Thursday, June 30, 2005


Rosti is described by some as an "easy version of a Swiss potato cake". I don't know how accurate that is as I have never had Swiss potato cake, but Rosti looks a bit like this. As we were dining at Marche at the BCE Place, after watching War of the Worlds, I remarked that the food there was very European. We blabbed the usual about the ambience and the food making it pricy but justified because of the 'ambience'. Ether, being very blunt, said Rosi was just 'aloo bhorta' in French (or German, or whatever).

Later I reflected that this is why Toronto's ethnic restaurants are pricy. They take some common dish, put it in italics on the menu and it becomes exotic. Thus we have 'samosas', 'shik kebab', 'naan', 'dosa', 'tandoori' - all common back home but here an exotic expensive dish. Some dishes I understand - such as 'kotu roti' and 'shwarma' - but why is naan exotic?

I didn't put an extensive review of War of the Worlds as I noticed recently I have doing a lot of that on the blog. This blog is not just about movies. Even though I have watching a lot of them lately (this is summer after all). Suffice it to say the movie was faithful to the book, except for some 'minor' changes such as changing the locale of the story from London, UK, to some some place in USA, and the hero getting a family, as well as some other flaws. Even though I found it good, something prevents me from recommending it, and I will leave it at that.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Peterborough Fishing Mine

Went fishing to Peterborough this morning. We struck a gold mine. Any line cast seemed to come back with fish (sometimes two!). All sort of fish were caught: bass, perch, sunfish. We intended to go for carp, but later we got too tired due to the sapping heat.

Total fish count: 150 (no kidding!). I took 10 home, we gave ten each to our neighbors, and even then had lots left, which went to Fahad's uncle's friend. He loves sunfish.

Our Fishing Hole

Everyone Is Busy Catching Fish

Some Distractions Were Present As Well

150 Fish Being Kept Fresh

Packing The Haul

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Paheli Is Good

Saw Paheli (starring SRK, Rani). It's good. Those who don't like Hindi movies may not like this one. It's a love story. It has emotions. It has lots of colors. And it has lots of songs. I thought the songs were a bit too much (some could have been removed for faster flow) but on the whole, if you like Indian movies, you will like Paheli.

Gone Fishing

Just got back from fishing. We tried this new place just around 20 minutes away from home. Boy was I surprised to find such a town so close to Toronto. It was a postcard-style town, with beautiful mosaic pavements, old style (18th century) houses, and the air of a bygone era. The lake (pond, rather) where we fished was very surreal. It was quiet, and lots of creatures around. Although didn't get any keepers, nevertheless a morning well-spent.

The Loons

Fahad's Batfish

Noha's Wedding

Just came back from attending Noha's wedding/reception. The usual crowd (read the-Donmills-people-who-were-once-in-UAE-but-now-mostly-in-Brampton-but-still-called-Donmills-people) attended. Atleast Jaber and others still are in North York.

The ceremony itself was a good affair. Jaber said a few quotes, while Isra recited a great poem. Babu and Mehboob (of BSA fame) sang some songs. The dinner was very good. The menu was South Asian, with some spicy tandoori chicken and a kabab (making us loosen our ties) being the best. One cannot fault Jaber's organization (meticulous) nor the food (really scrumptious). He should become a Bengali wedding planner. He even printed a schedule (or program guide, whatever it's called).

On a sidenote, it always seems a point of EXTREME importance at Bengali weddings - the food has to be good. I have attended some weddings where there is no organization to speak of, it's as boring as hell, but the food was good and no one complained. Bengalis. Go figure.

Going back to the wedding, after dinner, there were a few songs and dances. Jaber also displayed a slideshow, which showed the couples' pictures from childhood to present times. It was a nice and different touch.

The 'Just Married' car

The spread was tasty

Here's to still being single (it's Coke BTW)

Who's next?

