Saturday, December 31

Ilford High Street

Here's something else I've not done for ages: spend the morning on a High Street wondering aimlessly around. Well, I had some stuff to return to Next but I did that straight away. However since I had driven up to the Exchange with my folks so had to wait around for them to finish up.

So, iPod in hand I spent a couple of hours just listening to music and strutting around, sometimes window shopping but mostly with no aim at all. Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U were, ahem, interesting though with lots of new models on display*. Waterstones was also nice as it's been ages since I last spent quality time in a bookstore.

The funny thing was that it didn't even feel like a waste of time. I mean it's not like I had anything to do at home; I woulda probably found some mundane and redundant task to do while listening to the same music. I guess there's different ways of whiling away a couple of hours. Some just happen to be more fulfilling than others!

*Yes I know. A pretty tenious euphemism, but it is still early. Sorry.

Friday, December 30

New Music

Bheegi Yaadein - Atif Aslam

One of the two "original" versions of Woh Lamhe from the Zeher OST, this is the more upbeat yet edgier of the three versions. The history of the song, and indeed the album Jal Pari (that's a pun, see?) is pretty interesting actually. More here. Incidentally this also made the AN Top 100 (more later), which is strange seeing as it was released in 2004.

Woh Lamhey - Jal

The second version, and probably the one that Bolly aped with theirs. I'm still not sure which I prefer, but they're all different enough to coexist on my playlist for now.

What We Do - Kray Twinz Feat Twista, Lethal B and Grappy Ranks

Been around for a while and it was The AN's Top 100 listed today that prompted me to get it now. It's good to hear Asians come out with non-Asian stuff (I still think Hot Like Fire is a tune), and a shame that despite that this is still a desi track.

Kaho Ek Din - Ahmed Jehanzeb

Another classic song taken from the Top 100 (it's been around since 2003, so I'm not sure what it's doing in this year's list). Somehow manages to be both charged and relaxing simultaneously.

After Sales

This morning I exchanged a pair of jeans I had bought from Gap on Tuesday with a darker pair (which may even be more comfortable. I spent ages in the fitting room trying to figure that out).

I also bought a stripey jumper from Next. To be honest it was a bit pricey, but I do like it. Perhaps I'll send back the green or turquoise in it's stead...

Wednesday, December 28

New Music

Le Mein Teri - Yaraan Naal Baharaan

It's in Punjabi so I have even less of an idea of what's being said. Still though, a nice fluttery ballad.

Sajna Aa Bhi Jaa - Waisa Bhi Hota Hai

Bit of an oldie, and one you may have heard already. Yeh they overuse the vocal machine a tad, but it ends up sounding powerful rather than pap.

New Music

Rang De Basanti - Rang De Basanti

#Ringa dinga dinga dinga dinga dinga dinga.

Shak's Choice: Sarah Wayne Callies

Introducing Sarah Wayne Callies. Yes, she's from Prison Break but let me stress she is NOT why you should watch. Well, not the only reason.

Mmmm. Doctor.

Prison Break


It begins on Five in January. Yes, it's C5 but still. Trust me.

EDIT: Ok, looking back I agree I've not said much. The thing is apart from saying it's about, erm, a prison break there's not much more I'd could without taking away from the show. I will say that the acting isn't all that, neither is the direction nor production values... But what it does have in buckets is that certain magic that some shows seem to nail so easily.

If you want to know more, then Google is your friend.

Tuesday, December 27

Gap, Next Deliver, River Island Disappoints

Sale time, and again I decided to hit Lakeside. £77 today, along with the growing feeling that the sales are drying up year by year. There was a time when it was too easy for me to spend up to £200 on good, real, sale items. Now the whole thing is a sham and ironically I blame the fake sales of Next (and more recently Gap too). Anyway, this is what I got this time:

  • A pair of dark blue (although not quite as dark as I wanted) jeans from Gap
  • A brown patterned pair of moleskins from Gap
  • A brown "medium thickness" top from Gap
  • A 100% wool turquoise top from Next
  • The same as above but in light green, again from Next

Actually looking back, that's not a bad haul for under 80. The jeans I actually needed, whereas I think the brown top from Gap may become slightly redundant in my wardrobe. The tops from Next are officially my risks of the day, but I think they'll be ok. I still need some shoes, but we have Oxford Street planned for sometime this week so there's still a chance for that and more stuff.

Saturday, December 24

Game: Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (DS)

A Japanese rhythm-action game about male cheerleaders? Yes, and despite the obvious kitsch value (I'm not a fan of kitsch, y'see) I love this game.

