Friday, December 22, 2006

Bay Area Musings

The sun is out on a beautiful afternoon in San Francisco. Contrary to popular belief that SF's weather mirrors that in Seattle, today is a warm, fogless day on which I can see the Golden Gate bridge in all its splendor. The vista from this apartment is gorgeous; I can see as far as downtown on the one side and the Golden Gate on the other. The local market is no more than a 5 minute walk and the most crooked street in the world, Lombard, is only a few blocks away. Aah, the good life...

I just read a feature in Details magazine on the 50 most influential men below the age of 42 and I am heavily inspired. Some discipline, some hardship, and a lot of chutzpah will get me to a position of influence. I have to start now though, can't be wasting time no more in idle pursuits. The end of one year and the beginning of another is the perfect time to start afresh, to wipe the slate clean. "Easier said than done", I hear being said in the sidelines. "Rome wasn't built in a day, so I'd better start now", right back at ya!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Post To Celebrate Power Restoration

I spent the better part of today working in Outlook, doing laundry, folding clothes and hanging with Jyot. On the one hand, I really enjoy being outside my apartment with my new found family and on the other, I want to go back home, to my own home! I miss being in my own little slice of heaven, however good or bad it is. This might be the reason why I sometimes go quiet, because I miss the times when I am just by myself doing my own thing. I am not one to enjoy the limelight, be around people watching me at all times. My craziness manifests itself in many ways, and at moments when I least expect it to. Being around people who are constantly judging throws me off, makes me say or do something that might embarrass those around me.

I was called high-strung yesterday and uptight today. These are not adjectives I want to be associated with yet I get the feeling that I am slowly becoming an amalgam of both. I had to say this before I proceeded but I feel so special that I thought The Emperor and Chancellor Palpatine were played by the same actor - Ian McDiarmid. The end of the year is a time to take stock and these statements have kick-started this process. This past year has been anything but ordinary - I decided to take a break and headed to Bombay for a mere 2 weeks, I spent a lot more time with friends, got back on the squash court and have set myself on the path to attaining a semblance of equanimity and physical fitness. The old Manoj would think about what was said and via analysis become just the person I didn't want to be. This is the new Manoj so I am going to talk about Star Wars instead!

How stupid of Luke to throw his sword away after he is done taking care of Vader (my favorite character of all time). If he had his sword with him, he could have fought off the energy blasts from The Emperor but no, hes got to be the stupid noble kid that he is! There are more instances of him being totally stupid, like revealing that he has a sister to Vader. Ok, enough of this madness too. I can't wait to get back to my apartment, did I say that already? Ok, time to go to bed now.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Old Blog, New Tagline

In this life, I've learnt that not only is the truth stranger than fiction, it's funnier too. As I was telling a friend, life is funny because when you least expect it, people poke fun at you! :) Now that I know this, I should spread the gospel and sign off with this quote from the erudite Van Wilder:
Don't take life so seriously, you're not gonna get out of it alive.

3G iPod Hold Switch Stuck - Fixed!!

Last evening, much to my dismay, the Hold Switch on my iPod seemed to have gotten stuck. After trying every software solution I could find posted on the Internet, I almost gave up hope on my iPod and even considered buying a new mp3 player. I wanted to do my due diligence though and not retire a fixable device so I resorted to my final Out - disassembling the iPod.

After scouring the Internet (googling disassemble ipod), I finally found a site that contains step by step instructions on how to perform this disassembly. I found the link I provided to be the most useful among the ones on the iNet. Trust me, don't clean out your pod, don't reset to the factory settings and lose all your music, settings and equalizer presets. Instead, just crack the iPod open and fix the Hold Switch problem. You'll fix the problem without cleaning out the closet, so to speak...

Blogging

I have lost interest in maintaining this blog. In fact, I have lost interest in a lot of things this past month. Maybe it's a phase that will result in a dire need to write out my thoughts. Maybe...

I've been reading the Life Hacker blog of late and have stumbled upon a realization. I need to think of a way to create a blog that helps people, that provides them with tips and information. So my blog on wordpress is going to get an overhaul and I'm going to start posting tips on Windows and random stuff I find on the Internet that people might find useful. Let's see how long this lasts :)

Work has been hectic but fun these past couple weeks. The reduced set of people at work means fewer meetings resulting in more throughput. This also requires me to be at work for a shorter duration of time; funny then that I stay on for longer now, because I actually want to be there and it isn't mandated. Aah, my problems with authority continue...

