Monday, December 31, 2007

The Yearly KQA...

... New Year's quiz, Go-Ogle, has been announced. I'm wondering why they aren't carrying an announcement on their website.


Here's the announcement, edited slightly.


The KQA will hold the third edition of Go Ogle, its annual online quiz on 1st January 2008. The quiz is set by Arul Mani.

  1. Please be warned that this is an extremely arbit and convoluted quiz, designed to delay and frustrate those who Google for answers.
  2. Open to all solo contestants, irrespective of age or location. No prior registration is required.
  3. The quiz will be posted at our blog
  4. The quiz will be available for access from 1700hrs IST on 1st Jan and will be taken off at 2100hrs IST.
  5. Participants will attempt the quiz at the blog. Those who do not have a livejournal account may post reponses anonymously. Such entrants must however leave their name (and email i.d used while registering) at the bottom of the entry. Unsigned anonymous entries will not be considered.
  6. No participant is allowed more than one attempt at the quiz. Attempts at skulduggery will result in disqualification.
  7. The results and answers will be announced on 2 January 2008 on the blog. Prizes will be given out to winner and runner-up respectively.

For some idea of what the last two editions have been like, go to 1, 2.

Arul Mani
I wonder what skullduggery I can do, even if I want to. I want to know.

Anyhow, do attempt, if you're interested in sort of thing. I will, if I can.


The Webcomic....

...recommendation this week is Wondermark.

It's by David Malki ! (including space and ! mark), who syndicates the strip to the Onion's print edition, which itself is strong recommendation for the strip. The reason it's here is that you can subscribe to strips via a RSS feed or visit the website everyday, which qualifies it to be a webcomic.

=The strip itself was introduced to me by Kupcake, via sundry e-mail forwards. I figured that Malki ! posts a new one on his website bi-weekly.

The strip's spiel, apart from being really funny occasionally, is the use of Victorian (Edwardian? Who knows? Old?) images for a 3 or 4-panel strip, which is a currently relevant gag (as opposed to gags relevant to ancient people). And it's not really a drawn strip, it's more a creative use of available oldie pictures from his 'personal collection'. Sometimes, the images themselves are funnier than the strip. For additional smartass-iness, point the mouse at it each strip to reveal (yes, reveal!) another wisecrack about the day's comic.

It can be quite funny.

It's also won various awards, I discovered, from the Wikipedia entry. It was nominated for Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards in 2006 and 2007 for "Outstanding Short Form Comic" and "Outstanding Comedic Comic," respectively. It has also been nominated for the 2007 Ignatz Award for "Outstanding Online Comic.

That guy with the telescope thing keeps cropping up in a load of funny strips!

His website is pretty interesting beyond the comics, too. It features a 'making of' section, as well as this caustic set called 'The Comic Strip Doctor', which he sadly doesn't write anymore. The gag there was to take a comic from the papers and do it better! Some of the results are funny, and probably deserve an independent post. Also, via his site, I've got leads to a whole lot of new webcomics, to keep me busy.

Go on, check it out. Oh, and a happy new year, etc. to y'all. Drive safe. Also, that 'Bears with ill-fitting hats' meme might be catching on.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

I have..

...the pleasure of a beatzo-esque post after a long time.

The good Reimann1724 came to town last week for the fat one's wedding. Along with him came a collection of 9 Beau Peep books, won in a tight scrap for 35 quid (all nine) on eBay. There you go, people, a picture of the loot (that book 2 is a good find):

And so you remember what a pleasure this comic strip is to me, here's a short set of strips featuring the Nomad and Honest Abdul, two of the craziest supporting characters in the strip.

Woohoo. Much delight.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

This week's...

...webcomic recommendation isn't exactly a webcomic. It's also far more recent than some of the other ones I had intended to post about.

However, it's outrageously funny.

