The Power of Visiting Cards

July 2, 2011

I have commented about the awesomeness of visiting cards earlier. Today I found out that I have actually been underestimating their power. This was a footnote in The Berlin-Baghdad Express by Sean McMeekin:

The origin of Oppenheim’s title of Baron (‘Freiherr’ in German) remains unclear, aside from the fact that he put it on his own calling card. It took some time, but eventually the moniker stuck. After his name burst into the headlines in 1906, he was generally referred to both inside and outside Germany as ‘Baron Oppenheim’.

Wow. Evidently if you keep something on your visiting card long enough, it becomes true.

You know what this means, don’t you? If only Kiruba had stayed the course, he would actually be a Wikimedia director by now.

About the book: I’m three chapters in so far. It has Ottoman Empire politics, German railway engineering, and Orientalists. So it is awesome and badass.

And… Reboot!

July 1, 2011

Oh hi guys. I know I wrote three months ago that I probably wouldn’t be touching my blog again for two years. And yet, here I am. Here is the explanation.

I was diagnosed with high anxiety levels about a month ago. Since then, I’ve been on antidepressants and started behavioural therapy. However, the high anxiety levels have probably been around for a while – at least a year, I’m guessing – and they probably contributed to me not wanting to write here. Meanwhile, the antidepressants have been working very well, and I’m much more enthusiastic about blogging as well as work, and all my other projects – so if this state of affairs continues, blogging should become regular again. Yay for sertraline!

Also, my pyschologist has told me to blog as part of my therapy. Whatay.

If I’m able to get over the anxiety and improve my time management skills, there should probably be a podcast about really awful books starting here soon.

And now, back to regular programming.


April 1, 2011

(This post is not an April Fool’s Joke.)

I’m shutting down this blog. I’ve posted so little the past couple of years that it hardly justifies the amount I’m spending on hosting and the domain name. I don’t think the posting is going to go up in the immediate future, either. My free time is right now occupied with two columns, one editing gig, and one other long-term writing project that I want to give as much focus as possible to, so blogging is very low on my priority list.

I hope that this isn’t permanent, and I will be taking a backup of everything in case I ever restart, but I doubt that’s going to happen in the next couple of years.

Toodle-pip. It’s been a fun eight years.

On Being Boring

January 20, 2010

Nilu claims that being boring is a virtue. And then goes on to write some other nonsense which is completely unrelated.1 But that is irrelevant – the larger point is that it took Nilu two years to come up with a justification for being boring.

Unfortunately, The Mad Momma has pretty much cornered the market on passing off one’s lack of talent or accomplishment as a virtue. And perhaps that only works if your audience is other mommybloggers. And when the puker adopts the method of the pukee, there’s no hope.

In other words – come back theothernilu. All is forgiven.

1: See, I can be condescending without using Latin words.

Introducing Samtaben

July 25, 2009

It looks like my run of no posts will continue for a while. So for the next few weeks, there will be a guest blogger at Givvup Only Are There. Please welcome Samtaben.

Samtaben is currently in China. Since the government there has blocked and; I offered her a guestblogging stint rather than having to deal with anonymizers or Chinese blogging platforms. She will be writing about traveling in China, learning Mandarin, and living like an expat. She is also more Goregaon-types than Gujew, so please don’t make fun of her.

Our Very Own Friedman

April 19, 2009

It is fascinating to read Seriously Sandeep these days. Sandeep’s use – or rather abuse – of metaphors is fast approaching Thomas Friedman levels.

Like this:

You need to really think from another bodily orifice to impute symmetry between the two.

Another bodily orifice? Which bodily orifice do people usually think with? Is this morbid obsession with orifices due to the influence of Es Y’golonac?

And then there’s this:

The news fresh from the oven is how the mass of concocted turd that Teesta Setalvad threw against Modi came back and landed on her own face after seven years.

WTF? Seriously, WTF? How do you concoct a turd? Does it involve carefully monitoring how many beans and pulses you eat? And even if you did concoct a turd, who in their right minds would preserve a turd for seven years?

Let’s not forget the man’s Pioneer op-ed:

The frenzied shindigs surrounding the battle fortifications bring both amusement and concern at the eve of every election especially after the demise of single-party dominance in Indian politics.

