see its not solid ground.

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Its a wild desolate marsh full of exotic colours - they are so exciting and pretty but they are also so foreign I can't name them even if I try really hard! I look up and there is a lighthouse but its lights are too distant and fog shrouds its outlines. Its a hint of hope. Every little thing I see is tinged with hope when what I really want is for them to be fully coloured with bold broad firm strokes.

I think hope is very contextual in its distribution. Its in tune with what we do for a living and what our particular situation in life is. Why does this nonuniform distribution even exist? Why is it that our professional lives are, more often than not, tempered with a heavier dose of hopes and convictions than our perspective of the professional fields that others work in? Does this unequal hope temperance only happen when we have invested a high level of effort and deliberation in choosing and pursuing our professions? It surely does not stand a chance when we hate our jobs, but it thrives when we feel even a tenuous and remote connection to what we do for our living.

Are we merely justifying the work that went into being qualified for a living when we cultivate dreams for its future and believe in them? Or do we think that somehow our "expert insight" into our professions extend to also detecting shiny and hopeful visions of this field in the crystal ball? Does all this also stunt our visions for other professional fields? Is it some psychological one-bird-in-hand grapes-are-sour phenomenon?

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New Year Resolution 2. Write down craziness when it occurs. Use writing as a weapon for thought resolution. Check.




Photos:


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Words: 452
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: eating in

01/01/09 02:16 - 15ºF - ID#47240

The New Year Brunch 2009

Resolution No. 1: Cook more interesting stuff. Check.

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Category: e:strip

01/01/09 12:06 - 15ºF - ID#47239

The party and some thoughts...

I had a wonderful time at the party yesterday. Thanks (e:Paul), (e:Matthew) and (e:Terry) for hosting it! It was a very fun way to start a new year. Yes, I missed the ball drop and on hindsight, it was for a very fashionably late reason - I was "building" a proper and fitting thanks to (e:mike) for his really thoughful handmade card. I think it was completely worth missing the ball drop for. :)

I got to meet and talk to a number of familiar (e:peeps) I have only known virtually. (e:leetee), (e:theli), (e:Maureen), (e:iriesara), (e:ladycroft), Rory (not an official (e:) yet!) and (e:lilho), I was delighted to meet you all! Hope to see you all sometime soon - hopefully before this year flies by. I also loved meeting and "gracing-the-staircase" with Malibu! You are awesomely gorgeous and the best part is, I think you know it. :^D

I was thinking back to something (e:iriesara) said to me yesterday night. I think you were right in saying that there is always time for a nookie, but what if there is no inclination at all? What if, its not just a (really quite non-existent) excuse for lack of time but a total lack of interest in virtually all "available" people I meet? After all, we do know pretty well my rather unhealthy obsession with 70s moustaches and how rare they usually are. ;-) Somehow, I think "nookies" stopped being a priority for me after I turned 22. Associated and complete disinterest in boyfriends followed soon after. It might be hard to comprehend but I really love my uncomplicated, lazy, easy and unfettered single life. I have no one to be guilty for, no one to please, no one to be worried about, no one to fret about, no wasted mindspace of annoyance and no drama. Things are incredibily straightforward and I have no regrets. So don't feel sad for me because I really love it -- nookie-absence and all.

(e:terry), I just emailed (e:paul). I am including (e:paul) as an immediate poking associate. Please follow-up if you are interested. Time is fast running out and deadlines are closing as I write this. It's time to make a decision and very soon.

(e:theli), I had fun thinking about the way we communicate and I think you had some excellent points about the evolution of communication. It is surely possible that at some point in the future, the most efficient forms of communication may not necessarily be the ones that immediately stand out as tomes of erudition and deliberation. I was just being reactionary and defending emails against cellphones - mainly because I hate toting a cellphone around.

(e:james), we need some more ghoul talk around here! This is all getting a bit too animated and alive for comfort. Dissenters need to be punished. :)
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: art

12/31/08 04:27 - 15ºF - ID#47234

Waste your time no more...

Life is short. Who wants to waste so much time, energy and money watching two-parter humongous movies? No one. How else do you get yourself up to snuff on hollywood effluents? The answer is here! The bunnies are here to save those precious 30 seconds!!



Get with the program. Start saving time this new year.



More time saving strategies here:
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Words: 66
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: buffalo

12/31/08 02:03 - 15ºF - ID#47232

Mayflower Snow Postcard

I woke up to this picture perfect postcard view today morning -- all that pretty snow framed by some more snow lining my flat window!

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Wish you all an awesome new year ahead and hope all your cherished dreams come true in 2009.

