Friday, December 30, 2005

Happiness?

I resolve to find happiness every year; make a list of resolutions at the start of the year and find ways to cross out items on my list. But the resolutions I make set me up for unhappiness, because some goals are almost always impossible to accomplish. In my pursuit for happiness, am I instead walking the road to unhappyville? I think I've found what I feel is the best way to find happiness in 2006, and I quote:
"Those only are happy," he came to believe, "who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way." For our own culture, steeped as it is in the relentless pursuit of personal pleasure and endless cheer, that message is worth heeding.

So in these last days of 2005 I say to you, "Don't have a happy new year!" Have dinner with your family or walk in the park with friends. If you're so inclined, put in some good hours at the office or at your favorite charity, temple or church. Work on your jump shot or your child's model trains. With luck, you'll find happiness by the by. If not, your time won't be wasted. You may even bring a little joy to the world.
Hope this works for you too. For my own part, maybe now is a good time to learn to play that guitar I almost bought one day, be nice to others and work for a charity like unitedway. There you have it my friends, more lists, more unhappiness...

It Sucks To Be Alone

Especially during the holidays. Sigh...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Vacationing Tuesday

First, must play some music - aah, new tune sent to me by Nikhil is now playing...

Today was a day well spent. It started off with some lazing around the place, browsing of the WWW and reading email. I wondered about the merits of starting a blog that gets syndicated more than this current unnecessary space of mine on the web but couldn't think of something that would interest other human beings. Or maybe I could do it, at least get started - some technology thing (aah that's so smart and inventive of you Manoj).

Since I'm not good at thinking smartly, I decided to do something I am good at - hang with people, catch up and visit the Adidas store in Downtown Seattle to avail of the huge discounts that Joanie gets as an employee. Awesemo!!

Ashley Kark wasn't feeling very well this morning and I had bailed on her a couple of times in the past weeks so I decided to pick her TWA up and take her out with me. Why do this all alone? Besides, her taste is so much more out there than mine, it helps to get another opinion while making unnecessary purchases. I'll take that back though, I only made necessary purchases today - 2 pairs of Adidas Tennis shoes (I've been playing in my cross trainers for weeks now), 3 pairs of socks and 1 uber cool Adidas Brazil Jumper (in Brazil's neon yellow - ayyp! Pictures soon)

Ash and I hung some more in the shopping district and walked into many stores to do random kaat kuddi. Maybe we should've come back earlier because I had invited Wes over for dinner and wanted to squeeze in a workout before I headed home to cook. Well, the workout had to be cut from the program, which is a total bummer. Everytime I decide to be a good workout citizen, I do something stupid like this - Monday night, I went to the Pro Club and hung there for nearly 2 hours without making it past the front desk - WTF! Tomorrow though, I'm going to take care of this work out bidiness early in the day so I don't have to feel guilty all day long. FTS, gotta take care of my fatness; everything else should come second.

The menu was extensive tonight:
Appetizer
Asian Stir Fry Vegetables in Soy Sauce with Nuts

Main Course
Saag Paneer with Jalapeno Tortillas
Penne Pasta in Marinara Sauce

Dessert
Pumpkin Pie

It took us all of an hour to cook up the 3 dishes and another hour to polish off a good chunk of the Stir Fry and the Saag. The Pasta was divided between Wes and me to be had on another day. It didn't come out good tonight; maybe adding the Scotch to the mix wasn't a good idea after all. And of course, I set the pasta on a burner that I hadn't switched off. I'll spare the details and just say that the outcome wasn't the most desirable...

It was just fun to hang with Wes and Ash and cook dinner. Cooking is therapeutic for me and I love hosting people at my place and Wes was very gracious in coming over and helping me cook. I guess that's why he's the nice guy. There has been a disconnect between us all this past year with folks starting to do their own thing and hang out less often with each other. Or maybe I've gone my own way and not participated in group activities. I'll make more of an effort to do group things in the future and not get so out of touch with Wes again. I trust him as a person and cherish his friendship; both rare qualities...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Kark News

There is a news station called KARK.

K A R K. Haa Haa Haa...

We Wish You a Merry X'Mas

We Wish You a Merry X'Mas
We Wish You a Merry X'Mas
And a Happy New Year

:)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Hackers Getting Into the 'Think Different' Groove

"Hackers are learning to 'think different,' so to speak, and now might be targeting Macintosh computers. Long-thought to be impervious to viruses, malware and computer vandals, Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) Latest News about Apple Mac OS X is an increasingly succulent target, experts say.

'Macintoshes are not impervious,' said Corbett Consolvo, chief information security Free Trial: Eliminate IM compliance and security threats with policy and enforcement. officer at the College of Charleston, in Charleston, S.C. 'As they are now based on a more common operating system, they have become more susceptible to hacks and malware. Their reputation continues to be that they are impenetrable, however.'"
It's only a matter of time I say...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Cola Crave

Nothing quenches my thirst after a solid cardio workout like a cola; this has everything to do with the bubbles as the fluid goes down my gullet. The craving goes away after 15 minutes but I've decided to not deny myself this pleasure anymore. The only task at hand now is to find a healthy bubbly that tastes good...

Wanna Sleep, Can't Sleep

It's 3am and I can't sleep. Tossed and turned in bed for a while before giving up. Gonna go outside and watch some crappy tv till I snooze off. Sportscenter maybe...

Having no Control

Starting today, I have all the days off till the 3rd of January. Like any first vacation day, I slept in and relaxed through the morning. Michelle had been kind enough to invite me to her place for an early Christmas supper and as I got ready, I had a song playing in my head and a smile on my face - I could finally rest and recuperate from the exertions of the year gone by. My work wasn't done for the year though but that is subject matter for another post.

The party at Michelle's was my first introduction to Danish food and her friends. We ate, drank and talked about contemporary issues - how politically correct American society had become, what you could subject little children to when it came to movies and tv, etc, etc. It was interesting to hear the opinions of folks who were raising their kids right now and comparing them with my own childhood. Growing up in India was so different and so much more free I think. Wait, we didn't have so many distractions and so many temptations though...

After the Christmas soiree, Adrian and I drove to Kent to watch Radha and Krista play their respective tennis matches. The Boeing Employee Tennis Centre is very different from the Pro Club; it feels more like a family run club where everyone knows everyone else. Radha and Krista both played 3 set matches and hopefully, Krista won hers like Radha, in the 3rd set. We started the drive back to Redmond in the rain, hoping to get back in time to grab a bite to eat.

The conversation on the way home revolved around why there are so many car accidents in Seattle (the freeway was backed up and we both said out loud, ACCIDENT). The roads get very slick during the rains and at high speeds, cars tend to hydroplane on the slick surface. Also, there are one too many driver distractions these days, the radio and the cell phone being the primary culprits. And then, as I overtook a truck to my left, I heard a huge splash and my wind-shield was completely covered with water.

It was more than a few seconds before I could see anything ahead of me. And the instant my view of the road ahead was obscured, my body tightened, I gripped the steering wheel tightly with both hands and the adrenaline charged through me. It then occurred to me that I could turn up the wiper, but that was to no avail. And then, the water was gone...

It's a good thing that the lane markers on the freeway make an audible sound if tires ride over them. Being unable to see ahead of me, the only thing I could do was ensure I was driving in my lane; this way I could at least prevent a collision with a car to my right or left. And yes, I did just that - I stayed in my lane and hoped that no car was too close ahead of me.

Adrian and I heaved a sigh of relief when we could see the car in front again. We talked about this for some time after but we were both visibly shaken. My calves and quads were tight as I stepped out of my car outside my apartment but I was glad to have survived. Water and I have a torrid history but I have no fear now...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Real Question is - Can I be nice?

The Challenge - Manoj Mehta has to be nice for 3 days.

What does being nice constitute? (in order of severity)
- No Fat Ones
- No Snide Remarks
- No Sarcasm that can be construed as offensive
- No Unnecessary jokes
- No Hating
- No Being Mean
- Tolerating annoying behaviour

In other words, no fun - this is a Kookus Idea.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A few degrees here, a few degrees there

It has been a very cold 7 days in Seattle. The temperature was around or below freezing all of last week; frosty lawns, frosty windshields, frosty roads were commonplace and a lot of spent a good deal of time indoors to shield ourselves from the cold. And then this evening, the mercury decided to oppose gravity.

It is approximately 45 degrees right now and it feels so comfortably warm. I walked out of the Pro Club in my shorts this evening after an hour of tennis drills. Expecting the worst, I was pleasantly surprised when my air wasn't chilly and the inside of my car wasn't biting cold. Sitting on the leather was bearable too - what an evening I say.

Am I whacked or is my reaction normal? In my book, a THIRTEEN degree upward change in temperature is reason enough to shed a few layers of clothing. If only this new weather pattern sticks, that'll make my christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What Women Want

I was watching the Carson Daly show a little while ago and Dr Drew, of Loveline fame, was the guest for the night. The two started talking about the problem of alcohol, drugs and teenage sex and Carson remarked about the need for guys to drink alcohol to get some liquid courage. Dr Drew responded with a very interesting answer; he had interviewed hundreds of girls during his twenty some years of sex therapy and the one opinion that rang true through all his discussions was what led to his answer. He said that girls drink alcohol just so that they can tolerate the advances of drunken men. Or in some cases, they drink alcohol to make out with women, which attracts men and gets them attention.

