My Winter Olympics!

Here is a little bit of info - Whistler is a winter resort, complete with high prices, quality nightlife, a beer costing 9.25$, and, of course, ski lifts.

If you are from North Vancouver, you probably come here for the day with your skiing and/or snowboarding gear, get the day pass, and enjoy both the mountains - Whistler and Blackcomb. You probably even have a season pass. If you feel like splurging, you may stay at one of the many hotels in the Whistler village, let your aching muscles relax in a hot tub and the sauna, and then a grab a few drinks at the many bars in the village, and get back to wherever you are from on the following day.

If you are from Vancouver or Richmond, you probably are signed up for best deals mailing lists, and you find a good deal for one slow weekend, and come here to have a good time. I don't blame ya!

If you are newly married, resorts are where you will stay. Probably your wife loves snow, and you wanna have a good time with her, and you followed her here, despite the money the trip entails. She probably is a lousy skier, but you are skilled, and you grin and bear it, even when she slows you down.

If you are a backpacker, you probably stay at one of the only two hostels in Whistler area, take a shuttle to the ski lifts, pay through your nose the day fare, and get back to your hostel, earning another travel story to tell in your three month long across North America trip.

If you are me, you would start with lofty travel plans, and start from Victoria, with an idea to conquer the northern most parts of North West - Tofino and Cape Scott Provincial Park - and then you realize that you can go no further than Victoria, and that your experience in driving in snowfall is nil at best, and then you look at the map, you actually stare at the map, and think that Whistler is not a bad idea, as the Sea-to-Sky Hwy would be well maintained and plowed, and you think you could do this, and get on the highway without snow tires or snow chains kicking caution to the curb, and promptly realize that you are stuck, you experience your first car-skidding incident in life, your adrenaline kicks in, you stay alert, that's all you could do, you realize you can't turn around, turning around actually involves turning your wheels around which are skidding, all the exits are full of 2 feet snow and your car can't go through.. and your best chances of survival are to stay on the highway, go forward, and hope that you won't get pulled over, given a ticket, and wont be let to drive anyway, and you eventually make it to Whistler, thanking your lucky stars, and the invisible gods you agnostically claim you neither believe nor disbelieve in when times were good, check into a hotel, and wonder, "Now What?"
  • Current Music
    08 Tu Mere Ru Ba Ru Hai - Daler Mehndi

Future Food!

There is a certain snobbism in food circles in favor of tradition, authenticity, shunning any suggestion of using modern techniques. Flash freezing, use of liquid Nitrogen, Spherification, Sous Vide (which is just the French way of saying 'cooking under vacuum') - for example. "Is it even 'Food'?", they ask turning their noses up. On the other side, there are a few modern master chefs who ignore these snobs, and try to use any technique possible to enhance the taste, presentation, or to just make their patrons curious. When you think about it, any cooking technique at some point in history was invented, so why the snobbism towards new techniques?

Los Angeles is a city that always embraces new fads - in fashion, in cooking, in architecture, in every thing possible. It takes the fad, adds it's own quirkiness to it and swirls it back at the world for further consumption. Culinary arts is no exception. Enter the Bazaar at the swanky new SLS hotel in Beverly Hills. It's a tapas bar. It's a modern restaurant. It's a tasting station. It's an exhibition of art curiosities. It's the Place to hangout on a Friday night with friends.

And what's on the menu?

"Salt Air" Margaritas. "Liquid Cherry" Manhattans. Philly Cheesesteak with Wagyu beef over an "air bread" filled with air and melted cheddar, meant to be taken in one big bite. Barbecued Eel Tacos. If you order this, you should know that it has chicharrones (which is just Spanish way of saying you are eating pork rinds, which again is just an English way of saying you are eating pig skin, deep fried) as a garnish. Cotton Candy foie gras. Yes, you heard it, foie gras wrapped in a cotton candy. American Caviar cone. Jicama-wrapped Guacamole with right amounts of crunchy bits and micro cilantro.

Suit up, and go with friends, grab a couch, and let the beautiful people parade in front of you, while you enjoy the space-age concoctions.

Surfing Porn!

The idea was to cross the hills via the Beverly Glen canyon road on my way back from work in Burbank, come back to Westwood Village, loiter around, read a story or two from the New Yorker fiction issue, decide whether to eat grilled chicken or barbacoa at Chipotle, and then slip into the adjacent Regent theater to catch Toy Story 3.

I came back, parked, and walked into Hammer Museum on a whim, to check out the schedule of events for this month. And instead of an empty courtyard I expected, given the late evening hour, and a guard about to end his shift, I saw a courtyard full of surfer dudes, and notices announcing a movie called "Riding Giants", a surfing movie I got to know when I enquired later. And horror of horrors, a long queue. Curious, I stood for a while, bumming around more than I needed to, skimming through the current schedule, which I did pick up as I walked in, and I was offered a free ticket by a, any guesses, surfer dude!

