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Monday, August 29, 2011

Chp 363. Sunday Bloody Sunday: 8-2 defeat.

I usually leave for work around 9-10 am. Today, I left for work at 6:30 am, surprising not just my apartment watchman but our office watchman and office-boys as well. Why so early? Because I just couldn’t sleep anymore.

Yeah we all know about the devastating sports news – Manure thrashed Arsenal 8-2. That’s why sleep eluded me. I kept going to our Arsenal discussion forums, and I kept seeing other gooners posting messages at 3 in the morning, 4 in the morning, 5 in the morning, complaining about not being able to sleep too. I’m sure every gooner worldwide went through the same phase.

The last time Arsenal conceded 8 goals was in 1896. Of course everybody knows the Arsenal team that played last night was an extremely weakened side, with 3 main players sold recently, and eight main players missing the match due to injury or suspension. Rumor has it that two Arsenal fans who came to watch the match were also pulled off from the stands and forced to play by Wenger

But nobody’s going to remember last night as a weakened Arsenal side losing 8-2 to Manure. This will go down history as Arsenal losing 8-2. Nobody gives a shit about how strong or weak a team was or whether there were controversial calls by the ref or not. In the end, people remember just the score line, and that’s what matters the most.

We usually have our injury and “not enough players” problem towards the end of the season for the past 6 years. This time, it’s right from the very beginning. And throughout the world, I’m sure many gooners are frustrated with Wenger’s policy of not splurging big money to buy experienced players. And this time, it’s not even as if we don’t have any money!

In fact, the sale of Nasri now puts Arsenal 19th in the list of Premiere League Clubs with the highest net spending, and the current net spending of Arsenal is actually NEGATIVE!


Yeah, financially, Arsenal FC is a very healthy club. But what’s the point when it is not doing well on the pitch?

And with a net spending difference of a whooping Rs 13,34,17,26,508/- !!!! between Manure and Arsenal, Manure was able to beat us by this much ONLY ONCE so far? Lolz, poor Manures. Just imagine if we start spending like everybody else (considering we have that much to spend). It would be the days of the Invincibles again.

In a way, I am glad this thrashing came just days before the transfer window closes. Now Wenger is under pressure not just from the fans but from the board as well to buy some #$%#$^ experienced player(s). All the top teams not only have a formidable starting 11, but a very impressive bench as well. We on the other hand are struggling with the quality of our first eleven itself!

When Ashley Cole left Arsenal for money, we called him Ca$hley. When Adebayor left for more money, we called him Moneybayor. But at the end of the day, if you really think about it, most of us do the same too – we tend to shift jobs if a competitor is offering us more money. To us, football is a passion, but to these players, it is after all work. That’s what we often fail to remember. As Wenger stated, yeah, most of these players are overpriced, but teams that are overpaying them are at least getting something, somewhere. If you can’t beat them, join them?

I can already picture every Arsenal fan screaming out “SPEND SOME F*CKING MONEY” again, and let’s see what Wenger has in store for us. Until then, I will still vehemently say, “In Wenger I trust”.

Some manure friends of mine are asking me to burn my Arsenal jersey because this defeat is a humiliation. Lolz manure fans! So that means if manure loses, they will immediately burn their manure jersey and switch loyalty to another winning team? Typical manure fans. Remember what I said in my previous post about Glory Chasers? In fact, I just realized, their anthem sounds a bit like “Glory chaser, Glory chaser Man United!!!” Haha.

I’m so not burning my jersey. In fact this is me proudly wearing our jersey to work TODAY. I am saddened by the defeat but I am not ashamed of my Club.

So yeah, fuck 8-2. Gooner 4 Life.

Ending this post with this amazing video of Arsenal fans singing in support of the team after the match despite the 8-2 defeat. Makes me proud to be a gooner.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chp 362. Of Adulthood and Online gaming

HAHAHAAA!!! I still can’t stop laughing at The Oatmeal’s latest update – A comic strip of what it’s like to play online games as a grownup. I can sooo relate to this, and you really have to check it out!

[Click on pic to view complete comic strip]

Lolz. So true!

Even till today I just can’t get over gaming. I love gaming – computer gaming, mobile gaming, online gaming, you name it. But I did stop describing myself as a “hardcore gamer” because these days, any schmuck with an iPhone playing “Angry Birds” describes himself as a hardcore gamer too.