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Koreans Are Coming

It was shaping up to be just another Friday at work. I was at my desk, coding away, while my boss was away (his kid was sick). The operational engineers were busy at their workstations. Suddenly there was a knock on our office door, before it slammed open, and a gentleman (who worked upstairs) ran in, a little short of breath.

Searching for my boss, and not finding him, he turned to me and announced:

"The Koreans Are Coming!"

The reactions from the guys was immediate and hilarious:

"So should we lock the doors?"

"Don't you mean the Russians?"

"Koreans? North or South?"

Further clarification led to the fact that a delegation from the University of Korea in Seoul was visiting University of Toronto and they wanted to see how the building controls and management operated here. In any case, they did come within a few minutes, and were a very nice (and courteous) bunch of guys, along with their interpreter. They visited for 15 minutes, asked lots of questions, took a few pictures of my coffee cup before taking our leave.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Played Some Cricket Today

Got together with some friends for cricket at North York. Was feeling very hyped-up about Bangladesh winning (a rarity). Played good cricket too. Played 2 matches. Me and Gazi were the mainstay for our team for both the games. In the first game we bowled them out for an on-par target before Gazi and I overhauled it with lots of overs to spare. In the second game we again chased. This time the target was higher, and we both batted down the order to give the others a bat. But there was a collapse and we again found ourselves together, with only one more wicket to follow. First we repaired the innings, then built it, before finally racing towards the target in a surprisingly less than tight finish.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Bangladesh beats Australia

This morning was crazy. I was following the Bangladesh game vs Australia. Around the half way stage, I had reasonable hope that Bangladesh could pull off the unthinkable. But as always, it was Bangladesh, and I must admit that I did not expect them to last beyond 180. And at 80 odd for 3 around the 27th over, a familiar pattern was beginning to repeat itself.

Then Ashraful happened. He and Bashar began to nudge the singles and take very little risks, yet keep the wickets in hand for the final dash. If that was the game plan, today it was executed to perfection. And when it finally happened, a Bangladesh victory over Australia that BBC (a bastion of anti-Bangladesh commentators) called "the pinnacle of Bangladesh achievements in one-day internationals" and Cricinfo labeled "the greatest giant-slaying of all time", I let out a medieval scream. I switched ON MY CAPS LOOK KEY TO SHOW MY EXCITEMENT ONLINE TO ALL OTHERS ON MY MSN LIST FOLLOWING THE GAME ON CRICINFO. Many of them had changed their nicks as well. 'Aus Banged', 'BD Kicks Ass(Aus)' and 'Holy Crap - BD actually beat Aus' were some of the most memorable ones.

Rony Bhaia called from Bangladesh. They are pretty excited too. Last time I was in Bangladesh, they beat India and then Zimbabwe. This time my folks are there, they beat Australia. He pointed that out to me, with some theory of us brining luck. Ofcourse the fact that the next day I was there India made 345 against Bangladesh was conveniently ignored.

At then end, though, Bangladesh cricket also owes a lot to Australians. It was Eddie Barlow, an Australian, who first set up Bangladesh cricket administration. It was the Australian cricket board's support that Bangladesh got Test status. It was their memorandum of Understanding signed with the BCB that Bangladesh got good training and infrastructure for their youth teams (under-15,19,21). It was their team's attitude during the Bangladesh tour of Australia that Bangladesh cricketers matured. Steve Waugh made his players go to the Bangladesh dressing room and talk to our cricketers, and tell them not to despair or listen to the critics. After all, Waugh knew what it was like to belong to a team that had potential but never achieved. That was Australia prior to 1987. And finally, it was Australia again, who today, was beaten, but never made an condescending comment about Bangladesh that the Pakis made.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Interpreter Rankles

Watched The Interpreter tonight. Before going into what I don't like about the movie - a brief synopsis: Kidman is Silvia Broome, working at the UN in NYC. Sean Penn is Tobin Keller, a Secret Service agent that protects foreign dignitaries. An african dictator accused of genocide is coming to NYC to make a speech at the UN Security Council, and Kidman overhears a plot to kill him. Movie starts.

