July 31, 2007

No Reservations

Finally.. another movie review.. Ofcourse it wasn't like I away from the movies or anything but its refreshing nevertheless. In short, this movie was sweet. There was nothing phenomenal.. nothing boring either. The movie was paced briskly and didn't feel like close ot 2 hours at all. Its a low budget movie with no major plot lines, no major sets, nothing too impressive at all. And as anyone who's seen the trailer must've, the plotline is barely anything to figure out. Catherine Zeta-Jones looks old but is as classy as ever. She's an ace-chef in NYC and is the queen of her kitchen. When she's away to tend to a personal tragedy. the owner hires a charming new sous chef, Aaron Eckhart. He's a roguishly charming, opera-loving, easy going cool dude, the exact opposite of Kate and this does'nt go unnoticed. While he is very talented, she notices him only when he succeeds in what she has not - opening up her grieving niece, Abigail Breslin who has just lost her mom to an accident. While Kate hasn't succeeded in making the kid eat anything over the week, Nick (Aaron) succeeds in no time. Abigail's cute and very lovable through the movie. And as it moves along, the three find their places to coexist and create the perfect recipe for life.

The verdict: Its a chick-flick. If you're expecting any major twists or turns, there are none. At one point a half hour before the movie actually ended, everything seemed so smooth that I thought that the movie was over. And then came the barely acceptable twist. Its a very likeable movie but certainly not a must-watch.

July 27, 2007

The intrigue factor

Betty or Veronica?

Betty - The girl next door, always there for you, low-maintenance, very sweet and caring, craves some.. any attention from you, makes you all your favorite food, ordinary wardrobe

Veronica - Rich dad = Spoiled brat, Long legs, Totally hot, bumps you off more quite a bit, very high maintenance, has the 'intrigue factor', fashion diva

Who's your type?

July 24, 2007

JC Penney | Heart

Such a cute commercial.. Very adorable.

July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - **** SPOILER ALERT ***

There's been all hue and cry about the final HP book that came out yesterday. And I have been dying to read it! Having read it, I am going to summarize my review into concise goods and bads without giving away too much..

I loved................

1) The book itself - It almost tied most loose ends though somethings were obviously let to imagination. And finally, this is a children's book which probably may not do justice to adult expectations. Read it in that view and you'll probably love t too.. It is clearly the best book among those from Goblet... up until now
2) Hermione - She is sparkling and it truly shows what it is to have a brilliant mind by your side. Some of her ideas and presence of mind are glorious..
3) Kreacher - His transformation is very enjoyable
4) The Deathly Hallows - Cool concept, well-explained and also proves that Dumbledore isn't as good as he sounds
5) Neville - Though he plays a very small part in the end, it is absolutely crucial to the story line and I love him for that
6) Polyjuice potion - Its been tactfully used at every conceivable place and you have to hand it to Rowling for thinking it up at most places. The plots surrounding its use are delightful
7) Lack of the Pensieve - The fact that Rowling didn't lapse back to the Pensieve as many times as she did in the Half Blood Prince. This was refreshingly better
8) Potterwatch - It was brilliant inclusion and refreshingly nice
9) The chapter name and illustrations - I mean Ghoul in Pajamas was sheer brilliance!

I didn't love...........

1) The epilogue - Such a wasteful ending. Why did she have to make it so feel-good and sappy? And why wasn't any son of either couple named Fred? And what do all these people do for a living?? And the epilogue seemed incomplete, almost a feeble effort to ensure that if she decided to, Rowling could pick up the strands of Harry Potter and get on with it and as if no one else could. If the book had ended just before the epilogue, it would have attained Masterpiece status in my head
2) Snape as headmaster - Why? At the end of Half Blood Prince, McGonagall was rightful deputy headmistress. What happened to that? I guess Voldemort took over the ministry but it still sounded bizarre
3) Utterly insignificant roles for Snape and McGonagall - There should have been more action for these two spearheads.
4) Why Dobby, Hedwig and Fred? Why not someone a little more major?
5) Harry being too good to be true - He's utterly flawless
6) No Hogwarts - Because our trio don't attend school, there's no Hogwarts, nothing on the teachers and no feel-good stories about the kids interactions.. makes you feel you are in unfamiliar territory
7) The Patronus messages - I loved the concept, But if it were possible, why wasn't Sirius able to send one to confirm he was alive and well in the Order of the Phoenix; why couldn't anyone have done this before to pass on secure messages? Seems futile in the past if you had such a fool-proof method of passing important messages...