It's about 40 days till I go to India and what better time than now to embark on my final quest of 2006 to get in shape. The plan is to work out 5 days every week and to eat healthy. Regardless of whether I shed a few pounds, I want to feel fit and in shape again. This seems to be an elusive target of late but this hail mary effort might just be what I need. I'll keep this space updated with the results. Peace out for now, hopefully I'll write more often, especially at wordpress.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Indian Education System's Fallacies

The other day, I was told I was "Rude and Brash for an Indian". It's not something I'm ashamed of to be honest; I perceive being assertive and direct as an asset, one that I must thank my dad for. It's the desire to understand and the freedom to question that has brought me where I am - there is no turning back for me. Alas, the Indian education system fosters subservience and discourages the curious mind. How some of us deviated from the norm and became out-spoken then is anyone's guess.
And even if rigid teaching ways are changed, experts say the rigidity of Indian households will continue. “When we are raising our children,” said Sam Pitroda, a Chicago-based entrepreneur who is chairman of the Knowledge Commission and was an adviser to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s, “we constantly tell them: ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that. Stand here, stand there.’ It creates a feeling that if there is a boundary, you don’t cross it. You create boxes around people when we need people thinking outside the box.”
That was an excerpt from the article I read on NYTimes. The lesson for me is to not set boundaries for myself or for those under my tutelage (you have my sympathies already). Encouraging independent thought (like my father did) and letting individuals discover who they are can only be a positive thing for society.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Near Death Experiences

... fill me with the desire to live life to the fullest. I had two just this evening while ensuring Gundapps gets to ride home with a familiar face after a 4 hour flight. I don't need to read about how such experiences put things in perspective because I can vouch for the fact. I am living proof that everyone needs to get a slight whiff of death in order to kick start their listless life.

Wait a moment, listless and dull - when did those become adjectives that described my life. Well, anyone whose day is made when he has had a great workout needs to get a life! :) With that being said, the endorphin rush one gets from an intense workout is akin to the post-sexual rush. Since the chemical reaction is the same, why try so hard to get into a woman's pants (and spend a whole lotta money on your way in)?

Friday, November 17, 2006

PS3 or Wii

From the commercials, I am tempted to get myself a Wii on launch day but before I proceeded down that route, I wanted to see what the industry and other, more avid, gamers thought of the 2 consoles. The results are surprisingly in favour of the new Wii. Check the link at the bottom before you decide on a console to get for this holiday season.

And for those of you who are content with your PS2, Final Fantasy XII is out and is receiving rave reviews! Off to the lines for me ...

Monday, November 13, 2006

So Tired, So Happy

I just wish I didn't have this headache and that my eyes could stay open for longer than 1 minute. The show must go on...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I've Been Told

That I tend to use difficult words in my blog posts. In the future, if I end up using a word that's not part of common parlance, I'll add a simple English definition in brackets while reviewing the post for errors (grammatical and factual).

Thanks to Sharonyka for apprising (informing) me of this.

Intoxicated Blogging

Vista shipped this week and that's reason enough to be intoxicated everyday! Yes, I said it, EVERYDAY!!! This is the first release of Windows that I have worked on from start to finish. RMS SP1 bits were released almost as is in Vista and there is the work I put on on Security Processor that really counts in Vista. No SecProc, no ...

I've been in super high spirits since Thursday morning. Wednesday has to go down as the worst day I've had since I've been back from India; which is what makes Thursday so special because I haven't been happier! Woke up early, went to work on time, hung with the boys at work, made some contribution and then partied with the team. We started drinking at 3:30 in the afternoon and when we were done at around 6pm, I was "merry"! I had spoken to almost everyone in our party, chatted up the waitress and mooched food off every table! :) Thank God Linsley drove me home.

The official Vista ship party was yesterday (Friday) and I had to stay sober till after my squash match at 5pm. All hell broke loose after though, first in Helle's office and later in Belltown at Arjun's place. I am so fortunate to have found a great crew to hang out with - Satya, Anshu, Rajit, Arun and recently Pooja make for great company. In fact, that was the core crew this evening at Cedar's (dinner) and then Havana.

First up though, today was the second circuit of the week. I biked for twenty minutes before launching into the 8 round circuit that I've been indulging in twice a week. Today's was especially difficult and I almost didn't make it through the final round (10 reps on all 5 exercises). The utter satisfaction and sense of accomplishment when I finished the slated number of rounds is hard to describe in this medium...