Overall, it wasn't half bad. It started well, then got right into the middle of it. Character development of the main duo was good. It had the ambience of a slow European mystery, with a cop who has personal issues (always), a victim who is not all that she appears (and blonde - always), and a bunch of criminals, the head of whom is the one the hero has to protect. All-in-all, a good mix for a good movie.

Unfortunately there are several flaws. First, the dialogue. Some of the conversations between Kidman and Penns ' characters are downright cheesy.

"Why do you guys who carry guns always act like cowboys?"

Moreover, at one stage, everyone in Africa is introduced as either black or white. They seemed to have forgotten that brown people played big roles in Africa's history as well. Gandhi of India was originally from South Africa. Many of South Africa's, Kenya's, Tanzania's movers and shakers are of Indian or South Asian origin.

Then there's the characters. Penn's assistant (his colleague/partner) is more like his secretary. She has hardly a role in the movie. *BIG SPOILER ALERT* Nicole we find out is heavily involved in African politics. She IS African. She was even a rebel. Her brother still is. What nonsense. We are supposed to believe that just because her parents were killed in an African accident, her brother and she took up arms and joined the black militia. Um.. they were white. And not just white, blondes. Fighting alongside the very people taken advantage of by whites in Africa. And they comrades accepted them! And she was the rebel leader's lover!

Many times during the movie Nicole says she joined the UN because it's the only thing she thinks works in Africa, and she wants to help. Um... hullo! You are just a lowly interpreter (in fact one person in the movie even tells her that, then everyone seems to forget she said that). What do you think she will do for the UN?

Overall, it's a 6/10 movie, and takes a long time to get to the ending. The Interpreter looks nice and the acting is terrific, but that's just on the surface. Could-have-been-but-was-not an absorbing thriller. Ultimately forgettable.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Beef is better than chicken

I can cook. I discovered that this week. I don't know how moms do it every day though. I don't mind cutting, chopping, cooking and cleaning for 1 day, and then storing it in the fridge so I have something to eat when I come back from work for the next 2 days.

1 day cooking 3 day eating.

One other thing I also discovered - beef is infinitely way easier to cook than chicken. If you overcook chicken, or add too much water, or spice, or salt, it's gone. You can eat it but you have to make a face. The ten chicken pieces I saw in the freezer I guess I will BBQ next week (read: not cook). I guess I added too much water, the chicken was very loose. And somewhat yucky.

Beef on the other hand - the longer it remains on the oven the tender it gets (my theory). Some mother somewhere is probably getting a heart attack at the sacrilegious statements I am making here.

But yesterday even I was surprised as to how good the beef I prepared was. It was spicy (very), not hard at all (bite-able), had the proper proportion of salt, and very, very tasty. Yummy. The first day when I cooked chicken I was like crap - I have to eat this slop for the next three months I am home alone, but now I have some hope. Yup -until next time.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Blo(ck)spot dot com

I sent my blog and picture link to someone in UAE.

This is what popped up on their screen.

"We apologize the site you are attempting to visit has been blocked due to its content being inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates. If you think this site should not be blocked, please visit the Feedback Form available on our website. "


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Masala BBQ and A. Jolie Good Movie

BBQs and Nahda alumni don't go well together. Whenever we try to do a BBQ the weather plays havoc. Last time it rained. Today, it was unbearably hot, close to 40 degrees (with humidex, smog, etc.). I was taken back to the last days of high school, when we foolishly attempted to have a BBQ in the middle of Abu Dhabi summer. Atleast this time I got the BBQ started! Ofcourse being a gas grill it was way easier.

The food turned out tasty, even though the masala made the chicken very, very spicy at certain portions (that was fine though - I just had to have a bottle of water after one chicken leg). The burgers were the best, as were the sausages, fresh out of the grill and into our mouths. It being such a hot day, the juice-filled jug was well emptied. There were two Casualty Burgers though.

It burns!

