IamSmarticus's Blog











Well, it’s not so secret now!

Let me begin with one of my minor pet peeves: I hate that this is called Chai Tea! Chai literally means tea, in Hindi. There’s a redundancy in the name here! Doesn’t this bother anybody else? ::sigh::

Apologies for the interruption. Let’s go back to the tea now: I make this only intermittently for myself, and even more rarely so if there are guests at home (and only if I like them! I am a big meanie, aren’t I?) Also, not a lot of people like their tea filled with so much spices.

Well. There’s really no accounting for taste, is there? – Me, just now.

Also, I find a lot of things lose their charm if had too often. Wouldn’t you agree?

This tea is perfect for a rainy day, if you’re down with a cold or flu, or if you’ve got a headache. It is a perfect ‘pick-me-up’ after a long, hectic day. So, try it once, and be prepared to be amazed!

Some notes to bear in mind: yes, I use only milk (low-fat cow milk, if I’m being specific) and I don’t dilute the tea with water. I like it that way. I’ve found that the tea tastes much stronger. In all honesty, I did once try adding the spices to the “watery tea” in order to check the differences in taste. And dear lord! It was horrible! I’m never making that mistake again. Cross my heart!

Also, you need to purchase dry ginger powder (easily available here in India, so if you’re trying to source it in another country, try an Indian store which sells spices. It’s called “Soonth powder” in Hindi, if that helps any) Use about 100 gms of this powder and add 12-15 crushed Cardamom (seeds and pods) to it. Mix it all, and store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place. This will serve as your Instant Tea Masala, which lasts for a good 6-8 months, if stored properly.

On to the recipe. Happy brewing!

 

 

Super Secret Special Blend Masala Tea!

Ingredients:

4 and ¾ cups of milk.

½ tsp grated ginger

½ tsp Instant Tea Masala (read above)

½ inch cinnamon

3 cloves with heads intact

8 peppercorns

Tea powder (obviously!)

Sugar, as required.

 

Method:

  1. Boil milk and keep aside. You will need 4 and ¾  cups of milk for 4 cups of tea.
  2. In a saucepan, add the boiled milk, and add ½ tsp of Instant Tea Masala.
  3. Take cinnamon, clove and peppercorns and crush into fine powder in mortar and pestle.
  4. Add the spices mix to milk, along with grated ginger (You may even crush a ¼ inch of ginger in the mortar) Bring to boil on a low-medium flame.
  5. Add 4-5 tsps of tea powder and simmer for 2 mins. Turn off the gas. Cover the saucepan with a lid for 5 mins so that all the ingredients are brewed together and the flavours mix.
  6. Add the desired amount of sugar in tea cup (as per taste, though I find that 1 tsp sugar, per cup is sufficient. You want to be able to taste the tea!) Add tea.
  7. Mix well, and serve hot.

 

 

There ya go! Let me know how you like it.



{June 22, 2013}   Man of Steel and…Doctor Who?

So, I caught Man of Steel today – a whole 2 weeks after it released! For those not in the know (like me about 3 hours ago) there has been a whole lot of controversy about this version of Superman.

I’ll let you judge:

this one, and this one – which kind of outlines my thoughts as well, but the comments? Oh lordy!

So I went off and wrote a huge long rant on a facebook post which is what you’ll see below, when I realized something. I actually, genuinely missed writing. Writing when you have so much to say that thoughts just flow out of your fingertips and dance on the page (no, I am NOT tripping!) And writing especially because you WANT to write, and not for any other reason. Utter joy! This time, I refuse to procrastinate. This blog is not going to be another thing I started on a whim and abandoned halfway due to laziness! That list is full to capacity!

 

So, here’s my rant:

Let’s start with the aspect of collateral damage, shall we? Yes, there was an overly excessive amount of destruction that we witnessed on screen. Comparable to Michael Bay, as was mentioned. But did anybody notice that the fighting was between two aliens? Aliens. One of whom was here on Earth with the complete intention of annihilating the planet. And Kal-El – who for all his Earthly upbringing, is still an alien who has struggled with his identity for life (if that aspect of his personality hadn’t been covered before then it is a gross oversight) Self-proclaimed protector of mankind and the only person standing between Zod and Krypton II. This is AFTER Zod basically claims that he was born to fight and Kal is just a little bug he will delight in squashing.

