Monday, December 25, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Why don't we start with PMKK. I know, it's an old movie, and everyone from that movie has moved on since. Sanjay Suri stands out in the movie for his 'normal' act, and so it isn't a surprise that he's got a few good roles. But for the rest, it's like that line from 'Friends': '.. it's not that your friend is bad,it's that she's so bad, she makes me want to put my finger through my eye into my brain and swirl it around.' (Scary, but true. Perhaps,the hedd-ek also played a role.)
Then we go on to Superman Returns. I didn't get it. I swear PMKK was better than Superman Returns. The guy playing Superman looks good, but I spent all my time trying to where I had seen that other guy. And then I was wondering, how is this all that different from Spiderman? this guy is a reporter, that guy is a freelancer, this guy wears a red suit, that guy wears a red suit, this guy has an old foster mom, that guy has an old aunt. I like Batman better than these two. Well, to have a rank order, I'd go Batty,Spidy and Soupy.
Then I saw Devil wears Prada. I am almost scared to admit, but I cried during the movie...(*averts eye contact due to utter embarrassment*). Well that's how good Meryl Streep is. I haven't read the book( I am not THAT much into chick-lit.. though I did enjoy 'Shopaholic'), but I have heard that the Devil was a lot more human in the movie than in the book. And of course, MS does a fantastic job of portraying the boss who wants things done her way. Her scene without the eye make-up and the final pursing of lips/ smile got me. And of course, it has yummy coats. ( Coats, bags and shoes are what I love. They don't betray you when you suddenly get fat.)
Well, not exactly. There is another point to note: When at a dinner table, the bread is passed to the right. This does not hold true when some of the people at the dinner table are football fans.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
My neighbour is particularly particular about his decorations. He is SO particular that the first thing he did when he came back from his thanksgiving holiday was to remove all the thanksgiving decals and get to work on the Christmas decorations. By the time it was morning, there were reindeer in the yard, the shrubs where covered with lights and his entire door was covered in green paper and a snowman who didn't appear to be enjoying hanging out (literally) at the door.
In any case, next year, I am saving up and putting up a 6-ft blow up cobra on my yard during Naag Punch-Me. This month, a string of lights and 4 red bows is all I can afford.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
It was a fun 2.5 or so hours. The stunts are amazing, and so is the entire cast, except one haggard looking lanky fellow. There is a sappy love story, which leaves you laughing all the time, but there wasnt a single wedding or a sangeet sequence.
I am 6 years too late to climb on the Hrithik bandwagon, but what the hell. Byebye lankmaster.
This is escapism at its best. Things will never be like this in real life. Dhoom 2 is in the Charlie's Angels category, not in the Batman/Spiderman category. Please go in with those kind of expectations, and you wont be disapppointed.
Monday, November 20, 2006
The guy took out a map of Europe, and a numerical legend of all the countries, and asked me to mark as many countries as I knew. And thats when it dawned up on me. I dont know as much as I thought I did about Europe. And I felt SO happy! It was wierd, because the expected reaction would have been of shame and guilt. I realised that somewhere down the road, I had prioritized, and made up my mind that knowing all the countries of Europe really isnt going to help me in my day to day life. If I need to know, all I would have to do is go to Google. So with a bright beaming smile, I marked what I knew, UK, Ireland, Italy, Sicily, France and Germany. I didn't even think any longer than that and handed the sheet to the guy with a big beaming smile.
The guy took one look at the sheet and his smile just vanished. He looked SO offended I thought he was going to bite my head off right there and then. But he controlled himself and asked me 'Where are you from?' 'India', I said.
'Oh, thats okay', says the guy (HEH?! what do you mean! I am thinking) 'I probably dont know that many Asian countries either'.