I was in the mood for an omlette after the workout. I don't store vegetables in the fridge anymore so the first stop was Whole Foods Market. Groceries in tow, I drove home and listened to some great tunes as the omlette materialized - damn I'm a good cook! I didn't wanna drive tonight (my car's heater is on the fritz) and when the boys didn't call till 9, I assumed that this was going to be a night spent in front of the idiot box. They gave me 10 minutes, yes 10 minutes, to get ready (I hadn't showered after my workout) and then gave me hell for taking 15. Satya's whining stopped the instant he had eaten enough food; he had to focus on digesting instead. What followed was a great evening of drinking and dancing at Havana. Here's to many more weekends like the one gone by...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

When the night, has come

Nip/Tuck's soundtrack is playing in the background on a night that might see me turn in before 2am. That I am listening to the show's soundtrack is a testament to how much I enjoy the show. Heretofore unknown to me, something about dysfunctional situations demands my attention. What did they say about caving in to natural instincts? "Feeding the beast", if I remember correctly!

I am finding it hard to go to bed these days, primarily because of the sudden change in season and episodes of Nip Tuck/House/Heroes/Prison Break... I expected Winter to set in but not at the pace it has in Seattle this year. We had 70 degree days only a few weeks ago; contrast this fact with the current temperature - approximately 35 degrees!

The lack of a real muse has whittled down the number of times I get on my soapbox. Glorifying the inconsequential (even petty) events in my life isn't fulfilling at this point. This blog did start out as a way for me to look back in time and view my life through a wider periscope. Nothing provides perspective like experience (age too) but would I like to remember a squash game I played or a trifling argument I had?

To continue on as if the previous paragraph didn't happen - that would make me a trooper, right? The effects of the circuit training might not be visible yet but I definitely feel stronger in the gym. The increased agility and burstiness around the squash court can also be attributed to the intense training and plyometric drills. Even if there aren't any visible changes after a few months, that I could do 90lb bicep curls last evening is reason enough for me to continue down the circuit training path!

The rest of the week looks promising from both a work and social stand-point. But if I have to "Carpe" tomorrow, it's time for me to call it a night *now*. Peace out!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

What's in the eyes of the beholder?

Pretty is in the eye of the beholder,
Beauty is in the soul.
You can't see it, but you know it when you feel it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Can This Day Be Over Already?

It is fast approaching 4pm and this week has just blown past me. I don't think there has been another week this hectic in recent memory - we filed and fixed a Vista RTM bug, I restarted a circuit training program (Sunday and Monday for me), and for the first time, I am caught up with the email in my mailbox.

With 1979 is playing in the background, I feel like I've accomplished a whole bunch this week. Enough to warrant a break for the rest of the day. To be honest, I don't think I can be very productive for much longer today. Maybe after a multi-vitamin and a dose of Fish Oil, my energy levels might swing up but that's unlikely. This feeling is bitter-sweet; I am so happy I got so much done this week but at the same time I need to recharge my batteries and get some serious down time this weekend.

The hoppity-skip is back on the squash court and is seriously impeding my ability to play to my potential. On the whole though, my return to squash has exceeded my expectations. I'd like to throw in a few games of badminton a couple times a week but even with 20 courts at the Pro, the wait for a game is usually 15 minutes. My ADD doesn't let me stand around for more than 3 :)

My words got me in trouble again yesterday and a very close confidante might not speak to me again. This turn of events will take a huge toll on me. If I've learnt anything in life, it is that minute skirmishes mar the deepest of friendships. On the flip side, if things don't stay the same, they weren't meant to be; this isn't a cop out or me trying to shirk off responsibility. This does beg the question though - Is it too late in the game for me to change?

Monday, October 23, 2006

The IRS Keep Taketh

Even after I pay my taxes on time, the IRS needs more money from me. Apparently, I haven't paid taxes on dividend income in 2004. I'll verify whether the information is accurate and if it is, pay my dues. But this is utter bullshit if you ask me! Interest is around 10% per annum - god damn it!

Friday, October 20, 2006

New Rock CD

The first creative thing I have done since I've returned to the US has been making this rock CD. It's got 22 songs on it that occupy the entire 80 minutes that a CD can hold, hope listening to this CD cheers me up. Are there gonna be no witticisms, no quips? I'll pass on those and instead, present the list of songs:

1. Ezekiel 25:17 - Samuel L Jackson
2. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
3. Back in Black - AC/DC
4. Chop Suey! - System of a Down
5. Wild Boys - Duran Duran
6. Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes
7. Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics
8. 1979 - The Smashing Pumpkins
9. Short Skirt/Long Jacket - Cake
10. Like a Stone - Audioslave
11. Impossibility - Remy Zero
12. Song for the Dumped - Ben Folds Five
13. Closer - NIN
14. What I Got - Sublime
15. Last Kiss - Pearl Jam
16. Never There - Cake
17. In the End - Linkin Park
18. Stellar - Incubus
19. If You Leave - Nada Surf
20. Yellow Ledbetter - Pearl Jam
21. Stars - Simply Red
22. Easy Like Sunday Morning - Faith No More

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

GoodTree - Your charitable deed for the day!