A few years ago, I was a part of a historic team that dominated a major World of the popular browser MMORPG TribalWars. We battled out day in and night out, regrouping whenever it was necessary and counter attacking with merciless destruction. Within our tribe, we all had our ranks & roles & duties to perform, and we played them out to perfection. But at our private discussion forum, guess who stood out?

Lolz. Yeah, I know how I look like to many of you. Don’t say the P word! Haha.

When it comes to games like AOE, Warcraft, Command & Conquer etc, I actually used to go 2-3 straight days without even sleeping because I couldn’t do anything else until I had completed the entire built-in campaign!

And now it’s the age of mobile phone gaming. Contract Killer, Inotia3, Zenonia3, My Country, Free Townsmen 6, Myth Defense, these are just some of the many games I am currently hooked to. And most of these games are MMORPG! Gone are the days when you interact and play with different players across the globe using a bulky computer and modem connection. Now you can easily do all that from your mobile phone even while sitting in the loo. And with mobile phones coming out with dual core processors and more features, the future is extremely bright for us gaming enthusiasts.

Taking all these into consideration, when exactly is someone “too old to play online games”?

In my defense, let me just tell you that we never had online games when I was a kid. We didn’t even know what internet meant back then. So there is no question of outgrowing online gaming, because we basically never had them while growing up!

Over here in India, during the late 80s, gaming meant playing Space Invaders, Pac Man and Pong on my Atari console.

Then during the early 90s, gaming was about playing 8-bit games like Contra, Super Mario bros, Donkey Kong, Double Dragon, etc. Do you remember any of these?

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in India it was Sega who came out with the first 16 bit console, and I literally cried in sheer joy when my dad bought me one even though I already had an Atari and Nintendo system. Yeah, I was really pampered then, lolz.

Ah ohhhh let’s not forget about the ADAPTER! Lolz. A device that lets you play Nintendo cartridges on a Sega console, and Sega cartridges on a Nintendo console! My dad’s friend in Cal managed to get one for me, and I was one of the few kids in Mizoram who had it back then, and the news spread like wildfire and many young boys of my age who I didn’t even know used to come to my house everyday to check out this amazing “technological wonder”!

The late 90s saw computer games taking over, and we were hooked to Dave, Prince of Persia, Doom etc. Those were the days when hard disk drives were 2GB and carrying a large 8 inch floppy disk was considered hip!

…until the 3½ inch version overtook the market later

Then the computer games revolution happened and I will not talk about those games because there are just too damn many to mention!!

What I want to say is, even though I’ve been playing games all my life, online games where you interact with real people across the globe are different. It brings in a new level of gaming experience whether you’ve been playing games right from childhood or not. You can now do things that were once deemed impossible.

Hence, once again, this is something that just cannot be outgrown because it is an entirely new phenomenon! To outgrow something, you need to be doing it for quite some time first. Therefore it is practically not possible to outgrow online gaming. There, I’ve said it. I rest my case.

And oh, one last parting shot – The average age of online gamers is 34.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chp 361. Football Fans Mentality and Fans Rivalry

Ah! The new EPL season has started! Time to start blogging about Arsenal games again, lolz. However, this is not one of those posts. I just want to say something I’ve been observing for a very long time now.

This is probably the first time I’m writing a football post and not thrashing Manure Manchester United. In fact, this is definitely the first time I’m going to write something positive about ManUtd fans here on my blog.

Shocked? Surprised? No you’re not dreaming, and no, my blogger account has not been hacked.

Being a hardcore Gunners fan here in India, things may be a bit different from the Gooners in UK, especially those in London. Over there, Arsenal’s main nemesis in terms of fan rivalry are definitely Spurs and there is a long history of enmity and bad blood between the two groups.

However, here in India, our main rivals are ManUtd fans. For the love of Lucifer, we hate each other like Hell. We’re like fire and ice, locked in a steel cage with rabid dogs chained at all four corners.

Even when it comes to other top rivals like Chelsea, Liverpool etc, if ManUtd is playing against such teams, we always support the other team. I’ve been supporting Arsenal for around 15 years now, and all these years, all I ever see is how much Arsenal and ManUtd fans hate each other.

I’m a member of AMSC (Arsenal Mumbai Supporters Club) which is an OFFICIALLY recognized fan club of Arsenal FC. And I won’t be wrong to state that the most hated club and fan of every AMSC member is definitely ManUtd.

