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Asterisk, Star, British pound!

Satchel is so cute when he’s angry!

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Must read comics obsessively!

(post title style borrowed from a friend. You know who you are.)

A few days ago samudrika introduced me to Ctrl-Alt-Del, an online comic strip that’s mostly about games.

I took a look at it, liked it and added the RSS feed to my Netvibes comics tab and forgot about it for a few days.

This afternoon, I was a bit bored and visited the website to read a few strips. Within minutes I was giggling at the geeky jokes and decided I need to read it from the start. Except, the first comic was published in October 2002 and repeatedly clicking “Next” on the webpage got tiresome.

So I quickly viewed the source of the comic page to figure out which directory the images were saved in and the pattern of the file names. After that it was simple matter of writing a small script that generated all the file names for a given set of dates and add them to my download manager.

About an hour later thanks to broadband, I had every single Ctrl-Alt-Del strip…

And now I’ve already plowed through the first three years of the strip and I don’t plan on stopping soon… 🙂

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The Tax-man cometh. NOT!

The Guardian has this amazing story of how a New Zealander wreaked vengence on the income tax authorities after they wrongfully prosecuted him.

He bought the IT office, and then evicted them! 🙂

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Ghost phone!

I got this message from a friend online:

9885195629 This is a girl’s phone number who comitted suicide 6 months back. God knows who recieves her calls even today. If u try this number before midnight it says that this number is busy. and after mid night it starts ringing and u can hear female voice crying for help. Beleive me try it out…….But at your own risk……Take care. Weak hearts dont try…………..

I am not willing to try so do let me know what happens.

Weird, huh? Well, I’m going to wait until midnight to call that number. In case you never see me blog here again, you know what happened! 😛

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Mostly Harmless

I just finished listening to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio series even though I’d had the mp3s lying around for ages.

I had downloaded the original radio series of 12 episodes years ago and dumped them onto a CD and had then forgotten about them completely. Last month I stumbled upon a site[1] that had mp3s of the new series broadcast in 2004 and 2005 which covered the story from the last three books (and in hoary Hitchhiker’s Guide tradition flatly contradicting quite a few episodes from the original series!)

Through most of the new series there are a number of additions, omissions and modifications, the majority of which are mostly harmless. The one change they made that annoyed the hell out of me though was the end of the last episode.

**SPOILER**

By the time Douglas Adams wrote the fifth book in the series he was pretty much fed up with people asking him to write more Hitchhiker’s Guide books and so he wanted to pretty much end the series definitively. Thus in Mostly Harmless (written many years after the previous book and with definitely darker tones) he kills off all the major characters and destroys the Earth quite completely.

I had wondered how they were going to handle that in the radio series but I assumed it would only be cosmetic changes. But no. In the radio series, every one lives. And happily ever after too. At Milliways[2]. And Fenchurch returns. As does Marvin. And worse, Arthur gets TWO happily ever afters. On one probability he lives with Fenchurch on an Earth that has popped into existence again and on the other, all the major characters spend the rest of their days at Milliways. Worse still, Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged[3] who I quite liked as a bit character is killed off! By Zarquon!

**END SPOILER**

To cheer myself up and forget this hack work, I need to dig out my DVDs of the TV series and watch them again. Its been a couple of years…

[1]: Email me and I’ll send you the link to the site.
[2]: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
[3]: The immortal guy who decided to insult everyone in the universe.

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If I’m a little bug-eyed…

…blame it on the movie marathon I did yesterday. I watched 3 movies at the cinema one after the other with just a break for lunch.

I started with Syriana at 11am. At first the quick cuts, the insane number of characters and information had me lost. But the story quickly came together (in my head, at least!) and I really liked the movie. By far the best movie I saw yesterday. The funniest bit was where they had these actors playing Pakistani immigrant workers in the gulf speaking such completely bad and stilted Hindustani. One of them had a terrible accent too!