Please make this page your homepage/your search engine of choice: GoodTree - The search engine that supports charities

Proceeds from the advertising revenue go to charitable institutions around the dedicated to helping the impoverished.

Brown's Where It's At!!!

Even Evolutionary Theorists know this to be true:
"Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people."
Brown IS here to stay people, here to stay!! :)

Maybe it's time...

That I started writing again. After a "long" hiatus of three weeks, I think I am back in the groove of things here in Seattle. I uploaded the pictures from my trip on to my computer but need to weed out the blurry and redundant ones. There are also some pictures missing from this trip, for instance, the ones from my birthday so gotta find those. Oh well, it feels weird to write about the mundane.

I watched a very disturbing episode of CSI last night, at the end of which, Gil Grissom very eloquently summarized the problem with American culture today. He said (sic.),
The truth is, a moral compass can only point you in the right direction, it can't make you go there. Our culture preaches that you shouldn't be ashamed of anything you do anymore. And unfortunately this city is built on the principle that there's no such thing as guilt. "Do whatever you want, we won't tell."
Not having someone point me in a particular direction allows me to make my choices as I deem fit. This lifestyle is such a contrast to life in India, where there is always someone looking over my shoulder. Having to think through how my entire extended family (in Bombay) will perceive my actions is reason enough to not do something remotely sacrilegious. Since there are no such compunctions in America, I tend to lead quite a profligate life. I wonder if I'll ever buckle down...

Friday, October 13, 2006

This Friday has their number

This is not a good day for paraskevidekatriaphobics -- those who fear Friday the 13th. It's double-13 Friday. All the numbers in the numerical notation -- 10/13/2006 -- add up to 13 as well, giving great pause to the superstitious.

The phenomenon hasn't happened in 476 years, said Heinrich Hemme, a physicist at Germany's University of Aachen who crunched the numbers to find that the double-whammy last occurred Jan. 13, 1520.
All ye superstitious ones, today isn't a day to venture out. But if you do, make it worth it just in case it's the last time you do! :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Vista vs Mac OS X

Round 1 goes to Vista. The Window effects, the alpha blending, the transparency all add up to a very visually pleasing experience. Compared to Vista, this Mac OS X box UI feels cledgy and curmudgeonly.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Now that I'm back...

I thought I'd write a post through the jet lag induced haze. Coming back this time around was harder than it has ever been. I sit wistfully in my living room half expecting Nikhil to come rushing in and insist I get ready now so we can go out or play cricket or play badminton. The silence that an American existence affords is grating on my nerves now. I'll have to do laundry soon, buy groceries, do the dishes, cook!!

As Nietzsche said, "There is no fact, only interpretation." My perspective at this moment is skewed and it will take some time before I get accustomed to my life here again. It might help if I have some family here, in close proximity. Regardless, I've learnt that this is a passing phase and all will be well soon. Here's to happier times then, from the past and into the future...

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Bombay Reality - Final Post

September 25 2006

I just witnessed the sun set on a beautiful Autumn day in Bombay. On this terrace I stand content, the unencumbered evening breeze in my face. Like this day, this sojourn in my home city is coming to an end. As night falls on this last day, I choose not to reflect on the two weeks gone by. That would only make me despondent; the unadulterated fun, childish exploits and idle reveries have rendered me devoid of stress and despondency. If only I could capture this trip, no wait, just this moment in a still frame.

The orange hues in the sky are beginning to dissipate as the cawing of the crows is supplanted by the honking of cars. I strain my eyes to catch a final glimpse of the sun beyond the horizon. I take a deep breath, and then another so I can feel the salt from the sea in my nostrils. If there was another moment of sheer bliss, it's not one I can recall. Time to snap back to reality and walk the steps down to my flat. Some final items need to be packed but as I leave I take pause. A white crescent has just emerged from behind the dark clouds and demands my attention...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Bombay Reality - Post 3

A Pleasant Tuesday Afternoon

I can hear the birds chirping outside my window as I write this. The sound of cars whizzing on the main road I choose to drown out now - it's a constant that reminds me how bustling this city is. A BEST bus just took off from its stop right outside my apartment building carrying tired workers back home. There was a time when Bombay was blanketed by smog. The smog, with that time has passed and has given way to blue skies and cleaner air.