With that he went off to another table, and I went back to my coffee. I think he was offended just because I didn't mark his country on the map. (I still dont know what it is, and where it is on the map)
Months later, I came across an article in a Univ publication (thats what I do during my coffee breaks...read NYT, USA today and random Univ publications strewn around the cafeteria..all free). The article was a survey of 25 grad students who were asked to mark the countries of Europe. I dont remember the exact figures now, but I clearly remember that there was one outlier who was thrown out of the study because that student had too few countries marked on the map.
I am 99.5% sure that was me.
BTW, in case that grad student comes up to you one day, please be prepared. I am inserting a nice little map of Europe for you.
Friday, November 10, 2006
One of the games, I dont know how, or even think ANYONE knows how, turned into this chase where ten girls were chasing one guy. The chase goes on for a while and the guy freaks out and get scared and of course swings a fist at the girl closest to him (leader of the conspiracy, we thought at the time) and sends her flying across the terrace, with a HUGE bump on her face..Much crying follows, and soon an elder from the girl's family comes to scream at all of us. The guy accuses all the girls of trying to indulge in what shall be refered to as ' P.O.P'. The girls are stunned, like OMG! are you crazy, we were trying to kill you..not 'P.O.P'! (I seriously dont think that was 'P.O.P' on the agenda. We generally chased guys around. In fact, I was 6 when I first joined this group, and my first ever conversation went like 'Hi, can I play with you? ..'Sure! That guy there is N___R, and we are chasing him.The first one to catch him gets to be queen for the day. Lets go, or we wont make it'..) The elder of course doesnt get this and turns to the girls gives a half hour lecture and dares them to 'P.O.P' on him. The girls dont know where to look. Most of us go rolling on the floor laughing their guts out.(mentally, of course). Following this was a lamba bhashan which I am sure no one remembers and then everyone was sent off packing to their houses.
Till this day, I am not entirely clear about (a) why we started chasing the guy. (b) Why was he sent scot free and we got the firing. (c) perhaps 'P.O.P' was on the agenda, but I am sure no one would have actually done it.
I found this link from google news, which cited a study in the BMJ that basically states 'Searching with Google may help doctors to formulate a differential diagnosis in difficult diagnostic cases.'
That's great, so does this also mean that using google for research is also legit?
Apparently, it has been for while, I just didn't know it.
I used to use only pubmed earlier, but then I was led to scholar.google.com.
The difference apparently between pubmed and scholar.google is that while pubmed searches only abstracts, scholar.google will search the full text of an article and then present its results. However, pubmed wins because of its PMID feature that assigns a unique number to each article and its ease of use with Endnote and 'related links'. My experience is that Scholar.google is useful when you want to look for detailed methods used, or if the information you are looking for happens to be hidden somewhere in an article but doesnt appear in the abstract.
I was once by a senior student (this was in '04) that if you mention that you used google to search for articles, you will be looked up on as a joke.. (he was the one who introduced me to scholar.google, but then gave this above 'warning' as well). A quick run of the words 'scholar google' on pubmed gave several articles in which cited 'Google Scholar' in their methods, the earliest one going down to March '05.
So far, I have never been asked where I came up with a certain article, if asked , I will mention scholar.google.com, in addition to Pubmed. Because now I found an article on pubmed, extolling the benefits of google scholar, and it was published in Nature News. You can't get more legit than that. :)
On an other note: There just HAD to be a desi involved in it. :)
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
My sister who for some reason is addicted to orkut , youtube and combing the net for obscure things sent me this link, which she also posted in the 'orkut rehab community'.. (you might find this surprising, but she does hold a normal day job too..)
Popping bubble wrap has been a wonderful passtime for us for a long time.. the fav. ones used to be those envelopes that come with the bubble wrap as inside lining. But the best bubble wrap experience I had was in my MS lab.
It was late in the night..(well not THAT late, probably 10ish) and I was generally loafing in the lab..looking to check if everything is in its place, things are shut down or not etc etc.. I came across this huge box, size of probably a computer monitor.. I opened it and guess what! It was full of bubble wrap!:) I unrolled all the bubble wrap (about 6 by 2 feet) and laid it on the floor of the lab and popped all the bubbles by walking all over the wrap.
