Recession Mis-advice

Authors on finance blogs and elsewhere keep giving unclear and wrong directions in these times of crunch.

  • Don’t use your credit card – keep away from debts.
  • Cash savings or liquid funds for 3 to 6 months of survival.

First one: using your credit card for everything you possibly can use it for it really the best thing to do. Multiple reasons. My point as to why you should do it in crunchy times also is that if you are paying your bills on time and have an equivalent cash amount always, it helps you further more if you can keep your cash balances in while the credit card stays on the table. My rule is to keep as much money with me as I can – and to pay off any debts as soon as they are due.

Next: it is outright stupid to have any cash or liquid funds anywhere which amount to more than a month’s spending. Your credit card should take care of almost all your needs, and a month’s worth of cash is really enough at all times. Anything extra should be put into a recurrind deposit (if you are of the failsafe kind) or into a debt mutual fund (or an equity fund if life is about risks to you). Fund redemption takes only about 2-3 days.


This is the best car I have driven so far (apart from Quay’s BMW that he loaned me for a minuscule while).

Mazda’s M5 (sports station wagon) had the best force I have so far seen. Unfortunately, my specs broke into two and I had to cruise below 50 mph to be in the range of my natural vision. Like the Altima, this one had an awesome set of features – manual transmission override being my favourite. Though the stick shift feel is absent, you still have more control over the machine.

Unfortunately, I had to drive a Ford Focus for a week (I went to Reno). Very bad experience. I wish I could have the M5 on my drive up there.


Spidey AlleyWas at the Warner Bros. studios the other day and this is what I saw there. The famous spidey scene where five guys get beaten up, MJ gets saved and spidey comes upside down to hand over a kiss was shot here (image on the right). Most of the scenes were shot around the same alley (I guess a norm in the film industry). My wife’s excitement levels were quite low as compared to mine – she has been there done that and shrugged away the studio as “not comparable” to the ones in Mumbai. Quite an experience for me.

12-oceansThe famous helicopter scene (Oceans 12)  and the casino scenes were shot in this place on the left. The helicopter scene  is supposed to be on a roof top, and can you believe it that the roof top is actually the alley we see on the left? They hid the buildings with large green screens.

Talking of the buildings, these are real buildings there. They are painted and furnished appropriately every time to match the period and flavor of the movie. Well, not just movies – but even TV serials are shot in the same sets.

friends-placeThen, the place on the right is where the famous Friends’ episode (guys are in college, chubby and look weird and go out and ask the girls for the prom night) was shot. The entire shoot (of Ross’ house) was inside this little house – and outside of it.

Proved again: Little knowledge can be lethal than none at all

Once again, somebody sucked at the Bangalore Int’l Airport and made yet another foolish mistake. As if the single terminal at an International airport did not let us have enough of their stupidity, here’s another one. Click the photo on right to see how they have wrongly used far-sightedness (see definition) when they actually meant to say that he was farsighted (see definition). I am never shy to check the dictionary, even for the word shy.

  • Here’s my tip to the BIAL media fo(o)lks: “Do not waste your insufficient brain strength on trying to promote the city. Bangalore already has a lot of credibility and recognition.”
  • Another one: What is the point of keeping Bangalore maps at the departure points and “NOT” at the arrival gates or baggage claims or the exit gates?
  • Why are the customs personnel there always looking to make a quick buck out of any one and are rude to the tip of their hair? You want money in those white dresses, that is fine with me – but why the hell do you want to poke me to the verge of lunacy?  I am so annoyed with this whole ruckus.
  • Yet another one: Why the hell are you charging a user development fee at the gate of the airport? Why can’t you let the airline counters do it? Why can’t the airline tickets include it? They don’t care about how inconvenient it gets for the passangers. I am not against the fee – BUT TAKE IT IN A DECENT ENOUGH WAY!

Make it Serve!

Update: I am so glad I could see the first day first show (May 8, 2009). The screen was small (and not an IMax, as the AMC guys put it). People were waiting for the show two hours in advance – and the premises were generally dirty. We had to shift people to get two seats together (though there were three of us).  Two non-fans of Star Trek (my wife and my manager) gave a thumbs up to the movie. I am glad they liked it – my only purpose to catch it there was to get a collectible card with Spock on it. :) Warp 5!

Hero In All Of Us

Bhagwad Gita knows that every man can be selfless, and to find that selfless being in yourself is the true aim of singular lives. To be selfless is to direct all our actions in a way such that we sacrifice anything that is for the greater good and not for a general personal achievement.

A selfless society can progress towards achieving a perfect balance and developments unknown of today. An example of selflessness is the nc6400 I am typing on. It has processing power and can do much more than I can myself. The fact that this laptop is selfless helps me and millions of others achieve a lot more in life – sometimes for the betterment of the entire universe. Could you imagine that all the people would become selfless and work only for the betterment?

“Whose doings are all devoid of design and desire for results (him the sages will call wise).” — Gita 4:19

The concepts in Gita are diluted with the injunction of God – or to speak of the interpretations therein. I agree and disagree with quotes and interpretations here. They’re intriguing as long as God is not introduced as a super-being everywhere and distinct from one’s self. May be Spiderman’s aunt May knows something that pieced together Gita for me. “I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams…” – May Parker to Peter (Parker). To set things right with all of us, that is the prime thing we need to grow up with – regard ourselves as heroes with noble intentions and being selfless all the time.

