Alan Moore’s most underrated graphic novel tells the story of V, a mysterious anarchist who works to destroy the ruling totalitarian government, while profoundly affecting the people he encounters along his journey. He is a freedom fighter seeking to effect sociopolitical change while simultaneously pursuing his own violent personal agenda. As a part of the grand finale of his plan, he wants to blow up the parliament building as a throwback to Guy Fawkes. However he doesn’t want to kill all the parliamentarians – there are people who are sympathetics to his cause. The three main issues on which V opposes the government are right to privacy, freedom of information and civil rights. 20% of the MPs support him on the first issue, 15% on the second and 25% on the third. V also knows which of the parliamentarians side with him on each of these issues. The rest of the novel deals with the protagonist running complex mathematical programming and simulation models to determine the most optimum time to blow up the parliament building so as to kill the least people sympathetic to his causes. The name of the novel? V for Venn-Data, of course.



September 23, 2007

Friday Night Lights

I’m surprised this show even completed Season 1, let alone be renewed for a second one.

If the spoilers for Season 7 of 24 are to be believed, the Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) has been disbanded and the setting of the show has been shifted to Washington DC. Who would have thought that the American government would be so ungrateful to an organisation that has saved their ass so many times. It’s a known fact that since 24 started airing on TV, America hasn’t been hit by the terrorists at home. Will 24 be able to outlive the agency that has become synonymous with it? Only time will tell. As a homage to CTU, I list here five things that I will miss, once CTU is no more.

  1. Terrorist attacks on CTU : Jack Bauer might have stopped terrorist attacks in a lot of places, but CTU’s office in LA hasn’t been one of them. CTU is a must-visit spot for terrorists stopping over at LA. This over-used plot device is the default go-to for the writers when they hit a creative brick wall. In fact I am surprised that they managed to stave it off till the fag end of that shitty Season 6.
  2. Protocols, parameters and other mumbo jumbo : Raise your hands if you think CTU agents spend too much time “setting up protocols” or “opening up a filter to some satellite.” I mean, I’ve tried to look at all possible definitions for protocol on the net, but still can’t find one that can be “set up” in the short time span afforded by 24. But again, we are willing to give a break to the writers – set up all the protocols you need, just as long as Jack kicks some terrorist ass.
  3. Servers : CTU Los Angeles has quite the server farm, and I used to think all those machines shown were the futuristic models, only meant for fictional government organisations like CTU. But I was pleasantly surprised when I got a chance to fiddle with servers such as those in 24 at our institute’s computer centre. Makes me appreciate Chloe even more.
  4. Whack-a-mole : It’s hard to recall a season of 24 where CTU wasn’t infiltrated by a mole. They should get Jack to interrogate all new recruits. There is no secret/conspiracy that a gun shot to the thigh won’t bring to light.
  5. Eye candy : From Nina Myers to Michelle Dessler, recruiters at CTU have always had a soft spot for the hot babes. Not that anyone’s complaning. Especially not when Kim Bauer herself decided to start fighting terrorists instead of cougars.

If like me, you too are suffering from 24 Withdrawal Syndrome, be sure to check out these inspirational 24 posters here. I personally prefer the ‘Daughter’ one – it is currently my wallpaper.

It was the summer of 2006. I was curiously browsing through Myspace – just to figure out what all the fuss was about. And I somehow landed on BurgerKing’s page. They were having a promotional offer then. The first two episodes of a series called 24 free for download. Remaining upon payment of a certain sum of money. Jobless as I was at that time and lured by the snazzy ‘Free Download’ image, I did just that. My first impressions weren’t that great, although I was pleasantly surprised to find Elisha Cuthbert on the show. Anyway after watching the mildly interesting first two episodes I figured I didn’t have the patience or the resilience to download the remaining from shady file-hosting sites. Two months later I found the series on our LAN and decided to finish what I had started. And boy, did I enjoy it! It was the beginning of a long love affair. I went on to finish all five season till date in the very same season, even watching the whole of Season 4 within 24 hours. So today I award my Special Merit Star to Jack Bauer, for helping me get through an otherwise boring and uneventful semester.

Of course Jack Bauer has got to be the coolest federal agent around. How many do you know that have hijacked Marine One and kidnapped the President? He has killed a grand total of 161 (and counting) people in a span of 5 days and 20 hours. He has single handedly invaded the embassies of China and Russia and has even spent 18 months in a Chinese prison. And does he have the X-ray vision of Superman or the webslings of Spider-man? No. He does it all with his handy JackSack (aka the world’s deadliest man-purse) and his trusted cellphone. It would then come as no surprise that my first bestselling book is on Jack Bauer himself.