I thought this was an interesting factoid when he continued to say something that I've heard time and again from Adana. He said that women are more inclined to getting turned on by an intimate conversation, in which a guy would reveal something private about himself, his thoughts and emotions than a drunken pick-up line.

Turns out, when it comes to picking up women, I know nothing...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Games People Play

For some reason, I'm thinking of the song "Games People Play" by Inner Circle this morning.
Oh the games people play now
ev'ry night and ev'ry day now
Never meaning what they say, yeah
never saying what they mean.

As people, we really do play games with each other, especially as our communication mechanisms become more digital. I've seen many an instance in which a person will not reply to an email or return a phone call till an appropriate amount of time has elapsed. They call it, the drawing-out game and honestly, I hate it. If there is an email in my mailbox, I'd like to reply to it as soon as I can unless I'm busy doing something else. Likewise for a missed call - I just think it is social etiquette to return a person's call (under most circumstances) but that's me. A friend of mine suffered so much through a relationship in which her boyfriend wouldn't write to her or call her for days on end. The poor girl was always insecure and wondering about what was going on, and the second guessing made made her loose weight and her mental equilibrium. But all that actually kept her in the relationship, albeit for a short time. Thankfully she's back in bidiness but that taught me a lesson - play them games my boy, don't be transparent !

Monday, December 12, 2005

Surdbird's visit - the Aftermath

And I didn't get any sleep all weekend because of all the partying we did on Friday and Saturday. Worth it though, always waarth it! To give you an idea of the kind of partying we did, here's a statistic: In 2 nights, we went to Porta by the Market, Sea Sound, Fenix Underground, Mirabeau Room and Down Under. More juicy details over the week.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Surdbird is in town

And he's going to be here till Sunday morning. There are going to be so many stories related this weekend about past incidents that my head will spin at the level of detail and embellishment. I'm very excited about his trip though - we've already been up till 4am on Friday (make that 5am). We hit three bars tonight, drank a fair bit of alcohol and danced so hard that my feet are hurting right now. I'm so glad I have friends who aren't stuck up.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Season to be Jolly?

Christmas is supposed to be the season to be jolly. The reality is so different though; people are at their meanest at this time of the year. They are harried, hurried and hard pressed for resources (time and money) as the days get shorter and the new year approaches. Apart from rare glimpses of holiday spirit, I have only witnessed harshness and rudeness this time of the year. To paraphrase what someone said to me today, everyone is stretched thin - presents need to be bought and wrapped, greeting cards need to be personalized and posted, dinners need to be arranged and parties thrown all as the weather gets more and more extreme. Something has got to give...

Surdbird is going to be in town over the weekend - ayyp! Good thing there are some things lined up for both Friday and Saturday night but Surd is pretty low maintenent (unlike me) so it should be a good weekend regardless of who we hang out with. While I'm rambling on about random stuff, can someone please tell me why people stop communicating with other people without reason?! This has happened with most everyone I know (myself included) and has been done by most everyone I know (me included). Why do we do it time and again? Why not just let the party in question know that it might not work out or better still, there will be a prolonged silence? Are we all confrontationally challenged? Analysis paralysis - I should read my own One Liner of the Week and not think about this too much. Instead, just coast along and enjoy life as it comes my way...

One Liner of the Week

Thinking too much always causes emotional trauma

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Video iPod

I have owned an iPod since September 13 2003, my 26th birthday. I love the device; some of it has to do with the fact that it was a present from a dear friend but I love the ease of use and how it has transformed my workouts. When I saw commercials for the new Video iPod, I thought to myself, how much different could they make the device. I mean, Rutu's 4th generation iPod wasn't that much of a leap more my 3rd Gen device so hey!

As I was walking back to my office from the cafeteria, I heard Marina congratulate Chris about something. Curious cat that I am, I walked into his office and guess what, a tiny Apple bag was sitting on his desk. I stood agape, like a little boy in a candy store, and as Chris opened the box, I couldn't wait to see what the new device was like.

The new iPod is maybe half as thick as mine and is so cool, it's HOT! Chris is the proud owner of a black iPod and now, I want one too. The screen resolution is sharp, the colours are deep and though I don't like the click wheel, it doesn't really hamper the experience too much. 'Nuff said, it's time to drive to The Apple Store.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Some Mofo Dinged My Car

Some god damned Mother F***er dinged my car in the parking lot today. I hope it wasn't the SL 55 standing right next to me or else! God Damn, Ignorant Ass East Side Drivers! I yearn to ....

Sunday night's shenanigans

I usually start the week on an exhausted note. It's usually because I don't get a good night's sleep on Sunday - blame it on downloading the last episode of Grey's Anatomy or because of a raging metabolism after a hardcore Sunday night workout. I stopped working out on Sunday nights to eliminate one of the two reasons for my sleeplessness but I can't stop downloading and watching Sunday night's episode of G's A. Baby steps, baby steps...

I'll move the dial back to the beginning of this story - Sunday evening. After having vegetated all day, I started the evening by cleaning my place up and taking care of activities that I had avoided doing for weeks. Was about to head to the Pro Club around 7:30 but changed my mind at the last minute so I could go grab coffee with Kristin. I haven't been very bright at taking the correct exits to get to Angie and Kristin's in the past so I was surprised when I made it to their place on time and without goofing up the directions. And then I was undo by the quest to find a parking spot. Commenting on the parking situation in Seattle is beyond the scope of this entry so I'll pass. It sufficeth that it took me nearly ten minutes to find a spot and even then, I had to walk five minutes to get to my destination.

Angie and Radha were putting together a coffee table as I walked in. I watched and assisted some as the pieces were put together but in my head I was wondering, why am I still here - weren't we supposed to go get coffee. Kristin was all dressed up but she was clearly unwell and still not a 100% recovered from the triple whammy ailment that had afflicted her all of last week. It would be wrong to drag her out in this condition and brave the cold so after we helped the love birds get the stuff that needed to go to Radha's, Kristin and I returned to the couch to watch some televizzle. They say tea is the drink for aristocrats. I can't vouch for the aristocracy of the moment or situation but watching Desperate Housewives with a cup of freshly brewed tea was a warm experience. I interjected time and again with some anecdote or Chris Rock line as the episode wore down and saw a few minutes of Grey's A before heading out.

It was just after 10pm on a Sunday night and I was on the West Side. Was I gonna head home - hell no! Got in my car, called Ashley and picked her up to get some dinner. Oh, I hadn't eaten a meal all day and maybe Ash's Vegan ass wasn't the best to get dinner with but what the heck. ;) And of course, trust her to drive me to a closed place first - Toi on 4th before finally suggesting that we eat at Jai Thai on Broadway. The speed at which the two of us gobbled up the food on our plates was testament to how hungry we were. Even the cartoon of a waiter wasn't discussed during the meal; the waiter was a cartoon though, but not an anomaly given our environs - Broadway in Seattle!

The eating didn't stop after I got home. I ate 2 bowls of granola with yoghurt and felt gross as I was watching G's A. And then I was woken up at 8:30 on Monday morning by a phone call. How would this Monday turn out?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Windows Core OS Division Holiday Party 2005

Venue: Benaroya Hall
Summary:
K A R K U S
Staid party with very little festive spirit. Unappetizing food, only 2 drink tickets and insufficient parking. Okay, there might've been a silver lining if we had attended the symphony but hey, we didn't cause we reached around 9pm! We walked all the corridors but still didn't find anything to do except get bored.

'Nuff Said! And no, I'm not spoilt or picky.

Update: Dlinsley commented that this was a pity date till I gave him the smack-down!!

Need a new Mattress

I woke up at 9 this morning even more tired than I was before I went to bed last night. Trust me, this is a terrible feeling because I just lost eight hours of my life doing nothing. I think a mattress change might help because everytime I sleep at Donna's, I wake up rested but that might have something to do with the fact that I'm with family. Not to digress, I'm headed to Sleep Country this Saturday and buying a firm mattress - that's it!

Wait, there is also some thing called a Duvet that I need too. And then some other kuxxes to put on top of the bed that increase the amount of time you spend making the bed and effectively less time sleeping on it. And no I haven't forgotten, the 100 down pillows.

So yes, I'd better do something about this super tired feeling I have when I wake up. I feel like cat napping everyday at work and it has begun to adversely affect my productivity. Can we expense this? ;-)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Truism of the Week

living with a woman who can't love you back;
way lonelier than living alone

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's Snowing in Seattle

It has been very cold this week so it is no wonder that it is snowing today. Only wish this happened overnight so we could have a day off work :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Why being in Seattle feels like CRAP!

I just returned from Dallas after having spent four days over Thanksgiving weekend with some of my oldest and best friends. The better part of the days were spent travelling all over Dallas in what I consider picture perfect weather. The sun rose and set at normal hours and it wasn't biting cold even for a minute.

Seattle on the other hand has been dreary, cold and wet since I have returned. That's one piece of the puzzle but more than that, I'm not feeling all that peachy. I don't feel like working out, am hungry all the time and am low on energy. All of this might have to do with the fact that I have been sleep deprived since last Wednesday but that can't be everything now can it? No point analyzing this, I'll snap out of it when I will. Funny how a high is always followed by a low, crest with a trough...