All in all, a great conclusion to the series....drags a bit here and there but which big book doesn't? But I can't help but feeling lost now. No more Harry Potter books to look forward to.. in the near future atleast. All Harry Potter fans are sure to find closure with this book. A huge blood bath was imminent and the readers who expected it won't be disappointed. But you would think someone utterly significant like the main cast would die... Well, Rowling doesn't think so. A certain bestseller and a totally worthwhile read. A feel good end to the entertaining series.

July 20, 2007

Innovative business ideas

My roommate told me of this page yesterday and I checked it out today. Its called the million dollar home page and you can visit it here. Each pixel costs a dollar and because of sheer publicity, this page has actually made a million bucks! A company buys a few hundred pixels just enough for them to put their logos and link it. Talk about innovative business ideas. Here's a snapshot of the page!

The Ames Diary...

As I near the end of 3 glorious months spent in what I thought was the farmland of USA, I realize that Ames wasn't half bad. I mean really. Maybe it was b'coz of Iowa State being here that there is so much life around the tiny town. But I am told that the hustle and bustle when school is in session unlike summer is unbeatable and adds a whole lot of charisma to the place.

So, here's my Top 10 @ Ames (not in order)

1. My room. Its my sanctuary. And I couldn't have hoped for a better arrangement. Fully equipped and furnished at a really low cost, with cool house mates, its the best temporary live-in situation I could've hoped for.
2. My cube. Its not a tiny cubicle. Its one half of a whole room with a whole lot of privacy which allows me to blog like this (at work!)
3. My friend. Its really cool to have a Tamil-speaking friend here, whether its to see Sivaji together or randomly talk nonsense. And having Akil here, accomplished just that. It really made life much easier. At least there was one person whom I knew here for all those movies and all that time-pass. Thanks Akil.
4. The cats. Yeah, I was scared or I hated cats before I got here. But living in close proximity with two of them, I can vouch for the fact that cats have mild human traits. The girl cat gets bugged easily, she irritates easily and she has this cute "hitting with the paw" action that she uses to chide you. And she threatens to bite when she's pissed with you. The boy cat is typical of men.. as long as there is food, he isn't going to bother you much. Once he's hungry or needs to be cuddled, he finds you and purrs away to glory. Cuties..
5. The movies. Yeah... without the movies umpteen hours of my life here would've been uncharted for and there would be so many less blogs! I am so glad that a place like Ames has an up-to-date theatre. With students scattered all around, I wouldn't expect lesser. But its nice to have a reassurance anyways!
6. The restaurants. Of course there are eateries everywhere you go. But Ames has the highest density of them. Maybe because of the student settlement, Ames is scattered with a variety of eating joints and bars. Notably, I have really developed a taste for
a. Bali Satay House - Indonesian cuisine - Maybe because its Akil's favorite, we seem to go here a whole lot. Its pretty much like Chinese/Thai with a little more flavour to it. Low prices, large portions makes for a good restaurant with a bad decor and yesterday in particular, an awful waiter!
b. Thai Spice - Thai cuisine - This is one of the upscale Ames restaurants that you can find with a fantastic decor and even better tasting food. I've been here just once. But I can vouch for the taste which was on par with Lemon Grass, Cincinnati, if not better. Tastefully presented. high-priced, medium-sized portions of food, Thai Spice would make a good "date place".
c. Old Chicago - Italian - As the name indicates, it is a sort of pizza place. Great food and decent drinks.
d. Carlos'O'Kellys - Mexican- Though they weirdly use chicken broth to make their rice (which I avoid), they have some of the tastiest Mexican food I have had (I think they're on par with Don Pablos). Good food and very filling.
e. Pancheros - Mexican - A lot like Chipotle. They have this awesome cheese sauce called Queso or something and its the best I've had!
7. The Trails. Yes, Ames is very green and any deviation that you make from the road takes you to these interesting biking/walking trails which almost always ends around a stream, a bridge or something else scenic. It makes for a fun activity.
8. Cyride. Thats the bus here. Its probably called that because the IA State team is called Cyclones. Yes its slow and badly connected. But that means you get to kill more time day dreaming as you ride past familiar sights.
9. North Grand Mall. The only semblence of shopping apart from Hyvee (like Kroger Vons, etc_ based complexes. The mall houses a dollar theatre, is near a Walmart and has most of your famous stores. A full day of timepass I say!
10. Iowa State University. A vast campus with many many buildings. Very rustic and fantastic looking. It has a pond, a gazillion trails, 3-4 gyms, 3-4 greenhouses and everything else a good, solid University is made of. Good fun to walk around.

