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Saturday, June 23, 2007
Jones. Grace Jones.

Wouldn't it be great if Grace Jones hosted ANTM instead of Tyra Banks?
 Apparently, quite a few of you miss Grace Jones' and her occasional almost feral activities, so there's a bit of Grace Jones love here. That way, when you feel a bit shit and weak, you can come here and feel empowered 1980's style (the kind where you're willing to walk all over the little people etc), just don't start wearing shoulder-pads because I don't think anyone is ready for that comeback.

Anywho, apart from some 80's model love, I also have some music to share, which you should take asap because it's good shit and only around for a couple of days. However, because I'm a nice person, if you miss it like some did last time, let me know and I'll re-upload it just for you.

If you're not sure about Teenager and Fujiya & Miyagi, take the mix and have a listen.

Heart it races - Architecture in Helsinki
Jique - Brazilian Girls
Is This Love - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Boy Toy - Help! She Can't Swim
Deny it - I Am The World Trade Center
Make Out Fall Out Make Up - Love Is All
You Could Easily Have Me - Metronomy
Weed Wine & Wankers (SLUTTT Bust in Ur Face Remix) - Miss Odd Kidd
Faites Tes Jeux - Modernaire
I Have No Sister - Oh No! Oh My!
Tripped - The Oohlas
Get What You Want - Operater Please
Australia - The Shins
Pony - Teenager
Honeybear - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Dans ta Vraie Vie - Yelle

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Forget call centers, America needs to start outsourcing reality television to India. Shilpa Shetty already managed to turn Big Brother into a slight basis for fame. Next up? Fear Factor. Most of the stunts that they carry out on that show are being actively engaged in on a daily basis by the lower classes of India. Stunt car driving sans seat belt, scaling heights with absolutely no safety gear--it's all part of their job description here. And depending on the adaptation of Hinduism being practiced, the food stuff should be no problem. Have you seen how disgusting Indian food can look?

Really, I think there's something in the water here that destroys the fear gene. I wouldn't know though--I'm not allowed to drink the normal water. I drink the purified kind for wussies that have American-manufactured immune systems. But this is the source of the creative driving and somehow quotidienne daredevil moments you see along the routes of Calcutta. It's why we're still eating our chicken reshmi kebobs, despite the proximity of the bird flu. Nothing gets in the way of an Indian enjoying her meal. We're just lucky that Hinduism conveniently prepared us to not give a damn about Mad Cow disease.

This apparent courage also contributes to a general lack of self-consciousness. The first day I was here, I saw a woman wearing a bright lime-green sari. In America, if you wear that sort of color, people assume you're supposed to be making some sort of rebellious statement against societal norms or something equally pretentious. But here, people mix and match prints and colors like its wrapping paper on Christmas Day. They were wearing salwar kameez with skinny pants long before the Urban Outfitters brigade began to (and with less of a sense of irony).

This is why I think an Indian Vogue is a bad idea. Most people here don't know how to talk about fashion because it's something they are rarely aware of. The Times of India has a "Tween Times" edition for the "teen of tomorrow." I won't start on the use of "tween," which is disgusting enough. Nor will I get into their horrible ads for the tween section, with slogans like "I don't wanna 'NO,' I wanna know!" But last week, they included a so-called fashion section that made Seventeen magazine seem like a fashion bible. Half the feature was copied from Teen Vogue--the rest was even more craptacular. "Ooh! That's the word that needs to come out when 'they' see you!...X-Factor: No piece of cloth or no extra accessory can add that zing to your persona. It is only you who can do it. Simply remember it's a package deal of the person you are that sells." I'm not fashionable, but if the best fashion advice they can give makes my eyes hurt that bad, then something is wrong.

But hell, what do I know. I'm probably never going to read it until India Vacation 2008. And maybe it won't have descended into a Hell of Aishwarya Rai (well, Bachan now) by then.

That Student

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I have no "direction." People keep asking me what I want to be when I finish studying and I think I've covered about 5 different areas. I just change my answer according to who it is, and how I feel that day. I'm pretty sure that's what 5-year old kids do.