Firefox 1.5 is out

Go Get It

If you're already using Firefox, go to Help->Check for Updates and install the latest Firefox Release.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Dallas Days - Friday

To summarize, I can't type out of exhaustion and sleep deprivation after my first full day in Dallas. I got off flight xxx last morning around 5am and I haven't slept more than 15 minutes since I got off the plane. Not that I got any sleep while I was in Seattle on the day of Thsnksgiving but that's a story for a soon to be written post.

What did I do to keep myself going today? Laughed a lot, Chatted even more, drank too much tea, ate more meals than I'd like to count, and did whatever my friends did. Too tired to continue any further. More soon - peace out!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Night before Thanksgiving

I've been leaving work between 6 and 7pm this week so that I can play a few hours of tennis before I go to bed. I really enjoy tennis except for the fact that I break my strings too soon - restringing is very $$ intensive. A small price to pay for the rush I experience when I play well, especially against someone who is much better than me. This phase is similar to when my squash game started to improve by leaps and bounds. I shouldn't let this go out of hand though and stop enjoying the game a la the squash accident.

I might have overdid it tonight though. I've been progressively more tired every night this week but tonight my feet are leaden. I nearly passed out on the couch while mustering up the energy to get up and take a shower. The temperature in Seattle hasn't been very conducive to any kind of activity (unless you call being ensconced in a blanket an activity) - it's 36 degrees F tonight. I always struggle to get off the couch and do what needs to be done before I can call it a night - shower and brush my teeth. Maybe I should do those activities immediately after I walk into the apartment - brilliant!

This evening's tennis was special though. I first played with Mary Tait; she's respected by many at the Pro Club for her consistency and tennis skill. She was kind enough to play with me for what was supposed to be an hour but turned into a 90 minute session of side to side running for me. We warmed up, did some drills and played a long set that taught me a lot about the game. She usually works out after tennis with her husband and I would have joined them in the weight room but I had another tennis match to play - this time for Roger's USTA tennis team tryouts.

Roger made me play my match in torrid conditions - the temperature was 34 degrees F and the relative humidity had to be above 90%. I kid you not, it took 5 games for my digits to get warm but by this time, I was down 5-0. Josh is a great player and I don't really grudge the first set score of 6-0. My fingers were pale from the cold and my timing was completely off. I did start the second set well; we were on serve when we were asked to stop. Josh is in my cross-hairs now...

A small note about these practice sessions before I am done - I'm not going to play outside in the cold anymore. I don't think we'll ever have to play in sub 40 degree weather ever - the players are harmed more than benefited.

Finally, playing tennis has made me meet some of the nicest people I've gotten to know all year. We went to dinner on Monday night to celebrate Kristin's birthday and the entire tennis gang was at Tap House Grill. I have many reasons to give thanks this year, this new found love for tennis is just one of them.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mellow Saturday Afternoon

Woke up rested this morning around 11 and have lazed since. I'm ready to go out but don't want to leave, is this crazy?! I need to go to work and determine what has gone wrong with the build so I must leave after the current song finishes playing. I enjoy listening to songs from the past; everytime I do, I'm taken back to the time when that song first came into my life and I get a chance to relive those memories. The song for this afternoon is Private Investigations by Dire Straits.

I read somewhere (including on my blog) that as life goes on, humans get more and more complicated. You know what, I see no problem with that anymore. The more layers an onion has, the more flavour it packs in...

Manoj on Yahoo Search!

My blog is the first search result on Yahoo when you query for "Manoj". How kewl is that? Feeling CHEAP!!!

Manoj @ Yahoo

Friday, November 18, 2005

Who'd have thunk it?

Preamble
I had just dropped Karan off to the airport for his first trip out of Seattle with the Wife. The Better Half in this case seems to be a calm, effusive and warm person; it's no surprise that Karan's sister did the picking. I had called ahead and determined where the mob would be after the Williams sisters event and headed straight for the designated spot. I expected nothing; I had met all these people (except Adrian) only on the tennis court and most of the time, our interactions had been all business.

Scene 1
Peso's, Queen Anne, Seattle
A raucous, drunken mob


The folks were sitting in a booth but I couldn't figure out which one. I decided to follow the familiar voices and found them sitting around a table littered with shot glasses. The lilt in their voices, the glazed eyes, everything made sense. What got my attention next was that everyone on the table was in non-tennis clothes and all I can say about that is, deamn! Why did I spend so much time playing squash?!

Multiple rounds of shots, a trip to Safeway to buy batteries so Angie could take pictures of the group and a lot of screeching ensued. The drink of the night became B-52 shots and I think we stopped drinking at just the right time. Everyone was tossed, no one was wasted and we had two people who stayed sober so that the gang could be transported to a club.

Scene 2
Neighbours
80s night


The 80s tunes crept out into the open street where we stood waiting for the others to show up. This might not be a bad idea after all I thought to myself. Little did I know how good the idea was. I've remarked earlier that I'm in an 80s funk these days and the music just hit the spot. My feet weren't moving at first, the movements alien and forgotten. But the folks I was with helped me find my groove and it was a total party once we got going. It was as if we were in the zone, extremely safe in each other's company, which left nothing to worry about. I haven't had this much fun dancing in a while and my aching feet are a testament to how much I did dance.

Scene 3
872 PYV
The Ride Back


Six people in one car. Lots of ducking down, lap-sitting, "Get your hands lower ...", and revoked invitations are all I remember about the ride back home. First stop: Outside Dick's on Queen Anne so Angie, Kristin and Christine could ride home independently. We followed Angie and Kristin to ensure they made it home safe and at the beginning, we thought we had made a mistake - Angie drove on the wrong side of the road for a while before correcting her ways! Next stop was Radha's place in Fremont and finally I dropped Adrian off in Bldg 26 at 4:20am.

Conclusions
The tennis courts are where it's at.
This should happen more often...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What Do You Know?!!

I'm awake and at work and it's only 8:15 in the morning. I woke up at 7am (all by myself, okay, with some help from the cell phone alarm), checked email, showered, drank coffee and was in by 8am. I'm the Build Master this week (looks like) and as is always the case, my luck with builds is wretched :) - I'll report how this plays out in a couple of days. To all you folks out there that start your day early, I understand your motivation and hope I can do this maybe once a week. See, my problem has always been having very high expectations from myself. Once a week is an achievable target, a baby step. No?!

Update at 11:20am:
I am tired and sleepy. My legs are leaden and my eye-lids are half-open. I think it is time for a short cat nap.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Soapbox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Soapbox
---------
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Jump to: navigation, search

For an article about the race car, see soapbox (car).

A soapbox is a raised, improvised platform on which one stands to make an impromptu speech, often about a political subject. Alternatively, the word may also be used to describe the box that soap comes in.

The term is also used metaphorically to describe a person engaging in often flamboyant impromptu or nonofficial public speaking, as the phrase 'He is on his soapbox.'

Hyde Park, London is famous for its Sunday soapbox orators, which have assembled at Speaker's Corner since 1872 to speak about religion, politics, and even shoe sizes.

The modern form of the soapbox is the blog, an internet site on which anyone can publish their thoughts, often for free.

Kansas education board downplays evolution in favour of Intelligent Design

“This is a sad day. We’re becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that,” said board member Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat."

This was bound to happen if you ask me; just look at the outcome of the presidential elections and how the winner was determined by the vote of the religious right wing. If Republicans were the gate keepers of heaven, I'd not want to go in; it's a different story altogether that I wouldn't be allowed admission regardless of the allegiance of the gate-keeper but I'll save that for another time.

Of course this move has critics screaming out from the rooftops:
Critics of the new language charged that it was an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools, in violation of the constitutional ban on state establishment of religion.
I'll be honest, I don't buy the whole big bang theory either but as ludicrous as it sounds, I definitely prefer it over Intelligent Design. If there was an intelligent being who fashioned the creation of the universe, where did this being come from? And repeat...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Friday, November 04, 2005

Dreams Can Come True

And that's what has me scared this past week. I don't want my dreams to come true, especially those that I have in the wee hours of the morning. And I always have them after I've woken up but decided to go back to sleep again - yes, the half awake, half asleep state.

Aaron and I spoke about this for a short while before work beckoned. Freud helped us understand our dreams. His theories delved into what caused strange visions and events to unfold while we lay in bed with our eyes shut. According to him, dreams are an embodiment of a wish, repressed or expressed, and let you quasi-visualize yourself as if you had that wish fulfilled. From what I've been dreaming, I have some serious wish issues...

This morning's dream was interesting for another reason, it had characters in it from a show I saw for the first time - Reunion on Fox. I was particularly enamoured with Carla, Samantha and the 80s theme of the show (including the music). I've been in an 80s funk this past month; I watched Grosse Pointe Blank and listened to its soundtrack all of last weekend. I came to work the subsequent Monday and created an 80s playlist, which I've listened to for the most of this week. I can't connect the dots, I can't!!

INDIA: Police Issues Sketches of Bomb Blast Suspect


Sunday, October 30, 2005

It's the Weekend...

And I've been awake for the better part of it! Both days, woken up by my phone - a phone call yesterday to play Flag Football and numerous text messages from my brother this morning asking me to come online. So now I'm doing three things at the same time - talking on the phone, messaging my brother and blogging.

I played Flag Football for the first time in my life yesterday. This is the first year that I've watched American Football and I'm slowly getting into it. Personally I enjoy college football more than NFL because everyone on the field is out there for the sole motivation of winning - to me that's a purer motivation than money and contracts. Back to the Flag Football game and how sore I have been since I left the park. My thighs are hurting and my ribs are still fresh to the touch because of the pounding they got on Saturday morning. But I loved it, I totally loved playing and will do it again next week.