July 19, 2007

'Net goes down

So today was one of those days.. when the Internet was down at work. You would think thats really cool - without the internet the office is dysfunctional, blah blah. And you would be right. But you know what the problem is? So are you!!! We have become soo dependent on the internet that there is little we can do without it. Without the internet, the computer is a very large toy which has immense potential but no power to realize anything. I stared at the computer for a good 10 minutes with no clue as to how to kill time.. virtually all my 'time-passing' elements had been vanquished - be it the Frasier episode at lunch or the IMs or the blog or the news or anything! Finally I opened Minesweeper up and returned to it after a long long hiatus. Within minutes my wrist started aching of course and it paved way for my ebook collection which worms its way to any computer or laptop I work with (in fact a secret I must share is that I keep a whole bunch of ebook favorites and the VLC player on my flash drive). Thats for emergencies. And today certainly qualified. With VLC going and one random CD of F-R-I-E-N-D-S lying in my bag, it made for a normal yet entertaining internet blackout at work (Pssst... I heard that some of the others had actually taken to racquetball at the Ames Racquetball center across the street from where I work!!). You would wonder why I would have to think and plan so much for a net outage which probably lasted 10 minutes. But no.. today's lasted 3 hours and being planned helps! But incidents like today just show how we are slave to the internet....

July 18, 2007

Kabhi Khushi.. Hamesha Gum

No no.. its not as sad as you may think it is. I meant my recently acquired addiction for chewing gum!! After tea, between meals, after meals, in the bus.. you name it.. Every time my motor mouth instead of talking as always is chewing for a change!! After trying a whole variety available in the market, I have been able to pin down my favorite - Stride. It does last very very long! And their winterblue and spearmint are the best. And on the side, totally unrelated experiments with chewing loads of gum verified by me and Vidhya individually has proved to keep cheeks in check! :)

Of drinking water and leaking faucets

When I joined Bioforce, one of the first things I bought for my desk was a tall water bottle. As a habit, I drink very less water through the day and for the past years of my existence, I've barely done any sort if justice to the 8 glasses a day funda. I convinced myself now, that the best way to keep a clean digestive system and hopefully clear skin was to drink bottles of water. And all of it worked. But you knew there had to be a downside, or else why would I be writing about it?

Drinking 12-16 (roughly 3-4 liters) glasses of water in a span of 8 hours at work has its downside. Add to that 2-3 cups of water-brewed tea. The restroom breaks increase of course! Sometimes, I feel the need to pee three times in two hours. And this wouldn't be so much a problem if the restrooms were located in a secluded corner of the office. They are located right off the kitchenette, where you can bet your day's pay that at any given moment, someone or the other is having coffee, or checking out the snack cupboard or the refrigerator or the back office room for supply. So what - You may ask. What it is that its embarrassing to visit the restroom sooo many times per day inviting people to believe you have a congenital defect or a leaky faucet!! And whats worse is that the chatty receptionist's desk is right there too. And she feels the irresistable need to say hi to you each time. Hmph.

So whats the solutions? The excuses, but of course. Timing is crucial. Each tea break is an excuse. Each time you rummage the snack cupboard is an excuse. As is lunch.

Moral of the story? My kidneys are fine.. Yoo hoo!!


A person with no fixed residence who roams about; a wanderer.

Courtesy: Dictionary.com

July 17, 2007

The weekends..