Detractors of the show might be mentioning a crappy sixth season, but give the guy a break. He’s just gotten back from China. And he sure wasn’t vacationing there! Others say that the show is unrealistic and this is not how things work in the real world. But don’t you get it? That’s the whole point of the show. Lord knows how many times I have felt like shouting at the professor during the lecture – “Put down the chalk and step away from the blackboard!”

Special honourable mention: Kim Bauer

200px-24kbkimbauerseason3.jpg 200px-kim_bauer_season_1.jpg 250px-kim_bauer_seasonn_5.jpg

Yeah, we love her! Crappy storylines and boyfriends notwithstanding…

Kaliptionary: baster

May 5, 2007

Move over Stephen Colbert. van Kalip is back. And he is looking to get himself declared as the Greatest Living Dutchman!

Now what has Colbert achieved that I haven’t? A cable news show? A place on Time Magazine’s annual 100 list? Emmy awards? Thousands of loyal fans? I may not have all these. But I can do the one thing that Colbert is most famous for – coining new words, or at least taking credit for them. Which brings me to my new feature, the kaliptionary. Each post will tackle a new word that has either been created by me or is used frequently in the van Kalip universe. Starting off with…

baster (n): a person who has no aukaad and tries to do things with ‘parents jugaar’ and if suraj (cf Suraj Prakash) wishes that the said person screws up in gre, gets suppli and suicides, it happens.
corrupted form of bastard

I simply cannot take credit for concocting this brilliant word. That honour goes to Mr Suraj Prakash who in a masterful hate-mail addressed to Sensei Sri-Ram intentionally misspelt the word bastard to give it so many layers of meaning and philosophical relevance that its consequences are yet to be properly understood. The junta in IIT Roorke embraced the word much like Mallus took to kalip, leaving old-fashioned bastard obsolete and antiquated. So popular is it now that there are orkut communities dedicated to it, rounds of quizzes named for it and most importantly, it is used without discrimination or reservation.

When properly examined, it can be observed that baster has three levels of meaning. In the first superficial interpretation, it is used as a common social title. No malice is intended in the use. One of the main reasons for the soaring popularity of this word is the fact that it has proven to be a much-needed pronoun for North-Indians. Andhra guys have their ras and Madrasis have their das, and all this while the Northies were feeling left out. Not any more.

Sometimes the word baster is used in such a manner that for all outward appearances it seems to belong to the first category, but deep inside the user has strong feelings of animosity towards the addressee. This is noticed in the case of certain pseud individuals.

And lastly the third kind, where the usage is nothing short of a declaration of hardly concealed loathing and pity. You might as well have called the other person a bastard. Only, you have the word baster on your clipboard and it is easier to use Ctrl-V than to type in bastard. People who have been subjected to such treatment include the asshole Arijit Sen.

And so in the future if I do decide to post more, don’t be surprised to find me using this word often. Basters who still don’t get it, can contact me personally…NOT!


May 5, 2007

Q) What happened to all the posts?

A) How dumb are you? I deleted them.

Q) But why? I thought they were nice…

A) It was a spur of the moment thing. I was following in the footsteps of my good pal Arjun ‘Lungi’ Ramakrishnan.

Q) So why are you back on the blogosphere?

A) My sensei Sri-Ram has started blogging again. He didn’t have any friends on his blogroll. I felt sorry for him and let him add me. But of course, it’s not very polite to leave an empty blog.

Q) So does this mean you won’t be updating your blog?

A) Maybe. Maybe not. Who the *bleep* are you to ask?

Q) Isn’t this van Kalip gimmick a bit outdated/stale by now?

A) Oh really? Let me see your blog title

Q) What’s with the grumpiness?

A) The end semester examinations I am being subjected to might have something to do with it. It’s hard to say. I generally like insulting people online.

Q) Do you still maintain that Simpla is the best WordPress template ever?

A) Oh yeah! Update: I am trying out this new template as you can see. But it’s just because I got bored. Will revert back to Simple some time later.

Q) May I ask how the exam went today?

A) That’s it. Now get out of here before I log your IP address and report you to the FBI for nefarious online activities.