Time to kick back and chill for the rest of the day. I'm going to watch a movie, hang with the boys and try to squeeze in some reading before the week begins. I have almost nothing to worry about though; I guess that's a consequence of having worked hard through the week - should do that more often so I can actually enjoy my weekends. Peace out!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Is it our life that we are living?

I was speaking to a friend a couple of days ago and our conversation inadvertently turned to the touchy subject of marriage. I find myself talking to more people about marriage these days than I did when I first moved to Seattle. It's that time and phase in the lives of my contemporaries, a time when the difficult decision of choosing a life partner looms large. Some of my friends are fortunate to be already married, engaged or in a relationship that will culminate in marriage. The rest of us aren't so lucky (though this is open to interpretation) and are struggling to find a suitable partner...

Ok, back to the conversation that prompted this post. We talked about potential suitors for her, what her criteria were and then she blurted out something that's been in the back of my head since,

"My parents won't approve of him..."

This set me thinking about the decisions I've supposedly made in the last 28 years. Indian children get a lot of love and support from their parents. This doesn't come without a price though - a lot of decisions that shape who I am today were made for me, not by me; some for good reason and others, without. Left to my own designs, I'd like to make the wrong decisions earlier so that I'd not repeat them when the outcome really mattered - but that's me. The burning question in my mind is, whose life am I living and on whose terms? In this individualistic society, I'm at a cross-roads. My Indian upbringing makes me want to do things for people around me, for my parents and family. My American life experiences make me want to look out for myself, to be selfish and removed from the trappings of societal pressures. What is ideal, which perspective is correct? Is there a correct formula?

Back to marriage then; I'd like my parents to approve of my partner, as would any other Indian. Does wisdom of age assure my parents of having more perspective and insight into the future than I do, enough to know what will work and what won't? Let's for a moment consider the possibility that I let my parents choose the girl. She'll have her approval then, correct? What's to say that this won't lead to disaster in the future? If the certainty of marital bliss post an arranged marriage is suspect, how is it any different from me finding a girl that makes me happy now but not in the future? How does the girl's provenance matter then? It is hard to find happiness with an another individual these days to begin with; how is eliminating whole sects of people going to make this any easier...

Friday, October 21, 2005

A Soulmate

I've pondered over what characterizes a soulmate for this past week. Somehow, spending tons and tons of time at work lets you dwell on things other than work. What is a soulmate? Must I have one? Can there be just one? Must my soulmate be the one I marry or be the one I am romantically linked to? If it's the latter, how does it work when I'm no longer romantically inclined towards a girl; romance is fleeting, temporal...

I know for sure that I have at least one. A person I share a lot of my daily experiences with - all the laughing, coffee and alcohol drinking and dinner eating. Maybe my best friend is my soulmate. Ergo, I don't need to find a girl who fits the bill. I can just get to know her, have fun with her, laugh and make merry without the trappings of this soulmate business.

Now I feel calm inside...

Monday, October 17, 2005

You Know What Else I Hate

<rant>
I hate stupid people. Cartman hates hippies, I hate stupids. I'm stupid sometimes too, but as the creator of Dilbert says,
"Human beings can't be intelligent all the time.
You gotta account for the stupid factor."
So yes, I don't think I'm stupid. And no, I don't hate you just because you've had some stupid moments. It's them people that insist on being stupid for most of their waking hours that prompted this blog post.

Geni, update that list of people for whom the word hate is reserved to include 3 kinds now. Peace Out!
</rant>

Friday, October 14, 2005

I blame Caesar and Shakespeare

Caesar: Let me haue men about me, that are fat, Sleeke-headed men, and such as sleepe a-nights: Yond Cassius has a leane and hungry looke, He thinkes too much: such men are dangerous

Antonius: Feare him not Caesar, he's not dangerous, He is a Noble Roman, and well giuen

Caesar: Would he were fatter; But I feare him not:

I'm Lovin' It...

Lessons to Learn for Work and Profit

1. Work smart
I usually work hard but of late, I've forgotten how to work smart. More in my next item.

2. Use Common Sense
Though common sense isn't very common these days, in my case, it has become completely uncommon. Using x86 binaries to create x64 builds is just one example but I see a trend developing over the past couple of months that is disturbing. Nothing that can't be fixed I hope.

3. Follow 1 Set of Instructions to Finish a Task
It's important to understand what you want to accomplish and what is actually going on under the hood so that you can troubleshoot problems as they arise. It's also mighty important to follow one set of instructions from start to finish to know for sure that if something went wrong, it wasn't because you missed a step in the configuration. I'm glad I'm not a Lab guy because I have a very hard time following instructions but this has got to change.

4. No Shortcuts please
Especially when you don't know how things work.

And finally,

5. If you promise to do something, try to do it On Time

Friday, October 07, 2005

A Bit of Yankees Trivia

Did you know? The Yankees have either won the World Series or lost to the eventual Winner for the last 6 years, at least. They don't look like they are going to win Game 3 of the Division Series against the Angels though. I think Yankees fans everywhere should be worried...

Boston Red Sox have been eliminated

Haa Haa Charade You Are Oh Red Sox Nation. You deserve nothing more!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Is Life like Baseball?

I have read many an analogy between life and baseball; as an ardent follower of the game, I've only now started to understand and appreciate this next fact of the game:

"... think of baseball—even the very best of the best might get a hit only one out of three times they go to bat, which seems pretty pathetic when you consider that the whole point of the game is to get a hit and players receive immense compensation just to get hits."

Could this be true? Yes it is... Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz are inarguably two of the most prolific hitters in the American League today and their batting averages are 0.290 and 0.340.

Where am I going with this? I've realized that my life can be construed as a string of journeys to the plate; I struck out on some occasions, I reached base on some others and I hit some home-runs. There have been times when I've been stranded in the hole or on base but now that I think about it all, I have a radically new perspective. I'd like to believe that my batting average is reasonable, 0.250 if I were to venture forth a guess. And that's above average, even good! Hmm, I have reason to be happy and reason to work hard at getting better. And now, to bed...

Monday, September 26, 2005

I'm Awake at 8:30...

Maybe my conclusion is premature but I'm beginning to think that working out till late at night prevents me from going to bed on time. I've written on numerous occasions about how I'm groggy and fiesty on Monday morning, wishing that the week was over already. This is basically me complaining about not having had enough sleep on Sunday night, in a twisted way :) And I won't deny it, my not making early morning meetings contributes to my Monday frustrations!

So what did I do different yesterday? I desisted from going to the Pro Club. I have a tendency to squeeze in a work-out just before the club closes. More often than not, you can find me hitting the weight room at around 8pm on a Sunday evening. Don't get me wrong, I love working out but my timing is completely wrong for many reasons. First, everytime I workout late, I can't sleep for hours after I'm done. I've noticed that I yawn a lot during late workouts. And just about the time I'm done, at around 10pm, I'm fully awake and ready to take on the world. Second, I miss out on activities with friends because I'm usually in the gym. And third, I workout so hard that my body takes a long time to recover. If I don't get a good night's sleep, I wake up tired and cranky.

So back to this morning - I'm awake, sipping coffee as I blog and my body isn't exhausted. My knees aren't hurting and I'm ready to take on the challenges that this week presents me. My schedule could use a 2 hour shift so I wake up, reach work, workout and sleep earlier. I'm going to try and start today! And if I don't stop blogging now, I'll not be in time for my 10am meeting, so I'm off! Have a great week...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Palm - Another Competitor succumbing to Microsoft's power

"Palm Inc. is expected to end years of rivalry with Microsoft Corp. on Monday and announce that a version of its popular Treo handheld unit will run on the software giant's operating system.

Any other company out there wanting to compete"??

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Manage Stress -> Manoj Happy

As much as I've tried to not get stressed at work these days, this past week has been high stress. It is a combination of insufficient sleep, exhaustion from working out and too many things to do that has left me with no desire to get out of bed and go into work in the mornings. I must manage my stress level though, and work on increasing the duration of time for which I can execute my tasks without feeling stressed out.

As of right now, the valve is just about holding it all in. Since I feel I am close to the brink, I'm going to take my laptop to meetings so I don't get bored and am going to take a deep breath before I react to a comment. For the long term though, I'm looking for an opportunity to get out of Seattle and catch me a break from my routine. I'd like to go to a familiar place though and just vegetate; hmm, Smitha's place in Boston comes to mind . You think if I found me a girl, I'd be less antsy?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

6 weeks from Fat to Fit - Update

August 26th
Manoj - 189lbs
Arun - 155lbs

September 15th
Manoj: 178lbs
Arun: 155lbs

Deadline for reaching target weights extended to October 16 2005 by popular demand (and insufficient weight loss).

Monday, September 19, 2005

No week should start like this

I hung out with Geni last night and sometime during our conversation, I realized how lonely my existence was. I can't really pinpoint who said what to trigger the feeling; I just couldn't get over being all by myself when I got home. What made it even harder to deal with this new Low was the High I had been on all of last week. It's so true, when you ride a high crest, the trough is equally deep. I was so down and tired that I couldn't sleep till nearly 4am. Okay, something good came out of my being awake, I got a chance to work on the slides for the WTT presentation we gave this morning, but...

