Thursday, December 09, 2004

Another Bright Idea

WeezerReference594 (2:22:28 AM): let's start Wangster
WeezerReference594 (2:22:35 AM): like Friendster for penises.
TheNotoriousHINDU (2:22:41 AM): I was thinking of starting Wifester
TheNotoriousHINDU (2:22:49 AM): for arranged marriage.
WeezerReference594 (2:23:00 AM): Oh, fuck this shit. Let's just kill ourselves.
TheNotoriousHINDU (2:23:14 AM): you first
WeezerReference594 signed off at 2:23:29 AM

Friday, December 03, 2004

My College Regrets

This is an unedited version of an article that was submitted to Bowdoin College's No Reply Magazine:

My Biggest College Regrets

When I am not watching the Maury Povich Show or eating tubes of cookie dough (or rhyming for no reason), I’ve spent the last few months of my life reflecting on four years of college. What would I have changed? What would I have done differently? So when Sean Turley asked me to contribute to this month’s No Reply, I decided to take this as another opportunity to be both self-indulgent and…umm…ok, just self-indulgent.

1. Not being a proctor.

I would have been the most awesome proctor ever! Me and my proctees would set up tents and go camping on the quad on weekends. We’d create our own language consisting of clicks and hand gestures. We’d eat candy for breakfast, brunch, and lunch…along with a sensible dinner.

I imagine myself having weekly meetings where I would try out new jokes. They’d love me for involving them in this sacred process, and would probably give me terrible joke suggestions:

“Have you ever noticed there are no spoons at Thorne? What’s that about?”

“Why does the Bowdoin Polar Bear have to be white?”

“What’s the deal with bumble bees? They’re so small, but I’m scared to death of them.”

I’d also let the kids advertise for all my comedy shows, and take turns holding cue cards. I ALONE WOULD BE THEIR ALL-ENCOMPASSING BOWDOIN EXPERIENCE.

I’m sure I’d have to deal with lots of people having crushes on me, but I’d immediately have to put an end to that. Proctors need to be responsible and make sensible decisions. Plus, I'd lose my job if I hooked up with my kids! (Though, at the same time, who cares if I got fired? I could have worn a t-shirt that said “I was a Bowdoin College Proctor and all I got was this stupid t-shirt…and some ass.” It would have been hilarious.)

Oh, I forgot to mention that I’m also a really great listener!

2. Not telling Elaine from Thorne Dining Hall that I loved her.

Elaine was definitely the most stable figure in my life during those tumultuous college years. She was always there to greet me with a smile, or a head nod, or sometimes to ignore me completely…but I knew she cared. Always quick-witted and sharp as a tack, I enjoyed watching her scold people for doing something inappropriate…or for doing something perfectly reasonable, like asking what the entrees were for the night. It really didn’t matter. Elaine gives Thorne Dining Hall a personality, and when she retires I think a statue in her likeness should be erected.

I know the Moulton dining hall people may disagree with me because they have their own idols and ways of life. I understand this because I have always believed myself to be a Moulton person at heart. Moulton is Bowdoin dining services’ equivalent to small town America. Thorne is definitely the big city. Too many faceless, nameless cliques. Elaine, however, stands out in this mess of humanity and should, therefore, be honored.

Oh, how I wish I confessed my love for her and begged her to stop smoking. “It’s bad for you, and if it’s bad for you, it’s bad for everyone at Bowdoin. I know I never had the guts to introduce myself to you, but I thought you were awesome.” A definite regret.

3. Taking “The Amazing Brain.”

“The Amazing Brain” is usually the class I describe when I try to give an example of the mismanagement of one’s education. It was offered my second semester freshmen year to non-Science majors to meet their distribution requirements. These classes are generally not known to be very tough, and so I took this class with a bunch of my friends.

I should have guessed from the title of the class that it was going to suck. It was not called ““Basic Neurology,” but “The Amazing Brain.” A title that would make one assume that Elmo was teaching the course, and not a certified Biology professor. When I think about all the classes I wish I had taken instead of the “Amazing Brain,” and the fact I allowed my parents to pay for a class where I learned nothing, I wince.

You might be wondering why I am not describing what I learned. Well, the class was so terrible I don’t actually remember anything I learned. In fact, I’m not sure whether I learned anything at all.

