White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Monday, June 07, 2010

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Part Deux

They are back! After a hiatus of almost a year - older, but hardly any wiser, ArSENik and Sambaman pack like the Wolfman and a woman, respectively. Sambaman explains he needs a specific brand of shampoo for his thick hair, rubbing salt into ArSENik's receding hairline, and that they don't make them in little airline packs. ArSENik cooks up a controversy between the shampoo manufacturers and airline baggage companies.

With the foreplay out of the way, they are off to Vegas, again. But this time everything is planned, or so they think, but is anything ever really planned? They are staying at the MGM Grand. ArSENik is thrilled by the prospect of waking up to giant, visages of green lions out of their hopefully high vantage point every morning at 7:45 PM, when they turn the lights on. These bastards have objectives, unlike your average Vegas-goer. Sambaman's is more defined. He needs money to pay tuition for his final semester of college. So, he doesn't get a job waiting tables at a Brazilian Steakhouse in LA, like any average guy would, but goes to Vegas to make money with money. It is this sense of daring that endears Sambaman to the ladies, while ArSENik is more conservative. He needs to get LA out of his system and what better way than to drown in Rio Juevo Cuervo that flows through Vegas.

Chapter 1: Turbulence

They are soaring on the schoolbus airline - Southwest, where there are no seat numbers, which greatly distresses Sambaman - used to the lush comfort of first class on every airline. ArSENik cooks up a communist insurgency - "think about it, man. No, first class, no seat numbers. The Cubans, man, the cubans, they are coming for America's capital - Las Vegas!" This red scenario, as bloody as Sambaman's virgin Bloody Mary mix, serves up the long haired big comedian Penn (the one with a show in Vegas) in the exit row in front of the duo. Sambaman doesn't dig his humor. ArSENik suspects this is because of Penn's little cameo in Sambaman's favorite 'Friends' when he cons Joey into giving him $50 for an encyclopedia.

The air hostess charges ArSENik's credit card twice even though Sambaman only gets a virgin drink. ArSENik gets the Screwdriver - "need the Vitamin C, man". The hostess holds onto the card, supposedly to fix the "error", but doing gawd knows what with it. Horrible realities begin to dawn on ArSENik's fertile mind - what do they call the cocaine version of the mile high club?, should he really accept the card back knowing where it might have been on slidable little airline toilet tables, thrust by the dexterous hands of a nymphomaniac pilot.

He is shaken out of his reverie by a different air hostess - more motherly, or so it seems. "We'll be landing soon, sir. You need to finish your drink NOW". ArSENik stands up stiff and salutes her, but is forced to sit down and fasten his seatbelt. He chugs the screwdriver down with appreciative tourists cheering him on as if he were a well endowed midget performing at the Circus Circus. And then, there is contact, between ArSENik's lecherous eyes and the most formidable chin he has ever laid his eyes on. Now, anyone who knows the maniac well, is well aware of his extreme chin fetish. It's love at first bite, but alas, there is no bite, because ArSENik is bound to his seat by his seat belt as the world begins to swerve around him, like in that 'Inception' trailer. The little lights below are on top one second and then they are on his left.

Sambaman mumbles something about the higher potency of alcohol at altitudes of airline travel. When ArSENik scoffs at this conspiratorial statement, he recounts the saga of his hot sister-in-law wanting to go skinny-dipping in her little glass of airline vodka one stormy evening somewhere between the steely skies of Rio and Sao Paulo. ArSENik pictures this in his head, but the Chin has hypnotized him by now and he explains in great, graphic detail what he would do to that little beauty to Sambaman, much to the horror of the neighboring tourists.

Chapter 2: Lost Baggage?

As they wait for Sambaman's cosmetics bag to arrive at baggage claim, the Chin walks up next to them to wait for hers. Sambaman scoffs at her general ugliness. ArSENik agrees but still can't take his eyes off that stellar curve, protruding just enough to be not witchy. As usual, everyone gets their bags first and leaves. It's down to the Chin and Sambaman now. Sambaman is frustrated and walks over to yell at the baggage people, leaving ArSENik as lookout.

Sambaman comes back three minutes later to find a single bag - his, doing the rounds on the baggage carousel in slow motion, as ArSENik is salivating, staring at the Chin in profile. The Chin meanwhile is obviously trying to ignore this brown lecher with zero motor skills at this point. It's really quite romantic if you think about it, but Sambaman doesn't think so. He shatters the slow mo myth and drags his bag and ArSENik with each hand to the MGM Grand.

