Friday, April 29, 2005

A lot to write about, no time to write it in...

Will update this space soon but it's very hectic for a Friday here. Just saw Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and I was bored; the humour was insipid and honestly, the movie just lacked punch. But more on that later...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The U2 Experience - Key Arean, Aisle 205, Row 12

I realized how big the U2 concerts were going to be when I heard that people had to stand for hours outside Key Arena's box office the day the tickets went on sale sometime in February. But nothing drove the realization in more than the cramped parking lots around Key Arena this evening as I drove all over the place to find a convenient spot for my car. Amruta and Sid kept me company while I navigated through the streets around Seattle Centre and finally found a great spot just outside our destination.

By all accounts, this was the most number of people gathered at Key Arena for an entertainment event and the lines to get anything (beer, food, etc) were serpentine. The opening act had just ended and the stage was being prepped for U2 when we entered the main arena and stood in line to get through security. I am actually glad that I didn't get in any earlier because I don't think I'd have the patience to endure the opening act and the long 45 minute break between them and U2. Between waiting in lines and drinking our beers, it was just about "The Band"
made their grand enterance.

And what an entrance it was my countrymen... They had an eclectic list of songs that spanned most of their career, my favourites being New Year's Day and Bullet the Blue Sky. I must say that Bono is an entertainer par excellence and U2 is really, really good at doing their Live gigs. It appeared as if they were infallible on stage, their personas projected on the giant screens making them seem larger than life. Bono had a very clear message to deliver during the concert - his fight against discrimination and the upliftment of the people of Africa.
And when he sang "Where the Streets Have No Name" with the flags of the African countries flashing on the giant screens behind him, I got sucked into the emotion of it all and couldn't help but sing my heart out. U2 are rockers with a mission to help the people of the world and I respect that...

If you ask me, the most singular moment of the evening had to be when Bono asked people to text their names to a number (UNITE which is 86483) and the arena's lights were turned off. The members of the crowd reached for their cell phones to text their names and in doing so, the glow from their displays mimicked the lighter effect in rock shows. It was a surreal experience, the lights from the displays twinkling like stars in the sky and as if moved by intuition, people lifted their cell phones above their heads and swayed from side to side. Something about the sight of nearly forty thousand people holding a dim light and swaying from side to side that can't be quite explained in words, it has to be experienced...

Monday, April 25, 2005

To U2 we shall go...

If last evening's concert is anything to go by, I'm going to be totally rocked by the U2 concert. I wish we could all go together but given how difficult getting tickets has been, it's some consolation that all my friends have seen U2 live yesterday or will see them live today. Key Arena is a closed stadium (home of the Seattle Sonics basketball team) so the acoustics are going to be deafening. And I don't need to say nothing about the lighting effects. Damn, I'm excited.

I'm wearing Green today to pay homage to the Irish heritage of U2. The plan is to listen to my favourite U2 tracks all day at work and get out of work as the clock strikes 6. Some alcohol, a lot of traffic and then the concert - so worth it!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I worked on RMS SP1

Read more about Microsoft RMS :here:

And then I got smashed

We shipped RMS SP1 on Friday - the announcement should have been made in the press yesterday. Not that I would know which newspaper or what the text of the announcement was - by the time Monday became Tuesday, I had gone through the entire cycle of Sober, Drunk, Wasted and then Sober again. I don't know what else to call my state last night as I slept on the couch, watched TV and talked to Ashley on the phone. Wait, what about that monster headache...

So this is how the day's events unfolded. I couldn't sleep very well on Sunday night because I had been sleeping till late in the afternoon over the weekend. I was finally out of my apartment a little after 11 last morning and as I walked to the car, I had to squint my eyes from the uncharacteristically strong April sun, a slight headache building up between my temples. I'll fess up and say that I didn't get much done between the moment I arrived at work and the moment we left for The Garage. On the flip side, nothing has changed since we signed off on SP1 this past Friday so what was there to do? ;)

Arrived at the bowling alley with Amit and gang and walked over to the bar to get myself a Long Island Iced Tea. I had told everyone that I was going to have just 1 drink, enjoy the buzz and then stay sober the rest of the evening. Yeah whatever... The drink was stronger than I'm accustomed to but I drank it over the course of an hour interspersed with very ordinary bowling (on my part) so it was just fine. What wasn't was the fact that I had downed two random shots even before I had finished my first drink. The buzz was setting in...