Phat!phat! phatphat phat!..talk about the ultimate stress buster.:)
Thursday, October 05, 2006
This morning I thought of writing a nice post on a significant piece in the news, about Lucentis and Avastin, both protein pharmaceuticals marketed by Genentech. The news/debate is significant to me for personal as well as professional reasons. So here's a write up of what I get from it.
( Of course, none of this is new information not available from online sources and NEJM except I think for the last para, so for a full understanding of your own, I suggest you read the references posted below)
The drugs in the news are antibodies made by Genentech. Lucentis was approved on
Of course, in theory this is not without problems. Before any FDA approved drug comes into the market, it undergoes extensive clinical trials for treating that disease, including toxicity and tolerability studies, up to efficacy and safety. While Genentech did these studies for Lucentis, it hasn't undertaken them for Avastin(for macular degen). And since it already has Lucentis on the market for wet-MD, it is reluctant/ not interested in conducting such trials for Avastin. Their logic: why undertake a huge study for something which hasn't really been proven to be significantly better when another drug already exists and has just recently been approved. (now if Lucentis was a competitor's drug, they would not have cared ONE bit about the costs, and gone ahead anyway, but since both drugs belong to the same company, this becomes a unique case.)
It also claims, and somewhat justifiably that since the preparation for Avastin has not been formulated specifically for ocular use, it does not undergo the more stringent tests an intraocular preparation would undergo. ( Though I don't know if the tests for IV adminstration would allow for less stringent criteria). The sterility of the preparation might be compromised by the doctor making aliquots of the larger dose of Avastin into the smaller doses needed for intra-ocular administration. ( well, thats what hospital pharmacies, pharmacists and sterile hoods are for). Also, while Lucentis are just antibody fragments, Avastin is the entire antibody, which basically will have different effects (either beneficial or toxic) than Lucentis.
Now yet, doctors seem to be fond of it, and continue using it. And one cannot ignore the cost issue. Of course, Genentech won't do a full scale clinical trial, as long as it believes that Lucentis works just fine.( In fact they believe it's better) So who does this study comparing the two? And who picks the tab? Well, right now, grant has been submitted to the National Eye Institute for comparing the two head-to-head in the clinic. If this comes through, as I understand it, the govt., thus tax-payers will pay for it. Of course, it will take long, but at least we will know which drug is better and will use that one. As far as the cost of the drug goes, as I understand it, the cost of Avastin will still remain low, if the Nat. Eye Insti. funds the study. However, if Genentech were to undertake the study, it would obviously increase the cost of the drug to recover the amount spent on clinical trials, and then some.
I think that if an unbiased person, with no finanical gains from the results of the study performs it, we stand to get a better answer. If he/she reports that Lucentis is indeed better, no problemo, we'll keep using that. If they say Avastin is better, then what happens? Maybe Genentech can start producing Avastin only in smaller doses which can be used in both colon cancer and introculary, thus making it available for intraocular injections, and increase the cost of Avastin for intraocular use to that of Lucentis? Thus, both the patient and Genentech will be happy. The patient because he/she gets the better drug, and Genentech because they can make twice the money from Avastin. As for Lucentis, well, it could be the alternative. Since it is debated which has a higher affinity, a genetic mutant will surely be reported which responds better to Lucentis than Avastin, thus making Genentech even happier. ( and not to mention the mutant patient whose sight will also be saved).
So in the end Sqrl thinks she's made everyone happy. (she is conveniently forgetting insurance in the mis, and she realises that. But that is something beyond her understanding. Perhaps someone else can help).
With that said, Sqrl goes off to watch Ugly Betty.
HAVE to listen to the last one..
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Sorry Jassi, Betty nahi hai tumhare jaisi.