It did take me a while though. A deliberately slow start fooled me into thinking that pressing dots on the DS's touchscreen in time with music playing was not that enjoyable after all. However, five or six levels in and it's become easy to see how it cannot be anything but.

Of course, fantastic as the gameplay mechanic itself is, it's not only that aspect that makes Oeundan! such a joy to play. Other factors include the cool music, the sense of achievement completing a level and the (entirely Japanese and therefore unreadable by me) comic strip plot.

I even feel cheered up by the characters within the game after I've played! Great stuff.

Friday, December 23

Kids, Kids, Everywhere

It's my company's kids Xmas party again and this time they seem to have gone all out. Whereas last year we just had a grotto and a couple of consoles, this year we have Santa, a magician, a chocolate fountain (sigh), facepainting, and Xbox 360 (oooh) and a dance machine. Oh and we have millions of kids running around too.

All this means I get to doss and leave early, which is great. Of course I'll need a go on the Xbox first...

Thursday, December 22

Leicester Square, Late

Today I did something I hadn't done for a very long time: loaf around Leicester Square past my bedtime on a weekday with a bunch of mates. OK, so I cheated a bit; I have a late start tomorrow morning so can afford a late night now.

It was nice to have a laugh while, ahem, checking out the "atmosphere" care free like we used to during college/uni (albeit with a different bunch of people). We even parked up in Haymarket and wandered around The Troc. The only bit missing was us not getting the obligatory Haagen-Daz fix (it had shut early on that particular day. Stupid Murphy). But that's ok, we handled.

Some things never change I guess. I almost believed that I was a teenager again. Is that sad? I Dunno...

Monday, December 19

Spammy's Rules Of Women

By popular demand here are all of Spammy's rules recorded in one place for your reference. Bear in mind that these are extremely general and even Spammy accepts that there are exceptions to them; which probably includes you reading (since all of my female friends are unique and special and great).

Consider these a work in progress, with rules to be added, edited and deleted. Oh and if you don't know please don't ask who Spammy is. It's not important. Anyway, on to the rules:

Spammy's Second: For any woman, her looks multiplied by her personality equals a constant.

Spammy's Third: All women, on some level, are gay.

Spammy's Fourth: For all women in a relationship, most are in one with a guy for whom they are too good for. This is a result of their inherent insecurity.

Spammy's Fifth: All women hate to be stalked. Unless the stalker happens to be cute and/or has biceps as big as their waist.

Spammy's Sixth: All women spell the pronoun "you" as "u", refuse to use "I" and seem unable to use an exclamation mark in isolation.

Spammy's Seventh: A woman will laugh at a guy she finds funny. A woman will laugh at another woman whether she finds her funny or not.

Spammy's Eighth: Women only want guys who are broken. This is so that they can fix them, and ultimately implies that nice, perfect guys do indeed finish last.

Spammy's Ninth: Despite the incredulity of it, treating them mean will indeed keep them keen.

Spammy's Tenth: For a group of women partaking in an activity, the chances of them succeeding is inversely proportional to the size of the group. (Added 2009-04-18)

Spammy's Eleventh: All women think that they can dance, of which less than 5% actually can. (Added 2009-08-23)

And of course,

Spammy's First: A woman is more likely to agree with Spammy's Rules if she's told she is an exception to them.

Sunday, December 18

New Music

Have A Nice Day - Bon Jovi

I've mixed feelings about the latest album from Bon Jovi. I recently wrote about Crossroad, their greatest hits and how great I think the band are.

Have A Nice Day seems to be a pale imitation of what Bon Jovi used to be. There are some good tracks, including the song of the same name, Last Man Standing, Unbreakable and These Open Arms, but none of them are classics and I don't seem them lasting on my list for too long. Still at least their old stuff hasn't yet expired.

Where'd My Saturday Go?

Anyone know? I hate it when that happens.

It all started with us going to the dentist. In Queen's Park. An hour away on the tube. Only in the Shaikh family, folks.

Then I shopped. Or at least I was supposed to; I bumped into some friend and managed to waste away a couple of hours with them before returning to my planned itinerary.

The shopping itself was fruitless, myself not buying anything after four hours, and then for some reason choosing to walk up and down Leytonstone High Road four times.

Still, at least I managed to get home for an hour or so before having to go out again for dinner. Which was pretty nice - it was another with the Arabic Language lot, this being the farewell for one of our ex-teachers.

Hmm. I guess I've answered my own question.

Saturday, December 17

Film: King Kong Click for more info


This year's three-hour-potential-classic-epic is Peter Jackson's take on King Kong. More or less a faithful remake of the original, 21st century CGI and special effects brings it into... erm... the 21st century. Hmm.