The birds continue making music as a soft, balmy breeze laps at me through the open windows. Today is the first day that I don't need a ceiling fan to keep me cool, an upshot of my acclimatization to the warmer locale. This blissful deadline-free existence is addicting, a narcotic that has rid me of stress and freed me from the trappings of the corporate rat race. It has to be a ringing phone that breaks my idle reverie.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Bombay Reality - Post 2

September 17, 2006

Today is the 3rd day in a row that it has rained in Bombay and the mercury has dipped by a good 7 or 8 degrees. This is a welcome relief for people like me (America returns) who can't tolerate the heat even though they spend most of their time at home doing *nothing*. I am sure the unabated rainfall has wreaked havoc on the denizens of this city who are on the move all the time. One man's food, another man's poison...

I caught up with a good friend from college this evening over a cup of coffee. Life, family, children and the burgeoning Indian economy were mostly what we spoke about and I felt a little more convinced that I should return back home. I did tell him that the abject disregard for rules was what annoyed me most about my people when they are in India. Surprisingly, the very Indians that don't give a damn for where they throw their litter in India become the most law-abiding citizens abroad. Damn hypocrites.

I saw a new Hindi flick last evening with one of my longest standing friends - Lage Raho Munnabhai. The movie extolled the values and ideals first made popular by the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, via an entertaining script punctuated with some classic one-liners. I'd recommend that you watch it even if it means you have to read the sub-titles. I'll come along in case you want some company and live translations. The pleasure of my company is the complimentary prize...

An entire week has elapsed since I got here and I am finally settling into a great rhythm. Nikhil and I workout every alternate day; our workouts consist of various combinations of cricket, a 30 minute run, lifting weights and badminton (I didn't know I had the skill for this sport). I don't have jet lag no more, I don't have to move a muscle to get stuff done and the food is as exotic as it is delicious. The thought of leaving Bombay now and returning to Seattle is just depressing.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Zune Anyone?


This player is the shit and I want to get one for myself. No more iPods for me, unless something really compelling comes out of the Apple "creative" tank!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Bombay Reality - Post 1

September 11, 2006

This is my first post from Bombay but it might not be. There is no wireless access in this coffee shop as I was promised and my laptop’s power cord doesn’t fit into the wall outlet. Time to put this machine to sleep and resume this post when it has some more juice…

Aah, many rounds of musical chairs and I have finally found the one seat that lets me charge my laptop as I work on this post. There is loud, Hindi music playing in this café; its interplay with the sounds of people (middle-aged women for the most part) cackling and the bellowing espresso machine provide an eclectic and offbeat soundtrack to this effort. Time for my daily tip to the foreign traveler visiting India – order the Cappuccino over the Latte if you are a Latte drinker, The Indian incarnation of the Cappuccino is the rest of the world’s Double Shot Latte, especially at Café Coffee Day. While I am enlightening you on Indian coffee, this is one of the finest cups of coffee I have sipped since coffee became my drink of choice. I consider myself to be a coffee connoisseur, with a refined palette that can distinguish good coffee from bad. This coffee is good! Indian coffee beans are now being procured by Illy (the world renowned specialty coffee maker) for roasting and distribution around the world. If Indian coffee is good for Illy, it’s definitely good for me!

For those who didn’t know this, my visit to India was meant to be a total surprise. No one in India (1.2 billion of them) had a clue that I was to arrive on the night that I did. For the ride from the airport, I sold my brother on a story that involved him picking up a “white” girl (ahem, me!) from the airport. I was intentionally vague with the details and in hindsight, that’s why my best “laid” plans fell apart. We crisscrossed each other multiple times at the airport and I finally called my mom up to tell him to meet said “girl” at terminal 2A. Like all mix-up stories, I was waiting for him for more than 2 hours at terminal 2A while he (and Joel) were waiting at Terminal 2C. Who’d have thought that Bombay had 2 terminals for arriving international flights?

You might ask, why didn’t we recognize each other even though we passed by each other multiple times? I didn’t because his baby-face has given way to a square-jawed, manly countenance. He didn’t recognize me because even though I might not admit it, I have bulked up a tad. Add the fact that he was expecting a “white” girl to the change in my appearance and it all becomes clear - I am neither cute nor white, so something had to give!

When we finally saw each other, Nikhil was stunned beyond belief. We got home and my mom thought she was dreaming, as did Vikas and dad was happy beyond explanation. To be reunited with family after more than 18 months makes the wait worthwhile and worthless at the same time - worthwhile for the sheer happiness, worthless on account of the elongated separation.

Bombay is uncharacteristically hot and humid this September. The effects of global warming are most felt and endured in this city – the pollution, humidity and heat make life uncomfortable if you aren’t in an air-conditioned environ. I perspire a few moments after my shower and even the slightest physical exertion results in beads of sweat trickling down my face, neck and back. As Junior would say, Ewww Gross!!!