The gravity of that situation, when you know you’re evenly or even out-matched by your opponent, and you know you have to focus completely on winning. No stopping to save kittens or even humans, when the PLANET’S very survival is on the balance. If the argument is that Metropolis was being destroyed and Superman was over at the Indian Ocean? Utter rubbish. Was he supposed to stay and fight, only for the planet to blow up. Everybody’s life was threatened, dammit. I know I’m quoting Star Trek with “the needs of the many…” phrase, but if it’s not true in this context, when will it ever be?

(Disclaimer: I do not accept or even believe that collateral damage is ok in real life. Everything that can be done, must be done if lives are at stake. But, in real life, we do not have to deal with aliens. Whether that is a good thing, or a fate much worse, is another argument altogether.)

So, basically what should have been done was that he should have come to terms with his powers, then fought Zod but still save everybody, and not kill someone who seems irredeemable. (Not going to bother going into the ethics or super-villain reformation, when there is so much more to focus on.) But, Zod basically just threatened every human being – after he almost reduced Metropolis to rubble. He vowed not to stop.

Here’s where it gets tricky ( and I am going to refer to Doctor Who now, so umm, deal with it!  ) At this point those two are the ONLY survivors of their race. And they are fully aware of the fact. I cannot even imagine the pain of knowing that you are the last of your kind and everybody else who was ever like you is dead. And, that you have destroyed any last hope of bringing back your race from the dead (never a good idea. Just look at Jurassic Park!) but at what cost?

Krypton (and Gallifrey in DW) is gone. Earth is here. Is it just supposed to be sacrificed? And who pulls the trigger? A fanatic like Zod? It may not be perfect, but it is Kal/Clark’s home. The only one he has known. And to save it and to ENSURE that it stays safe, he has to do the one thing that is guaranteed to hurt himself the most. Kill the only other Kryptonian who survives. Become truly the last of his kind.

Superman didn’t protect us, but he did save us. If the fact that we have been used to him doing both before, is what’s causing a whole bunch of people to freak out now, then well, c’est la vie. There are NO ideal outcomes. Just ones you have to live with. Comics have to sell, so they can gloss over real-life parallels, and can afford to end on a happy note most times. So what if this story was more realistic? Kal is going to have to live with the fact that he chose his adopted planet over his own birthright, every single damn day of his life. No bloody way in hell can anybody call that a selfish choice. When in fact it was the most selfless thing he has ever done.

—***—***—***—

I also loved the whole “you are not alone” sequence. That is what got me thinking about Doctor Who (spoiler alert), and eventually led me to draw parallels even as I watched the action unfold on screen. It may or may not have helped me along, I don’t know. Nor am I overly concerned. It’s cinema. Entertainment. Just enjoy it, eh?



The things I find on the internet – especially when I am NOT looking for them, but for something else – is astounding! But, procrastination is something I excel in, so of course, I just had to take this little quiz! Let me know what you think!

 

You Are a Seeker Soul

You are on a quest for knowledge and life challenges.
You love to be curious and ask a ton of questions.
Since you know so much, you make for an interesting conversationalist.
Mentally alert, you can outwit almost anyone (and have fun doing it!).

Very introspective, you can be silently critical of others.
And your quiet nature makes it difficult for people to get to know you.
You see yourself as a philosopher, and you take everything philosophically.
Your main talent is expressing and communicating ideas.

 

 

Check it out for yourself if you want to waste some precious time, when you really should be doing something else!

http://www.blogthings.com/whatkindofsoulareyouquiz/



{May 7, 2011}   Who am I?

Now listening to: Everything I do (I do it for you) – Bryan Adams.

Who am I? Ah, that is the great question, isn’t it? – Lewis Carroll.

I am eccentric, insane, rational, logical, quirky, and combination of a lot contradictions. I am simply me. I like like-minded people – the ones who have the vices I admire and lack the virtues I dislike – and that often puts me at peril to describe what sort of mind I actually have. So, here goes (probably nothing):

I am nerdy – big surprise, right? Not! I am crazy about all the cartoons on Cartoon Network of the 90’s, Star Wars, Star Trek, LOTR, HP, Indy, Pirates and the whole lot. And if I haven’t heard of something yet, I’ll more often than not, go and find out about it. I’m like a dog with a bone about the
things I am passionate about.