So I saw the new series Ugly Betty on Thursday, and I liked it..and I wondered why I never liked Jassi.. not that I never saw Jassi the series, but I thought she looked just TOO ugly.
Well, above is a comparison of Betty and Jassi.
Jassi, at least in all the pictures I had seen looks like someone from another planet..the bangs look 'taped on' . I am sure the glasses had to be special ordered..because no one will make those frames and hope to sell them for a profit. nope.
Betty on the other hand has these real bangs, and red, oblongish frame, which in theory would look good.. so it doesnt seem like Betty puts in extra effort to look ugly.. Frankly, to me, she doesn't even LOOK ugly... she looks like ME. who in the world that is SO fixated on 'presentation' and 'image', just gets up in the morning, doesnt comb her hair if she cant find her brush, buys nice looking clothes, but gets it all wrong..and hopes that her wildly smart brain and hard work will shine through anyway.
BTW, I wear a purple eye glasses.
Useless Trivia: Grey's Anatomy is named after the Bible/Geeta/Koran (how politically correct) of most med/wanna-be med students that I know.
Even more useless trivia: My dad and his cousin werent talking to each other for 2 years in college because my dad lost his Gray's anatomy book..
Update of Even more useless trivia: They are on friendlier terms now..wheter the book was found or not.. we dont talk about that anymore. shh
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
And noticed that according to iTunes, Backstreet Boys qualifies as 'Adult Contemporary'..(nooo... I wasn't trying to download any of their shitty tunes..I just noticed!!)
Monday, September 25, 2006
In the 'much anticipated' (I don't know by who) season premiere, we have the girls chatting over lunch/brunch...and Bree/Charlotte announces that she is engaged and she and her fiance have not had sex yet since they are saving it for after the wedding...and gabby/Samantha exclaims ' u cant buy a car without a test drive' and guess who the fiance is (didn't catch his name)/Trey of sex and the city! ( Okay, exactly which / show are we watching here??)
At least they could have changed the actor playing Trey.
And at least come up with a new plot than an obsessive husband killing/accused of killing his wife.. that was SO last season (seriously..)
Silver Lining: You can now watch ABC prime-time episodes the next day, online. But I guess the week before won't be available. How will they make money off DVD sales otherwise? heh? heh?
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
1) Fried Stuffed Pomfret: I am a HUGE sea food fan and this is probably one of the best dishes I have ever tasted. A whole pomfret is stuffed which an amazing coriander/coconut chutney with some othe secret spices. The whole fish is tied with string to hold it together, coated with our usual haldi-mirch masala and fried after coating with rice flour.
2) Chicken Biryani at Palkar's Burger Corner: Yeah,everyone's heard about Lucky's biryani, but we Dadar-ites have this amazing secret. The Palkars have this little shop in one of the tiny lanes in Dadar. We always have this biryani when we have a lot of guests over and mom doesnt want to cook. All she does then is place the order for about 2 kgs biryani (which means they make the biryani with 2kgs of chicken..) and fry up some fish. Yummy party dinner's ready!
3) Sabudana wada @ Prakash: The famous eatery in Dadar. :) These wadas are gigantic! And yummy. Crunchy on the outside, and once you get to the inner part, soft..great with coconut chutney. Btw, Prakash was 'Central Perk' to my grandpa who used to hang out there with his friends after their rounds of walking and gossip at Shivaji Park.
4) Kababs: The ones you get on the roadside at Mahim. I LOVE kababs and have eaten them at many, many restaurants, but somehow, the Mahim ones have stuck ( the ones that my mom is SURE are made from dog-meat, but they taste so yummy anyway).
5) Creme Brule @ Butterwood: I couldn't explain to my friend what exactly this dish is all about. but all I could say was: it's jsut something you HAVE to eat( before you die) and hence its here. :)
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
And while I was looking for stuff on the LG15 story ( its also featured on CNN! screw deals2buy, I am going to circuit city right now!), I came across this story. A guy who says he wont shave till bin laden in caught. Watch out dude! Going by the way your beard looks right now, you might be mistaken for Bin Laden himself.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
So for the past few days, there was this talk on the morning show about how one of their hosts was going to be a dad. How sweet... the lady was giving the guy arbit advice etc...and I wasnt changing the channel...mornings were still 98.5.