I can imagine a situation where you have shindigs inside battle fortifications, when the fortified army has enough resources to last out a siege and decides to party. But if you’re talking about the stuff surrounding fortifications, it’s usually siege weapons and infantry companies. Rarely shindigs. And forget the shindig. What the hell does that sentence mean? How do you parse it? I fed it to the Stanford Parser (thanks, Arnab!) and it took almost 1.75 seconds to come up with this. It still doesn’t make sense. This, by the way, is the man who wrote:

It also, further, suffers from the same potomania that characterizes Marxist writings: a glaring paucity of clear thought and a tendency to use a thousand words instead of one.

What can explain this outpouring of mixed metaphors? My theory is that at any given point of time, there must be one ranting desi blog that is obsessed with shit. Last year, it was Jagadguru and poopi. And now it is Sandeep with his turds. When He stopped blogging in January, it was not to abandon us. Rather, He has returned as Seriously Sandeep. Blessed is the Jagadguru!

Review Coming Up

January 22, 2009

Ashish Jaiswal, the author of True Dummy – a Fable of Existence, has asked me to review the book (psst: it launched two days ago). He’s also asked me to be honest about the book in the review, and not asked for special treatment.

I’m reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao right now. Once I’ve finished that, I’ll start True Dummy and review it. Normal blogging will happen in the interim (if it happens at all).

Blogging and a Quiz

December 11, 2008

The absence of regular posts has been because I was busy getting a quiz ready. In the time since my last bout of regular posting, armed motherfuckers shot up my city, I quit my job, multiple people I know got married, had babies, or celebrated their birthdays; and I upgraded WordPress to 2.7. So it goes.

As for the quiz – it’s been done by me, Skimpy and Kodhi; and Aishwarya, Beatzo, Gaurav and Kunal have helped with vetting the questions. To make things more joyous, it’s being conducted in both Bombay (by me) and in Bangalore (by Baada). Both quizzes will take place on Sunday afternoon.

For details on where and when in Bangalore, head here. For Bombay details, head here. The short directions for Bombay are – 2.45 pm, Pinstorm Office, next to the Kotak Mahindra Bank branch on Linking Road in Santa Cruz. Do show up, the quiz will be fun.

Why Am I Bhadra?

October 13, 2008

My incoming links reveal that Chetan is asking why free market fundamentalists are not clamouring about the evil governments of the world looting the maid’s money.

Chetan, I cannot speak for anybody else, but I haven’t written about it yet because the details of the bailouts are unbelievably complex, and it’ll take me intense reading to understand them. I don’t want to write about things which I don’t understand yet. (This is why I have vowed to never write about US Healthcare.)

If you really want uninformed commentary by people who don’t know anything about what they’re talking about, I suggest you watch Indian news channels. Or read Shivam Vij who excels at that sort of thing.

OK, snark done. Serious answer now. Yes, I honestly do not understand the details of the bailout. Yes, I may read up on it more and then write about it seriously. But sleisha job crisis is happening on the personal front, so I may take time.

The only thing I have to say at this time concerns Tyler Cowen’s repeated statements that recapitalisation is a public good. They tie in with my repeated statements that the financial system is infrastructure as much as highways and power distribution are. So the statement is true, but public goods don’t necessarily have to be produced by the public sector.

New Digs

August 1, 2008

In the name of Amibah, the most powerful, the most vengeful, I welcome you to, the new home of Givvup Only Are There.

The shift over from has happened because:

  1. seems to be one a spam database and has been getting rogered by spambots the past few months. I kept going over my bandwidth quota, and the site would be down for half the month. Not fun. This domain name will hopefully remain off spamlists for a while. Even if it doesn’t, I now have eight times as much monthly bandwidth.
  2. I want to put sober and professional image at in case recruiters or admissions committees come looking. So after a month or so it’ll only have a resume and a writing portfolio.
  3. sounds cooler. Ethnic chic are there.

Thus, please update your bookmarks, your blogrolls and your feed readers. Please note that:

  1. I am on a new server as well as having a new domain name. I have much more server space as well as much more bandwidth. I may use this for cool stuff, therefore. If I have the time.
  2. The feed for runs off feedburner, and so my flickr photos and links are included automagically.
  3. I have finally updated my blogroll after years of masterful inactivity, and it’s now trimmer and lighter, and with fewer blogs that haven’t updated in months.
  4. The new server and domain do not automatically imply that I’ll post more. That will remain correlated to my level of NED.