Its most boring to be by yourself in a relatively new place. What do you do all day? All week I dream of the weekend and inexplicably on Saturday afternoon after I have had a long cherished late nighter on Friday and a well-deserved late morning on Saturday, I long for Monday again. From Saturday afternoon to Sunday night is an unbearable drone and I am sorry to say I am no longer the phone person that I was. I can't stand conversations > 15 min. I find excuses to hang up. I can't keep cooking all weekend. More often than not, I make one meal and the next is inevitably Maggi. I can't watch movies all weekend. Though I do see at least 4 every weekend for the lack of anything better to do. (Going out to the mall like I did last weekend turns out to be an unavoidable expense). I don't have too many books I haven't read. The internet is boring. And I can't seem to watch the endless sitcoms on the net or the TV. And in a place like Ames, if you aren't going to watch a movie or try out a restaurant or shop for the heck of it, you aren't doing anything. At least next weekend sounds promising. The final Harry Potter book is coming out then and I'm going to be sitting out in the hall waiting for my copy to find its way home.

July 14, 2007


I was very reluctant to watch the movie considering it was sure to be a guy-flick, the opposite of a chick-flick with loads of action, tonnes of fights, etc, you know, the typical extra dosage of testosterone. And I also knew it was based on a comic series, which I hadn't really read. So it was going to be a drag.. I thought.

But I was in for a surprise. I thought the movie was fun for the most part though it did last a little longer than I would've liked. But there was a real nice plot and the graphics were mouth-dropping. I am not ashamed of accepting that my mouth was open in awe of some of the graphics that I witnessed on screen and the whole thing was carried out very smoothly.

Having not read the comics myself, I can't vouch for its exact credibilty. But it was sure fun though a bit too long. I would definitely recommend it and I completely agree with the 8.0/10 rating that IMDB has.

July 13, 2007

Avoid the news

Yeah.. seems like weird advice. But true Harry Potter fans should avoid reading news on the web at any cost till next weekend's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows release. That way, you avoid tragically reading rumors or worse the truthful ending like -'Harry Dies' or something. I have taken news.google.com off my homepage which is now blank. Its worth it. Trust me.

July 12, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I was sooooooooo excited about watching this movie and of course you knew that! I read mixed opinions yesterday after the midnight preview show. Some said that it was a let-down and the others that it was classic. A true HP fan who's seen it told me that it was fantastic. And thats the opinion I took with me when I went to see it last night. Being the shortest installment of the Harry Potter movies, at 2hr and 18min, I did expect a whole lot to be cut off as the Order of the Phoenix was the longest book. I figured that the movie would revolve around 4 main sub-plots -

1. Harry vs. Umbridge
2. Fred and George Weasley
3. The DA meetings
4. The concluding fight at the Ministry of Magic

I had almost accurately summed up the movie. For a true fan of the book, like me, there were like 250 deviations, if not more, from the book. This is perhaps the most casually adapted version of the series where details were slipped at ease. Where things and events were changed at random to fit the tapestry of the flowing movie. The movie was all about Harry.. much less about any of the other DA members... And some events were shockingly changed, like Cho being the tattletale instead of Marietta... which made the audience question Harry's choice in romance. And somethings were funny too.. Like Grawp actually harboring affections for Hermoine. (Ooh by the way, Grawp looks much better than you would've visualized.. in fact he's positively cute!) And Fred and George's antics were a little underplayed and their exit from Hogwarts not as dramatic as it needed to be. And it did no justice to the book. But once you brushed these silly comparisons away, the movie is quite brilliant. It was very fast-paced, interesting and kept the main thread of the story alive. The effects, cinematography, and sets were brilliant. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) has blossomed from a boy to a young man (you can't miss his neck muscles)... Sirius Black looks much better... Dudley has grown sooooo much..he looks the total punk but whatever is with his cross-eyed, mubo-jumbo accent!! Bellatrix Lestrange is exactly how you'd have imagined.. The DA meetings were tastefully handled.. The Umbridge rampage was fantastic.. her inspection of classes was funny (but they skipped her inspecting Mc Gonagall which is supposed to be hilarious) And I was disappointed that Umbridge looked as nice as she did, She was suppsed to be a toad! And the hem hem was replaced by an irritating girly giggle. :) Luna Lovegood is fantastic.. just as I imagined.. dreamy and perfect. And they skipped the spicy Quibbler interview. And don't blink.. you may miss Malfoy! And there was no Quidditch which was a wee bit disappointing.. meaning that Ron didn't get to be keeper - there was no 'Weasley is our king', and Harry, Fred and George weren't banned.