Is it any good? Yes it is. Is it amazing and great and the best thing ever? Well not quite. It probably is the best film I've seen in months, but to be honest cinema has been kinda lacking recently anyway. There are a few scenes in KK that I wouldn't mind seeing again and, ok, I'll admit having had sweaty palms (in anticipation, fools) by the end of it; but it didn't fulfill that expectation I had of it being a truly great film. Like PJ's last three did, for example. But hey, maybe I'm being fussy - objectively this is one to watch.

Oh and that thing at the beginning was supposed to be the sound of a 25 foot ape. Just so you know.

Wednesday, December 14

Xmas Party

For whatever reason, I tend not to take part in office dos. I don't think the reasons are that important it just doesn't happen. However the Christmas Party is something I suspect we're all expected to attend and therefore there's a chance that not doing so may have an affect on our respective working lives.

Overlong and wordy sentences aside, in short this means I had to come in a suit today, wearing shoes that hurt (not entirely true since I've cheated and am wearing trainers during the day). What's the point of forcing people to do this? Next there'll be a mail going around saying how we MUST enjoy ourselves. I mean, just read it: "Formal parties" - isn't that a contradiction in terms? Tch.


I managed to complete this morning's Metro game in just three stops (which is a record for me since I usually don't finish it by the time my stop comes) and it was then that I realised how much I like playing Sudoku. I don't even have to complete a grid since filling in a single column or row or subgrid brings its own joy.

It must have started sometime during my recent time abroad where I had lots of free time and the game itself installed on my PDA. It may not be that surprising to some that know me though; it's a game of logic and methodology which a few (incorrectly in my opinion) have accused me of having an abundance of.

Having said that, there is a dangerous side to this obsession. I've repeatedly found myself peering over the shoulders of others while they were doing their own grids (some of whom may even be pretty and female; is there anything hotter than a pretty girl doing Suduko properly? I think not), tutting under my breath when they make a mistake or miss an obvious fill.

Thankfully so far I've resisted shouting "NO NOT THERE YOU FOOL" but I suspect the time will soon come when I forget myself. I just hope it's not a pretty girl I say it to...

Monday, December 12

Link of the Day

Bollywood star's bail cancelled

Justice at blinkin' last. And you all know how I hate to say "I told you so...

Khan had recently had minor head surgery and so was unable to appear in court, his lawyer said.


Sunday, December 11

Shak's Choice: Ayesha Takia

Haven't had one of these for a while either.

No points for guessing what DVD I was watching tonight.

It was actually pretty tough finding a piccie of her for this blog, y'know. Google returned images that were mostly either a) bad shots, b) bad quality or c) risque enough to pass as soft porn. I'm sure that doesn't imply anything about our Ayesha though.

Saturday, December 10

New Music

How long has it been? Well, now that my music collection is finally organised (damn you iPod) I can resume adding to it:

To Be With You - Mr. Big

I recently had the need to listen to this again. Always a favourite.

Your Game - Will Young

One of those songs I thought was great but never got around to putting in my music collection. Gospelly stage showtune thing.

Halka Halka Sa Yeh Sama - Chocolate

Bollywood has been strangely lacking these past few months. Here's one of the few that caught my ear. Makes me walk with a spring in my step, possibly even like Emran Hashmi.

Halla Re - Neal 'N' Nikki

Another Bolly track, this time from the originally titled Neal 'N' Nikki. I have no intention of watching this film, no matter how little Tanisha Mukherjee wears in it. Honestly, Kajol shoulda taught her better.

Truly Madly Completely - Savage Garden

It's surprising how many Savage Garden tracks I adore - I didn't realise until I had their greatest hits compilation in my hands. Like I said there are quite a few, but my favourites are probably Truly Madly Deeply, To The Moon & Back, Affirmation and I Knew I Loved You.

Bole Chudiyan - Khabi Khushi Kabhie Gham

Like the Will Young track above, I always got excited when this would be played. And now I get to hear it on demand. Hooray!

All Shapes And Sizes

On the way home from the film today I noticed a smartly dressed woman muttering under her breath as I got on the Eastbound Jubilee Line train that she was already using. I thought she had given me eyes too, but I put that down to my inherent paranoia.

But then her stop came and with it even more mutterings, all the time becoming more coherent. "... Come into our country and freeload...". Of course, I took that as challenge; she was looking for a fight and while everyone else tried their hardest to avoid eye contact with our resident racist, I tried to get her attention.

I got it eventually. "You do realise I probably pay more tax than you do right?" I asserted. "I very much doubt that" she retorted. "No, really I do. How much do you earn?". "Erm. Look, just go back, ok?". "Have a nice day now" I offered as the doors closed, not bothering to explain I was going home to East London.