I woke up in a foul mood! Answered email from home while the throbbing in my head continued on before getting up and heading in to work. Not a good idea in hindsight; I should've called in sick because I really wasn't in any mood to indulge in constructive arguments or tolerate criticism and feedback. My patience ran very thin all day and at first I thought it was just cause I hadn't eaten 'nything all morning. Even after I ate a good lunch, the all encompassing exhaustion never left my side. When I finally walked over to Cafe 26 around 5:30 PM, I just wanted to get away and be by myself.

I decided to drive home around 6:30 even though I had a bad feeling about leaving this early. The irritating part of driving home early is I have to take the back roads because of traffic, which means lots of stops, turns and lights. I was coasting along, had avoided most of the traffic and was listening to NPR when the light on 85th St turned green. All the cars ahead of me started moving forward and suddenly, they all stopped.

My left foot had the clutch pressed in till it wouldn't go any further and my right foot pressed the brakes hard. The ABS came on, the car skidded a bit but I couldn't stop before, "BAM". Luckily, contact was made at approximately 3mph and the car in front didn't sustain any damage. The grill holder of my car got a little bonked but I pulled into the next parking lot and set things straight and avoided getting super mad at myself. What I did do though was practice stopping in such emergency situations when I got into my apartment complex. Though I can't do anything to change what happened, I have hopefully taught myself to navigate my car better under similar circumstances for the future.

Moral of the story then - trust and respect your sixth sense. More often than not, it's really clued in... And of course, don't talk to Geni :-) No really, call in sick if you must but don't go to work crabby!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Words of the Wise One

surdbird says:

we;ve chosen te it the hard way

Manoj says:

we have?

Manoj says:

what do you mean hard way?

surdbird says:

well yes

Manoj says:

kindly give me fundaes Surd

Manoj says:

I confuse

Manoj says:

CONFUSE

surdbird says:

as in when all the women in india we knew were blossoming, we were rubbin our asses with toilet paper in this country

surdbird says:

that's what I mean

Manoj says:

you are right oh wise one

Manoj says:

Kundi The Wise - that's your new name Surd Bird

Manoj says:

all bow to thy grace oh KTW

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Making Subjects and Verbs Agree

Common grammatical mistakes writers, including myself, are prone to making:

1.When the subject of a sentence is composed of two or more nouns or pronouns connected by and, use a plural verb.
Eg. She and her friends are at the fair.


2. When two or more singular nouns or pronouns are connected by or or nor, use a singular verb.
Eg. The book or the pen is in the drawer.

5. Do not be misled by a phrase that comes between the subject and the verb. The verb agrees with the subject, not with a noun or pronoun in the phrase.

7. Nouns such as civics, mathematics, dollars, measles, and news require singular verbs.

8. Nouns such as scissors, tweezers, trousers, and shears require plural verbs. (There are two parts to these things.)

10. Collective nouns are words that imply more than one person but that are considered singular and take a singular verb, such as: group, team, committee, class, and family.

In very few cases, the plural verb is used if the individuals in the group are thought of and specifically referred to.

Example of the Exception:
My family have never been able to agree. (correct)
My family has never been able to agree. (wrong)

You experience this yet?

I got to the Tennis Courts this evening a little ahead of time. Now this is a first for me, arriving earlier than I'm expected!! Good thing I was early, I needed the time to change into my workout shirt and stretch before the game. I turned the stereo up in my car, walked around to the boot and started going about my tasks. Wear Workout Shirt - Check. Stretch right arm to avoid tennis elbow - Check. This is about the time Mariah Carey's smash hit, We Belong Together started playing on the radio.

More than four hours have elapsed since and I can't get these lines out of my head,
Cause baby
When you left
I lost a part of me
It's still so hard to believe
Come back baby please cause
We belong together
Regardless of whether I wanted to experience this emotion, the truth is that I have. And what do you know, I have a friend who is most definitely experiencing this right now. Her ego is not going to let her admit this but I know better. What's killing her more than anything else is,
Who else am I gonna lean on
When times get rough
Who's gonna talk to me on the phone
Till the sun comes up
Who's gonna take your place
I hope she finds peace, sanity and composure over the coming weeks. It totally sucks to be emotionally unstable, says the guy who's had it rough in the past...

Searching for failure? Try George W. Bush

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt

Australia flag
Lleyton Hewitt

Country: Australia
Birth Date: 24 February 1981
Birthplace: Adelaide, Australia
Residence: Adelaide, Australia
Height: 5 ft. 11 in. (1.8 metres)
Weight: 150 lbs. (68.2 kilos)

He's 5ft 11in. tall but weighs only 150 lbs. I'm 5 ft. 10in. tall and weigh 182lbs. He's a professional tennis player, ranked 3rd in the world; I'm fat :-)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Internet is a Curse

I can't sleep anymore - Must get daily Internet fix. Must read G E E K stuff. Must keep eyes open and stare blankly into laptop display. Must stop blogging now...

Defensive programming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Now that I have the Internet at home, I've started reading up topics of interest to me at Wikipedia. This paragraph in the article on Defensive Programming made me think of a conversation I had with Karan last week when we were talking about cleaning up the test source tree. The entire article is an interesting read in my opinion, and here is the paragraph that triggered the memory:
Within functions, you may want to double check that you are not referencing something that is not valid (i.e., null) and that array lengths are valid before referencing elements with indexes on all temporary/local instantiations. A good heuristic is to not trust the libraries you did not write either. So any time you call them, check what you get back from them. It often helps to create a small library of 'asserting' and 'checking' functions to do this along with a logger so you can trace your path and reduce the need for extensive debugging cycles in the first place.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today


  1. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

  2. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

  3. "Standing Tall for America" means firing your workers and moving their jobs to India.

  4. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

  5. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

  6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

  7. Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless you someday run for governor of California as a Republican.

  8. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

  9. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies then demand their cooperation and money.

  10. HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of the public at heart. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

  11. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

  12. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

  13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George W. Bush's driving record is none of our business.

  14. You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have a right to adopt.

  15. Government should relax regulation of Big Business and Big Money but crack down on individuals who use marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.

  16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what G.W. Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

  17. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

Songs and Memories

Memories of a time in my life are often triggered by a song that I hear from that time; it's an unconscious association my mind makes between the two. Often times, the memory is of a person I heard the song with; other times, the memory is of a phase in my life that has in some way made me the person I am. A couple weeks ago, I was watching a movie when "I'll Be Missing You" started to play in the background. It was instantaneous; I transported back in time to an evening in Bombay at Three Flights Up. It was the summer of 1997, the track had just started making the rounds of the club circuit in Bombay. Aarti was dancing with me when the DJ mixed this track in and she whispered in my ear, "Manoj, dedicate this song to me". I walked up to the DJ console, made the request and continued dancing with her. Since then, everytime the songs plays on a speaker within earshot, I think of her and for an instant, I'm back at TFU. When I return to the present, it's usually with a smile on my face...

The Return to... Playing Racquet Sports - II

I got back from Rutu's this evening and decided it was high time I played tennis again. I haven't been on a tennis court since I played against JD two weeks ago and though I have filled the void with squash, I needed a tennis fix. Called a couple of people and found a willing accomplice in Ken, which I thought was lucky given that this is Labour Day Weekend. I was worried about my backhand though, which has been a work in progress over the last year. It's weird how that is the first shot I completely lose when I take some time off.

We had some long rallies during the course of a 75 minute hit at Perrigo Park, leading me to believe that we might be very evenly matched. Contrary to my initial fears, the highlight for me was my backhand, which towards the end became as consistent as my forehand. We played one rally in which Ken hit six balls consecutively to my backhand, each of which I got back. When I finished the point with an almost unplayable backhand down the line, my eyes followed the path of the ball till it fit the back wall. It was an ecstatic moment because that ball had hit the sweet spot and flown off my racquet, bella bella!!

I wanted to call someone and tell them about my exploits on the court today. I didn't because I couldn't think of one person out of the nearly Hundred I have programmed on my phone who would actually "lend" me a ear and be excited for me. I'll take that back, there was one but that's a non-starter; I'd like to have shared this with her but that time has passed.

The Return to... Playing Racquet Sports - I

I've started dabbling in squash again. I picked up the racquet a couple of weeks ago and tried to hit a few balls down the line on the backhand and forehand side. My shots are far from "perfect" but I don't expect them to be. I strive to play two matches a week, and hit against the wall twice a week by myself. The court sense isn't there, my feet don't know where they should plant themselves, my eyes don't know what to follow, my left arm is a nuisance and I'm not nimble like before. I've had my ass handed to me on a platter, I've lunged all around the court only to lose points, I've been virtually bitch-slapped by every opponent I've played since my return. And my hips and butt are sore for days after I'm done playing. It's a good sore though, a reminder that my body has forgotten what it is like to play this sport; testament to the fact that my muscles will awaken from their slumber and adjust to the new movements. I'm changing my stroke to put less pressure on my knees (right in particular) and I've learnt how far I can stretch my body. It's a matter of time before I can harness it's residual potential and start gliding rather than lumbering on the court; start winning rather than losing. But first things first, gotta twiddle my right big toe...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Lazy Saturday Afternoon

This is the perfect Saturday if you ask me. Slept after reading some material on C++ last night; you read that correctly, I read :) I dreamt of some Generic implementations of Iterators, some random women and other even more random situations from work and my personal life from the past couple of days. Woke up earlier than I would on a usual Saturday but I have done NOTHING except chill! You can't do any more to make a day perfect.