And because I can dream too, here's my shortlist of dream jobs:
  1. Museum curator at the V&A for the fashion and textile display. (They call her the Operations Manager but that's a terrible job title). I'm obsessed with the V&A. If the V&A was a man, I'd have a restraining order. But, it would be an amazing job.
  2. Window dresser for a department store like Selfridges. Can you imagine how great it would be to design displays for huge windows that thousands of people would see? I can. It would be perfect...I should probably mention that in my daydreams, Ralph Fiennes happens to be walking past when I am bossing people around, and he falls for me and my superb (newly acquired) organisational skills.
  3. Queen of Everything I Survey
  4. Advertising Executive because sometimes I like to pretend I have the potential to be high-powered AND creative. Plus it seems like fun, who doesn't like sitting around tables brainstorming with a bunch of hip, creative types? (I clearly have no experience with the advertising world whatsoever...please give me a job).
  5. Stylist just for a hoot. People wear what you tell them to. What's not to love?!
  6. Wardrobe mistress on historical dramas because it means I don't have to face current trends, I get to meet semi-famous people (be still my beating heart!), and I'm pretty sure I'd try on the clothes at home...Who am I kidding? I'd turn up to work in whalebone corsets and a powered face.
  7. Private Investigator, though I'm confused about whether a female would also be referred to as a 'Private Dick'. I wouldn't care anyway. I already have a marvellous trenchcoat, I reckon I'd be quite a good PI, I'm quite stealthy and I do enjoy a good intrigue.
And here's a list of the jobs I'm most likely to get:
  1. Woman in gutter pretty self-explanatory really.
  2. Dissatisfied housefrau which is even worse than 1 in my books.
  3. Some boring office job in a cubicle like Parker Posey and Toni Collette in Clockwatchers Actually, what do people in offices do? Is it just typing and occasional staring out of the window whilst absentmindedly dunking a Kit-Kat into a coffee? Or is it more than that?
  4. Writing obituaries. For the local newspaper.

PS. Does anyone else wish Grace Jones was still around?

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful

Inside every driver in India is a stunt driver waiting to happen. It's enough to make you feel like you're in a Hollywood high speed car chase scene. It's like having twenty near-death exeriences in the span of ten minutes.

Of course, there is a practical side to this. Most Indian cars don't have much in the way of air conditioning except for a dinky little fan that does nothing. So you rely primarily on open windows for ventilation. The faster you go, the better the wind circulation and the better you feel. It makes traffic jams so much worse than normal though. Not only do you want to get to your next destination quickly, but you suddenly find yourself sitting in sweltering stagnant heat and humidity.

Today was bad in the humidity department. The rainy season is coming up, and Calcutta is an already humid city. My back was like a waterfall while riding in the back seat. And cotton is great because it's light, but it's also very absorbent. I think Indians have a silent agreement to ignore each other's sweat stains, which is great because I could literally wring moisture out the back of my shirt. I'm a California girl. And while this isn't a "Always have been, always will be situation," I live far enough away from the beach to be able to take dry heat for granted.

For instance, the skin on my face is normally very dry. I have to put two huge blobs of Clean and Clear Morning Brightness Lotion (or whatever it's called) just to get it barely to a normal moisture level. Since I've come here though, I've stayed clear of my face lotion and yet my face still feels like it went through a steam bath.

Now, I'm going to go lay on my bed underneath the ceiling fan and hope for the best. Hope you're having fun in what I assume is air conditioned bliss.

That Student

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Monday, June 11, 2007
School Daze

Hello. My forced leave has ended, thus I am back to blogging my little heart out.

In case you were wondering about my exams, they went alright, I am not expecting failure but I'm not exactly in the running for Best Student of the Year award either.(I'll probably have to delete this blog when it comes to me job hunting when I graduate, because there's nothing in here which screams "employ me," mostly it just says "delusional, demented underachiever."
I'm not sure whether this is down to That Student's influence on me, but I'm really looking forward to seeing the St Trinian's film when it comes out, especially when I saw the film stills in which Lily Cole looks like Gigantor, Rupert Everett makes a lovely woman, and Colin Firth was being...Colin Firth (yes, he plays the same stuffy, upper-middle class British dreamboat in all his films, but he does it so well...though he is looking a tad bit...jowly shall we say? Hopefully just a bad picture). However, not even the news that Mischa Barton will appear in it will dissuade me. (Though when I heard, I did scream "why" for about 5 minutes because I consider her a complete and utter hacktress...she is pretty though).

Also, on Monday morning, in a bid to put off studying for a bit longer, I went to get my haircut and it definitely taught me a lesson.She totally ignored the fact that I asked her not to cut my fringe short, because I think there are only two people who carry off a short fringe well, and that's Audrey Hepburn and Audrey Tatou. However, I couldn't keep an eye on what she was doing because I wasn't wearing my glasses and I'm blind as an owl without them.

I wanted to rant and rage, letting out a stream of profanities as I waved a pair of scissors around in a highly unbalanced fashion. I wanted her to tell me she could fix it with miracle hair-grow. I wanted my mum. Of course, I'm not a confrontational person so I thanked my hairdresser, paid and left. As soon as I got home, I washed my hair, re-dried my hair and it still looked stupid.This may be an overreaction but my hair is on my head and everyone can see it. It taught me an important lesson anyway; procrastination is bad.

Oh it's a sad state of affairs when I'm blogging about my haircut in here. I think perhaps I need a longer break than this, until I think about something vaguely interesting to write.
PS. Sympathy appreciated. If you'd like to share your horrific haircut stories, please do, and if you don't have any, feel free to make them up.

