Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category
So after 5 years of fearless & relentless blogging, I finally won an award for the efforts.
One of the funniest and most astute among the denizens of desi-blogosphere, and a rare person who even manages to consistently remain funny on Twitter has announced his own awards. And I get a prize in the …..”Blog most likely to make you an alcoholic” category.
So take that, y’all byaaatches who are crowing about winning the Indiebloggies. This award is so much better because:
I did not have to be nominated by some uber-elite jury.
I did not have to obtain the post-nomination eminent-blogger endorsement.
I did not have to send out e-mails, post messages on my Twitter and Facebook accounts extorting random people to vote for me.
I do not have to be gracious and and say that everyone’s a winner in my book.
I do not have to send out e-mails, post messaged on Twitter and Facebook thanking people for voting for me through multiple e-mail IDs.
Now that I have won the award, I promise to live up to it’s meaningless much exalted status. As a result of this, I will drink more (but of course) and blog more (yeah! dream on….) – preferably at the same time.
In terms of award winning achievements, this one ranks up there with the best of them:
I blogged about the Manhattan before, but lately I have developed a renewed affection for this drink. (Also, in that earlier blog, the drink was more of an after-thought – wanted to expand on it a bit).
This renewal of affection came about possibly during the trip to Boston earlier this year, when fellow connoisseur BH led me to this wonderful watering-hole in a Cambridge alleyway. Over the stretch of a Friday evening, the extremely sympathetic barman treated us  to an array of Manhattan variations, the names of which I fail to recollect, but various other New York city subdivisions were involved.The variations mostly involved using different kinds of whiskey, bitters and vermouth (well duh!).
The other reason is the discovery of Gentleman Jack, a double charcoal filtered, extremely mellow Tennesee whiskey that seems ideally suited for this drink .
Note that the kind of Manhattan you prefer, like Martinis, is a personal choice: the type of whiskey, on the rocks or straight up, dry or sweet and cherry or not. etc are some of the options one is faced with. Couple of ground rules though. First, the obvious – never use expensive whiskey like single barrel bournbons, or single malt scotch. Second, even if you partake a cherry – don’t add the syrup – the drink will be too sweet. For the rest, go by your own taste.
The Manhattan hasn’t yet replaced the dry Martini as the pre-dinner drink of choice, but it is running close. This is the way I prefer it now, especially on summer evening after work:
- 2 parts Gentleman Jack
- 1/2 part Dry vermouth
- 1/2 part Lillet
- Dash of Blood Orange Bitters (or Angostura)
Shake in a cocktail mixer with lots of ice and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Optional cherry garnishing (best way to do this: add the cherry – sans the syrup – to the bottom of the glass and pour the drink over it).
As you can see, I prefer straight up. Unlike the Martini, where on the rocks is a definite no, a Manhattan is okay over ice. However, I recommend that you use ice a bit more fine than usual for this.
: No, we paid for the drink, but the barman possessed that ideal quality so severely lacking in many of the profession: anticipating our next drink -both in terms of when we needed one next, and what we would enjoy. In a Friday-evening crowd, that is a fine
So there is a small matter of absence for three months from blogging. I could have just brushed it under the carpet and resumed posting as if the last post was just yesterday. But I am going to trot out the usual lame excuses anyway, if only to get out of the rut of lack of blogging:
One, a move of hemispherical and continental proportions: Around mid-June, we bid farewell to the two years of fun-times in Ozland and returned to the USofA. In fact, moved to one of my favorite cities here. The move itself was quite blog-worthy, involving as it did, flying the longest commercial route in existence (eighteen hours and change non-stop) followed by separate 6-hour and 9-hour road-trips, still followed by another 8 eight hours of flight before reaching the final destination!
Two, change of jobs: but of course that had to happen along with/because of change in continents. It was somewhat of a chicken and egg – I wanted to come back and did because I got a job, and because I got a job I had to come back, or something (okay, so not much of a conundrum). Anyway, the bigger news I guess is the nature of the job – which is a major shift in what I had been doing for the last few years, having switched from academia to the euphemistic ‘dark side’. Perhaps more on this later.
Three, Twitter. Okay – so this is the lamest of all. Not totally blaming it on Twitter, but I find myself nowadays increasingly unable to break through the shackle of 140 characters. When I started blogging (as in both reading and writing blogs) many years ago, I realized that I was gradually losing the ability to read any reports longer than two three paragraphs ie the typical blog post. If a piece of news or comment was not wrapped up in that space, the mind would start wandering. Hopefully, Twitter won’t induce a far greater attention deficiency syndrome.