But then, the mom went into labor I guess, and got admitted...and thats when I started to get morning sickness. They took the whole show into the hospital, asking the dad how the mom is doing, and what name they have decided etc etc.. ALL the time I couldnt help but think about the mother to be.. I mean, isnt it stressful enough to have a baby, but then top it with the pressure to perform!And have the dad run to give updates to the whole town?!
And I am really not sure, but I think I threw up in my mouth a lil when I heard the ad that went something like 'Tune in, we will have a baby and a name tomorrow!' I guess the baby went 'ppphttt, I am not coming today, tell ur listeners to come back tomorrow if they care SO much'
I mean seriously, do we need that much information, I guess I didnt expect it in a country where privacy is guarded so much. I wonder what the mother felt about all this?
Anyway, apparently dad and mom gave birth to a lovely little girl..
Congratulations to you! :)
And now I can stop listening to my Himesh tapes and go back to radio. :)
Monday, August 28, 2006
Saif looks hot as usual and acts well too. ( These days no one is arguing about either of those points so I didnt say anything new..now thats a relief)
Naseeruddin Shah is wasted(Now I feel like a real film critic) Anyone can act stoned.
Dimple? Why dimple! She looks soooo unp-Parsi, trying her level best to imitate the parsi aunties she's seen in her building. So fake ( yeah, like I grew up amongst Parsis...) but she was extremely over the top in her mannerisms and hysteria scenes. (That leaves nothing)
Boman Irani and Heena(I dont even know her real name) were paasable. ( total fillum critic.:) btw, handsup those who think Taran Adarsh is trying his level best to look like K-Jo.. hmm..maybe its just me)
The old man was probably the most real person in the film. (Reminded me of all the senile people I know. Esp P. though P was old (100+) but certainly not senile.)
And I am now saturated with all things Parsi. Just finished reading Ticket to Minto. Will write about that later.
My my. how much I blogged today. 2 whole posts!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
The 'relaxed fit' T you bought from Aeropatel suddenly seems like a 'baby fit' tee.
Your arms develop bat wings.
An aquaintance stops you and asks with an awwww expression..'are you pregnant'?
I hereby pledge to starve myself from now until the time I have delivered the 20 lbs of fat that gave her that impression.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Saturday, July 08, 2006
So here's a no-nonsense no loss in calories or brain cells dessert.
I call it the
Easy Lazy Pineapple Dessert. (How imaginative)
The original recipe is taken from the Food Network, something I saw on my flight back from New York.
My recipe uses a pie crust as a base, because I dont have bowls in the house. I also did not use rum, mascarpone cheese or pine nuts. But the essence of sauteing the pineapple is what I liked in the above mentioned recipe.
The ingredients are:
1) Pie crust. ( the kinds you get next to the pillsbury biscuits in the breakfast section in the supermarket)
2) Crushed Pineapples.
4) Reddi Whip
5) Chopped Walnuts
Pre-heat oven at 450F for 10 mins, glaze a glass pan with butter and unroll the pie crust on to it. Cut into slices. Bake for 15 mins.
While thats going on, in a pan add 1 tsp butter and add the pineapple (drain the juice from the can) and the banana. Lightly saute for 6-7 mins and mash the banana at the end.
Remove the crust from the oven. cool. Add the pineapple mix onto the pie crust to completely cover it. The circle the outside with reddiwhip and add one blob in the center and 5 around the center blob. (decor according to your taste =) ).
Add walnuts on the reddi whip. Generously.
Serve immediately, or the crust will become soggy.
I would have added a pic, but I ate it up and now theres none =( .. hehe no actually I have it, but I cant find my USB cord to upload the pic. Maybe next time.
