Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Muddling through

My life is not that exciting. If you’re thinking you already knew that and wondering what that has to do with anything, let me assure you that I’m setting the stage. Not for anything exciting – because, again, my life isn’t all that exciting – but to tell you how it is that on a Wednesday night as college students across red states and blue are on their fifth Jägerbomb, I got to pondering the meaning of the word “muddle”. Yes, muddle – a word that tells me means “to mix up in a confused or bungling manner” and that more helpfully explains means “to combine ingredients, usually in the bottom of a mixing glass, by pressing them with a muddler before adding the majority of the liquid ingredients.” It’s the latter definition I’m after. Not because I’m an alcoholic, because (mostly) I’m not. (No offense to alcoholics – I don’t doubt that there’s always a cure for what ails you at the bottom of your eighth dirty martini.) That’s the definition I want because the recipe for a Thai Martini says to “muddle the cilantro and simple syrup in a glass”. I’d be happy to muddle whatever it takes to make a good martini, but it’s not enough to have cilantro and simple syrup and all the nonsense in the whole world when you don’t know what to do with it. Now of course I’m quite the expert on how to muddle. The word by the way is both a noun and a verb. While I’m not a big fan of multitasking in people (invariably we all do it badly), I do love a word that can do two things at once. Not only did I find out what it means to muddle, I also found out that Bacardi Mojito commercial I vaguely remember shows a bartender muddling mint leaves to make a drink while pretty young things are getting down to a song called – you guessed it – ‘The Muddle’. I love it – the rhythm is harder to get out of your head than even ‘Copacabana’. See for yourself! So what’s the point? I certainly haven’t made my Thai Martini, but at least I finally posted an entry on this blog after three long months. Boring, you say? Did you not read how all this started? My life is not that exciting. But I'm certainly not complaining.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

You know you're lame when it's New Year's eve and your mom's too busy to talk because she's making Long Island Iced Teas for friends and your four-year-old niece has to get off the phone immediately because she's off to a party. C'est la vie, as they say in New Orleans. So did you watch 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve' on TV? I guess he had a stroke recently; he seemed to have trouble talking, and it was hard to watch. Of course Ryan Seacrest is hard to watch too. I don't know if it's because (A) he makes you feel lazy for having one job instead of 10, (B) his teeth are blindingly white or (C) he's just generally annoying. (Probably B.) On to another big topic this time of year – New Year's resolutions. Did you make any? My friend suggested having your friends make resolutions for you. We didn't get very far, but we didn't try really hard. Enough blabbing… after all the year is young. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How I plan to get on the local news

I leave Chicago for just a few days and what happens? Absolute pandemonium it seems. Geez, couldn't someone hold down the fort? What I'm talking about is the whackjob driver who drove into the local Chicago ABC station on State Street during Ravi Baichwal's live Sunday newscast. (Click here to check out the YouTube clip.) Soon afterwards the main story on the news was, well, the news itself with the anchor talking about what just happened 30 feet away. I haven't read too much about this, but one report suggested the driver may have done this intentionally because he was annoyed at being told to move his car. (Parking challenges apparently "drive" some people crazier than others.) In case you're wondering this will absolutely not deter me from getting on the news one day by standing outside the station waving like a madwoman. You know what I'm talking about: Right after the 5:00 and 6:00 broadcasts the camera pans to the crowd and sometimes does a close-up of a cute, little baby or a random weirdo. Seeing as how I have no baby to pull the camera my way, I'll just have to let my inner weirdo out. Shouldn't be tough. So keep your eyes peeled, as I'd hate for you to miss my 15 seconds of fame.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Hindu priest and his cell phone