I do remember two things:

1) The final exam was essentially a photocopy of the review sheet we got in class two days earlier. I finished it in 20 minutes. The extra credit question was to name one thing we learned in class that semester. That, by far, was the toughest question on the exam. I wrote something about the medulla that I learned in 7th grade Bio. I got a 105 on the test.

2) We had to give final poster or power point presentations on one aspect of the brain. (I don’t remember what my topic was, but it was probably something about how the brain is used for thinking about stuff.) One classmate of mine, who will not be named, decided to give a poster presentation about the inner ear. It kind of related to the human brain, but he never really tried to make the connection. In fact, mid-way through the presentation, he admitted that he was not prepared to present that day. This fact did not really shock anyone since his poster was done in pencil, and on the back of a Bowdoin Blood Drive sign he must have ripped off the wall in the Union. Absolutely disgraceful! Rumor has it that he got the only A- in the class. This was before the plus/minus system returned to Bowdoin, so that meant he also got an A.

If I don’t get into grad school, we’ll all know why.

4. Never having sex in the H & L Stacks.

“Hey kid, you in college? Here’s some advice: Make sure you bang as many chicks as possible.”

These wise words were said to me by a New York City police officer during a summer internship with the Queens District Attorney’s office. NYPD officers are, of course, known for their tact, rational thinking, and their ability to not kill unarmed minorities. I was so happy that the third condition was met, that I did not worry too much about the first two.

His point was well-taken, but lacked the answer to a key question. Where should I bang these chicks?

I always thought having sex in the stacks of the Hawthorne and Longfellow library would be pretty awesome. Ah, to eat the forbidden fruit in a forbidden place. A place where we are supposed to study, not fornicate. How hot would that be? Having sex in the middle of all those old books written by all those dead guys whose ghosts probably still haunt the place. I think it is pretty damn kinky to let ghosts watch you do it.

But alas, I never had the opportunity to have sex in the stacks. Or in The Tower elevators. Or on the Bowdoin decal in the union. Or while making a salad in the dining hall.

Or ever…I am a virgin.

In other words, my conversation with MTV News’ Gideon Yago would have been pretty awkward.

Gideon Yago: Do you always wear a condom during sex?

Hari: I’m a virgin…so no.

Gideon Yago: Well, don’t be down. The safest sex is no sex.

Hari: Yes, but if you engage in the safest sex, and there’s no one there to have sex with, is it really sex at all?

Gideon Yago: What? That’s a terrible attempt to be Zen.

Hari: Yeah, well your wardrobe is a terrible attempt to be Rivers Cuomo.

Gideon Yago: Touche.

Many people I’m sure are curious why a funny, sexy, eligible bachelor like myself has stayed celibate for so long. Well, my friends, I think its time to reveal a very closely guarded secret, right here in No Reply Magazine:

The government is paying me NOT to have sex. You see, I am currently the NUMBER ONE supplier of clean, disease-free blood in the United States. I have been told that in this day and age, with so much sexual activity, blood as clean as mine has not been seen since the late 1800s. Apparently, the only other possible American sources are members of the Christian Right…but getting blood from them is damn-near impossible since they see needles and doctors as instruments of witchcraft.

So just like how American farmers are subsidized NOT to grow corn, I am paid NOT to have sexual relations. Particularly during this time of war, I have become very valuable and am therefore, compensated well. It’s been rough, but it’s also been a living.

But no more, dammit! I’m no longer willing to live my life this way in order to help fight a war I do not believe in. No money is worth this torture.

Ladies…I’m all yours.

5. Writing Regret # 4 for this stupid list.

All the respect I earned in the Bowdoin College Women’s Studies department down the drain because I wanted to make some easy sex jokes. For shame! I wonder what Professors Scanlon and Ghodsee think of me now? I can imagine what they might say: “Hari, I am so disappointed in you! I’m so surprised you would write that…you’re still a virgin?”

6. Writing Regrets #4 and #5

I am NOT this pathetic in real life. I just really enjoy this “lovable loser/ curmudgeon” character that I have created. However, I must admit that the “virgin” jokes are getting quite stale now, and I’m starting to realize that I have been extremely misdirected. I mean, lets be honest here about why I got into comedy. Sure, it was a stress relief, and a way for me to express myself, but most importantly…it was supposed to be a way to meet girls. Unfortunately, I have learned that what girls really like are guys with self-esteem or, at least, the illusion of self-esteem. Therefore, my loser-virgin jokes have, in fact, backfired on me and made me less attractive.