The movie is soo much more advanced and fluid than its predecessors. The Ministry fight which is a bit of a drag in the book has been made really well in the movie, capturing the interest of everyone and keeping it going very well.. All in all, its a thorough entertainer for anyone who's heard of the Boy Wizard. But that teensy weensy Harry Maniac in you is likely to get up every 2 scenes and scream in your head - This is not how it was in the book!! But once you put them to rest, the movie's a winner. A must-watch. Definitely, go see it or you are missing something.
Rating: 8.0/10

July 11, 2007

Eat Healthy.. Think better.

A happy tummy is the secret to great ideas :) Or so the company I am interning with surely believes. We have had an office revolution around here over the past week. We used to have a well-stocked 'honor-paid' snack cupboard with some cereal bars, cookies, candy bars, chips etc. And we had a fridge stocked up with free pop. But now everything's undergone a big change. For the better. The company has introduced a "Eat Healthy" campaign around here. So now we have lunch options too. For a subsidized $3, you can get a whole lunch which is as organic as possible as well. And there's a veggie option too. For instance, today's menu was: Veggie Boca Burger, Black Bean and Corn Salad and Watermelons. Not bad, huh? And the snack cupboard has undergone a face-lift as well. There's now better snack options, more low-calorie organic cereal bars, there's green tea in the fridge, etc etc. Surely, the company believes, happier the stomach, more radical the ideas!

July 10, 2007

Heights of vettiness

For those mind-numbingly boring moments:

Thanks Harry.

July 9, 2007

Sugar Craving..

I hate it. And I whole-heartedly blame my friend Vidhya for it. She's the one who habituated me into eating something sweet at the end of dinner back when we were roommates and unfortunately it stuck. Now night after night, after an early 7:30ish dinner, I find myself rummaging the fridge for something sweet. Anything. Yoplait light or some remnants of chocolate. And most nights I end up disappointed. And especially when I am trying desparately to lose weight. So what happens in the end? Half a bowl of cereal with 2% milk an hour after dinner. Weird and bad.

July 8, 2007

The Taj's In!!

Woo hoo...... The Taj is in the new 7 wonders of the world announced yesterday at Lisbon!! :) It was a proud moment for the whole of Asia and South America which housed a maximum of the 7 wonders. Here's the official page. Check out Sachin's blog which gives a more in-depth analysis of the show, etc. Here are the results:
1. Chichén Itzá, Mexico
2. Christ Redeemer, Brazil
3. The Great Wall, China
4. Machu Picchu, Peru
5. Petra, Jordan
6. The Roman Colloseum, Italy
7. The Taj Mahal, India

July 7, 2007

Fancy Date

Saturday. Long stemmed roses, sparkling champagne, candlelight dinner, fine dining restaurant. You know.. the works.

Whispering sweet nothings, some dance and much more romance, silly giggles and great dessert.

Long drive, moonlight walk, very little talk, hand in hand.. the perfect end to the perfect evening. Sigh.

I wish thats what it was. But what it is is that its 07/07/07. Fancy, don't you think? :)

July 6, 2007

iPhone Hands on

This is going to be short and swift. I had the fortune of actually checking out the iPhone yesterday, courtesy a gizmo-savvy colleague. In my sparse I-barely-checked-out-many-features time with it, here's what I think -

1. Its totally awesome. The convenience that it has brought with it is unparalleled. The menu is fantastically easy to navigate, the screen is as lucid as anything you've seen.
2. Its a touch away to access email, a browser, your music, directions or just about anything else.
3. The keypad is a little small for someone with larger than normal fingers but its a question of getting used to it (which you do in no time). I had no problem using it. And its more-helpful-than T-9 dictionary may take some getting used to.
4. The music is all iPod quality and theres no compromise here. The video is fantastic and though I have never seen a video iPod in screen and keys, I suppose the iPhone's got to have the same quality if not better. Would the traditional video iPod owner be sad? Maybe.. maybe not, Its a matter of perspective. The iPhone is for the 'to-go' person with a maximum storage (so far) of 8GB. The video iPod is far beyond that.
5. Its a breeze taking pictures, attaching them, emailing them, stowing them away or doing just about anything else. Its taken tactile technology to a whole new level.