Of course I looked around the (majority non-white) carriage expecting the response that such a hero deserves, but instead all I got were blank faces. It seemed that most of my comrades didn't even notice what had happened. Still, I must admit I was taken aback slightly... My own prejudice of what a racist should look and act like was blown into the dust today.

Film: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Click for more info

Frankly, I think the Narnia books were great. Short and to the point they didn't hang around trying to be great, but ended up being so for precisely that reason. So yeh, I was, and still am, a fan.

Which may explain why I felt so short changed by the first translation to film of the series. I'm not sure what it was but TLTWATW seemed both shallow and rushed and in some places quite the insult to the book itself.

Perhaps we've been spoiled by the recent amazing renditions of the LOTR and Harry Potter books, both series showing exactly how books should be brought to film. Whatever it is, it's a shame. Still, at least there are six more chances to make a great Narnia film rather than a passable one.

Thursday, December 8

Having A Tube Stuck Down Your Throat Is Weird

Another trip to the doc's this evening (7.20pm - isn't private medicine wonderful?), this time an ENT specialist. Part of his exam was to stick that scope thing up my nose, and then down my throat. It didn't hurt but was strange - it was as if I had a big booger and then something stuck in my throat. I could still breathe easily, but for some reason all my glands opened up; I was both drooling and weeping like a baby.

Unfortunately it was one of those scopes that was not attached to a telly so I couldn't see my chords myself; my mother was cowering in the corner with her eyes covered at this point (which, frankly, I thought was a wasted opportunity). Oh, and the doctor didn't find anything unusual (thank God), so it's back to waiting and seeing.

It just occurred to me that I'm a 27 year old who still, at times, goes to the doctor with his parent(s). Of course it's more for their sake than mine, and I don't care either way, but it's still quite amusing.

Tuesday, December 6


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Shak: i know you are but what am i?
The following message could not be delivered to all recipients:
i know you are but what am i?

Sunday, December 4

Hijabis Are Human Too

"I always find it surprising when I go to these things and see a girl in a hijab standing on a chair waving her hands at the artist on stage" a friend was telling us last night at dinner. We were discussing the next day's "Global Peace" event and exchanging past experiences of similar things.

"Why? I think it's great. What's the problem?" I asked.

"Well, you know, you see a girl in hijab and assume she's modest. And then she goes acting in a way that doesn't befit the hijab... It's wrong."

"But a girl wearing hijab is normal too right? The fact that she doesn't let the hijab define her should be applauded, not criticised. Erm. Right? And you shouldn't really be assuming anything about anyone, let alone a girl with a hijab..."

At this point I got shouted down by the rest of the table, which at that time consisted of another guy and two girls (who happened to be wearing hijabs at the time).

Ok, now I know that it might be a bit of an unconventional stance, this one of mine above. I dunno, maybe I know what it's like to have people assume things about your character and lifestyle based on a narrow view of how "religious" you appear - I've had comments thrown at me in the past regarding how I am able to, say, reconcile the fact that I pray with the company I keep.

Sounds crazy, right? And yet we're willing to do the same for a girl in a hijab at a concert. The fact that we interrupted a freely mixed dinner to pray Esha salaat shows how hypocritical the comments made above were. Sure, it's better for a girl not to go crazy at a concert; I have no disagreement with that. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily worse for a girl to wear a hijab while doing so.

One of the things that puzzles me often is how some people claim that they don't pray, or don't wear the hijab, or haven't been on Hajj because they're "not religious enough". For me, it's a bit of a circular argument. You don't practise enough to practise? If you think you're leading an incorrect lifestyle (and I'm not saying anyone is), then surely that's a reason to add, however slowly, elements to that lifestyle that would correct it, even if that's just a bit?

We should stop seeing girls with hijabs (or guys with beards, or any other prejudice we keep) "going wild" and instead see someone going wild while also wearing a hijab. The difference is subtle, but it's there. I mean, surely the fact that she's wearing a hijab at all is a good thing?


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Saturday, December 3

Buy A DS, Meet New People

So there I was, catching my train and pulling out my DS to play a bit of Sonic Rush. It was the first time I was carrying my DS (I prefer to read), and it felt a bit strange playing in front of random people.

But then before I knew it, the guy next to me pulls out his DS too and starts waving it at me. "Coo wanna play something?" I asked, "Do you have Mario Kart?". "Yes" he replied.

And so we played. Unfortunately we were only on the same train for five or so
stops so it was pretty short lived. But it was fun playing someone I didn't
know and didn't even find out the name of.

And yes, I pwnd him too.