I skipped Toy Story 3, and watched this amusing documentary. I live on the peripheral edges of all sub cultures with in LA. I know there is a strong surfing sub-culture here, and I didn't know I'd be tiny part of it accidentally this way.

Now, if only I could swim well, I could go bodyboarding this summer!

Next up: Dogtown and Z-boys, the skateboarding movie.
  • Current Music
    Pa' bailar - featuring Ryota Komatsu - Bajofondo


Yahoo's Sunnyvale campus is so full of energy - radiating from its huge URL's cafe, outward onto its many buildings, people rambling about with Y! backpacks on its lawns - that it's positively giddying for a non Bay Area visitor. It even has access to bay trails right from its backyard. You can run, hike, or just unwind from your day breathing in the fresh air doing nothing.

But, I wouldn't want to move here. Go figure!

Movies.. Movies..

I feel so disconnected.

After a month away, in addition to the frustration of not being able to check out a single French movie while in Paris, though I saw the posters of many interesting movies (Did you know that the director of Triplets of Belleville now has a new movie titled L'Illusioniste based on a story by Jaques Tati or that the star of L'auberge Espagnole, Romain Duris, has a new movie called Heartbreaker?), Hollywood is adding to my woes, despite a poor Summer 2010.

There is Toy Story 3 at the multiplex.

Then there are Winter's bone, I'm Love, and Anton Chekov's The Duel at the other multiplex.

And on the home front, there are Villain (Raavan's Telugu version) and Vedam.

I missed the 70mm screening of The Leopard, the version you are supposed to see, apparently. And I won't be in town for another two weeks.

And please don't mention LA Film Festival. It moved to Downtown from Westwood, and I can't whine enough.


Starbucks in Paris!

After struggling to order from a French menu for a month ('terrine' what? Excus-mwah, Is that chicken or beef?), it's rather comforting to know that at any time you can walk into a Starbucks, and say "Medium size Mocha, with soy, extra hot", and be understood immediately.


There will still be the mandatory questioning "Oh, you mean Grande!" look, and you will be charged extra for the "soja".

LJ and Paris!

One of the regrettable changes online is that LiveJournal is dead, or rather dying a slow death, or is taken over by greedy Russian overloads who seem hellbent on running video ads and make the site highly unusable, almost as if they want to remind you that you are unwelcome to even visit the home page. Like you, I too lamented, in public and in private, and in those cafe discussions with friends in which you try to say something intelligent to let them think that you are in touch with online trends. The change also coincided with another regrettable personal shift in my habits - which is simply that I don't get motivated to write, or record the events in my life - something I should do, as I am growing old, and my memory is not what it used to be. I say it's regrettable because - I have been through so much in the last two years, many ups and downs, so many new places and experiences, positive and negative, and I don't wish to forget them. But clearly, there is the lack of motivation, lack of words and skill to describe them. Sometimes, I wish I had an Irish blood in me to be able to write naturally in a contemporary tone, rather than spew out in a texbook-ish antiquated style a desi would do. "I am 53% Irish," I'd declare, and that next thing I know, words will automatically flow - funny, pithy, full of interesting anecdotes.

And yet here I am, with almost no clear sense of what the hell I am doing, or have done, at large. True, I go to work, go through daily motions, finish the tasks on my plate, fill my weekly status reports, just after my boss sends me the last possible reminder about missing it yet another week. But, at large, I can not sum it up.

The situation probably is not gonna change.

Why all this rambling? Well, because I am in Paris, and probably going through an unforgettable experience of my lifetime.

Good or bad?!

I don't know. But, it's something I wish I'd record it.

Un Cafe S'il Vous Plait!

The best thing about Paris is of course its cafe culture. The side-walk cafes that serve, well, coffee, d'oh, and a lot more. Drinks are welcome, so is smoking. Puff it away. A few food items too. But not caramel macchiato. Yuppies, please exit through the side door. These are only for parisians to socialize after work and yap about anything under the sun and do people watching.

The choices at a cafe as per my guide book: cafe is espresso, cafe creme is espresso with milk, noisette is espresso with just a dash of milk, cafe calva is espresso with a shot of apple brandy, which is what you would need on most days in paris I'd think. And what is cafe au lait? Good question. Cafe au lait is espresso with hot milk, pre mixed in a cup or served separately, where as cafe creme is espresso with room temperature milk, as I understand it. And I often understand it wrong.

But my guidebook doesn't tell me what should lactose intolerant desis are supposed to do in paris?



Anna Ternheim is being billed as the next Norah Jones, to go where the fellow swede, Lykki Li, couldn't.

I am skeptical though. beatzo, are you listening?
  • Current Music
    What Have I Done - Anna Ternheim