I've been a longtime fan of Kevin Cornell, (I had posted about him last year) his website Bearskinrug and Mojo the sock-monkey. He and Matthew Sutter have gotten together an ongoing game of 'My Team Your Team', and game which was introduced to them by Andy Havens, in this post. They put it on a site called 'The Superest'.

What primarily happens is that each artist takes turns to draw a superhero (in the loosest sense of the word) , which should be able to vanquish the previous one. What secondarily happens is that we're exposed to a list of superbeings with whacky superpowers, with some even whackier drawings.

Here's a thread which occurs somewhere in the middle.

Go on then. Read it from the first hero.


Saturday, December 22, 2007


... for the quiz tomorrow.

Do come.

Here's the KQA announcement below, in it's entirety. Do note that all finalists win consolation prizes.


We will host three quizzing events on Sunday, 23 December 2007 at the Daly Memorial Hall, Mythic Society, Nrupatunga Road (Opp. RBI).

The details:

Ranking Intercollegiate Quiz

Hosted by Mihir Jayaraman

Open to teams of three members from the same college. Students of PUC/XI & XII, UG and PG institutions may participate.
Unlimited entries per college (Cap of two teams in the finals)
Entry Fee: Rs. 50/- per team


Prelims: 1030hrs
Finals: 1115hrs

I: Rs. 2250/-
II: Rs. 1500/-
III: Rs. 900/-
plus consolation prizes for all other finalists

Solus Rex Finals

Hosted by Arul Mani

Anustup Datta, Arun Hiregange, Satyajit R. and Thejaswi Udupa will contest the finals.

Round I: Film Scores
Round II: Nobel Prize Winners in Literature

You are invited to send in questions for the Challenge Round, based on either of the topics. The last date for sending in your questions is Friday 21 December 2007. A jury will pick the three best questions sent in--prizes of Rs. 500/- each will be awarded to the people who sent in these questions.

Please mail your question to

Ranking Open Quiz

The third ranking quiz of the season will be hosted by Dibyojyoti Haldar. This is the annual Kaustubh and Dibyo Open Quiz.

A general quiz, open to all
Teams of four members
Entry Fee: Rs. 50/- per team

Prelims: 1530hrs
Finals: 1630hrs

I: Rs. 1000/-
II: Rs. 800/-
III: Rs. 700/-
plus consolation prizes for all finalists

The third edition of our annual online quiz Go Ogle will be held on 1 January 2008 at the KQA quiz blog. A separate announcement will be made about the event by the end of the week.

Please call or mail if you need further information!

Best Regards
Arul Mani"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Scott Adams...

...revived Asok, after killing him off, all within the week.

He also got away with a 'triple entendre'. What's cocky (heh) is that he wrote about it, some days after it gets put in the papers, and boasts about it.

I don't know. I don't think it's that bad, I mean, that's what most patients look like - they have their hands under the sheets.


This Week's...

...webcomic recommendation is What The Duck.

It's a comic by Aaron Johnson. It says that he started it as a 'blog filler' for a Carol Kroll. He is a self-proclaimed "40% photographer, 60% Photoshopper".


The comic-strip will be found extremely funny by professional photographers (I think), amateur photographers, people who deal with clients everyday (yes, very funny), and some other people with a sense of humour.

The one's I put here are mostly ones that deal with client situations, since I find that funny.

Go read it already. I'd have written a longer review, but I have a quiz to make.


I won...

... a prize on mental_floss!

Yay. I heart mental_floss (where knowledge junkies get their fix, etc.). Also, I'll not be cribbing about not winning contests for a while (I don't, really)

Beau Peep cartoon courtesy the superfabawesome Roger Kettle/Roger Christine. Some Beau Peep comic book good news is expected to happen here in a couple of days. More yay.

PS: Is anyone coming from the US anytime soon? Will he/she volunteer to carry my prizes?

Blogging is light...

...only because Cow and I are doing a quiz on Sunday, next. It's our annual KQA open.