Cheers!
TP
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Category: grocery

12/27/08 12:06 - 36ºF - ID#47194

Year-end groceries - December 2008

All this piled-up snow is cramping my grocery style!
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That's right. I didn't particularly feel like shovelling my way to Guercio's. I went to Biglots and Wegman's instead. To spite them both and generally pout about my forced Guercio's deprivation, I am going to refer to them collectively as Weglots.
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Oh yeah. AND I CAN'T BELIEVE WEGLOTS WAS OUT OF PEANUT OIL!
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Way to kick me in the guts, Weglots!

Ahem. The groceries.

1. Weglots fat free milk. 1 Gallon - $2.39
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This seems like a cool mug to have, huh? I thought so too, but I think the lower end might be kind of hard to clean. Hmmmm...

2. Weglots low-fat vanilla yoghurt - $1.99
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3. Dole Mixed Frozen Fruit - $8.59 (Still the best deal around - considering the sky-high fruit prices and the dearth of variety.)
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4. Weglots Iodized Salt - (2) $1.00 (Believe it not I stock up on salt. I might be headed for the no-good land of hypertension later this century, but I just can't lay off the salt. Mmmmm.... Salty!)
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5. Weglots organic firm tofu - $1.99 (Damn. This used to $1.29 in 2006 and $1.79 earlier this year) Tofu, the vegan zombie. DIE DIE!
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6. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets - $3.49 (I *had* to get thiis. I think I am slowly dying inside because I can't get crazy spicy super-hot street samosas with chutney anymore.
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I can't deep fry without tripping the fire-alarm, so this seemed like a good alternative. I will let you all know how this turns out. :))

7. 4. Fleischmann's Rapid-Rise Yeast - $1.59 ($1.59 for a bunch of one-celled fungi?! Meh. Even lab supplies are cheaper. Maybe I should just steal some from the lab.)
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8. Weglots baking powder - $1.29 (After months of living in denial about the utility of Sodium Aluminium Suphate, Calcium Sulphate and Monocalcium Phosphate, I think (e:Heidi)'s cookies have finally made me see the light and inch out of baking umbra.

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Maybe not into the baking light yet (because I refuse to heap the tablespoons of butter for the baking) but possibly into a kind of baking-powder-yeast-illuminated penumbra. I am still not convinced about the corn starch though. I mean, isn't there enough starch in the flour anyway??! Why do you need more starch and that too, made of corn??!)

9. Pane Italian Bread - $2.00 (This used to be $1.50 not so long ago. Not to be confused with Pano's. I doubt whether they use this fine fibre-less bread in that eatery even though this is like the cheapest bread in the "live" bakery. For the uninformed, as opposed to the "dead" bakery where you can see only shelved baked products in plastic bags, in the live bakery you can actually see a stone hearth oven and live bakers flitting around. )
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10. 5 pounds of Grapefruit - $3.99
Contrary to what this demented person -> would have you believe, my opinion is set in stone.
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11. 3.18 pounds Broccoli - $4.10


12. TOMATOES. AT LAST. 1.87lb @ $2.49/lb: $4.66
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13. 5 pounds Clementines - $4.99 Such a great deal - if only they stopped selling them in those ridiculous wood boxes!
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14. Pears Colombian Supremo Coffee Sampler - $0.50
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Pears? Hmmm... Whatever. Can't be too bad when its just fitty cent.

15. TWWWWWIIIIIZZZZLLLLEEERRRSSS!!!! - $1.50
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16. Black Peppercorns (Some random brand unlike the super-elite Thalassery ones that (e:zzzzoobaaaarrr) got some posts earlier) - $1.00
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17. Baking Sheet - $4.50 (In continuation of the penumbric baking migration I mentioned earlier).
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18. Andy Capp Hot Fries - $0.49 I am trying REALLY hard not to get these on a regular basis. I swear this is the first pack since... well a number of months.
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19. Bar of Dove Origins dark chocolate - $1.80
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20. "LiveActive" Post mixed berry Crunch cereal with inulin - $2.00
I admit it. I bought this cereal more as a matter of curiosity than any kind of I-must-try-this-cereal driven mania. Apparently it has inulin.
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This substance is supposed to promote the growth of some of my "friendly" unnamed gut bacteria.
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I am vaguely bothered by these catch-phrases and claims. How do we know for sure, seeing as each of us have 500-600 species of different bacteria as compared to any of our fellow-humans, that what is "friendly" for one person is equally friendly for others? What if this is what we are actually promoting?
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These probiotic foods have steadily been populating the shelves of the "nature's marketplace" at Weglots. And we are still quite a long way off from learning what the human gut microbiome really does. Just sayin'...

21. "Works" Toilet Bowl Cleaner (2) - $3.00
Yeah. It BETTER work.
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Total: $57.81

The grocery trippiness is over. Hopefully, no more grocery trips through this godawful slushy snow till next year, and yes, more Guercio's in 2009, please. :)
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: {dodo}

12/24/08 06:04 - 46ºF - ID#47175

Rahmboid Overdose.

Hilarious.