About this time, the hankering for a Mojito gripped me but the bartender didn't have any Mint Leaves. Now the Garage is in the perfect location on Broadway - a grocery store is right around the corner. I got out of my bowling shoes, into my street shoes and ran out into the sun again and realized how tipsy I was. The sun hurt, I could walk straight but just about and while I was figuring all of this out I suddenly heard, "Manoj".

"That is a girl's voice", I thought to myself, "No you are dreaming, just continue running along to QFC." I heard my name again and this time around, it was louder, as if I was running towards the caller, so I looked up. And there she was, Kirsten, ex-Pro Club employee and good friend. I stole her from her friends, walked into QFC, she found Mint Leaves for me and I walked back to the Garage, mint leaves in one hand and girl on another. I walked up to Kelly, the waitress, emptied out my wallet and said, "Please get us drinks till this tip lasts :)" and had this sheepish grin on my face. And what do you know, she kept those Mojitos coming, 10 of them between Kirsten, Steve and myself.

It only took another hour for me to have my head on the table, eyes half closed bemoaning my binge drinking. Five trips to the bathroom, some violent puking and my head began to get screwed on in the right direction. We got out of the Garage and walked for what seemed to be an eternity (5 minutes, 5 blocks) to Steve's place on Capitol Hill. I can remember most of the walk but didn't figure what direction we were going in. Besides, Helle was even more drunk than I was and we were walking back arm in arm - one drunk helping another home, now that's what I call team-work!

Steve has a wonderful apartment with a breath-taking view of the Space Needle and the mountains. I got more and more fluids into my system along with some carbs while the others sipped on wine and beer. Steve was a great host, he kept the food and drinks coming all the time and not for an instant did I realize how wasted he was himself. Lots of flirting, strawberry feeding, shameless hooking up and three hours later, we walked over to Machiavelli's for dinner before Jim Vu (Helle's husband) drove Karan and me home. And that's when the headache hit...

The drive home from work in PGY seemed to last longer than the four minutes it actually was. I couldn't get my head to stop throbbing; water didn't help, tang didn't help and eating food definitely made the throbbing stronger. It didn't help that I yakked away on the phone with people, flirted with Ashley and tried to stay awake through an episode of American Chopper. When I finally got off the couch and slid under the covers, it was nearly 2am but my headache was nearly gone.

I woke up this morning to find that the bathroom door from my apartment was totally busted. Time to call facilities, again! Moral of the story - whether we ship or not, we should definitely have ship parties more often ;) Ok honestly, the parties on Friday and Monday have helped me bond more deeply with people on the team, especially the folks who made it to Steve's place. There is a lot of merit to attending these events because people let their guards down after a couple drinks. Once the person emerges from behind the garb they must don at work, I get a peek into their real personality and understand them better. If not anything else, parties make for great stories...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The blogging experiment that failed

Two experiments today - both flopped.

First up - Email publishing. Made all the requisite configuration changes but no dice, with both blogger and MSN Spaces.

Second Experiment - MSN Spaces - future flop me think!
I know that as time goes on, it will be hard to maintain two blogs - I don't have the cycles to update one frequently enough.

Now about me - My thoughts and experiences of the past couple days have been dark and thought provoking. Moreover, I'm still searching for my centre, the calm zone that I hear Cathy talk about during Yoga. The things that I think about now aren't problems, aren't things I need to solve. They are work-related (for the most part) and I've accepted them as part of being an adult and having a job. No point in mulling over these issues once I've turned the lights off and walked out of my office space. This is an area where working out has helped a great deal; being in the gym and interacting socially with people who aren't in any way connected to work has helped in pushing issues out of my immediate consciousness. I feel normal again albeit, momentarily...

Realizations...

I should continue to persevere. The fruits of my labours will come, if not today then definitely some other day. It is hard to detach oneself like that but this must be done. And yes, others are just that - others...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Tips to make your browsing experience faster

This is true on all browsers:

Another web-performance tip: When generating hyperlinks, always include a trailing slash if possible. For instance, navigating to http://msdn.microsoft.com/ie takes one more roundtrip than http://msdn.microsoft.com/ie/. When the browser navigates to the /ie url, the server merely sends down a 301 to the /ie/ url. Both links work, but the second version is faster.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

YaGoohoo!gle

Check this out: YaGoohoo!gle

Insipid, boring life this has become

Same thing - over and over again

Get to work at between 10 and 11
Eat at Noon
Enter Pro Club before 7:30
Workout till 11
Go home, drink Protein Shake, watch Jay Leno and/or Conan

Damn, whatever happened to the days when so much used to happen, when I had so many things to write about? I'll tell you what it is - I have things to write about but they aren't personal anymore. They're observations I make, of people and of situations. And suddenly, I don't think I have the liberty to express my opinions lest someone reads what I write and gets offended.