Aunty made us some paranthas this morning with paneer in the filling, a deviation from her usual recipe for paranthas. We got out, drove home and were just in time for me to be present while an Internet connection was added to my apartment. In Karan's words, I felt welcomed to the 20th Century! The instant I get my Wireless Router, I'll feel welcomed into the 21st. Yippeee...

After picking Rutu from her apartment in Bellevue, we drove into Seattle to buy some cold weather head gear. The people at Feathered Friends were extremely helpful and made the purchase pretty pain-free. The purchases made, we decided to buy some fruit, wine, cheese and crackers to celebrate one of the last few summer days to grace us this year. When we left Whole Foods, we were armed with all we needed to celebrate at Rutu's. And now, I'm buzzed; wine and cheese consumed after a great Nutelle and Banana crepe while basking in the sun. Aah, the good life!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I'm in Love

Tired

From yesterday's activities and lack of sleep. Many thanks to one Ashley who made me drive to Seattle and then cancelled the program while I was on the freeway. Even if I don't want to make U-turns, circumstances make me :-)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Days Go By and Still I think of

When it will be Friday... I'm going to make time tomorrow to finish all review related work so I can thoroughly enjoy the upcoming long weekend. After living in Seattle for three years, I've learnt that Labour Day Weekend is the unofficially the last weekend of Summer in Seattle. Come September and the Rain Gods shower their generosity over the Pacific North-west. Aah, so exciting!

Gmail has definitely changed the way I communicate via email. Oh wait, I don't actually use gmail to communicate, I use it to share files with my brother :) Nikhil has branched out with his music interests and has slowly amassed a sizable collection of eclectic and main-stream music. One of my current favourites is a remix of the song Madan by Salif Keita; a fusion of native african tribal beats and trance that makes me want to get up and groove everytime I listen to the song. Thanks Nikhil, keep the music coming my way...

Time to send out some more email before I head home. Peace out

Monday, August 29, 2005

How to Start a Day - a short essay!

When I opened my eyes and inspected my cell phone this morning, the time was 6:32AM. The sun was obscured by clouds and it was in the upper 50s outside my apartment window. And for the first time this year, I did the least expected thing for me to do, I woke up!

I made myself some scrambled eggs for breakfast and listened to the Bob Rivers show as I washed down them eggs meal with a home-made latte. This isn't a hollow attempt on my part to sound cheesy but I had a happy song playing in my head as I got dressed and drove in to work. To quote Scott who let me into Bldg 27 this morning, I looked calm and relaxed and for me, that's saying a lot!! All of this lasted till my 10am meeting, of course :-)

Monday, August 22, 2005

6 weeks from Fat to Fit


Participants
Arun, Manoj

Motivation and Reason
Not to be fat anymore, for fun and profit!!

Weight on Aug 22 2005
Arun: 156
Manoj: 186

Target Weight on September 13 2005
Arun: 148
Manoj: 178

Target Weight on October 3 2005
Arun: 142
Manoj: 171

The Plan
More cardio, less weight lifting and less junk food consumption. Nacho Cheese Chalupas are out, Veggie sandwiches are in; coffee is out, fruit smoothies are in.

Let the weight loss program begin.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Snow Lake Hike - I

<This post is dedicated to my friend Arun who doesn't use articles anymore in his communications with us FOBS.>

Most of us working in Windows division of Microsoft have been working very hard through June, July and August of 2005. Longhorn is definitely shaping up into worthy competitor of other OSes on market. But the long hours at work are taking toll on us and I definitely needed a break from the action. Which was just about the time that Arun couldn't go to Mount Rainier with his friends this past Saturday - he was too tired from working all week. So, he decided instead to organize hiking trip to Snow Lake on Sunday.

We met up outside Bldg 26 at a little after 10 on Sunday morning. I knew that things would happen according to Indian Standard Time and for once, I was glad that things were moving at leisurely pace. We bought some snacks, drank coffee, picked up Purvie and Payal (henceforth to be referred to as "The Girls") and were on our way around 12:15 that afternoon. And then, we got pulled over by cop!!

Arun, our trusted driver, was doing 35 in a 25 mph zone. It would've been interesting had he got ticket but instead, he was offered a lecture by the cop. For once, I was glad Arun didn't make smart comment to cop! After the brief lecture and warning, you might be fooled into thinking Arun didn't speed the rest of the day. Five minutes after being pulled over, our man was speeding again - it's in his system now, he's a pathological speeder.

An hour later, we stood at the foot of hill(s) we were about to climb. Four miles was what we had to set out to do each way but before anything else, we needed to use rest-room, just as precaution. Bad idea I say! The loo reeked; it was just a hole in the ground and you could see whatever had been put in it. Everyone who used the loo walked out with a look of total disgust on their face. Ayyp...

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Keys to Success in Corporate America

Be Diplomatic
Be Candid, not blatantly Frank
Be Truthful, not Honest
Insert yourself in situations that test your intellect, not mock it
Be a pleasant person, not a harsh one
It is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself
Watch your surroundings and you'll grow
You can forget everything else but always remember to Kiss Ass

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Dress to "Impress"

Day: Saturday
Date: August 13 2005
Venue: Capitol Club
Dress: Sandals, Deep Blue Adidas Shorts, White Banana Republic T-shirt and Blue Yankees Hat

I didn't think a day would come when I'd walk into a bar in shorts, order a drink, hang out and leave without a single question being asked of me or my dress "sense". Another deed, DONE!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Another Engagement

...and I missed it. Vishaka got engaged to her boyfriend of nearly 8 years yesterday and I wasn't there. I got to work about the same time they exchanged rings in a ceremony that brought my entire family together under one roof. I have no pictures yet but will upload them (yes yes I have a bad track record with this) once my sis gets around to sendin 'em to me.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Five Gone. What's Next...

I set foot on JFK International Airport five years ago on this day - my passport bears the mark: August 9 2000. I felt weird all of yesterday; some of it had to do with it being a Monday but a lot of it had to do with the fact that so much time has flown by. I vividly remember being at Bombay airport, my folks and cousins waving me goodbye, getting on the plane that stood still for four hours at the terminal, the fiasco in London, the overnight stay at a hotel, etc, etc.

I have changed, a lot - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I've acquired new skills, become more independent, played every sport I had an inclination towards and while I've opened my mind to new ideas, I've formed strong notions about what works for me. You could attribute the forming of opinions to a function of growing older but I think being alone and having to fend for myself had a lot to do with this process. And I can't list enough adventures in this space but the ones that come rushing to mind are:
- Lost Passport
- Found passport three months later
- Going to Boston for an internship without knowing where I'm going to stay
- The Boston Experience
- Final semester at RPI
- White Water Rafting
- Mitika's 25th Birthday
- Surd's graduation
- Khalifornia
- Hangin' with the boys in Austin

I'm still in touch with just one person on the flight from Bombay to JFK. It was such an ordeal getting here to begin with that everything else has seemed to be easy to deal with. Incidentally, Mamta graduated with a PhD in Biology (some sub-field, she kept dealing with fruit flies) from CMU last week. And it was her birthday last week too but I'm not allowed to say how old she is. Though I give her a hard time about everything, I wish her the best. As regards me, I've learnt to make the best of what I have. Until I realize I'm missing out on something...

My mother was unwell a couple of days ago. When she was feeling much better, she described her state of mind during her illness to me - what stood out to me was the fact that she sought out the comfort and love of her mom (who passed away maybe fifteen years ago). I thought about what she said much later and I realized, I miss home most when I am unwell. There is something to be said about the warmth and affection I receive from my family and sometimes I wonder if being so far away from them is worth it. Bah, that made me feel even more down. I'm going to Karan's sometime this week to get a taste of home - that always makes me feel better. Call me a wimp and ask me if I care :p

Monday, August 08, 2005

A Case of the Mondays

I accept - I have a case of the Mondays. This day is sucky sucky. And, I have to pack my office up so I can be moved up to the second floor. Did I say somewhere that I hate moving offices, HATE! Now that word is reserved for three things...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

6/7/2005

Did I actually accomplish anything today? I was awake for a good portion of today - so it wasn't lost to sleep. Lost isn't the right word to use here because I don't consider today to be a wasted day. When I was thinking of a title, no one event that occurred today warranted becoming a TITLE. But the little, inconsequential details made my day.

Karan called at 9:15 this morning to inform me that I had to be at work by 10 to attend a conference call. I was awake before Noon on a Saturday - deaaamn! And ever since, this whole day has been different. Good different! I actually got work done today - a whole lot of work: written code, debugged test issues, installed builds, run tests, read specs, filed bugs and thought of how to improve our methods. I was so busy this morning that when I eventually pulled myself out of the office to get lunch, it was close to three in the afternoon. And for the first time in months, I went to a restaurant alone and ate lunch!

Actually, I wasn't alone... I ate a TPP parantha at Preets with dahi and a strawberry milk-shake. Manpreet stopped by time and again to check on me; "Is the food okay?", "Do you like the milk-shake?", "It's not politically correct to call her a whitey!". It's like eating at home if you ask me. I love the place especially since the food actually tastes authentic.