Do I miss Seattle? More than the place, I miss my friends. Yes, I am the one who notches up 5500 minutes of talk time on my cell phone in a month; that’s time I spend talking to my peeps. I have grown attached to a small set of individuals over the past few months and the sudden severing of all communication is taking a while to abide. Before I know it, my 14-day stay will come to an end. I’ll be back in Seattle and life will return to “normal”. Is Seattle home? I say this with a heavy heart but with the passage of time, this is leaving the realm of doubt and becoming a certainty. I can prolong the inevitable but it won’t be long before “Is Seattle home?” will be supplanted by “Seattle is home.” - a subtle difference with dramatic implications…

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In Bombay

... and experiencing the heat, the rain and the exhilaration of being with family in Bombay. Back to life in Seattle on the 25th; till then, adios!

Monday, September 04, 2006

This Month's Tunes - Update!

I need some input from you guys on the songs to put into this month's CD. I can think of a few but I need around 20 songs for the final cut so please provide your suggestions as comments. Here are the songs I am considering:

1. Sexy Back - Justin Timberlake
2. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
3. London Bridge - Fergie
4. Me & U - Cassie
5. I Feel You - Schiller
6. Put Ur Hands Up - Fatman Scoop
7. Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics
8. Shoulder Lean - Young Dro
9. Pon De Replay - Rihanna
10. What You Know - T.I.
11. Gimme That - Chris Brown
12. Go To Church - Ice Cube

Once again, if you have a suggestion, leave me a comment. *Update* - If your song suggestion makes it to the final CUT, I'll make you a copy.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A-Rod A-Rod A-Rod

The much booed, reviled and criticised player in the MLB has bounced back with 5 homers in 4 games. Interesting that there is no press praising his game winning exploits. I hate when the press chooses to publish only the sensationalist stories.

Regardless of the press, Go A-Rod Go!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Reviews, Reviews, ...

Grrr!!

Massive Headache.
Sleep Depravation.
No Miami :((

There is a light at the end of tunnel. When I get close to it, I hope it isn't the headlight of an oncoming train. :)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Stringing thoughts together

It's another Monday and I am both swamped and swept away by the amount of work that has piled up. My eyes are bloodshot, meetings have drained me of vital mental resources and I can't wait to leave this place to get on to the squash court. There is a storm warning in the Gulf Coast for this upcoming weekend so our plans to go to Miami for Labor Day might be in jeopardy. Aah, the best way to start a new week...

As I look back on the day, I realize that today is uniquely different from other Mondays for two reasons. First, I have started chronicling my activities through the day on an hourly basis. This is a first step prompted by my curiosity to determine what it is that constitutes Manoj's "humdrum" routine. If doing this helps me identify the hours that I while away, I could put them to better use - for instance, go to the gym during work and have my evenings to indulge in other activities. If not, I'll at least have the satisfaction that my time at work is well spent.

The second reason for why this day is unique is because of a realization - I can't stand incompetence. What grinds my gears even more is when incompetent people get paid the big bucks. Something is broken in the process when incompetence gets rewarded and I wish I could fix this. Alas, I can't because I don't quite have that power, YET! So for now, I have resolved to not assist in the furthering of these incompetent individuals. Let everyone be exposed for what they are worth and be rewarded accordingly. When I checked last, this was a meritocracy; is that just a figment of my imagination?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

An Uneventful Week

You would think that uneventful weeks are relaxing. Au contraire, an uneventful week lacks events because I spend a lot of time at work, which results in an exhausted Manoj by Thursday evening. This lack of events will end tonight, when I board the bus that will take me to Safeco Field. It's time to watch the Yankees whoop some Mariners butt!!

We are in the process of signing off on RC1 builds and that process has consumed most of my time this past week. Last week's workouts left me drained so I took a break from the gym on Monday. I am always making a concerted effort to sleep earlier than my usual time so I can ride the bus in to work more often. I have narrowed down the cause for my late night tv watching sprees to the late night eating; cutting out the bowl of cereal and/or crackers with peanut butter has been hard but I am sleeping by 12:30. Go figure!

Last weekend was special in more ways than one. I had a great time at The Ballroom in Fremont, had my first squash lesson in months, Alenka and Wes got me started with roller-blading which I thoroughly enjoyed and I finally met Jen. No weekend is complete without some unnecessary shopping now is it? The hope is that Nikhil will steal a lot of the new clothes I bought but that was it for me. I did almost nothing else till Monday rolled around.

Time to go get my tickets to tonight's game. Anything noteworthy happen to you this week?

Monday, August 21, 2006

5 in a ROW

We lead the AL East by 6 and a 1/2 games. I am going to watch the game at Safeco field at 7:05PM either on Wednesday or Thursday.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Is A-Rod jinxed?