It's on the 23rd, as part of the quizzing weekend at the Daly Memorial Hall. It'll start approximately at 1530. Or atleast, that's the plan.

Cow, since he will not be able to make it to Bangalore, will try to host it in Delhi simultaneously. We had planned to do a simultaneous quiz earlier in the year, but dates didn't work out. )That time, the plan was with the Bombay Quiz Club)

Be there. We're try to make it as enjoyable as we can. Some questions from last time here.


Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm Starting a New...

...series of posts on my favourite webcomics out there. You know, like xkcd and stuff.

This here is going to be the first one. I'll try to post a new one every week hence, if I can keep up with stuff.

I might have mentioned this one earlier. The mad doctor introduced me to this one (dedication to him above ;). This is, by far, the meanest webcomic I've seen, which is consistently funny. And they're a full fledged website, with t-shirts, animated shorts, and the interactive story threads (where forum-members suggest next steps in an ongoing tale), all of which is as anti-est hilarious as it gets. I think they're British. No one else can be so unabashedly politically incorrect and get away with it. Not Americans anyway.


There's a lot more in there. They have a crazy low-fi style of drawing stick figure sort-of people, and it matches with their sense of humour. It's called Cyanide and Happiness (wtf).

My favourite t-shirt there (nudge, nudge) is this one.

These guys are awesome. If there is a single webcomic you want to subscribe to, make it this one (or maybe xkcd, but nothing else comes close). My only suggestion to them is to include a 'random comic' button somewhere.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Quizzing Jargon...

...are there.

I was hoping to sneak this in while Wimpy, Kodhi and all were doing Goa, but I didn't. Really, one of them or Mad-man should be writing this. But here I am.


At one of the quizzes I attended some weekends back, the Mad-man had a running insider joke, connecting every fifth question with common (ok, only in post 2003 IIMB) quizzing slang. I
interrogated all of them , and put together this list, some of which is pretty entertaining jargon (the rest is not). Frequenters of quizzes in the country will probably recognize these situations, if not the exact terms.

Here goes...

Peter: A question which has been repeated. This derives from "repeater". Also comes to mind, an old Ajit joke which I reproduce later sometime.
That quiz of his had a whole lot of peters in it, I wonder how much time he spent on it.

Paul: A question which you made, and someone else put in his quiz, BEFORE you did. This is derived from the phrase "taking from Peter to pay Paul". This one is my favourite.
Aadisht's quiz had two pauls, both of which were asked in Gajju's quiz earlier that day, and both of which went to MQ.

Kitchen: A question which has been cooked up. A falsehood, so to speak. Some quiz-masters are known for making an entire quiz-master career on such questions.
Could you believe some of the kitchens on Pornob's quiz last month? If he ever asks a question about a eastern Indian ping-pong player, the answer is Arunjyoti Baruah. There are no facts involved.

Floyd: An eclectic question, which caters to some extreme fanboy-dom, the sorts of which Douglas Adams or Pink Floyd has enjoyed. Hence unanswerable by ordinary quizzers, unless it's a Peter. Condemnable.
Could you believe the extreme floyd in yesterdays quiz? He asked some random question about who played the second set of drums on some crap song in the Pulse show. Really!

Chimp: A question where the answer is equally likely to be any member of a given set. The original question was 'Which ape is the closest to humans in terms of DNA' or something like that. It's equally likely to be chimp or gorilla or baboon or bonobo. If the question comes in the finals, and the number of options is less than the number of teams, the process of waiting for the question to come to you while other teams eliminate wrong answers is called chimping out.
At last week's open, he asked a question on the Beatles band-members, and Kau's team got chimped out, and ended up losing first place.

Eleanor: A question which one answers out of turn. Exhibited by the Mad-man in a KQA quiz where Tups put up a statue of Eleanor Rigby, and he exclaimed the answer before turn, thereby helping the other team. This is the only one of today's definitions which doesn't classify a question.
Jiggy, keep it down! you nearly eleanored us there!