Got back to work after lunch and worked with the rest of the team on more issues related to our RI. The strawberry shake was really not what the doctor ordered because the sugar made me go into overdrive for nearly an hour. I couldn't sit in one place, had to walk around all the time so I decided to turn on some music and do tasks that didn't require 100% concentration. Just as the sugar high abated, Karan stopped by, popped open a new can of balls and we went out and played some cricket :)

I played tennis at the club without a negative thought in my mind. I had put in a good day's work and created a template for what I hope will be more days at work for me. As I type this, a sense of accomplishment is buzzing through my head. Another test pass and Donna and I are out of here. Aahh, Sunday cometh...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Why Would Anyone Search For These Words?

1. ayyp
2. kux in mouth
3. manoj mehta
4. genevieve-orchard
5. nanna munna rahi hoon (this one freaks me out)

Oh well, if people do search for these words, the first hit in Google is this page :) YAYYY!!!

Friday, July 29, 2005

IE 7 Beta1

I just started using IE 7 Beta1 and my first impressions are this is a great browser. Here's what I like:
1. Alt+Enter works from the address bar - the URL opens in a new tab
2. Advanced Privacy controls and Cookie Blocking - this is a couple steps ahead of what Firefox has
3. Tabbed Browsing :)

What I don't like:
1. Tab Close Button is in the right hand corner - LAME
2. New Tab Button doesn't advertize its intent, till you click on it

We have finally come up with a strong response to the naysayers and there is precious little differentiating IE from Firefox now. Unless the Firefox folks really smarten up and clean up their act, their bound to be swept aside by the I|E wave.

Good job IE team, keep it up - I'm looking forward to Beta2 and the Firefox response. Begun, the browser war has...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Konfabulator is now FREE!

"Yahoo!, here we come!: "Konfabulator is now free."

For all of you who use Windows and were agape when you saw the widgets demo for Mac OS X, your deepest wishes have come true. Konfabulator, the product on which Tiger's widgets are based on, is now available as a free download for Windows XP. Even if you don't know what I'm talking about, you should give Konfabulator a spin - it's simply awesome. I have an analog clock running on my desktop at all times now, which is aesthetically pleasing and so much better than the standard Windows clock. A to-do list, a list of stocks I like to watch and the local weather complete my set of widgets. And these are the default...

You can download Konfabulator from this :site:

I'll post other widgets that I stumble upon and like. As for you guys, Enjoy!!!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Ayyp, also A Y Y P

Variant of Hey

Pronounced: aaaaaaaP

Meaning:
Used to denote surprise, react to a dis' or a Kux In Mouth

Usage:
X: Why you gotta be so fat?
Y: Ayyp

A: When you smarten up, you'll realize I'm right!
B: Ayyp

Arun: Hey, I forgot to bring your life jacket along Manoj!
Manoj: Ayyyyyp!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Party...... Boaaaaat...... Life!

A whole bunch of friends got together on Saturday to celebrate Mitika's birthday (I think her 25th but I can't be sure). The plan was to go to the Marina, get on to a boat, drink alcohol, eat food, chill in the hot tub and make merry. Sid and Amit were the principal organizers of this soiree and they did a stellar job at stocking up for the event. We loaded up the boat, got all the right people on board, fired up the barbeque and off we were into Nickerson Marina.

Groups formed once the boat set sail; some of us hung on the lower deck, made margaritas, conversed and worked the bbq. The rest went to the upper deck, applied Sun Block and got into the hot tub. No one soul could help but marvel at the natural beauty around us - the shimmering water, snow-clad Mount Rainier and later in the evening, the captivating orange glow in the sky as the sun set. Ahh, it feels so good to get out and breathe the fresh air...

Midway through the boat ride, it was time to drop anchor and take a dive into the lake. The boat was equipped with a slide and one by one, we swooshed into the lake water, which surprisingly wasn't cold at all. Some slid, the others just jumped from the decks; it didn't matter how you got in but once you did, you didn't want to get out. How could I be missing out on this? Hmm, I can't swim all that well I told myself but that was no excuse - they made life jackets for people like me. So I put on my trunks, an orange life jacket, got psyched up to jump in and dove into the lake from the back of the boat. And then, my life jacket come off...

To say that panic ensued would be an understatement. Thanks to Rutu and Thibaut (pronounced TIBO) for taking turns in calming me down. Wait, they saved my life practically so they deserve a lot of credit here. There were a whole bunch of others who tried to get me back to the boat but as the winds caught up, the boat drifted further and further away from us. Saif tried to get me to the boat too but the more we tried to get to the boat, the further it drifted away from us giving us the impression that we weren't moving forward at all. We got back only thanks to the kindness of another boat's captain who came to our rescue. When he was done picking us up from the water and headed towards shore, there were Saif, Nikhil, Anuj, Tibo, ES, Sucheta, Uma and me on his boat. I don't have enough words to express my gratitude to these seven brave souls who risked their own safety and jumped in to get us out.

Some of the people were in shock for a couple of hours after the rescue mission was complete. As for myself, I was just glad that I had been given another chance. I wasn't going to spend time ruminating over other possibilities and eventualities. I'm alive and I'm going to make the most of it. No point wasting this chance, is there?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I'm crazy

And there's not just one reason for this statement to be true. And yes, I'm beyond medical help! This definitely has something to do with the 45 days of mental development that I missed out on by popping out from the womb after seven and a half months.

Ayypp...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Colin Farrell's Sex-Tape Suit - Jul 19, 2005 - E! Online News

Just followed the link from news.google.com.
"Apparently, Colin Farrell is not interested in discovering what an unauthorized sex tape could do for his career.

The actor has filed a lawsuit against an ex-girlfriend, former Playboy Playmate Nicole Narain, in an attempt to block her from commercially distributing a 15-minute tape of the twosome engaging in a steamy mattress romp."
My simple mind cannot fathom what the deal is with video taping your sexual exploits. First it was the video of Paris Hilton, then the whole MMS scandal in Delhi, and now this. For the most part, the people video-taping their bedroom romps are exhibitionists to begin with, why else would they have the camera rolling? Ahh, maybe they don't have the foresight to envision that the "tape" will someday surface in public. Given that conventional wisdom dictates that this is typical material waiting to be released into the wild, I'm inclined to believe that these people are plain stupid. And what are those that tape and then sue? No comment.

The View from the Other Side

It's about 10 months since I've become a team lead. With the passage of time, I've started to realize some changes in my perspective on issues, especially those relating to work. For instance, I used to come in every morning between 11 and 12 when I was an individual contributor. Now, it is rare that I come in after 10:30. If I come in later than that, I actually feel guilty about being a slacker. I've realized the value of being accountable for my actions, and become more cautious with my choice of words in email and verbal communication. I'll be the first to say that there have been times when my priorities in the past have needed alignment. Though this statement holds true today, I make more of an effort to prioritize correctly and continue to get better. In my mind, I can sleep a happy person if I've shown improvement in specific areas associated with time management.

What does stand out as the biggest change in my view finder is my ability to look at the broader ramifications of a situation. I've started to get a glimpse of the bigger picture and understand how everything fits together. Sometimes, the best decision doesn't abide by the Ideal Engineer's Manual. I've learnt that this is totally acceptable and can prove to be the master stroke...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Biggest Wish of my Life

I wish I had the opportunity to be the best at A sport, that sometime in my life, I get a chance to represent myself or a team in a sport and make a difference; get recognition.

In this life, it is hard for any of us to leave a mark; most of us lead a life of anonymity, an average existence. I'd like to believe that I can buck that trend and no, this isn't hubris. This is just my desire to do something that is memorable. Maybe I'll do something great in my job and be content with that contribution...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rested and Energized

All of last week is a blur; my only distinct memory is of walking through the corridors of Building 27. We finally signed off on our work on Friday at 4:25pm after the team's herculean effort over nearly two weeks. Yes two weeks of night outs, take-out dinners and 3am trips to Denny's, we were done, at least for now! It was a very kind gesture on the part of management to give the entire team Monday off. Here is what I did over my unscheduled long weekend.

So this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well. I did it again, spent all of Saturday sleeping that is; typical after a hard week of work. As my admin put it on Friday, "You look like shit Manoj. Go home and get some rest." And rest I did, for 28 hours over 3 days. That's nearly 38% of the time - ayyp!! Partying, watching movies and playing tennis took up most of the rest. You don't say?!

Every year since I've known Arun, 7th July and 13th September have been somewhat eventful days. The former is Arun's birthday and the latter, mine. So when I went to Capitol Club this past Friday for Arun's birthday dinner, I was kinda worried that this year might prove to be the contrary, that the weekend would go by without much incident. Haa, haa, charade you are Manoj...

As I said, I slept through most of Saturday. The only reason I actually woke up was to get dressed and head over to Apurva's for Arun's pre-birthday party. Of course we were late, an hour late but we had the alcohol so all was forgiven. Damn that alcohol was potent, I hadn't eaten nothing and had slept all day. Any surprise that the alcohol went straight to my head? A couple shots of Crown Royal didn't help my cause much "neither".

Once all the alcohol had been consumed (the final shot of rum was had straight from the bottle by an undisclosed birthday boy), we walked to Tia Lou's to continue the festivities. By this time, I was a little buzzed (liar) and we partied till Rajit was thrown out sometime before 2am. So here's a statistic - every birthday party I've been to this year at a club has had one of the birthday boys thrown out because of shameless alcohol abuse induced rowdiness. I'm going to reverse that by staying sober on my birthday...