I still remember that fateful night last year when we went for the Carling Cup final screening (and lost), where almost 150 Gooners turned up. Before the match started, there was an ad about an upcoming match promotion. At first Chelsea players appeared on the screen. Immediately everybody started booing and screaming “F*ck you Chelseaaaa”… and then the opponents appeared. It was ManUtd! Suddenly everybody started screaming, “Comonnn Chelseaaa!! We love you Chelsea!!!” Lolzzz.

Some of my Mizo Gooner friends have also formed the Arsenal Mizoram Supporters Club and have currently petitioned to Arsenal FC for an official recognition. They boast of a strong membership support of around 100 members in Mizoram alone, and I sincerely hope they do get the official recognition from Arsenal FC very soon.

Even among them, mention ManUtd and it will probably mean war. That’s how much bad blood there is between the two fans.

Now what I want to say in this post is – yes, when there is team rivalry, there is bound to be fan rivalry. We all swear by our teams. But one thing I have noticed many Gooners call ManUtd fans is “Glory Chasers”.

“Glory chaser” here is actually a negative term which means that a person will do anything to be in a winning team (as a fan) without even having any real spirit or passion about the game. Such people don’t even understand the game sometimes, and may not even know what is happening in the football world but act like a hardcore ManUtd fan just because the team is winning and he/she thinks people regard them as hip for this.

Now, football banter is nothing new. In fact, that’s a part of football. I will definitely gloat in front of my ManUtd friends and irritate them the entire day if Arsenal beat ManUtd. Likewise they too will do the same to me if Arsenal loses to ManUtd. Again, all that is normal and I am ok with it.

But what pisses me off is when people who are not even crazy about the game act as if they are suddenly a hardcore ManUtd fan and start annoying Arsenal fans. And this holds true for any football fan, irrespective of whether the person they're annoying is a fan of Arsenal, Liverpool, Bolton, Fulham etc.

Arguing with a hardcore fan of a rival team can often be heated, but at least it makes sense as we both know our shit – we know our players, our team, our history and our game. But arguing with a wannabe fan is perhaps the most frustrating and painful ordeal in this world. After Arsenal went trophyless for the sixth consecutive time last season, this irritating little fuck of a self acclaimed ManUtd fan came up to me and said

“Haha… So you just went six consecutive years without a trophy since the last time you won a cup!”

He probably read that in the papers or internet. I don’t know why I even bothered to reply, but I said nonchalantly –

“Do you know there were times when you went more than 30 years without any trophy?”

Any hardcore ManUtd fan would say stuff like, "That is old history while this is recent history", or some shit like that and argue about how Arsenal too had gone many years without any trophy before… But nooo this little wannabe prick of a ManUtd fan had the audacity to reply –

“Haha don’t lie okay. Manchester United has been winning almost every year since they were formed. Don’t spread dirty lies just to make yourself feel better. Look at how strong we are - we have Rooney, Ronaldo, Giggs…”

Arrrghhhh… Ronaldo!!??? Thank God he didn’t say Beckham. I really really really wanted to slam dunk my monitor onto his puny head right then and tear through his guts and brains with my bare hands. That’s what you get for arguing with a wannabe fan who will probably have no idea who most of the starting 11 of ManUtd are or what an offside means, and yet goes around acting like a hardcore fan. Fucking poser.

And this is exactly one of the main reasons why Gooners hate ManUtd fans so much. Too many posers and wannabes

But at the same time, it would be wrong to say they are all posers. I have many genuine ManUtd friends, and the fights I have with them are the ones I enjoy the most, no matter how fierce it may get, because at the end of the day, we all share one thing in common – LOVE FOR THE GAME.

The reason why ManUtd has so many poser fans is because of their recent success in the past few years. Everybody wants to be in the “in” crowd. If Arsenal has been successful the past few years, I’m sure even we will have a lot of poser fans too. Thank God for that.

And that is exactly why a part of me is not that disappointed about not winning anything, at least from a fan’s perspective. Because if I see another Arsenal fan, then we know immediately that both of us are hardcore fans because at this stage, no poser would wanna be an Arsenal fan. They go only for the glory. Hence, this is like a filtering mechanism, and for the love of God, I am thoroughly enjoying this.

In a strange way, it makes me bond deeper with other Gooners because we are all true fans.

I’m ending this post with my first ever 9gag style comic strip using popular face memes (Me gusta, forever alone, etc). If you frequent or reddit boards, you will understand the facial expressions I’ve used here. Even if you don’t, I think you’ll still find it funny :)

Friday Cheers!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chp 360. Mob Mentality

These past few days, I’m sure many of you are also talking about the Tottenham riot, which started after an alleged gangster was fatally shot by the police. Every day, all we saw in the papers and news channels were about the mass looting & arson.