So that's the list for now, feel free to add, delete and propagate.

Thanks to Madman for very lucid definitions on the last two, where I got stuck.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The sad death...

...of one of the most abused characters across popular cartoon strips today, was reported earlier today.

The previous strips in the series are available on the website.



Some Quizzing Action...

... has happened over the last few weekends, though not much else is in store before the last one of this month.

Here is the belated news.

Three weekends back , at the KQA do on the 18th of last month, there were three quizzes - Gajju's science and tech quiz, Arul's Bangalore quiz, and Madman's (the other one) History, Geography and World Culture quiz.

I went with Wimpy, Baada and RG for Gajju's Sci/Tech quiz. We were the 8th team to qualify among 9 teams, narrowly missing out on the ignominy of not qualifying. We continued our form and came last, uh, 8th, finishing on -60.

I don't even remember who won, but I think it might have been WALTO. The quiz was pretty good, though, and despite repeated attempts, we couldn't guess the stage 2 (which explains the
high negative score!)

The next quiz was the second edition of Hububba, The Bangalore Quiz. It was started in the fear that some two-bit loser would start a half-baked quiz in the name of the Bangalore Hubba (which is happening again this year). Nothing much changed, Arul hosted, the questions were both fun and exposed one's ignorance, Udupa and Wimpy came first, Mitesh and Doc came second.

The last one was Madman's general quiz, under the guise of some random name. It was super fun as well. I went with the same team as the morning, and though we did put some fight towards the end, we fell short of a top-3 position. WALTO or MQ or some such team won, I think. MQ got a couple of "pauls" (more shall be explained in a subsequent post)

The weekend after that, I had two quizzes, and another experience which can not be called quizzing really.

So I replied to a random e-mail on my alma-mater mailing list, and some months later got invited to the Miditech office in Cooke Town for an 'audition'. I happened to be attending young Jonathan's baptism (or baptism lunch, really) in the same neighbourhood earlier on Saturday
morning, and it was convenient to show up in my best glasses for an audition to Nat Geo Genius. I don't think I did too well, but my curiosity about how these things happen was sated to some
extent. (I later found out, I haven't made the grade)

Then, I did the painful drive all the way to NLS for their open. Thankfully, it was more than worth it. Udupa, Madman, Psycho Sid and I won, edging out a two-man MQ and QED. In a display of NLS-ian shadiness, we got a single cheque dated to the 31st of December for the entire team!

On Sunday, Madhav Nair's annual Movie Quiz turned 4 years old. As expected, it was a sea-change from the usual funda/meme-driven quizzing that surrounds us. It was also a refreshing lesson on movies, without being too eclectic. After lagging behind in last place till the last theme round, an inspired guess for the theme helped us end in fifth place, I think. Once again I'm not sure who came first, but I think it was Captain India's team.

Going forward, I'll post a selection of questions from the quizzes. Today, however, I have a single one from the Movie Quiz (We though long and hard about this, but didn't get to the right answer, upon hearing which, much self-kicking happened) :

Q: Ansel __, a preacher from Rhode Island, was probably the first ever documented case of dissociative fugue. On January 17, 1887, he went to Providence, Rhode Island, then continued on until he reached Norristown, Pennsylvania, where he set up shop as a stationer and confectioner using the name A. J. Brown.

On Monday, March 14, he awakened in the morning not knowing where he was and with no memory of the preceding two months, still believing it was January. His nephew, William James,
the pioneering American psychologist and philosopher, took him back home and went on to document this strange case.

What was Ansel’s last name? (answers in a subsequent post)

More questions from Madhav's quiz here.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The rocking-est... on earth ever, Led Zeppelin, are reuniting next week for a concert. I think this is good enough reason to reunite with my previously forsaken blog.

Here's a nice, though simplistic, AV about their career at TIME. People even crashed the internets about it.

More posts, are coming, I hope.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tremdendous Timepass...

...has been happening.