Angelina Jolie sparkles in Mr and Mrs Smith. Throughout the movie, which we saw after eating (dinner and a show!), that was the only thing I could think of. It seemed some people have been made by God with a lot of time. Then again Tauhid told me some lip surgeons may have had a crack at her as well.

The movie was entertaining as a whole, though in the end it started to drag a bit before an abrupt ending, which was again funny. The jokes and action were nonstop, and its a good escapist movie.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Pulling Out A Rabbit

Last time I checked Toronto was a major concrete metropolis. Wildlife attacks are very rare, other than the occasional psycho bulldog. Which is why today I was surprised when my backyard was invaded by a pair of rabbits.

It's not always this black and white

There I was, minding my own business, just about to mow the jungle that is my backyard, when all of a sudden I saw a black something dart behind me. My first thought was that my sister's cat escaped, but then I saw a white something follow the black I knew it was no ordinary pet. It was rabbits!

My neighbor's (two houses away) kids' pets had escaped. They were so cute! But munching on my dad's apple tree was definite no-no. And so I moved in a stomping motion and made what I thought was a menacing shout. Other than the next door kid looking at me like I was practicing for some sort of Bengali opera, they had no effect. The rabbits paused, looked at me, and went back to munching. Is there an expression, cool as a rabbit?

Ofcourse the kids came to reclaim their pet. And this moment the rabbits chose to dart into the next door neighbor's yard. The game was afoot, the hunt continued. But that was to be the last I saw of those intruders.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What a hot day

It is really getting hot in Toronto. Not that I mind, I will take +40 over -40 any day - but what I hate is the smog. I have to walk in the morning from my parking spot at the university to Eaton's, and then back again in the afternoon heat, a good 20 min each way, and what gets me each time is the pollution. It really sticks to you. I also went out for a walk around lunch and within 20 minutes was starting to feel lethargic and sick.

The Unix course is coming along well. I am learning lots of new admin stuff I didn't know before. I also spoke with a colleague at work, he's going to give me a PC so I can install some flavor of Unix on it at home, just to play with.

I paid my last dues as a student to UofT today - 3 years after graduation. I got my degree framed. It's convocation this week at UofT, and they had stalls for framing the degrees that the graduates get at the ceremony. They had it when I graduated too, except that I didn't want to frame it at that time. I thought I would get it framed somewhere else later.

After three years of it sitting in an envelope at the bottom of my closet, I decided I am going to get it framed in an official UofT crest-filled frame. It cost me 86 dollars and change. Yes - I know they were ripping me off - but it's my degree and they were fleecing me for the last time. Besides, I did throw tons of money at the university for four years, so what's a few doubloons more!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Got an LCD monitor

Moving up in the world. Today the LCD monitor ordered for my workstation, a Hyundai TFT L90D+, arrived. I set it up and dumped the old big monitor at the backroom (this room is rapidly becoming our electronic garbage box).

At first the pictures and text seemed a bit blurry and out of focus, but after installing the driver and switching from the Plug and Play one, resetting the refresh rate to 75 Hz from 60, and restarting the PC, the monitor made a world of difference. And to top it all, this one has speakers attached to it as well, so if I want to show a video to the guys, I can just unplug the headset and play the media. No more rushing to Mike's workstation. And I just love the extra space on my desk.

Unfortunately I won't have time to enjoy it all this week. Starting tomorrow till Friday I will be on the UNIX Administration course at Learning Tree, near Eaton's Centre.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Lonely Reader

The Lonely Reader called today. He is my philosopher friend, who keeps in touch from time to time. He told me recently someone asked him about why his friends-who-do-evil are being promoted and he not (perceived unjustness from God). My friend told him to be grateful he was born with two legs, two arms etc. The Lonely Reader is like that. He believes in the eternal phrase from Kaal Ho Na Ho - "From your point of view what you have is very less, but from someone else's view you have been given a lot".