INDIA: I’ve lamented in earlier posts about the absurd situations in which people answer cell phones. The phone rings in the loo? No problem… answer it. Marathon? What the heck… you’ve got 20+ miles to go. Sex? So what… pick up the phone dammit. Now you can add to the it’s-ok list the puja, a Hindu ritual performed for various purposes (e.g., religious holidays, functions). I was at a relative’s housewarming last night when, during the puja, I noticed that the Hindu priest had a cell phone fastened snugly in a belt holder. The phone didn’t ring, but it did get me thinking. What if it did? Would he have answered it? Or does he turn the ringer off? (In my experience Indians are worse than even Americans about turning off their ringers; they simply don’t.) I broached the topic with my aunt, who wasn’t surprised by the phone. She informed me that the priest who comes to their house has answered his cell phone mid-puja. Of course that got me thinking too. What are the phone calls about? Some distraught mother requesting an urgent puja to get her 30-something daughter married off? Hmm. As for the priest at the housewarming, he wrapped up the puja, put away a few things and quickly took out his cell phone. (See picture.) I suspect he was checking for missed calls from distraught mothers and not text messages from friends asking where to meet for drinks that night.

Monday, December 3, 2007

What's on TV?

INDIA: Since I've become such an expert doer of nothing and watcher of TV the past 10 days, I might as well report back on these most substantial of activities. So if you're dying to know what's on TV here in India (or what I’m watching anyway), I’d be most happy to fill you in.

Madhuri Dixit (above) - She's all over the telly doing press for her new movie. As you may know she was the biggest Bollywood actress of the 90s. She got married eight years ago to an Indian-American surgeon and now lives in Denver with the doc and their two kids. Now she's back in 'Aaja Nachle', a movie that released on Friday to so-so reviews. It's been in the news because a few states wanted to ban it owing to a few apparently offensive lyrics and of course because it stars Madhuri, who's back at 40-something and still gorgeous. She's in India for just 20 days to do press.

Cricket - India's playing Pakistan, and I've been watching a little. It's kind of fun, but I admit it’s also because some of the players are cute.

Telugu serials – Unlike in the US even nighttime shows comes on every weeknight instead of once a week. From what I can tell it's all about rape, in-laws, pious women, evil women and, oh yeah, a couple of guys. My grandmother watches for more than four hours a day, so I can't help but catch a little of the fare.

Shah Rukh Khan (right) - King Khan, as he's called, is still the biggest actor in Bollywood. He's in all the fricking commercials (Tag Heuer, cellphones, cars), so you can't escape him on TV either. It's annoying, but then I've never been a huge fan. By the way he's crazy ripped now with six-pack abs and all. I can't figure out how he did it. Steroids? Or maybe it's the supermodel triple cocktail of cocaine, cigarettes and anorexia? Hmm.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Where there's smoke

INDIA: One of the first things I notice when I leave America (which I rarely do) is that most countries are just a great big puff of cigarette smoke. Yuck. You can’t so much as walk through the Frankfurt airport without getting a sore throat and a bit of lung cancer. This time around I noticed it (i.e., smelled it) at the Amsterdam airport and notice it still in India. Was America like this at one time? I vaguely remember a time when smoking wasn’t considered a second-class activity but thankfully it seems like a long time ago.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Life isn't always easy

INDIA: I've been eating so much so fast and doing so little so much that I'm having major backpain. I guess being a lady of leisure isn't as easy you might think...

Monday, November 26, 2007

From Vijayawada with love

INDIA: When I say there were 20 babies on my flight from Amsterdam to Hyderabad I’m not exaggerating; I’m not even rounding up. In fact I know it was 20 because the KLM staff in Amsterdam felt this was crucial info and announced it over the intercom – twice. If you counted everyone under the age of three, that number would easily double. Luckily the three-year-old passenger "sitting" next to me was remarkably well-behaved and quite adorable. Anyway after getting to Hyderabad and spending a day there I’m now here in Vijayawada, widely known as the Jewel of India. Ok so I made that up, so it’s small and you can see from the “parking lot” of the airport straight through to the runway… so what? For two days now I’ve done little but eat and sleep and chat. I could get used to being a lady of leisure – no matter how small the airport. Tomorrow though I’m going to kick things up a notch and go see the latest movie starring my favorite Telugu hero, Mahesh Babu (aka Prince Mahesh Babu).