Perhaps the last four years would have been better spent learning to play the guitar and making each of my abdominal muscles distinct and visible entities. In addition, I regret not dancing more. As Henry Laurence used to tell me “Girls like to dance, Hari. If you dance, girls will like you.”

7. Never following through on my “Unathletic Decathlon” idea.

This may surprise some of you, but I am not a very athletic man. Sure, I played 3 C-League intramural basketball games my freshman year, and 1 C-League Softball game senior year (and hit a 3 run homerun!), and then helped start the Bowdoin Ping Pong Club (I ranked 15th in 2004)…but I really only accomplished these feats with “heart” and “intangibles”…not with any actual athletic skill.

With this in mind, late last year I started designing a competition tentatively called the “Unathletic Decathlon.” The requirements to participate include never having been on a varsity sports team, and only playing in intramurals at the C-level. We’re not talking about the cream of the crop here, but the part of the crop that the locusts got to.

There would be 10 events: Darts, Candlepin Bowling, Frisbee Golf, a wiffleball home run derby, pie-eating contest, pinball, and other skills that people who preferred playing video games instead of Little League baseball or Peewee soccer might excel at. It’s our time to have some glory!

8. Never making my own omelet.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Top Hari songs of 2004

(This is the unedited version of an article I submitted to WBOR 91.1 FM's zine Flip Your Shit)

The Top Hari Songs of 2004
(Chosen based on their place in the soundtrack of my life, and their joke making potential in this piece.)

By A Former WBOR Music Director

Frou Frou “Let Go”

This song served as the soundtrack to the best trailer in the history of the world! I’m not really sure what “there’s beauty in the breakdown” really means, but it seemed to make perfect sense in the minute long video clip this song accompanied. Too bad Garden State, as a whole, was a very disappointing picture that attempted to tie a bunch of humorous, and well-written, individual scenes together with an uninteresting plot and some very pretentious, directorial decisions. The soundtrack is pretty solid, but is not used in a subtle manner, but simply to jerk emotion. The end was unpredictably predictable in that you didn’t expect something so trite out of a film that tries unsuccessfully to be something bigger than it is. Even the brilliant acting of Natalie Portman-Kondabolu could not save this picture from “artsy-fartsy” disease.

But this is not supposed to be about Zach Braff’s disappointing directorial debut, or how he looks like the “Michael Bolton” character from Office Space. (I even made a bet with my friend about this after the movie, and was embarrassed to find out they weren’t the same guy!) What was I talking about…oh yeah…this is not about that dumb movie, but this really dope song. Seriously, it’s awesome.

Avril Lavigne “Don’t Tell Me”

“Did you think that I was gonna give it up to you, this tiiiiiimmmme?”

I will now answer this question for the boy she directed it to:

“Yes, of course I did. You are loud, obnoxious and my friends make fun of me because I am dating you instead of someone who deserves to be famous. ‘So she’s dumb, rude, not particularly attractive without her face paint, a terrible song writer, and doesn’t even know who David Bowie is. You’re having sex with her though, right?’ What am I supposed to tell them, Avril???”

And, of course, there are these darling lyrics:
I'm gonna ask you to stop, thought I liked you a lot, but I'm really upsetGet outta my head, get off of my bed, yeah that's what I said

It’s like she took a class called The Dr. Seuss Guide to Writing Angsty Teenage Poetry… and only got a C+.

All Avril Lavigne songs are short, catchy, and completely self-indulgent. The only reason why this particular song is on the list is because my friends and I have a good time singing it in the car (usually when we are driving to and from Loserville or Virgin City.)

P.S. For those of you who don’t get the reference, Avril mispronounced David Bowie’s name during a Grammy Nominations ceremony a few years back. She pronounced it like Pavement’s “Wowee Zowee,” which is another reference she wouldn’t get. (I’m so awesome because I’ve heard of Pavement!)

P.P.S. There is no such place as Virgin City. If there was, the population would be dwindling because of the male citizens’ inability to recreate life…as a result of their inability to ask girls for phone numbers instead of screen names.