I ofcourse told him to tell his friend to suck up to his boss, make resumes and search for better jobs and generally to get off his lazy bum. Which is why I think the Lonely Reader and I could start up a Upodesh Kendro (for those who saw the Bangladeshi series Bohu-prihi you know what I am talking about). He is more into the spiritual and philosophical side of things, I am more into the practical.

Have you heard of the 90%-10% principle? It seems a good strategy. The link is here. Basically the gist of it is 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react.

I am also reminded of a few Islamic hadith (sayings of the last Messenger of Allah peace be upon him).

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The best of you are those who are slow to anger and swift to cool down...Beware of anger, for it is a live coal on the heart of the descendants of Adam." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1331.

In another narration it is mentioned, ‘The one who becomes angry while standing should sit down. If his anger has still not cooled down, then he should lie down’. (Ahmad, Tirmidhi).

'He who can overpower others in wrestling is not really a strong man. True strength is in that individual who can control himself at the time of anger.’ (Bukhari).

How beautiful and true are the statements of Islam - 1400 years ago.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Forlorn Saturday

I don't know why I am feeling a bit down today. Is it because I did mostly nothing on Friday and have nothing to look forward to doing today? For the last few weekends I have been either hanging out with friends or busy doing something fun. This is the first weekend in a while I was stuck at home.

Well I was busy. Folks are going away to Bangladesh for sometime. Everyone who hears this says 'Partaay!!' but what I can think of is 'Parathay - who will make them'. Guess I better familiarise myself with Shaan parathays.

The day was spent with mom showing me how to keep the house clean, water the plants, etc. My sister even showed me this brush with which to brush her cat's hair. I told her to get real - many times I don't get the time to brush my hair.

The Drunk Tamil and the Hippy Bengali had a big punch-up today. I was in the backyard BBQing tandoori chicken and missed all the fun. Both called up their crew and beat up each other. From my understanding the Drunk Tamil's gang was beaten to a pulp. But then I got the hoe-down report from the Hippy Bengali. But I can believe his story. We both discussed how Bengali friends are completely unreliable in a fight.

On another note, this must be the most pathetic blog I saw on the net.

Friday, June 03, 2005

NHL fix

What are fantasies? A girl like Gayatri Joshi. A car like Aston Martin.

Or maybe it's this. Apparently Global simulated the whole 2005 season, and ofcourse Vancouver Canucks won. What fixed this purely as a fantasy was that the Leafs beat the Flyers 4-1 in the Conference finals. The Linking Reporter (aka Behbood) reported that many people have actually downloaded the simulated videos from Global to watch it.

Maybe they can find a way to simulate alcohol and Muslims can get a simulated fix.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

DVDs Needed

I bought a couple of Hindi DVDs right now, both 2-cd packs (so four movies in total). They were Kaal, Kyaa Kool Hai Hum, Veer-Zaara and Swades.

Now I know I said I thought Kaal was a crappy movie, but it was the best combo I could find with Kyaa Kool Hai Hum, which has had excellent reviews. Again, Veer-Zaara, I am not a big fan of (in fact my experience of the movie at the theatre was spoiled by a series of mishaps that belong in a comical disaster Ben Stiller movie), it had Swades, which I had wanted to watch for sometime, and I did tonight.

Swades, well, what can I say. The first half of the movie I understood exactly what Mohan (SRK) went through. I myself feel no ties with Bangladesh (having been brought up abroad) but whenever I go, I feel sorry that the country is in a mess and people like me are not doing anything. Then again, people like me if they want to help, other people in Bangladesh like the Fanatic Mullah, the Greedy Politician and the Merciless Mobster will have a different say. All of this was captured in the movie, but it was very documentary style. And I did not like the ending at all. No matter what I do, I am not going to give up material comfort for helping a village. And NASA - that was very unrealistic climax.

The DVD Rack I Got For My Birthday


As you can see I have to get more DVDs to fill up this rack I got for my birthday. I like it. I am so glad I didn't go out and buy those awful spiral ones I was thinking of buying.