I didn't have the opportunity to hear the voice quality (on a call). But I am certain that they must've spared nothing to make it fantastic where there's good quality AT&T signal. But quizzically yet, the bottom line remains that its a phone. How much better can it get? Like I said in this post, Apple is aiming this product for a particular genre of the entire population. But when there are people who buy Patekphillipes or Omegas for a piece of machinery that shows time about a few seconds more accurately than your regular $2 throw away watches, why wouldn't the iPhone do phenomenally well? With barely any bugs (as far as I could see in the oh-so-restricted-time-frame), and with further generations coming out, the iPhone's a success already.

And last but not least, check out this really cool review of the iPhone on CNET - its a tad more than what the ads show on TC - http://reviews.cnet.com/smart-phones/apple-iphone-4gb/4505-6452_7-32180293.html

July 5, 2007

Email Evolution

It amuses me the way I have changed my email IDs and services as they have evolved (as I did I). My first ever email ID was back in 1998 when we got our first PC, a Pentium. We were very proud because while people had 486s (the very few people who did have PCs back in those days), we had the new generation Pentium and it boasted a very high RAM of 64MB and an unheard of 4GB hard disk (Who'd ever heard of a GB back then? We believed that that HDD was enough to last us till we existed. How wrong we were!). Back then the internet was pretty rudimentary in India and VSNL was the only provider. I remember the day we got our student account, the unix-based text version. It came with Unix-based mail ID and luckily my bro knew how to work it and pretty soon we were "internet savvy" with the black and white text screens. I was truly proud. The account was in my name because I would remain a student longer than my bro. The ID they'd given us was jayap. :) That was the only internet account in my name.

A year or more later, we got our first TCP/IP account - ramp. And it remained ramp till i was in India last before we migrated to Hathway and it became parasuram. But this post isn't about the internet evolution in me. Its about the email evolution. As with most others of my day and age (I speak like a well-lived veteran), Hotmail was my first email account. A storage space of an "unreachable" 2MB. Who ever heard of emails needing anymore space than that? I still retain my first email ID jollyjaya though my frequency of mailing/checking that account has all but died. And the phenomenon that MSN Messenger was back in college is unforgettable. All of us HCE-ites were MSN savvy and after spending close to 9 hours with each other through the day, we still found the time and energy to actually go online and chat with the very same people. No wonder our parents were perpetually pissed. Not to mention that those days we had just dial-up and there was no question of sneaking online (because of the shrill hisses of the modem) or staying too much on it because of the stupendous phone bills incurred. Indeed, till we got our cable internet, I have been blamed as the root cause of all high phone bills at home.

Then we all got our Yahoo! Ids. But the Yahoo Messenger never kicked in as a favorite as far as I was in India (Now I can't believe we chose MSN over Yahoo). And the Yahoo emails offered more storage space of 5MB. Phenomenal improvement, we all thought and religiously created IDs in every server we'd heard of. Rediffmail gained brief popularity but never really kicked in with me. And then came the phenomenon that still maintains monopoly on my email usage. The God of all Emails - GMail on April 1, 2004. And with it came an unheard of 1GB free storage space. Surely they're kidding? No... they were just starting their dominance. For next, they bought their In Mail chatting, a huge step in sculpting GMail's Email monopoly. And the fact that you couldn't have an account unless you were invited only made it more intriguing. In fact it was very recently that GMail paved way for anyone and everyone to create themselves and ID on their server. Then on April 1st, 2005, they came up with the concept of ever-increasing storage space. This was surely a joke? A Fool's Day ploy? The joke's on anyone who thought so coz GMail is still counting. Along the way they came up with GTalk, yet another utility in close competition to the Messengers. With GMail still counting and the other mail providers trying to provide some competition, we are yet to wait and watch. As consumers, it can only get better for us.

July 4, 2007

Mozilla Anyone?

How many of you use Mozilla to view webpages and can't see the header of my blog well? And how many of you are actually bothered and would prefer a change? Lemme know.

July 3, 2007

The Tea Blog

So anyone who knows me knows that I have a big hotspot for chai. But these days I have progressed a little further from chai and experimented with a wide variety of herbal teas as well. So here's a short review of the varieties...

1. Masala Chai

Needs no introduction. Traditionally it is the only variety that is made with milk. There are a million recipes to make masala chai online. My favorite 'masala' is the one that my Patti makes at home. Its the typical blend of a bunch of spices (cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, etc) and is perfect when added to the boiling tea powder. No more on this one. Need a recipe? Take a look at Priya's blog. Navigate around and fin more than one variety of chai.