Anyway, I’m not writing about the looting that’s taking place in London or in the past at other places like New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina), Haiti (after the earthquake), Vancouver (after Canucks lost in the Stanley’s Cup), or even the looting that DIDN’T happen in Japan (after the terrible tsunami tragedy). There are many discussion forums and websites where people can write their opinionated thoughts about such incidents where you’ll get the usual dosage of online commentators – a potpourri of racist comments, smart comments, stupid comments, insightful comments, biased comments, troll comments and completely unrelated comments.

However, this post is not about judging other people who are at a different location going through something we’re not. Instead, this post is about you and me. Something that we may have experienced many times unknowingly.

First of all, mob mentality is nothing but an unconstitutional (and usually violent) version of herd mentality.

Yeah, we’ve all been there, if you really think about it.

One clear example when most of us experience this everyday would be when you’re on the road. Picture a busy traffic signal at a crossroad (where there are no cops). Vehicles stopping at the red signal are waiting for it to turn green, while a few vehicles are moving across in front of them because their signal is green.

Observe carefully and you will see that most of the vehicles on the red signal are revving up slowly, moving inch by inch forward. And then suddenly one or two vehicles (usually a two-wheeler or an auto) jumps the red signal when he sees the chance, hence blocking those vehicles that have the green signal. The moment this happens, other vehicles on the red signal lane join in.

Now they know that this is a group effort. If it was some lone vehicle breaking the law, the vehicles coming on the green light may not even stop. But when a large number of vehicles break the rules simultaneously, they have the power.

Even if you abuse the drivers who are blocking your path, they will just shrug their shoulders and point at the vehicles in front of them, as if to say they too are doing it so you must abuse them too, or that they are simply going with the flow.

And here’s the irony. Sometimes if you don’t want to join the vehicles jumping the red signal and decide to wait for the signal to turn green, other vehicles behind you actually honk their horns and abuse you! Thomas Fuller was right when he said, “The mob has many heads, but no brains.”

Being in a large group where everybody has the same agenda gives you more confidence, even if you don’t know the other members in your group.

Take another road example. This time you are a pedestrian. You have to cross a busy road where vehicles are speeding and not stopping for anybody. Imagine you are not allowed to cross that road and there’s an underground/overhead pedestrian crossing nearby but you are too lazy to take that extra effort to climb up and down. If you are alone, you know how hard it is to cross that road right? But then, if you are in a large group where everybody wants to get to the other side, then crossing that busy road suddenly becomes so easy. All of you slowly inch forward and vehicles seeing the large group of people automatically slow down.

That’s the power of a large group. Even if you are all breaking the law, you know you are in a large group so chances of something happening to you are reduced. That’s how mobs are created. Samuel Johnson once said, “Get together a hundred or two men, however sensible they may be, and you are very likely to have a mob”. True indeed.

Is it from the movie Gladiator or the HBO original series “ROME” that someone said, “Control the mob, and you control Rome”?

Even in Mizoram just last year, did we not see the fury of the mob when a child rapist and murderer was caught? The police tried their best to control the mob, but they were no match for them and the rapist slash murderer died violently in the hands of the people.

But at least mass looting like what took place in London, Vancouver etc will never take place in Mizoram, because after all, Mizoram is known as a place where “everybody knows everybody” types, so if any group of people try to loot a store, the store owner will probably recognize them!

Just imagine a group of disgruntled youth (hipsters) trying their best to look all anarchist and all, charge into a shop clutching chains and machetes. The store owner looks at the ringleader-

“Oh, Sanga, how are you? How’s your dad doing these days?”

“urrmmm… fine, Pu Thiang, thanx and I hope all is well with your family?” (frantically whispers to his gang – “Not this one. Next shop. Next shop.”)

And as they all meekly leave – “Are you leaving so soon? You sure you don’t want tea?”

“Errr… no thanks Pu Thiang.”

“Oh you’re going to the next shop? Good. You will not believe Pi Chhingi has opened up there! Remember her? I think she was your primary school teacher?”

“F$%^%$” (whispers to his cronies – “think it’s better if we all just go home”)

Ahh… the beauty of Mizoram :)

I’ll end this post with a prolific quote by D.H. Lawrence:

”Every man has a mob self and an individual self, in varying proportions.”

Amen to that.

Friday Cheers, and Happy Independence Day in advance!