After stuffing my face with pizza for lunch, I watched A History of Violence. I hadn’t heard anything about this movie before save for the fact that Maria Bello was nominated for an Oscar. But when I saw the trailer last week, it seemed quite interesting and I decided I had to catch it. I wasn’t disappointed. I quite liked the story and even Viggo Mortenson’s acting. And hey, even the blockbuster fans will be happy with the slick (albeit few) action sequences.

The last movie I saw was Brokeback Mountain. I wasn’t too keen on it since it seemed to be surrounded by hype and I hadn’t really read anything that made me want to watch the movie. And well, as I thought, I didn’t like it much. (You may flame me now! :p) It wasn’t a terrible movie, but I didn’t think it was anything great either! I liked the way the story was told, in little vingnettes stretching over the years and it was certainly a very picturesque movie. But gawd was it slow! And what’s with everyone raving about what a great love story it is? This is two people cheating on their spouses and having sex with each other. Since when did that rate as an epic love story?

Anyway, this seems to be a great time for movies in Bombay. I’m planning on catching The Producers this weekend and Being Cyrus the next! 🙂

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Travelling on Bombay locals means…

…no matter how empty the train is, your feet will get stepped on an average of two times.

…when you decide to sit under a fan in a crowded train, about three people will stand around you, not only blocking out the fan, but also blocking all light, so forget about reading that book/paper.

…not only will they stand around and chat loudly over your head, but they will chew paan and tobacco and so fill the air with that stench.

…if you’re really unlucky, the juice dribbling down their mouth (or spraying all over when they guffaw at whatever joke) will fall on you.

…elbowing or being elbowed out of the way when trying to board a train on a good day.

…being yanked backwards by the collar/scruff of your neck and virtually ejected from the train on a bad day.

…the smelly old man sitting next to you will fall asleep on your shoulder.

…the same smelly old man will sit with his arms akimbo and poke you in the ribs.

…despite being asleep, the smelly old man’s arms will successfully resist attempts to push them away.

…never being able to talk on the phone since you use a crappy phone service that won’t work on the train.

…people will ask to read your morning newspaper before you’ve finished reading it.

…looking at advertisements for “Body Massages” (with “home service”) and wondering why they’d want to put that in a train since everyone gets a free all-over body massage standing in a crowded train anyway.

…if you’re sitting in an aisle seat, the guy standing in the aisle will decide to rest his butt on your shoulder.

…you’re thankful he doesn’t decide to rest his groin on your shoulder as others are wont to do.

…being late every now and then since there’s always some “rail roko” by “public-minded” groups protesting some inane cause.

…learning to forget you ever had personal space.

…this list will go on! 😀

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Blog? What’s that?

I just discovered that Blogger’s spellcheck doesn’t recognise blog or blogger as words and suggests block and blouse for the former and blocker, Bulgaria and bleaker for the latter!

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Sorry, I’m a bit tied up at the moment…

Hands free sets (wired and wireless) for cell phones are really popular with the population in Bombay. Mostly because the Nokia phones which everyone (except me) owns allows you to listen to FM radio through them.

So there’s everyone walking around with wires dangling from their ears or with the Jabra-type headsets looking like agents from the Matrix (or the Secret Service?) And its very disconcerting to see a person in a car apparently talking to thin air animatedly or a person strolling down a street yelling at no one. But I don’t really have anything against it, since back in the US I made a lot of use of a hands-free headset too. (Although not because I was all busy and working, but because I was usually chatting on the ‘net simultaneously and so needed both my hands free to type!)

Among the funnier things I see with headsets is how they hold up the microphone (which is dangling from a wire) to their mouths to speak. Thus defeating the purpose of “hands free!” Today though, I saw something that really made me guffaw. There was this guy with his handsfree head set wrapped around his face (honest!) so that the microphone was held tightly against his upper lip and he was talking through it! What an idea! *snicker*

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Outsourced humour

For being so totally lazy and not updating this blog, even though I promised, I’m trying to make up by posting this little comic I found on my hard disk while cleaning up sundry folders.

Jokes about outsourcing, holidays, Americans, Indians, Bush, what more do you want? 🙂

(Click the thumbnail for the full size version)