yes Gods are crazy

Archive for the ‘mastery’ Category

Hanging on to the towel

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You believe that you are entitled to possess/experience ‘X’. As with any belief, this may not necessarily logically (colloquially referred to as ethically) valid. You are offered ‘X’.

The question here is not about whether you would accept the offer. The question is, “Do you consider this to be an issue of just two choices, or is it more of a grayscale issue?” And, how much of an effect would this answer have on how far you go with the offer?

Words of wisdom:

You live and learn. At any rate, you live.

Zaphod Beeblebrox

I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know the answer.

Written by kowsik

August 10, 2009 at 17:27

Fry, Stephen Bheja

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“Insane. That’s what Stephen Fry is!”

If there is any one thought that descends on me as heavily as anything that usually depresses anyone with it’s weight, it is the above exclamation of surrender every time I read anything written by Stephen Fry. It’s not just that he writes in a manner not very much unlike the way water flows, sliding along the path of the shortest, damned-well fastest, descent — it is possible to imagine someone born with a command over language that Fry has — thankfully it is much more than that. Reading his articles sets us off on a line of thought, and all of a sudden there comes a line that stops us blind: facing the realization that Fry had anticipated the lines of thought that the reader is drawing in his mind while reading the article that he, Fry, was writing whenever he was writing that article.

Before you ask “Why?”, the cause for this panegyric was this article by Fry on Wilde & Chekhov, where he explains and demonstrates what it is that make artists like Wilde & Chekhov:

A paradox is that it seems harder to penetrate one’s own mind, participate in one’s own experience and discover one’s own feelings than those of another.

… …

Everything we know may be wrong, but art helps us believe that…

Everything we feel is right.

But, how do we know what we feel? Is that why we need art? Midway through the same article, he explains the wilderness that is Wilde

Because Wilde was an artist he saw the artist in everyone. He believed that Christ was an artist and that Satan was an artist. He believes that you and I are artists too.

About Fry, he may be rightest; about me, he may be wrongest!

Written by kowsik

December 22, 2008 at 17:19

A new year

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1) Tata Nano unveiled: we CAN design something that the common man needs/wants

2) IGMDP is wrapped up! Because: we wanted to build missiles that were needed by our defense forces. We did it.

2) Indian Navy stands up to the Russian suppliers

3) PM is visiting China, are the above two timed for this?

4) Down under, Aussies still don’t get it why they can’t bully us forever

Written by kowsik

January 12, 2008 at 10:06


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Arrogant Bastard AleThrough out the past two years, every time I went to Round Table Pizza for lunch at UCSD, I would pass by a tap for Arrogant Bastard Ale. Today I finally found out what it is about, and here is the exclusive report for the readers of this blog.

If I knew Latin it would’ve sounded nicer, for now here’s the account in English. I saw, I drank, I was conquered. I might not have found God, but I knew it is He who gave me the nudge. Too often we fail to see a good thing that is right before our eyes, not to speak of the things that are right behind them… It took me two years in this case, God knows how many in many others!

Such was the impact that I started a search for more info on ambrosia and I came across an interview of Greg Koch, the maker of Arrogant Bastard Ale. If I was a fan before, I stopped short of becoming a fanatic after the read. This guy seems to have a clear idea of what he expects out of his work. He is doing what he wants to do, he knows that not everyone shares a desire for high standards, and he seems to accept it. As to how high the standards are: ABA might not be what Bheeshma would’ve begged for on his death bed, but that’s only because Greg Koch was born much later.

For the readers of this blog, here are the important excerpts from the interview (replace beer with any other product, the points made here are equally valid):

What’s standing in the way of Stone’s world domination?

GK: We are. The only styles of beer that will ever have the chance to dominate the world are light lager styles. Because of a set of realities, I would say that there is little to no chance of this not being true. Those realities are:

1) The generic consumer does not want something that challenges them. They want safe and familiar — even if they know that it is not the best choice or the best for them — as long as they don’t have to think. Thus the success of McDonalds, Kraft singles, Pringles, Bank of America, Lipton Iced Tea, Oscar Mayer Bologna, Ford Escort, etc. Generic products for generic consumers. The reality is that the majority of the people in this world are generic consumers.