Chapter 3: The Green Lions - Pixie Saliva and the Wheels of Fortune

ArSENik again scoffs at honeymooning tourists photographing themselves in the ugly flashes of their little point and shoot cameras in front of the 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign. They eat at the Rainforest Cafe, waited on by a pink haired Pixie. ArSENik doesn't appreciate her chin. She forgets to bring Sambaman's appetizer and the entrees take forever, landing the duo in a unique league. Ask Guinness. They are the only people to sit through four rainforest 'storms', which occur every 30 minutes. You do the math.

They are as stuffed as turkeys during Thankgiving, but gluttony kicks in, and a skewed sense of justice, somewhere in the annals of Sambaman's twisted economic head, and he stares the Pixie down, ordering one of those humongous chocolate cakes, that also has whipped cream, and ice-cream, and a thousand other things, probably Pixian saliva too, who knows, but it's very very tasty. The Pixie does a little dance for Sambaman, obviously fishing for tips, but Sambaman makes ArSENik run on a full stomach, after paying the bill, because there is zero tip for the Pixie. ArSENik feels a little bad - I guess he liked the little dance.

However, ArSENik soon gets over his low point as he sees all the free alcohol brought out on trays by overworked waitresses in ugly oversized red jackets. Suddenly, Sambaman pulls ArSENik down! They are hiding - sandwiched between rows of penny slot machines - "I'll explain later. Just play along". One of CCR's high energy songs comes on in the overhead speakers. "This is not Casino music", thinks ArSENik. He realizes he must be hallucinating on Pixie saliva. He is being dragged on the smoke stained carpet of the MGM and is brought to a $5 slot machine with a little Wheel of Fortune machine attached to the top.

There is a new green gleam in Sambaman's eyes. It could be the lighting. Sambaman looks like Michael Jackson at Chucky Cheese. "What's with the stealth?", "Let's just say the floor managers here don't see my genius (pause for dramatic effect), yet."And so it begins - Sambaman inserting a couple of Ben Franklins into the machine, like it was a Vegas vending machine for condoms. "Jesus, where did you get that kinda money?", "Get a drink". ArSENik goes on a binge and orders every kind of cocktail known to the Vegas bartenders since the Vegas Long Island Tea Party. Tips flow like tears in a Lifetime movie. Sambaman has the Midas touch tonight and can't fail. ArSENik looses $20 very quickly on a neighboring machine. This madness goes on till morning. And then, sleep lulled by the Aphrodites of alcohol and money.

Chapter 4: Natural Meat & Divine Intervention

Sambaman sticks to character and sleeps most of the morning. ArSENik - hungry and miraculously not hung over, prowls around quietly on the hallways of the thirteenth floor of the MGM Grand, stopping especially in front of the room numbers with little red dots. Flashback to Sambaman telling him those are celebrity suits, when they check in earlier. What is he hoping to find? Left over caviar stuck to the underside of silver spoons? We'll never know because he bumps into a snack machine next to the ice-maker, and gives up a dollar for an expired cereal bar. It is delicious.

Late afternoon. Sambaman wakes up. They get ArSENik's general quota of naturally raised steak cut into little pieces at Chipotle. Only in Vegas, folks! Sambaman: "I have some gift points at the Aria. Let's go play there." The Aria is the newest kid on the block of Vegas hotels. It is as flashy as its name promises. Sambaman says a good hotel is one which smells good in the lobby. The Aria doesn't disappoint him. ArSENik is grateful for the cool artificial air on this terribly torrid afternoon.

Sambaman seeks out the wheel of fortune machines like a Hollywood shark sniffing out young, naked teenage legs. ArSENik reminds him - "don't you have free points or something here?" "Oh yeah". Anticipation - that same gleam back in Sambaman's eyes, as he walks up to the counter lady to collect his free points - the gifts of a hedonistic lifestyle. "I wanna play the Wheel of Fortune", "I wanna play the Wheel of Fortune" - and this man isn't even drunk, not on alcohol anyway. "I'm sorry, sir, but the free points only apply to the non-progressive machines." "Poha! I wanna speak to the manager." "Alright, sir." The cop lady leaves, takes a moment and returns. "I am the manager, sir. Can I help you?". Sambaman assumes the Kung Fu Panda stance, but ArSENik, sober for once, drags the Panda away.

The duo find themselves in front of some sort of slot machines with believe it or not, Thor on the cover - completely with axe and leather strips sundry. Hmm, must be a section of the casino reserved for pilgrims, thinks ArSENik. The last player - Jane Dorothy has left her gambling card in there. The startling figure of the balance is staring at ArSENik and Sambaman - $2361.00. ArSENik can picture her - a senile old widow down from Nowehereiwannago, Illinois, gambling away her dead husband's money. Before, Sambaman can lay his sleazy hands on the card, ArSENik, probably overcome by a somewhat misplaced sense of morality in that religious section of the casino, grabs the card and runs to the cop lady. She is shocked as he returns it. A senseless moment of pure Gandhism in this sinful sinful weekend.