P.P.P.S. Loserville is code for the Loews Raceway movie complex in Westbury, New York where my afformentioned loser friends and I see films. On Friday nights, we are usually the only guys under 25 there without dates. Sometimes I attempt to make us look better by yelling things like “Man, when are the girls supposed to meet us again? If they don’t hurry up, they might miss the movie!” before the movie starts. I’m pretty sure, however, that people can tell by my friend’s “Mr. T: Pity the Fool” T-shirt that we are lying to ourselves and everyone else in the theatre. Anyway…FUCK YOU AVRIL!

Preston School of Industry “Caught in the Rain”

From the title alone, you can tell that this folk influenced rock tune, from a band that includes a former member of Pavement, will be played along with “Splish Splash” during rain delays in ball parks across the country. Personally, it reminds of a great sandwich I ate this summer in Seattle at a hip sandwich joint called The Honey Hole. Though I am not certain, I have a feeling that everybody in there had their nipples pierced, and was in a band that was probably too cool for any of us to know about. Anyway, back to the point: That was a great sandwich! Here is a description of this fine piece of man-made heaven from The Honey Hole website:

“Texas Tease: In-house smoked and shredded breast of chicken smothered in homemade BBQ sauce, served with red onions and Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese on a fresh French roll”

This marvelous song by Preston School of Industry accompanied that mythical feast, and makes my mouth water whenever it plays.

Jay-Z “99 Problems”

We are used to rappers flaunting their MC skills, their wealth, and their sexual prowess, but this is a new one. Jay-Z is flaunting his ability to not be affected emotionally by lady folk. And not just in the “women are objects, I don’t care about them” way that we have become accustomed to. In the chorus to “99 Problems,” Jay-Z states:

“If you’re having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son. I’ve got 99 Problems, but a bitch ain’t one.”

He’s like Buddha. He has found enlightenment. He is free from desire… kind of. He’s not free from all desire, he’s just not stressing about women anymore.

This song is so powerful that even sensitive liberal boys can jump up and proclaim to all that will listen:

“IF YOU’RE HAVING GIRL PROBLEMS, I FEEL BAD FOR YOU, SON. I’VE GOT 99 PROBLEMS BUT A …A…girl who is not very nice, but still does not deserve to be called the b-word, even though she tore my heart out of my chest for the sole purpose of raising her own pitiful self-esteem…AIN’T ONE!”

Seriously, this anthem could lead to boys around the country finally throwing out the journals they’ve kept since the 8th grade.

Not me though, I don’t keep a journal to talk about my feelings. I imagine that some boys deal with their emotions by keeping logs of the day’s major events and writing poetry about all the girls they’ve liked…but not me! I just imagine that…you know… umm…anyway… FUCK YOU AVRIL!

The List Exists “Barcelona”

Yes, three of the members are from Bowdoin. And yes, I am friends with everyone in the band. And yes, I cheer for their success not only because I care for these kids, but because I plan to find a way to get a cut of any future monies they may make. But even if you take away the friendships…. and my plans to exploit these friendships…this song off their debut EP Barcelona (currently out of print, but I can burn you a copy for 8 bucks) is still stellar. The comparisons to Sigur Ros and Radiohead are unavoidable, but why is that such a bad thing? The musicianship, and creativity are top-notch and lead singer Matt Lajoie’s voice is getting sweeter and stronger by the minute. They’re like Sunny Day Real Estate (think LP2) in that I have no idea what Matt is saying most of the time, but the sounds are so beautiful that it doesn’t really matter. I generally just make up lyrics as the music plays. “Hari is so great…I love him so…I’m just trying to figure him ouuutttt…trying to see what he wants from me…probably thirty perceeennnt.”

OutKast “Hey Ya”

Yes, yes…it’s from 2003, what’s your point?

Hari's REAL Top 10 Songs of 2004

1. Preston School of Industry- Caught in the Rain
2. Faithless- Mass Destruction (single mix)
3. Modest Mouse- Float On
4. Interpol- Evil
5. Franz Ferdinand- Jacqueline
6. The Killers- Mr. Brightside
7. Arcade Fire- Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
8. The List Exists- Barcelona
9. Walkmen- The Rat
10. Willy Mason- Oxygen