First, thanks to Desktop Tower Defence, a game which has won a lot of buzz for it's groovy interface and playability, I ended up playing long nights. Then we made a user group, and Dhoomketu, after having to be nagged into play it, thrashed the bejeezus out of my scores.

Gautam John came along, and ruined my workdays by introducing me to Shuffle. I have half a mind of suing him for the act of introduction. If you're even a little bit distract-able, please don't click on the link. Don't say I didn't warn you.

But, if you HAVE clicked....

It doesn't have the user group thing, so I'm posting my best score so far as a screen-shot, thereby (heh, sorry) throwing down the gauntlet for Dhoomketu and whoever else dares.

In the meanwhile, Desktop Tower Defence has released version 1.5, with new towers, and new creeps. Go try. You can add your scores on our group (drop me an e-mail, and I'll tell how to). Please leave your name, and not some psycho anagram like 'gp' (who ARE you?)


Tuesday, June 26, 2007


... favourite 'Brand Cartoonist' (if there's such a thing) Tom Fishburne, has started a blog.

I've seen his stuff all over the place, in many different places, and he is funny in a very topical way. I'd imagine it's sometimes hard to get through to everyone on something so topical. He surely strikes a chord for all of us who directly or indirectly work with brands, brand managers and marketers.

Please go visit. At the worst, he's funnier than Randy Glasbergen (eleven times out of ten anyway).

I also hope he doesn't mind me using the above cartoon to continue to harp about ICICI bank's abysmal customer service. Spread the word, people, about their evil ways.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Third... on our Turkish adventures is, well, again on food. This one explores the stuff we liked beyond kebaps.

1. Manti (Turkish Ravioli, or Turkish Dumplings sometimes): Primarily Ravioli stuffed with meat, they cook it with a lot of yogurt and garlic. They are more in the dumplings territory when it's not cooked with yogurt-garlic.

2. Turkish Breakfast: Since we stayed at an assortment of pensions and family B&Bs we were served a standard format Turkish Breakfast wherever we went. This comprised bread, boiled egg, paynir, cheese, butter, strawberry/cherry jam, tomatoes, olives, fruit and chay.

3. Fish: We had an assortment of fish in many places. It's more expensive than meat out there, and they love it. They go easy on any kind of sauce, seasoning or marination, so it's often a little bland, although extremely fresh almost everywhere. The fish below is from the gulet charter, with sides of egg-salad and veggies.

4. Sesame Bread: which is bread with a lot of sesame on top. They have an entire variety of bread with sesame on it. The pic here of a variety from Izmir which doesn't go easy on the sesame, with a LITTLE meat in it. The pic below is one of a simit seller, simits being Istanbul's favourite sesame-doughnut sort of snack.

5. Shorba (or Turkish Soup): They love their soup, and we had a lot of it too - it's cheaper, filling, and quite tasty. The lentil soup is something I hadn't seen anywhere else before. The closest Indian parallel is probably dal.

6. Gozleme:
A snack, mostly. Gozeleme is stuffed bread. If you know how Indian stuffed parathas are made, this is very similar. They have endless choices for stuffing, from various combinations of meat to cheeses and veggies. Another popular snack is borek which is like a 'puff' (I can't seem to find the picture). The Gozleme pictured below was devoured in Kusadasi (near Selcuk).

7. Pide (Turkish Pizza): Their variant of pizza is quite tasty, I'll admit. The bread is bent on the edges, and they usually serve it cut up into small bite-sized pieces. The lower of the two pictures here is from Goreme, and that's how it's usually served. Once again, you get to choose the topping, and they give plenty of choice.

8. Turkish Hot-Plates: Basic hotplates, I just included this nice picture of the way they ask one to choose.

9. Grilled Chicken: I put this since I found the pic. The only thing this has over the one you get in places in Bangalore like Empire/ Imperial is size - and that can be fixed by having MORE. I'd recommend avoiding it if you're Indian - it's way bland.