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Friday, June 08, 2007
A Passage to India, or Why E.M. Forster is Lucky He Didn't Have to Take Air India

No, Meg isn't back. This is That Student, over from That Boarding School. Given that I've graduated, Meg (out of either kindness or desperation) has let me guest over here while she suffers at the hands of the university. I'd laugh at her pain, but that'll be me next year.

So, now that both the explanation and shameless plug are over, let me apologize if I seem at all frazzled in this post. I just finished a flight from America to India on the horrendous Air India. Due to a last minute situation that required our immediate attention, my parents and I found ourselves in need of a cheap ticket quickly. Unfortunately, Air India was the cheapest.

Now, there is a reason Air India is so cheap. It's because it sucks. Simple as that. My favorite international airline of all time is, and probably always will be, Singapore Airlines. Nothing competes with the personal TVs filled with movies I've actually been planning on seeing. The service is excellent, the food is good, and the leg space is decent. Air India is still in the bad old days of a tiny TV down the aisles that plays only the saddest of selections. I had to sit through "Because I Said So" (the crappy Diane Keaton movie in which the most exciting things are her gigantic skirts) and "London Namaste." It might have been "Namaste London" actually. It doesn't matter. It was basically like Jumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, just with switched genders and set in London. And I don't know if you know this about me (you probably don't), but I hate The Namesake. I think it is an abysmal depiction of the first generation American's attempts to balance tradition with the modern surroundings. Maybe things are different in England--Meg can probably give a better description. Either way, the movie was about an Indian girl who thinks she's only British and thus wants to marry her asshole British boss. Her parents take her to India for the first time, secretly deciding to set her up with some nice little Indian boy. Some family friend's son falls madly in love with her, and they end up married. She decides that it isn't legally recognizable, so she can marry her British asshole as she pleases. Whatever. Who cares, right? They also showed "Everybody Loves Raymond," which wasn't funny even when all the critics insisted it was, as well as various Indian television shows that sent me straight to sleep because I don't speak Hindi. They had various "Did You Know" sections that were probably sponsored by the Indian government to promote tourism. One of the features was about Lakme Fashion Week, which is India's attempt to make the sari adaptable to the West. I think India is the one nation that doesn't need eating regulations for models. I don't care how much Vogue tries to insist that clothes look better on skinnier people (this is from their body issue, featuring the questionable Scarlett Johansson--sorry, I have no idea how to spell her name, nor do I care). Saris would look horrible on those models--wrapped pieces of cloth look better on curves than on bones.

I really wanted something to do. Unfortunately, the new bag restrictions put a serious damper on the usual 20 books I pack on the way over. My mom insisted that my study books would take precedence over the more interesting reading material. Study books? Yes, I'm going onto of the nerdiest schools in America (I would say the nerdiest, but some of the other contenders might get jealous or something). And as a result, I am fully prepared to be the dumbest kid there. However, I need to pass because, you know, that's a good thing to do at a place you're spending almost $40,000 to attend. I also have various placement exams that need to be finished over the summer. So, yes. My bag is filled with study books. I read only one and then decided that I didn't want to study at all. So I stared at the one "joy reading" book and flipped through my iPod. For the whole flight.

Meanwhile, the guy next to my mom and me was rather insistent upon getting drunk. The German couple in front of us almost got into a fight with him, but luckily, they managed to cool off. The airline must've had some sort of special going on at Kids R Us, because the place was packed with little kids. The loudest ones just happened to be in the row behind mine. The flight attendant on the first half of the flight was fairly rude too, and I'm pretty sure she thought I had no brain. It's not my fault that I can't properly function what's going on around me in the five seconds right after I wake up. The second half of the flight had a different crew, which seemed to be comprised primarily of males. That would've redeemed most of the flight, but I mean, c'mon, these are Indian males. The only redeeming factor was the Toblerone.

Overall, the experience kind of reminded me of the economy class in the movie Soul Plane. If you don't know what I'm talking about, that's a really good thing. I only watched it because the foreign student staying with me at the time didn't know about the "If Snoop Dogg's in it, don't watch it" rule we hold so dear to our beings in America. Civil liberties used to be the dearest thing to us, you know, but that went out of style with George W. Bush. So now it's just warnings against Snoop Dogg.

Once we were in India, we flew Kingfisher. I guess it's kind of the Jet Blue meets Virgin Atlantic of Indian domestic travel. Apparently, they were the official airplane of the Lakme Fashion Week, so their on-flight magazine was all about that. I wonder who they had design their uniforms. No, really, I want to know. I really liked the flight attendants' jackets.

Now that I'm here, I'll probably die of either food poisoning or malaria. And then be reincarnated into a college kid. Just in the knick of time. Happens every year. Except for the college kid part.

That Student

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