Could it all be related to his Jersey?

The number 13 is lucky for some but for most of the population, it is unlucky. I think A-Rod is one of those who can't get 13 to work for him. For the sake of his career, I think he should change his jersey number from 13 to..... anything else!! If you were to ask me, I don't think Alex is worth the money the Yankees and Rangers are paying him (put together, $25 million) but what do I know about baseball?!

Tired, Hungry and ...

I wanna go home
Take off this uniform
And leave the show


I've spent the entire day with a throbbing headache that has made me miserable. Hopefully, I didn't chew any heads off or give anyone short shrift! Time to resume watching the Yankees game now - they lead the Sox 14-10. Actually, I am just gonna go home, shower, nap and go to The Ballroom. Have a great weekend you...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I Want to Ride my Bicycle

[Why do I always spell the word Bicycle wrong the first time around?]

If I miss one activity I used to indulge in during my college days it has to be riding a bike. I could get away from all the craziness that was life in Pilani by hopping onto my bike and riding away, mostly into the sunset. This isn't an attempt at romanticizing my rides all over campus, it's the truth. I used to think that I'd never do Pilani again, never; now that I think of the bike riding, squash playing and people befriending, I realize that not all was lost. Any ways, back to riding my bike - there were so few parameters to consider when buying a bike in Pilani. Here were some of the questions I asked myself the first time around:

Can I ride it? Yes/No
Can I afford it? Yes/No
Does it go fast? Yes/No

When I went bike shopping in America, I had to consider cost, parts, gears, composition, style, etc., etc. The plethora of choices would make me dizzy every time and I'd usually come out of the store empty handed. Till one day, I walked into our interns' cabin and saw a road bike with a dash of pizzazz. It was assembled, had gears, would go fast, and I could ride it! The only question that remained was, how much would I have to pay to get it.

Turned out that the bike was within my means and like the impulsive shopper I have become, I bought it. The weather in Seattle has been immaculate over the past two months and as I rode back from the Pro Club, the heat of day had given way to a balmy and nippy evening. I rode through campus without holding on to the wheel so I could sit up and enjoy the breeze hit me in the face. Just that sheer feeling of exhilaration made the investment (and the pain) worth its while. As Vel put it, riding around on a bike is Ridic. Next investment, a Motorbike!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Return of the iPod

A few months ago, my iPod's battery completely died. Good thing that I had applied for a Battery replacement via the iPod Class Action Lawsuit. A few weeks ago, the settlement came through and I received a letter in the email requesting me to authorize Apple to charge $29.99 to my credit card in exchange for a new battery. I received a box a week after Cia posted my authorization form, I packed my iPod into it and DHL'ed the busted Pod in.

I received my iPod with a brand spanking battery last Tuesday and I was skeptical till I actually powered it up. The smile on my face when it actually turned on is hard to describe so I'll describe how I felt - like a little kid who had just found his long lost toy. Its effects on my life have been dramatic since - I can lift weights longer, I spend at least 20 minutes on the cardio machines (stair master, exerbike or elliptical) and I no longer need to talk on the phone during long drives.

I'd recommend that you get A music player - the iPod is just one of many devices available on the market today. It will turn your life around too because life without music isn't really life at all...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Random People's Thoughts

Hilarious!!
I once convinced this girl that she had to let all the "summer air" out of her tires and then fill them back up with "winter air". I think she did it.

I don't know about you but I feel like this on almost a daily basis (sic.):
Somethin that really pisses me off id when i am hanging at with my g/f and one of her friends who is fat and ugly and she its their picking out all these faults in people who are way more attractive then her and she gives them shit about small things like and she is so much more unattractive than them and I feel like yelling at her and telling her to shut the fuck up and go look in a mirror. she is soo shallow and ignorant

Summer Air or Winter Air?

Hilarious!!
I once convinced this girl that she had to let all the "summer air" out of her tires and then fill them back up with "winter air". I think she did it.
Evil too...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ameen's Art Exhibition


My friend Ameen is having an exhibition of her most recent work in Ballard starting this Saturday, August 12 2006. Her exhibition is part of the Ballard Art Walk and if the sneak peak I got is anything to go by, the paintings are beautiful. Here are some more details about the exhibition:

Dates
August 12 - September 7 2006

Location
Gallery 6311 in Ballard
6311 24th NW
Seattle WA - 98107

Theme
When I begin a new body of work I am never sure what direction it will take. My previous paintings began with either colorful silk fabrics, family photos, or found papers randomly collaged. Perhaps the chaos of Jallandhar itself directed the calmness and loneliness in these paintings.