2. Green Tea

Green Tea is traditional Chinese Tea and is usually drunk black (well, actually yellow). It is a wonderfully soothing flavor and has just the right blend of being tangy and tasty. It is absolutely delectable when had with honey and lemon. And from my experience, green tea is a definite energy booster. It can keep you awake and active for hours. And the flavor of green tea has caught on so much that it is now disguised in many packages. The Green Tea frappuccino at Starbucks is a great option for those who like it cold. And if you manage to get to an Asian restaurant, try the Green Tea icecream. Just perfect.

3. Wu Long Tea

This is traditionally Chinese as well. By itself, Wu Long is very strong in flavor and maybe a little bitter to the untrained palate. And as with most Chinese brews, the more you steep the more bitter it becomes. When taken with honey and lemon, the taste improves phenomenally. Wu Long is supposed to be a major boost of metabolism. From my experience however, I think Green Tea is more energizing than Wu Long. Wu Long is excellent for digestion of food however and cleanses the body and is a rich source of antioxidants and has proven to increase the free radicals in the body. So, it is a definite healthy choice. Feeling heavy after a meal? No problem.. have a glass of wu long.

4. SleepyTime Tea

This was a recent discovery of mine. I tried it last night just before I got into bed. This is another traditional blend of typical ingredients like chamomile (for soothing) and spearmint to create a calming sensation. The box recommends taking it in bed literally and dropping off to sleep. Maybe because I expected something like a sleeping pill effect, I was a little wary of it. But once I took it, I could sense the warmth spreading through me. It had the effect of nearly idling my mind and with the right situation, I may as well have drifted into sleep. But then someone chose to blare horn at that exact moment and the spell was broken. It took me the typical 20-30 minutes to fall back into sleep after that. But its worth a shot and I will give it a try once more tonight.

Having a whole lot of natural tea is certain way of boosting the antioxidants in the blood. And whoever said a lot of tea was bad for health? If anyone's tried any other form of tea and would like to recommend it, please leave me a comment. Brew away and relax. :)


Overheard about me - "She's a little quiet. But she's a lot of fun once you draw her out from her shell." ROTFL.

July 2, 2007

The Tarun

This is the word incessantly stuck in my vocabulary for the past one week to be precise. For this is when, my precious little nephew Tarun came into this world, at 5:29 AM PST to be precise on Tuesday, the 26th June, 2007. To know more about the Tarun's activities as soon as he was out, check out http://insideram.blogspot.com/2007/07/laa-laa-laa.html. The Tarun Talks. (Thru his dad ofcourse) .

Working la manière française

The French get on an avaerage 5 weeks of paid vacation per year. But ofcourse I knew that. In fact I thought they all get 8 weeks (according to a trusted source)! So, check this video out. The poor over-worked workforce out here in the US.

July 1, 2007

The new 7 wonders of the world

There's been all this hype about voting for the new 7 wonders of the world after the ancient ones, 2200 years later. And as of now there are 5 days remaining to vote. There's a lot of hulla-gulla in India that the Taj is being voted out. For the population that our country has and for the number of internet-savvy younger generation, its shocking for this to happen.

Here's the site: http://www.new7wonders.com/index.php. You need to register to vote. Go ahead and cast your vote for the Taj Mahal, a true and everlasting symbol of love, right on our Indian soil. The results are going to be disclosed on the historic date of 07-07-07. Lets vote us in!

A hearty brunch

How many times has it happened that you're really hungry but you don't want to cook elaborately and don't want to eat junk either. The solution to this is what I call a Spanish omelette (maybe thats what others call it too) and this is something thats filling, tasty and takes under 10 minutes to prepare. (And no, MindBlogging hasn't become a food blog).

1. 1/8 diced capsicum
2. 1/8 diced onion
3. Few pieces of diced tomato
4. 1 chilli finely chopped
5. 2 large eggs well beaten
6. A smattering of milk
7. Salt and pepper to taste

1. Just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and pour over a non-stick pan which has been medium heated and cover the top with a lid.
2. While you're doing this, pop in 2 slices of bread in your toaster.
3. After a couple of minutes just as th ebread gets done, lift the cover to see that the omelette has started rising. This is a good cue to turn it over. Many amateurs tend to mess at this part because of the uncooked egg on top and the veggies floating on it. Tip: Use two spatulas if required to turn it over gracefully.
Important: The egg has to cook well or you may fall ill.
Once both sides are done, serve with bread and a tall glass of OJ for a delicious, yet hearty Sunday brunch. :)

The result: (Mine looked better and more colorful! )

Keep handy: A piece of gum to chew once you're done! Enjoy!!