10. Veggies: We (she, really) had some mix vegetable meals as well - they love aubergines, tomatoes and, capsicum

That's it. Simple post, really. More Turkiye posts on the way.


Monday, June 18, 2007

People are...

...asking me about my rage at ICICI bank on Friday. I should document it. It's just some ranting, so if you have less time, skip this.


I hate ICICI Bank. Hence, I avoid them like the plague. I go to lengths to not have anything to do with them. Once they offered me 10 lakhs for just hearing a sales pitch, but I refused. Ok, it didn't happen, but it could.

Why? Because they suck. They make you wait to give the same things another bank will not make you wait for. Like to use an ATM machine. They also treat personal information like it's on a billboard at the corner of CMH Road. Once, in a moment of weakness (#1), I agreed for their credit card. Weeks later, after having signed multiple forms and such, I realised that everyone from their direct sales agency (not even employees of the bank) had more personal information about me than I have. And it's all over the place. I looked in his notebook and learnt many things about many people! I quickly made him scratch that out, tore all the forms, and asked them to cancel the request.

Anyhow, so I've gone two years with an account without having to do anything with them. I've never even opened the envelope which the debit card came in. Yes, I don't know the pin number either. Since my salary account has to be with them, I take the risk of logging on late on every 30th and electronically transfer the money to another bank account. And not have to worry about doing anything with them for another whole month.

And then, they go and introduce a "new grid based debit card". It's a super-lame security measure which ensures that only a customer who has the debit card can transact on the net - which is similar to their earlier security measure which ensured that only a customer who has the debit card can transact on the net. Go figure.

They call and ask me where I want it delivered. I tell them to do so at my office, since most document deliverers don't work later. They, in their infinite customer orientation deliver home, find me not there, and ask me to go the bank to collect it. I end up being forced to go to the bank.

After avoiding that for an entire month, I have a moment of weakness (#2) while walking past the branch. So I go in, and wow, there's a machine thingie which issues a token number - I get my token, relieved that I'll not have to deal with shoving-pushing-line-cutting. And then I wait a couple of eons even though there are only 4 people ahead of me. Since of the 8 counters available, only one is operational. And on a full working day, early in the afternoon. I do my thing when I finally get to the counter, I'm told to wait, even though the card is at her desk in only half hour more. Since it has to be dispensed by another person only, who comes in another half hour late. I get my thing.

Then, I decide to write a complaint. I go up to the Branch Manager and ask for the complaint book, which she takes an entire 10 minutes to dig up. After writing the story, I take a look at the other pages, and it looks like they don't use empty pages for the bank copies. So everyone overwrites on the same page - which makes all the complaints easier to handle, by having to crumple only one page and throw away.

There it is, three and half hours wasted of my entire workday. So avoidable. The bank goes out of their way to ensure I come into contact with their uber-pathetic customer service. I was getting by before. So why don't I just close the account? Because I'm scared of having to deal with them face-to-face again this year. Maybe next year.

Cartoon from Speedbump by Dave Coverly.


Friday, June 15, 2007

The Second... on our trip to the land of the Ottomans is on the ever-entertaining fellow travellers we shared the country with. Here are some gems:

The Dutch Four: Eric & Henrietta, Gert & Jenny. These four were on us on our gulet cruise. They were much older, and loved to snorkel, swim and sunbathe. Experienced travelers, the four always travelled together. Strange and hilarious quirk: Rick's habit of kicking off a song with a random word from a conversation, and the other three joining in, like some sort of warped word-antakshari. For instance...

Me: The bread is dry this morning, pass me the honey please
Rick: Honey Honey...
All Four: you thrill me, aha.....

The Long One: sugar?
Rick: Oh Sugar!
The Other Three: par-ap-prah-parp
All Four: You are my candy girl...

Anyhow, entertainment all around. Here's all of them from one of the evening meals.