Let me take that back actually. I do have things to write; I have changed, morphed into someone I don't know anymore. I'm calm and unstable at the same time, I'm responsible and remiss, more and more of a study in contrasts. I'll write some about what has changed tomorrow but this change might be here to stay. And no, I'll never be able to wake up early in the morning or sleep early at night - that's just not programmed into my DNA...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Monday, April 04, 2005

Firefox Tests Beefed-up Popup Blocker

Download extension from :here:

Blurb
"The Mozilla Foundation is testing a patch to its Firefox browser that puts the kibosh on popup ads which have been slipping through the open-source browser's blocker.

In recent weeks, said the group, advertising networks, in particular Fastclick, have started exploiting the fact that Firefox's popup blocker doesn't stymie Flash and Java popups by default."

Beauty and the Beast

Here are excerpts from a piece written by Dave Barry that struck a chord with me - many thanks to Surd for forwarding this to me (the full piece can be read by clicking on the link). I don't agree with some of Dave's presumptions for women behaving the way they do when it comes to their looks but he makes a good argument here. It's all Barbie's fault ;)

If you're a man, at some point a woman will ask you how she looks.

"How do I look?" she'll ask.

You must be careful how you answer this question. The best technique is to form an honest yet sensitive opinion, then collapse on the floor with some kind of fatal seizure. Trust me, this is the easiest way out. Because you will never come up with the right answer.

The problem is that women generally do not think of their looks in the same way that men do. Most men form an opinion of how they look in seventh grade, and they stick to it for the rest of their lives. Some men form the opinion that they are irresistible stud muffins, and they do not change this opinion even when their faces sag and their noses bloat to the size of eggplants and their eyebrows grow together to form what appears to be a giant forehead-dwelling tropical caterpillar.
...
If I had to express, in three words, what I believe most women think about their appearance, those words would be: ''not good enough.'' No matter how attractive a woman may appear to be to others, when she looks at herself in the mirror, she thinks: woof.
...
Why do women have such low self-esteem? There are many complex psychological and societal reasons, by which I mean Barbie. Girls grow up playing with a doll proportioned such that, if it were a human, it would be seven feet tall and weigh 81 pounds, of which 53 pounds would be bosoms.
...
But women grow up thinking they need to look like Barbie, which for most women is impossible, although there is a multibillion-dollar beauty industry devoted to convincing women that they must try
...
Of course, many women will argue that the reason they become obsessed with trying to look like Cindy Crawford is that men, being as shallow as a drop of spit, WANT women to look that way. To which I have two responses:

1. Hey, just because WE'RE idiots, that doesn't mean YOU have to be; and

2. Men don't even notice 97 percent of the beauty efforts you make anyway. Take fingernails. The average woman spends 5,000 hours per year worrying about her fingernails; I have never once, in more than 40 years of listening to men talk about women, heard a man say, ''She has a nice set of fingernails!'' Many men would not notice if a woman had upward of four hands.

This last part is the truest of them all - I mean as long as women have clean nails, they are fine in my book!

Song of the month: Lamhe, DJ Suketu

Song: Lamhe - Remix
Artist: DJ Suketu
Movie: Zeher

DJ Suketu has delivered another smash club hit! Inspired by house beats, this remix of "Woh Lamhe Woh Baatein" has great repeat value. The lilting vocals, backed by trippy beats, make you want to sing along and groove, whatever be the setting - your car, a club or in my case, my office. And yes, I have the mp3...

7 weeks...

to sculpt. No excuses, no announcements, no tolerance for laziness. If I can't do it, I'll never write about working out again. Focus bhench! Status weekly.

Detox

I'm on woman detox! Yes, that's true - I'm not going to get involved with women for I don't know how long. I've had enough, for now!

Been in one relationship after another for the last three years, never for once figuring out what I want, who I want it with and why I want it. I'm taking time off now to figure out answers to some of my questions. If at the end of this "phase", I have more searching questions and no answers, I'll be not a penny poorer. But what if I have answers, what if things make sense?

What's happened to me - what does this maturity portend? Could I be growing up? Or is this in preparation for the next huge leap of faith that is marriage? The questions don't stop cropping up so there is hope for some answers - equilibrium must be maintained...