Anyhow, this here is the first step. The Dictator’s recent return to longer posts is bit of an inspiration as well. If any of the regulars are still around, look forward to more ranting and irrelevant posts pretty soon.
Not that I was very persevering at it, but the advent of Twitter seems to have cut into my already dismal state of blogging. Most off-the-cuff remarks I might have considered putting into a blog , I now find myself finishing in 140 characters or less. An example would be the early morning (by Australian time) Champions League final game between Barca and Man U. that Barca won through some superb midfield play, which in other circumstances, I might have devoted a paragraph or three, I Twittered (Tweeted? Twat ?) about.
For lazy bums such as myself, 140 characters or less is just too tempting; get the rush of sharing your (half-formed) thoughts with the world out of the way quickly – thoughtful analysis and introspection be dammed.
Then there are other advantages: you have a list of people who follow you on Twitter, and with judicious calculations of whether they are online (or will be) or a knowledge of their interest, you know you will attract their attention to your Tweet (Twit?). With blogs, it has recently become a crap-shoot: your RSS feeds (wow, that sounds so 2005-6ish!) could be on the subscription list of hundreds (mine isn’t), but most people, I suspect, dont bother reading beyond the first 140 characters anyway. However, this could be a problem with Twitter too: there are those insanes that ‘follow’ hundreds and thousands, and I have no idea if they actually read a quarter of them. But at least you are assurred of being skimmed over by a few, versus the neglect of all.
On balance however, I am not a big fan of Twitter. So call me old-fashioned and stuck in the Web2.0 age, but here goes some reasons:
First, I have noticed that the overall productivity of quite a few of my favorite bloggers has declined since the advent of widespread Twitter usage. This is a personal loss – I do get their Twitter updates, but often it gets lost under a mountain of trivial stuff. Blogs – I can read at leisure. Twitter – early mornings, I cannot be bothered beyond the 5th, or the 2nd if I haven’t had my coffee yet. So I assume I am missing out on the richness of much rants, fisks, and other such goodies.
Second, the tendency of many Twitters (Twats? Tweeters ?) to go on a self-absorbed chronicling of their everyday mundane activities is often disgusting, not to mention boring as hell (ok, so that was the third soy-latte-chai you had today morning, now get over it and be a man by ordering a triple-shot Venti or whatever abomination).
Finally, while Twitter can be put to good use in quick dissemination of information (e.g during the Mumbai blast) – or for interesting updates on the go with iPhones (e.g. a few droll observations by the ever reliable gawker from a suburban pub tonite) etc., the total misuse or worse, cluelessness, of the platform by many is absolutely irritating. A well known blogger and journalist I was following for a while suffered from the worst case of verbal diarrhoea I have had the misfortune of reading – his opinion seemed to be that the 140 characters limit was a simple inconvenience, easily abrogated by breaking up a blog-sized posting (never pithy to begin with) into 30-40 Twitters!! I exaggerate of course, but not by much.
So unfollow these people you miserable Luddite twat, I hear the cry goes. Rest assured, my Twitter following is kept at the bare minimum: I think I follow a little more than 30 people (!) – four of them are celebrities, or people who I consider celebrities (Stephen Colbert, Kal Penn, Mindy Kaling and Samit Basu), a few were reciprocal followers (I have stopped this now, unless I know the person) and why they wanted to follow me in the first place I don’t know, a couple are institutional Twitters (e.g NIH, CDC) and I plan to expand into this soon, and the rest are people whom I used to follow on their blogs, some I have met personally as well.
As such, I don’t think that Twitter is a very bad thing, but hope it will be put to better use.
Anyhow, there ends a not very brief rant. And now, excuse me while I link this to an Twitter update 😛
: Even on a good week, less than 50% of putative blog posts actually get past the drafts stage.
…..because I can, as in because there is free wireless at the Pittsburgh airport. Don’t you love that ?
Back in Australia where the lack of constant noise is deafening, but the cooler temperatures – not to mention the absence of humidity – of winter about to set in, is quite welcome.
We had a sensation of returning ‘home’ as we walked into the apartment, which is weird considering we were coming back from a visit to home.
Kolkata as usual was an overload on senses: auditory, visual and lets not forget smell and taste. Mix in a wedding, a few trips to relatives and meetings with couple of top-bloggers, there are several blog-posts worth waiting to be typed down.
All in due course, after a much needed catch up with hours of lost sleep.