The Intrepid Boatman: Among the more delightful people we met, Jean-Baptiste was one of a whole sudden gang of travellers we'd become by chance in Cappadocia. Boat-repairer when he feels like it, and Mediterranean sailor otherwise, he was looking for someone to accompany him on his (renovated from scrap with his own two hands) sailing boat back to Athens or further on his journey back home, "before the summer inconvenient-for-sailing weather sets in". Here he is, in a cave-home that we discovered on an impromptu trek in Goreme.

The Good-looking French Couple: Perrine and Jean-Philippe were also part of the Goreme gang that we became by chance. Among the friendliest French I've ever met, no doubt. Philippe got us out of a few bad spots during a rainy trek (to be described later) with nothing less than cat-like agility. That's the two of them along with Marie...

Marie Tremblay (above) had come all the way from Quebec, and was doing Turkey alone because it wasn't on the list of places which she and her boyfriend wanted to do together.

The Intrepid Dutch Couple: These guys are the most seasoned travellers we will probably ever meet. Eric and Veronica had done India (for 3 months and no Delhi/Agra etc) and had enjoyed it!! They had sold all their stuff and had done South America from tip to tip for a whole year. We met them while transferring buses to Goreme. We were being hustled by some tour-agent types who were trying to peddle us guided tours while playing us with Turkish tea in the morning and promises of mini-vans to Goreme. So were they. Neither of us succumbed, and ended up being unceremoniously dumped on the next available bus in the direction (no tour, no mini-van, no more chay). On the bus, we immediately connected with fellow guided-tour-haters. These two are fearless and will do anything to not take a guided tour or follow any beaten path. There are, in the back of 'our usual table'.

French History Buff: Jean-Marie was the third of the Jeans - strong, hunky silent type. He spoke little. The long one votes him to be best looking, though. He was on a history-trip of the country, something that to me seems endless, given the truckloads that Turkey has.

The Goreme Gang: We'd met by chance, one by one, and ended up having supper/dinner/chay at the same place every evening that we were at Goreme. We exchanged tips, and some of us visited places and went on treks together. Easily one of the reasons why we enjoyed Goreme so much. And the Long One got to practice her pathetic French as well. There we all are, before we all left for further adventures in other places.

Illegal Immigrant Dude: We met this can't-stop-smiling guy who was escaping his country of origin in hope of a better life. Istanbul was a stopover in a long-ish journey. I won't tell you his name and where he's going. But he had a plan which included midnight boat crossings, passport destructions and various other 'sensitive' shit. I don't think he was lying at all, and he was smiling with the strength that only futility gives - this was the only way out now, get another passport or die trying. All the best, brother - I hope you're where you want to be, by now. That's me and him outside the Blue Mosque, where he just came up and started a conversation.

Rick Price: We just met him for a brief moment while downing a mid-day beer at the Antalya marina, and he's such a GROOOVY sight! He runs experience bicycle tours - when he heard we're from India, he asked us if we could send him a vintage leather bicycle seat with springs! I should get back to him.

The Drama of Modern Tourism: Endless guided tours, super-technophile Japanese tourists with some serious gadgetry, noisy Americans, middle-aged gujju groups with yellow caps shouting 'Bombay Travels', all played a constant background music to our trip. The next picture is a homage to all such, named 'The Drama of Modern Tourism' - a bunch of guided tourists at the Grand Amphitheatre in Ephesus (ancient city in ruins). The next one is in front of the Library of Celsus, one of the representative buildings of the Ephesus ruins.

The Other Side: So these guys, with rasta-kind of hair are juggling balls and ninepins in Taksim (cool hangout road of Istanbul), with like a collection bowl up front. They are obviously backpackers trying to make their hostel-fare (note luggage in background). They're the worst jugglers I've donated money to. But I have to admit, they had made quite a packet by the time I saw them, around 50 Lira probably. Roll on people...

More posts as soon as I make the time, there are many tales to tell. Also, if anyone on this page wants their photograph removed, holler.