"C'mon let's get this over with", proclaims Sambaman and puts his card in for Thor to bless. But Sambaman and slot machines are like Jedis and Lightsabers. The bastard can do no wrong. He starts winning as usual and the mood lightens up. There is no logic to the game, at least not one discernible to the bumbling duo, but who cares about logic when you are on top. A cute, waitress - one of those rarities at a Vegas Casino, probably a child of interracial coupling, catches ArSENik's eye. Her hair is as straight as Cupid's little arrows and her skin as as smooth as black marble, her smile has the brilliance of a hot lake on a summer day. She comes over. ArSENik orders something, but doesn't remember what. She returns after what seems like an eternity to ArSENik with the drink. Meanwhile, Sambaman's pockets continue tinkling, metaphorically speaking of course - all deals in Vegas today are conducted on credit. She hangs around to celebrate their victories, till duty separates her from ArSENik.

Love, alcohol and the smell of success makes ArSENik gamble $50. He starts slowly like a Midwestern housewife on holiday and then his Brutus right index finger hits the 'Bet Max' button and he looses $45 in 3 seconds. He is upset, but c'est la vie! Sambaman freaks out though - "What the fuck, man? Why you gotta bring me all this negative energy, dude?" He cashes out and without a sign of his waitress, ArSENik joins him in splitting from the Aria. On their way out, they pass by a series of randomly placed surreal photos of Christopher Walken - expressively expressionless. Sambaman's vast knowledge of pop culture comes to the rescue - "Aria is Walken's middle name". In his drunken stupor, ArSENik doesn't question the logic of this profoundly existential statement.

They are hungry. In a calculated move, ArSENik whips out Sambaman's iPhone and does some heavy online research, right there in the glass waiting tomb of the Aria as they wait for their car. He is pleasantly shocked to find In N' Out is all for Happy Cows, always has been, even before, ArSENik decided to start championing the cause himself, more than two years back. Like Harold and Kumar, they race down to the drive through of the California Fast Food chain, but there are cones, orange little cones, standing in their way, like leprechauns guarding buried gold in some exotic mountain underpass. ArSENik, showing novel agility, jumps out of the car, and kicks them out of the way, but before he can get back in, a voice yells at him - "Goddamn tourists! Call the cops, Whore-Hey". "Holy shit, haven't you learned anything from Dr. Thompson, man - don't piss off the natives!" - ArSENik rebukes himself, while jumping into the car. Sambaman drives like a young Asian woman, high on duck soup, to get out of there. It won't be natural meat tonight, folks, only a bout of our fresh cool summer air of the Vegas Highway on two empty stomachs.

Chapter 5: All Coked Up - The Spiral Down

The next day starts brilliantly with a cheap sumptuous, and according to ArSENik pretty authentic Indian buffet at Tamba. Sambaman, built with a zero tolerance to spice, almost passes out from most of the dishes. He loves the dessert dishes. Tamba is too snotty to keep any Thumbs Up - the new elixir in Sambaman's life, after ArSENik has described it to him as divine Indian cola. Then there is a sudden spark, cutting sharply through the food comma that is apparent in Sambaman's honeymead eyes. Just like Captain America to Billy the Kid more than 40 years before them - "Let's go outside".

The duo find themselves in the shade of the monstrous signboard of the Coke museum - the personification of excessive consumption, if there ever was one. But if you bought the ticket, you gotta get on the ride, man. They go inside. ArSENik has never seen more Coke signs in his life. Coke on everything from little keychains to Coke tattoos you can plant on your lady's sunburned arms. "Let's see if they have your Thumbs Up".

They trek up to what looks like a miniature cafeteria and ArSENik camps at a table for his surprise. Sambaman keeps him waiting and then arrives with two trays of liquids of psychedelic colors. "No Thumbs Up here" he says with the showman smile of Lucifer, "but there's plenty more", he adds softly. What is this, man? Consumption and globalization, summed up in twelve cups on two trays - on the house of course. ArSENik doesn't know what to believe anymore - he has never heard of the fruity little concoction this Vegas showhouse claims is a delicacy from India. Later, after getting back to LA, he checks with his fellow Milan fanatic about the ghastly tasting Beverly from Italy. The Signora has never heard of the foul fluid, or maybe she is just ashamed and therefore denies its existence. We'll never know.