And I admit. A bit nauseating. Ugh.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: the odes

12/24/08 04:32 - 45ºF - ID#47173

Wake up and smell the New Year....

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  • Thank you for this gem of a strip, Bill Watterson. :)
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: opinion

12/16/08 06:04 - 23ºF - ID#47084

The PEPFAR: For e:Joshua.

This is in relation to (e:Joshua)'s comments on (e:libertad,47072) journal. I took the (e:drew) route and posted this instead because my initial comment sort of became tough to shorten. :)

(e:joshua): I am not convinced about the arguments you make about the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) - the anti-AIDs program you mention. HIV is not a simple and straighforward black and white moral-amoral disease. However, Bush's funding has insisted on treating the disease as such.

I am not primarily an HIV researcher, but I try to keep up with the field news. Strong and repeated evidence shows that HIV spread is successfully targeted by an enveloping multi-pronged strategy including (but not limited to) condom distribution, sex education, needle-exchanges, and antiretrovirals.

All this is NOT possible without understanding the behavioural side of the disease as well. And believe me, the behavioural aspects of this disease are mind-blowingly complex. The roots lie in what makes us elementally human and what makes us aggregate into societies.

The Bush funding on the PEPFAR came with certain caveats that totally astonished the scientific community. The PEPFAR mandated that the beneficiaries spend ONE-THIRD of its prevention budget on programs that promote abstinence until marriage. PEPFAR money was blocked from going into needle-exchange programs and increased condom access intiatives. This mandate (unlike the credit system) was NOT trust based. The recipient nations had to sign an anti-prostitution pledge written by the Bush administration, vowing to oppose prostitution and almost go to the extent of outlawing it.

Scientific HIV research communities across the world as well as human rights groups were borderline shocked at how such massive federal money could possibly be poured into such a non-scientific, ill-advised medieval non-evidence supported strategy to combat AIDs in one of the most diverse society driven continents on the planet.

It flew in the face of overwhelming evidence that prostitutes are the major implementers of the anti-AIDS behavioral preventive measures and that condoms are an eminently effective measure against ALL sexually transmitted diseases (including AIDS). The PEPFAR program demonstrated a deep-rooted ignorance of the nature of HIV in Africa - a disease more driven by poverty and gender inequality than by iniquity. Additionally, the program buried its head in the sand when it came to the scientific fact that AIDS is not just an STD. It's a blood-borne disease and drug users do contribute a sizeable chunk to the incidence of HIV positive disease.


The PEPFAR recipients were virtually banned from including sex workers in the prevention strategies and were forced to leave them out in the cold. The strategy was heavily criticized by most of the donor countries except US. They demanded scientific evidence for this measure and the PEPFAR FAILED to demonstrate any evidence. YET, they went ahead.

The PEPFAR was initially not just directed at Africa, it was directed at a number of Latin American ("developing") countries as well. Some of these countries flat out refused the aid (eg. Brazil) because it was so... well, for lack of a better word, foolish. These countries have since (or even before PEPFAR came along) implemented successful (and documented) strategies that have brought down incidence rates.

The PEPFAR, on the other hand, has had no (or very skeletally reported) scientifically documented improvements in incidence rates in continental Africa. The program was a major embarrassment to the Bush Administration abroad (if not here and among the morally insular) and in scientific circles because of this reason. There was an element of glee and "We told you so!" among other international donors. Earlier this year, the objectives and implementation of the program were re-evaluated and the whole crazy 1/3rd money for prevention-via-abstinence-only caveat was struck down. I am not 100% sure about this but the brainless anti-prostitution pledge STILL stands.

When you donate $15 billion to a cause, you better understand how you are spending the money. Moral crusades are never the best guides in medicine.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: art

12/15/08 10:39 - 28ºF - ID#47073

Dancing Tiger, Singing Dragon

That's what you get when you link up two neighbouring film industries across the Himalayas and hire Hollywood to do the marketing.



Nice music, though. :)



They may have hired some Chinese to fill in the roles and dance around, but the storyline is as transparent and brainless as always, the songs are crazily catchy and the colours are as popping as ever. Hahahaha.

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  • Chandni Chowk is the insanely vibrant marketplace in front of the Red Fort in the walled city of Old Delhi. My school was a just a brisk walk away.

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I don't think any place in Delhi comes even close to the madness, the surging crowds, the ear-splitting sounds, the oblivious stray cows, the reckless rickshaws, the overstocked book-shops and the awesome and divinely delicious street food that make up Chandni Chowk.

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Words: 157
Location: Buffalo, NY


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tinypliny said to joe
DAMMIt. I want those blueberries. Consider yourself lucky I am not up the street anymore!...

tinypliny said to joe
Lovely pics :)...

tinypliny said to joe
It entails snooty judges traipsing through your garden, drinking your wine and eating your cheese......

tinypliny said to joe
"Everyone got to sketch them out" -- as in make a sketch drawing?!...