Any improvements you can think of, please leave in the comments box, or email me!
The series is a more tolerable Scrubs and has some ER in it..add to it a strong female cast and soapy story lines in addition to the medical drama.. (Infact, my neurologist aunt told me ' We doctors really don't talk that much in the hospital.. we have to run around 10 times as much as they show in this show... they just dont have a grip on reality.'). But then, would I watch a series about docs just running around??
So anyway, though I really like the series, and am happy I have something to root for. I don't like Ellen Pompeo, or her character Meredith. And I don't really like McDreamy either. In fact, I would love it if they got together again so that Dr.(Mrs) McDreamy (how desi) can get back with Dr. McSteamy, who apparently is coming back to the show. ( I also go to forums for this series.. gosh! I should really be working on my research instead).
I love all the other characters.. including Alex, though I am not too fond of George.. too boring for me. Yang, along with Burke ( In fact, HE is the McDreamy/Steamy whatever for me) and Bailey are folks who get me back every week. And I am so happy for Sandra Oh (yang) and Chandra Wilson (Bailey) that they got nominated for their supporting roles. And happy that Ellen ji did not. (beechee)
Only hoping that this series doesn't go the Desperate Housewives way. NO nominations this year apparently. (except for the lady with the crazy son..bo-ring!) That series was just getting out of hand..good for me..I dont feel like I am cheating on DH when I skip it to watch GA later. :)
PS: I also buy USweekly on the newstands but something tells me its too late to dissect Tomkat and Branjelina now. Wait till the wedding. I'll have something up by then. =)
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Rashmi has asked on her blog a few questions about desktop vs a laptop. And as I was writing a comment to her post, I realized that well; that first, I don’t go to classes anymore.(yay!) thus my experience is a lil unrelated…but more importantly my little baby deserves a post dedicated to her.
And that’s what this one is about. My Laptop.
I own a 700m. Bought for $999, approx 1.5 years ago. I used to have a desktop before that for one year, but as time went by the need for mobility increased and a laptop became a necessity. Thus, Rashmi, if you read this.. I didn’t need a laptop when I was taking classes.
My department pays us a decent stipend. And so expects each of us to own a laptop. And there is good reason for that. You don’t get it to school for one day and you realize how handicapped you become. As a PhD student, you end up collecting tons of literature and data.( whether that data is useful or junk, is another story). And it’s good to have it all in one place. When I have to meet my boss, I can just take my laptop to her office and show her all my raw data and analysis, and if need be, pull up an article from the net and discuss it right there and then. If we have new ideas, just jot them down and do a search right there. It cuts down all the emailing back and forth.
For presentations, again. Everything is in one place. If you burn a CD of a presentation, you cannot make last minute changes. When students in our lab go for conferences etc, we have rehearsals for them. Changes can be made to slides right there and stored. And of course, since your data is all there, just adding a slide isn’t too difficult.
And of course! Mobility. Thanks to laptops, I was able to submit my research proposal AND get married in the same month. We left for India on Dec 15th, got married in the last week of December and my proposal was due Jan 15th , the day I was to return to the US. This would not have been possible had it not been for my 700m, Ashish’s laptop universal adapters which work all over the world. I typed my proposal literally on three continents, 2 airports, 2 planes, my house and my sasuraal. Thankfully I did not take it to my honeymoon, just because that would have been a tad too much. Would I have been able to do that with a desktop? I think not. Even if all my data was on CDs/USBs whatever, just the peace of mind that every little piece of data/shit that I will ever need is with my in my hand, and portable, is worth the $999 I spent. My status changed twice over in 2 months. Went from ‘engaged and graduate student’ to ‘married and PhD candidate’J..thanks to Ashish and my laptop . :)
And of course, something I cannot do with my desktop is take it to Niagara Falls. I plan to type out at least part of my thesis sitting at next to the Falls.