With such a terrible taste in his mouth, ArSENik can't believe what he has just heard Sambaman utter, "Let's go to Texas De Brazil. I am starving for some Brazilian meat". "That's what she said". Sambaman goes wild at the restaurant. ArSENik has no appetite and just wants to get rid of the bitter taste. He orders a Caipirnha - Brazilian sugar cane alcohol, something he has never heard of in his ten days in Rio the previous year. Its sweet as nectar. Maybe too sweet under normal circumstances, but these circumstances are hardly, normal, wouldn't you agree? It's perfect.

The weekend threatens to end with a whimper - some laidback gambling at the resident hotel by Sambaman and more drinking by ArSENik, when suddenly, on an impulse, ArSENik spots an unmanned five card blackjack machine. Something clicks somewhere. He makes a quick $30. Sambaman asks him to raise the stakes and play with a human dealer. ArSENik is adamant about his affinity to the cold mechanics of the computer than the cold contact of a human dealer's eyes. More drinking. He puts his $30 on the higher thirds in a nearby roulette table. The ball spins and ultimately there is joy for ArSENik - Lady Luck, along with the ladies of the bar are smiling on him finally. He punches the air as if he has just found the cure of leprosy, and then there is unusual stillness in the air. Then an evil smirk from somewhere. Panda hands grab the man and drag him away as his eyes land on the ball - 27. Ho shit, bad arithmetic. That's not higher thirds, man. A mocking smile in the eyes of the floor manager - an undercover cop, a veritable villain of the masses. Sambaman gambles and lo and behold, looses, OK not all of it, but a sizable portion. The house always wins, man, in the sum total of all dealings.

The hangover morning - always the last one, spent mostly at the Vegas airport, that last flytrap for unsuspecting tourists, hanging onto that threadbare rope of hope. But, this is Sambaman. You don't fuck with a Brazilian on a roll, man. He emerges from the muck with some salvation money - about a month's rent or so, as the duo head back to LA, sipping a virgin Bloody Mary mix and an OJ.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Poached Gondolas on Tibetan Curry

I got up this morning and wanted to write - not try to be coherent and check myself on turning points and character descriptions, but just write. So, here I am - shirking away from all the responsibilities that come with a glorious Friday morning. Have to make a million calls, coordinate schedules, complete my ugly storyboards, send random faxes to people in undoubted positions of authority, but all that can wait, because I am throwing up in a literal sense here.

I am not being judgmental here, but wouldn't you agree it's better than most vices? I mean, it's not like I am taking three swigs out of my whiskey flask first thing this Friday morning and then trying to be coherent and productive the rest of the day, though, now that I think about it, that sounds delicious. Talking of delicious, I had forgotten how good ketchup and black pepper can taste - on an omelet of course. It's the right amount of sweet and spicy that seduces my tongue (sorry, that sounds a little dirty when I read it back!). Aah - the simple pleasures of life - the gifts of an urbane, middle-class upbringing!

You know a writer is loosing it when he uses too many exclamation marks, or 'bangs', as they call it in the South! This taking for granted of his audience, that they wouldn't get the subtext, so let's bombard them with miniature surreal imagery after every sentence - aah the insecurities of today's writer. The exclamation mark is the literal version of a sex scene in a film. Oh, ah, the audience isn't getting it, let's put in a sex scene, light it beautifully, and they'll forgive all story issues.

Wow, I sound angrier than I though I was. It's that weird kind of anger, that has no specific cause. Maybe, it's angst?! Hmm, we'll never know, because there aren't too many exclamation marks in this post. I remember reading Hunter S. Thompson somewhere where he said writing is only good and enjoyable when no one is binding you to do it. I am paraphrasing in shittier language of course. He was talking about his angst at waking up and writing articles as a journalist, sometimes on things he didn't care about.

How did we get here? Weren't we talking about ketchup and pepper on eggs right now? Are you still reading this? Are you? Why? I mean I appreciate it and all, but seriously, why? If I had three choices, I would wish for a neverending supply of toner ink for my dry printer without having to leave home, and for a fax machine at home. Gawd, why are we still using these? Didn't we evolve enough to telepathise with one another? We are humans for christssake, not wild animals, like Fantastic Mr. Fox and his friends. Good movie by the way. I liked it. If I had a kid, I would make the little bastard watch it. It would be an interesting experiment to see if he/she could sit through it. How out of touch with pediatrics am I?

I am not even going to read what I started writing now. It's veered off its path so much that going back there could cause fear and paranoia of the worst kind. But isn't that the point? The whole shazam about the journey and not the destination. I was recently told I have too much ambition to be a hippy and it broke my heart. So, I bared it out with the only living grandfather and he simply said if you don't have a destination, you cannot start on your journey. OK fine, he used more pedestrian language, but that's essentially what he said, or I think he did. But I want my critic to see my now - in this morning of weakness and still tell me I have too much ambition.