Ode to June!

With this post to mark the occasion, its 32 posts to June... Woo hoo!! Keep MindBlogging rocking you folks!

Sivaji - The BOSS

As a rule, I dont think any review does any justice to Thalaivar movies. First things first, leave the logic behind on a barcalounger. And then enjoy the movie! Its a total blast! And its Thalaivar start to finish though appreciable lengths of roles have been given to Vivek and Shriya. I am not going to give a long review. Here are somethings I thought were absolutely worth mentioning -

1. Thalaivar. But ofcourse!! He is smashing and doesn't look his age ANYWHERE. He'll put younger heros to shame no problem with his agility and stature. He is incredible and looks awesome even upclose. And in Oru koodai sunlight, his colour has been whitened so convincingly, its totally worth it. This is not a typical Rajini movie with a bunch of punch dialogues et al. Watch it to see what I mean.

2. Vivek. Ode to the guy, man! Fantastic comic timing and sharing as much screen space as Thalaivar, Vivek simply doesn't disappoint. Soo many of his cracks left the audience roaring with laughter from start to finish. Asked to put Sivaji in a genre, I would probably put in a comedy genre. A through n through family movie.

3. The colors and costumes - The costumes are from Manish Malhotra and with a heroine like Shriya, it was a job well-done. She looks stunning in a fabulous array of attires designed for her. The sets are stupendous and the sheer colour in the movie is worth the mention. There's every single colour of the rainbow. Mindblowing!

All in all, its a thorough entertainer that anyone loves Tamil movies MUST watch. Rajini is stupendous in this and it is not the biased Rajini fan in me who's talking. The comedy is unsurpassable and the theme is great too. Shankar has kept it purely as a superstar movie and has spared no expense in bringing it to the pubic. Super!! Watch it. Watch it. WATCH IT.


Serving: One portion of Ratatouille (Ra-ta-too-ee)
Chefs: Disney/Pixar
Verdict: D-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s

Its Disney-Pixar's latest and following on legends like Incredibles, Cars, Ants, Toy Story and what not, it doesn't disappoint in the least. The movie is about a rat, Remy who aspires to be a chef and is excellent at it, being inspired from the legendary chef, Gusteau who claims and writes a book "Anyone can cook", but recently died from the heartbreak of losing a star on the ratings. Remy is a cut above the rest of the rats.. he smells, identifies and relishes tastes and smells. He discovers the true culinary delights when he mixes a piece of strawberry and a slice of cheese. And thats when he knows that he has to be a chef. Through a mixup he arrives at Gusteaus own restaurant and thats when he realizes that he is in the culinary capital of the world, Paris.

Through a quirk of fate he is thrown together with the garbage boy at Gusteau's, Linguini who was trying to ruin a soup even as Remy glorified it and the former claimed all the credit quite unknowingly. The chef there is a sultry, selfish French man who looks forward to taking over the restaurant as Gusteau had no heir (till he discovers that Linguini is the son of Gusteau, a fact that Linguini himself doesnt know). Remy and Linguini reach an interesting arrangement where the rat sits under the chef's hat and puppets his hands into making some of the most delicious range of delicacies that anyone's ever tasted. The reputation of the restaurant improves phenomenally and the critics rave about the place, all thanks to the golden hands of Linguini who falls in love with the Sous chef, Collete. When asked for his inspiration, he shamelessly attributes it to his new-found love while the rat is thoroghly pissed. But ofcourse.

So the movie continues. There's a complication towards the end as the celebrated critic Anton Ego threatens to shut the restaurant down if it doesnt meet his exceptionally high standards. The movie is funny though not downright hilarious. The animations are brilliant. The comic timing great and the theme, ingenious. Who'd have thought that the unlikely combination of a rat and a chef would make for such a fantastic movie? Its absolutely yummy and the scenes are fantastic. If you are an animated movie fan, even remotely, this is a must-watch. Truly delectable for the right palate. Ok ok.. sorry for all the food puns... it is irresistably mouthwatering even with rats in it!!!