I dreamt of Koopa Trooper, what does it mean?

That means that Luigi and Donkey Kong will come visiting you for some adult fun. And if you dreamt of Koopa in the Vanilla Lake, then most probably that also means that Yoshi will do something weird to you.

GIVE ME A BREAK! It really doesn’t mean any thing if you dream about any buckle. You can dream about graves, bananas, dead people coming alive, living people going dead, people getting AIDS, people getting cancer or spondalytis or people coming f**king any thing you like – it doesn’t mean any shit. Please – actual dreams, and I mean when your brain really shows you stuff you’ve never seen – are nothing. Please do not try to interpret your dreams, they really will take you no where.

On the other hand, worst nightmares come true mostly when you repeat them verbally over and again after you’ve seen them just once. So please don’t make your life hard and just enjoy the free shows at night (playing inside your own self).

Excuse me, I can't vote

Now if you’ve run out of reasons why you can’t vote, here are some more to save your day. Just toss in these excuses when someone asks you. Be sure to screw your country – do it proudly.

  • Reason No. 3:  The black mark they will put on my finger would make me look like Goga Kapoor. I am afraid I’ll lose my identity.
  • Reason No. 2: I am a Shakladwipi Brahman (or a Mayuri Kumhar, or a or a Suryavanshi Rajput or some sub caste/caste) and the voting booth is across a stream and we are not allowed to cross water streams on Tuesdays. Plus, the stream is coming right from Kailash and will flow into the Bay of Bengal so by the time I go around it, the voting would any way be closed. Unless I go missing for two days.
  • Reason No. 1:  We have a family of 8 (or 6 or 4 or 2 or some even number) – and half of us would vote for Congress while the other half for BJP. So it cancels out each others’ votes – so we decided to have a mini election at our house and not go bothering the Election Commission. See, how socially responsible and extra smart we are?

Yes you are. Let’s get together and f**k this nation by not voting and finding more excuses. Thanks!

Ultimate Altima

AltimaWell, a Nissan Altima is not the only thing in life – but this car is just so great that it doesn’t hurt to write a few things about it.

It is a hot cake right now and you can see an Altima more often on the roads  – whenever you see a new car. The transmission is just amazing and has given me about 30 mpg until now. I guess that’s extremely nice considering the spread of speeds I cruise on (from 20 to 65 mph). The best thing is that both the cooler and heater take only about 20 seconds to set the temp right  – really!

Tons of features, things I haven’t even checked out completely yet. I feel so overwhelmed with technology for the first time in life!

I was up for a Pontiac (G5) – somehow it didn’t quite turn right and this was what I chose. I am glad I did.

"India, make up your mind" -Stephen Cohen

Stephen Cohen does not have a standing in the Asian world (that includes a section of the Pakistani diplomats and journalists too). There are sources (search keywords: stephen cohen india pakistan) that would prove how this guy dabbles – his sole objective is to clean up the creases in the US media and smear blame on everyone else. As always, there are people in the US media who question Cohen’s objective analysis, which sways mostly in their favour without any capacity to be fair.

Cohen has always been against India (in a few exceptional circumstances not involving Pakistan as a subject) and the Indian diplomacy. It would be fair to say that India’s diplomatic standpoints are almost always ridiculed, no matter how much of a good effort has been put into it. There are indeed blunders committed but as I see, Indian foreign relations have seen a new high in the past fifteen years (with the beginnings mostly in the Vajpayee Ji’s era). Of course, Cohen would not like to see subtelities to his disadvantage. I would never pay attention to him again. Ever.

The Hitchhiker's Guide – Douglas Adams

Finally, I completed this book. One amazing bite of humour (notice the “u”) and you are out of your own world. In case there’s something troubling you – or you are not able to concentrate – hold a copy of the Guide and pick out any random chapter to start off. Of course, you have to read it once top-bottom, but after you’re done doing that – you can start playing the pages on random mode. You will never get over it. Guaranteed.

Now I know where the tons of software names, companies, buildings and whatnots have turned up from. It’s all in the Guide. Trillian, Googleplex and Babelfish – to name a few. Mr. Adams was amazingly ahead of his time (and still is). There’s no stopping to the genius in him. Like this one:

“What? Harmless? Is that all it’s got to say? Harmless! One word?” – Arthur.
“Well, there are a hundred billion stars in the Galaxy, and only a limited amount of space in the book’s microprocessors.. and no one knew much about the  Earth, of course.” – Ford
“Well, for God’s sake, I hope you managed to rectify that a bit (after your 15 years of stay on Earth)” – Arthur.
“Oh yes, well, I managed to transmit a new entry off to the editor. He had to trim it a bit, but it’s still an improvement.” – Ford.
“And what does it say now?” – Arthur.
Mostly harmless.” – Ford.

I know how to die laughing now. I have to just remember this bit at my deathbed and crack it once for everyone around me.

Q&A: Cosmic Conundrums – Robert Matthews

This was a fascinating read (especially the last three chapters). I found this book accidentally (was on sale in Landmark) and the first few random pages looked really good – so I grabbed it along.

Simple explanations for a lot of things (that you wonder or don’t wonder about). ‘Tis true that most of the stuff there is scattered over the wikipedias, but to read it under lamp and one after another is nothing short of ecstasy (heh). Must read if you have any curiosity at all.