I thought I was pretty sober all night long till someone made me realize that I might've been too buzzed to actually know better. I danced with Kristina (wrong, wrong), ate onion rings among other fried substances from Jack in the Box and then proceeded to chug down a whole litre of water before going to bed. The water should explain why my shirt was drenched when I woke up the next morning. And oh yeah, there was the shameless ............ and I'm that only when I'm buzzed. Maybe not.

Woke up with a wet t-shirt (it's only good to see them women in wet t-shirts) and caught up on the escapades of the birthday boys over brunch. Do you feel lethargic and nasty after a night of food, alcohol, cigarette smoke inhalation and debauchery? Well I do! How do I flush these out of my system? In one word, tennis.

My schedule was pretty tight for the evening - Mitika had invited a whole bunch of us to watch Sarkar that evening at 7:30. The clock was about to strike Five when Daniel and I got the game started - this session had to be quick. When I was the first to get to the cinema (driven by Amru), I felt pretty happy about how I had managed my time. Hey cut it out, it was a Sunday for crying out loud.

After the final reel of Sarkar had played out on the silver screen, I hugged Mitika out of gratitude for her invitation, without which I would've missed out on the best Hindi flick I've seen all year. Amitabh and Abhishek have been directed immaculately by Ram Gopal Varma through a great adaptation of The Godfather. I'm tempted to see the movie again, but will I honestly pay $10 to see it in that nasty theatre - no! I'll get me the DVD and check it out at home on my re-organized quasi home theatre.

Spent Monday chilling out - watched Gol Maal, gave my racquet to be re-strung and played a couple sets of tennis. When I walked in to work this morning, I wanted to be sitting in front of my computer. Though I was dragged into more meetings than I'd like, I thoroughly enjoyed my day. And, I topped it off by beating Sameer 6-1, 6-4. That's Manoj-2, Sameer-0. If I keep improving the way I am, I don't see how Sameer is going to overtake me ;) Lights out...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Blogging from home

Before I go to bed. It's late, I've eaten like a pig, worked hard and worked out hard today. Great way to start a week, thank god it didn't start on a Monday :) Objective of this year, get invited to a 4th of July bbq next year! Small, achievable goals I must set for myself. I've given up on the lose weight one a long time ago.

I did something different today. I wrote an email to someone I met just once, hoping that she'd get in touch. Hmm, the last time I did that was when I first came to the US. I take that back, that was different. In that case, the girl gave me her email address. This one, I got from a friend, who is really proud of the fact that he's a P*$P now :) More on that later. So, where was I again? Oh yeah, I'll let you know if she does get in touch with me. It was an interesting meeting I'll say, but I'd like to write about my trip to Chicago before I delve into this topic. Sufficeth to say, it might be worth it ;)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Getting Over Bad Habits

A pure nugget of information

3. Not Sleeping

You can't steal time from your sleep schedule, you can only borrow it. Eventually you have to pay it back. With interest. Yes, you *have* to get XYZ done by yesterday, or... or... Well, *something* really bad will happen. Take a minute to consider most deadlines you've had. Is the deliverable going to ship the day after the deadline? Of course not, this is just the regular monthly deliverable. By the time the shipping deliverable rolls around you'll be paying back your sleep debt, with interest.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. The exact form and date of the final deliverable doesn't matter all that much. Market research always says it would be best to be five years ahead of everyone else in terms of functionality, and able to ship tomorrow. You don't even need surveys to figure that out. The only way to make a useful schedule is with a healthy attention to reality. If there won't be time to include a feature, trim it, and if the bare minimum functionality can't be done in time, let the deliverable date slip.

In the end, all that matters is the code you write, not the hours you put in. If you find yourself falling asleep in your chair, forcing yourself to type to avoid nodding off, go home and get some sleep. You'll more than make up for the lost time the next day.

I'm done with work today. I came in around 7:30am and now desperately need some shut eye. If I leave now, I'll do much better work tomorrow. If I don't, I'll waste the rest of the evening away and achieve nothing. Worse, I'll regret how I wasted my evening tomorrow when I wake up and tomorrow will be wasted too. And so on till it's Tuesday. Must stop before the dam bursts...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

That was then, This is now

There used to be a time when I could post everyday. That time has definitely passed...

I hate when I can't post because I don't have time to get my thoughts together. You would contend that there is no such thing as no time, that I could manage my time better. Tell me how and I'll listen to you.

I've wanted to post stories from Chicago but that has been a non-starter too. How can I not have time? It isn't just a paucity of time actually; it's a question of having access to the WWW when I have a creative spark. I'm wondering if it is worth having an internet connection at home, whether it would help if I didn't work such crazy hours, but these are all just excuses. In the end, the reality is that something gotta give when too much is going on and it's sad that it has to be blogging, something I honestly enjoy.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Chicago Diary - Day 1

The day started early, in fact, Wednesday started and seamlessly blended into Thursday morning. Bleary eyed, I packed my bag, cleaned up my place and watched another episode of American Chopper. I couldn't have gone to sleep, I had too much to do before I boarded my flight to St. Louis en route to Chicago. Flight time: 0640 hours PST. Before I continue, thanks are due to Amruta who dropped me off at the airport in time for my flight. Though what constitutes "in time" when it comes to checking in is debatable, that's a topic for another time...

I got to St. Louis without much incident. The flight arrived "on time" and I was greeted with a final boarding call for a flight to Chicago. Chicago, flight - is that my connection? A quick jog over to a couple of counters from where I deplaned and I found out that it wasn't - my flight wasn't until 3:30 this afternoon. Three hours to spend at Lampert St. Louis International Airport and not a thing to do. American airports, the less said the better.

I tried to get on to the stand-by list for the 2PM flight to Chicago but the AA officials at the boarding counter decided to let AA crew members get on to the plane before paying customers. I shouldn't complain, just wait another hour till I board the seat with my name against it - right, right?! It was all going well till the wind in Chicago picked up and my flight to the "windy" city was delayed by an hour - God Damn It.

I suddenly had forty minutes to spend so I walked beyond my boarding counter (C12) towards a distant Starbucks to grab some lunch and a cup of coffee. By this time, the clock was about to strike three so I was super hungry and craving something more than the orange and 2 granola bars in my bag.

Coffee and scone in hand, I decided to explore some more and spotted a TV with just one bench in front of it. This section of the airport was surprisingly desolate. As I got closer to the TV, I spotted locks of golden blonde hair behind one of the chairs of the bench I was going to plonk myself on. The bench had just three seats and she was sitting on the middle one so I pulled up another bench (yes the whole thing - beefcake!) and watched CNN from behind her. A few minutes later, I was sitting next to her talking baseball, the St Louis Cardinals (her fiance plays for the team), girls and shopping and Jay-walking (Leno style). Had it not ben time to board our respective planes, we might have continued our little tete-a-tete.

It was 4pm when I stood outside the boarding gate again, all set to get out of St Louis. Imagine my surprise when the lady at the gate tells me I can't board the plane because my seat was given away. Apparently, Chicago ATC called and cleared the plane for take-off and they made final boarding calls on the PA system a couple of minutes ago. GDI again - why must you yack with pretty girls Manoj?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Word for the Wise: mercurial

I'm starting a new section today that lists a word that catches my attention. No particular reason for why it catches my attention - maybe it's a word that describes someone I know, or it plain sounds cool. Today's word: mercurial. Why: some people have called me that. Besides, its cool ;)

Main Entry: mer·cu·ri·al
Pronunciation: (")m&r-'kyur-E-&l
Function: adjective
1 : of, relating to, or born under the planet Mercury
2 : having qualities of eloquence, ingenuity, or thievishness attributed to the god Mercury or to the influence of the planet Mercury
3 : characterized by rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood
4 : of, relating to, containing, or caused by mercury

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Hari Om - a love story

A good twenty of my friends got together tonight at the Neptune Theatre in the University District to watch the SIFF screening of Hari Om. Set in North India, the story traces the travels of Isa and her unlikely guide, Hari Om, through picturesque Rajasthan. Isa (a french tourist) and Benoit (her beau) alight from The Palace on Wheels at Jaipur station, with one day to look around the Pink City before their journey continues through Rajasthan. You get the sense rightaway that Benoit treats Isa more as an incumberance than a partner, and a jilted Isa decides to go out and explore Jaipur (and then more of Rajasthan) by herself. It is in the company of Hari Om, the simple auto-rickshaw driver, that Isa finds someone to laugh with with as she soaks in the beautiful sights and sounds of urban and rural Rajasthan.

What starts off as a fun day in Jaipur becomes nightmarish when Isa misses her train out of Jaipur to Jaisalmer. Lucky for her, Hari Om finds her asleep by a railway crossing and agrees to drive her to Jaisalmer in time for her to resume her train journey. Isa's journey through the desert becomes a voyage of discovery; she begins to understand and respect the people she meets and starts figuring out what she wants from her life. As they ride from Jaipur to Jaisalmer, their travails blur their cultural differences and bring them closer together. Before they can admit to themselves, they've fallen in love with each other.

My favourite scenes in the movie had Isa and Hari Om at different physical locations. Their ennui and wistful expressions gave away their desires to be in each other's company. The most touching moment was when he appears at the bus station with wilted roses just as she is about to buy a ticket to Jaisalmer. She sees him, walks away from the counter and says, "I didn't want to take the bus anyways."

Did I mention anywhere that Isa, aka Camille Natta, is smoking hot. Seeing her in a Rajasthani ghagra doing a folk dance, that definitely made the movie worth the admission price.

My vote - ****