My other passion is Books. I started my love affair with reading quite young – with Tinkle when I was 7 years old, and read my first novel at 9, and I have never looked back. At this point in my life, I am beyond being in love with them, I possibly border on obsession! I usually prefer fiction, and fantasy fiction to boot (blame JK Rowling, not me! She did more for literacy and getting children to read and actually enjoy the process, than anything else I have ever known) but I am known to read random books of other genres as well. Me, and my mates founded the “Harry Potter Fan Club” in school, and though the club is now defunct, I met some of the most amazing people I have ever known in my life there. And I know that if I meet a book- aficionado, I probably will have something in common to discuss with them, and not flounder around for a topic for long. Anyhow, getting back to the topic, I am one of those people, who will forget to do pretty much everything when reading. Call it escapism, madness, or what-you-will. I’d rather have read about things and know absolutely pointless trivia, than have a vacuum where my brain is supposed to be.

That gets me to the third point of my list: Movies! Did I mention that my father also loves reading and was quite a movie-connoisseur when he was young? So I guess I am predisposed to liking some things. I love all genres, no discrimination. I will watch anything from comedies to thrillers, rom-coms to dramas, slashers to slapstick, horror to documentaries (did I cover everything?) However, I do have some standards: I won’t watch something just for the heck of it! There has to be a reasonable plotline at least! And oh yes, the dialogues have to be sensible as well (too picky? So what?!) I cannot bring myself to watch something which looks like it’s been written by a 12 year old (or read, for that matter. Twilight, anybody?) I love classics, and there are too many movies that I like for me to list out here. Just know that if I hear something is worth checking out, I will get around to it.

Fourth: TV shows! Again, it’s the same principle as movies and books, so I’m not going to repeat myself. My favourite ones of all times are: The Big-Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, Bones, White Collar, Castle, Dexter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Heroes, Firefly, Charmed, Mind Your Language, Friends, Full House, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, FlashForward, HIMYM, Xena, Hercules, Here’s Lucy, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Einstein Factor, Mastermind and oh-so-many more! Simply put, police procedural programmes, supernatural witchy stuff, sit-coms and shows that test your GK score on my list.

Next is Music. I’ve always had trouble describing precisely what I like to listen to. I don’t listen to any artist or band blindly (shouldn’t it be deafly?) I look for songs that have meaningful lyrics, or if not that, one with a catchy beat and tune! So I like Bryan Adams and Beethoven. Metallica and M.S Subbulakshmi. Aerosmith and A.R Rahman. Mozart and Madonna. Simon & Garfunkel and Shankar Mahadevan. Elvis and Eminem. Brad Paisley and Bon Jovi. Michael Jackson and Muse…you get the point.

Finally, Sports! Now let me put something straight. I don’t play any of these, I just love to watch them! Football (I refuse to call it Soccer in favour of some sport which doesn’t even use its foot predominantly! It’s not Football, when hands are involved. And it’s NOT Soccer, when Football is perfectly applicable.), “American” Football (I like it too, but just felt like a rant), NHL (on YouTube because ESPN is apparently too hoity-toity to broadcast it in India, then again their partner Star Sports simply dropped WWF from their channel without any reason a decade ago, so I cannot possibly complain much) NBA, MLB, Ice Skating (yeah, so bite me!), WWE (not anymore, thanks to Shawn Michaels retiring), Tennis, Swimming, Tour de France (come back Lance!) athletics and F1. Do you notice something missing? Yeah, that’s right. I do NOT like cricket. And before I am arrested for blasphemy, let me point out that I was quite okay with watching the matches when I was young (I never was naive) but c’mon already! Test cricket, one-day matches, Tri-series, Natwest series, Ashes, World Cup, 20-20, IPL, 20-20 world cup…do you understand the concept of over-exposure? I just don’t freaking care anymore! I’ll watch the odd match or so, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back to liking it. I used to be a fan, was never a fan-atic. But, I have never liked Golf, not when Kapil Dev started playing it, or when the Tiger Woods scandal broke out. It’s just not my sport.

Notice the fact that my likes are almost tomboyish? The proper term would be androgynous (to any dimwit out there, not anatomically, but personality-wise) and I can solely assign credit for that to my brothers. Yes, I am an only child, and no I do not believe that you have to be related to someone to be family. Relations of the heart often trump those of the blood. I grew up with 5 of them. so I grew up quick, grew up tough, was sometimes rough, but was never mean! Also, watching something worthwhile on the telly was encouraged, both at home and otherwise, rather than the melodrama that the idiot box churns out daily (probably the reason why beyond watching a couple of episodes a YEAR, I do not like soaps.)

That’s all about the things I like about me and others. As far as the things I don’t like are concerned, the list is actually kind of short. I don’t like hypocrisy, lack of integrity, cruelty, stupidity and people with vapid personalities (and brain for that matter). That’s it!

Now that I am done with the customary essay about myself, I shall try to churn out tidbits regularly. Adios!



et cetera
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