2) In beer, I see there are two major schools of thought to creating and selling: Product driven marketing or Advertising driven marketing.

“Product driven” means that the beer must speak for itself. If there is advertising, it is generally aimed at simply creating awareness that the brand exists. Most of the reason the consumer chooses this brand is because of the beer itself. These brands must be good as they rely on word of mouth. If they are not good, their chance for wide success is quite limited due to lack of a significant word of mouth, or worse, negative word of mouth. The target audience for “product driven” beers are people who seek out better, new and more unique beers.

“Advertising driven” means that the brand owners concentrate on pushing the beer through advertising. Since the vast majority of the public is of a “generic” mind, the product cannot exceed that level. Otherwise, they are spending money sending their message to a population that does not care about or want extra quality or uniqueness. As you know, much of the approach for these brands is “lifestyle” based. In other words, they try and tell you that if you drink their brand you will be the life of the party, or that you will be transported to a tropical frame of mind, or that you will attract the opposite sex, or that you are an original thinker, etc….

3) Since we make “product driven” beers, we will never reach the mass public and therefore we will never dominate the world. That’s OK. I only want to be popular amongst those who make CONSCIOUS decisions about the beer they drink.

It is my theory that if ALL beer advertising was suddenly banned (TV ads, magazines, billboards, sports sponsorships, free t-shirts, little blinky buttons with brand names, beer promo girls, etc.) and people only had the beer itself on which to base their purchase decisions, all fizzy yellow beer brands would suffer a minimum of 50% loss in sales volume within a half generation. Then Stone might have a shot at world domination!

… … …

… … …

Have you ever had a Budweiser?

GK: I have sampled countless brands of beer. Some I have enjoyed immensely and some I have not. Without being brand specific, I tend not to gravitate towards brands that are not known for being honest, true to style, additive free or otherwise meeting up to a high set of standards.

Growing up, I drank fizzy yellow beer. It was all that was available. I didn’t know any better. I moved on.

I run into many people who use the “It’s what I grew up with, that’s why I drink XYZ brand of fizzy yellow beer” excuse. Bullshit. It’s because you got used to a generic taste and have decided not to move on. That’s OK, but the fizzy yellow beer drinker should at least be able to acknowledge their own reality. They don’t want to expand their horizons. There’s a reason why better things in life are referred to as “acquired tastes.” you may have to work at developing your palate, but when you get there it’s nirvana!

I think it was the rock band RUSH that said “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

PS: One more thing that the Arrogant Bastard Ale made me realize was that the pinnacle of civilization was when alcohol was discovered, the rot set in shortly after that.

Written by kowsik

August 27, 2007 at 07:12


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Long long time ago, there was a teacher who had a legendary student. When asked by his teacher to aim at a bird’s eye, the student is said to have fixed his sight on the bird’s eye. He saw the bird’s eye, and nothing more. It is an account that almost every Indian knows, but it is also an account that almost no one believes in: the common excuse being that even if it were not a story, he was not of our generation.

Coming to our own generation, images and stories are widely circulated about a tennis player who plays the Tennis ball as if it were a Basket ball, and dominates the rectangular Tennis court as if his half of the court were a hundred times smaller than his opponent’s. Some worship Him, some love him, some admire him… some can’t stand him.

As Stephen King said about writing, Roger Federer would probably laugh it away, “The angles are there everywhere.” What separates him from the rest is the ability to recognize and go for the angles. The more I think about it, the more am I convinced that mankind has only three constituents: there are Men who see the angles, there are men who see the Men and finally there are morons. I am not talking about tennis anymore.

Written by kowsik

February 19, 2007 at 00:00

Posted in federer, mastery