I have always been interested in everyday street scenes; our drive into the city every morning and the view from Masi’s roof are immedietly inspiring. The city itself and our families ancestral villages are my focus -- the “raidee’s,” or street vendor’s carts, which offer everything from fruits and vegetables to parrot pundits that predict your future -- pastel painted concrete houses enclosed behind ornate iron gates and fences -- rooftops cluttered with water tanks, television antennae, electrical wires, drying laundry, folding cots and patio chairs -- fading yellow ochre walls with cerulean blue padlocked doors belonging to families long gone abroad -- fresh strings of peppers and a solitary lemon hung every saturday morning to protect against the evil eye. Welcome to Jallandhar...

Mighty Manoj

Watch this and you'll know what I am talking about: About Manoj

For Beers We Shall Play

Friday, August 4 2006
Squash Court 1, Pro Club

A clueless Sarat walks around the court in a funk. He cannot believe the events that have unfolded over the last half hour. It's as if he isn't on the court but standing outside looking in, mocking the performance on display. The score at the end of the listless match says it all: Manoj has won by a score of 9-0, 9-2, 9-2. Comprehensively beaten, he walks out of the court a dejected man.

Monday, August 7 2006
Squash Court 2, Pro Club

The games have been played and Sarat stretches along with his opponents, Manoj and Sheri. His pride still wounded from the loss on Friday, his mind is working on a ploy to salvage something back. And then, in a moment of perspicacity, it dawns on him - he will challenge Manoj to a game, with a purse of Beers (and bragging rights) at stake. The "incentivizing" of the enterprise would add pressure and give him a goal to work towards. With the stakes negotiation complete, a time is picked: Wednesday 6:30pm, Court 8 at the Pro Club.

Wednesday, August 9 2006
Squash Court 8, Pro Club

With four referees calling our points, Sarat and I started our much touted match. Unbeknownst to me, the event had been advertised so we had an audience cheering as the match progressed. The see-saw contest peaked towards the end of the first game, ebbed in the second and hit a crescendo in the third. Alas, Sarat forfeited with a herniated disc in his lower back with him leading 2 games to 1. The final score (in my favor): 8-10, 0-9, 9-5.

I am bummed that Sarat is most likely going to go on to the disabled list for the rest of the summer. I wish him a speedy recovery because we have some unfinished business to attend to. Actually, I am going to spare him the agony of playing against me. Clearly, the strain is taking a toll on his fragile body. As regards the 18 beers he is going to buy me; they will go towards the alcohol pool for the summer bbq I plan to host by my apartment complex pool. Here's what I plan to have on the menu:
- Marinated Chicken Breasts
- Marinated Paneer Skewers
- Garden Burgers
- Tonna Alcohol
- By Request

Now play nice and I might even invite you over...

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Fear of Staying Single

This is a time of flux for my contemporaries and I. The committed ones (not to an asylum though most wish they were) are charting unknown waters with their partners and they have my best wishes. It's the single ones that I empathize with - the set convinced that their clock is fast running out. As the new crop of young blood arrives on the scene, their self image is beginning to dent and doubt is supplanting confidence. Counter-intuitive as it must sound, it is hard to meet interesting potential partners. Some of us have fallen into a routine, one that doesn't involve another entity. I, for one, have embraced this single life with all its quirks and perquisites. There are the inevitable low moments, the stray instances when I am lonely but those are few and far between; yet the status quo seems unsustainable. But this isn't about me.

You'd wonder, where have all the cowboys interesting people gone? If I looked hard enough online, I'd find someone, correct? Ask my friends who have gone the online route and you'll hear the same refrain - people just aren't what they claim to be on their profiles. There is a reason why the "referral" system has stood the test of time; the human filter separates the chaff from the corn resulting in fewer "surprises". For those of us who are Indian, there is another way to a guaranteed happy ending - the oft-beaten Parent route. Enter the 21st Century, living in America with its new rules of engagement and this old Institution is fraught with new obstacles. An irreconcilable divergence in our parents' criteria (family, upbringing, social status, religion) and ours (hip, liberal, smart) has resulted in an impasse. So, what's next?

If you are like me, you're prone to going with the flow. Enjoy every moment for what it's worth and embrace whatever comes your way. Trust your instincts, follow your interests and stay sharp. When that someone that catches your fancy comes along, you don't want to be caught off guard. Good luck and never forget, Que Sera Sera...

Disgusted

I was about to publish a post when the browser crashed. Now I can't recover it at all!!! Time to write that paper about crashing processes and lost productivity.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mentola

Yeah, you got that right - that's the neologism of the quarter: Mentola.

Meaning:
A concoction of Mentos and Coca Cola.

Copyright (c) 2006 Manoj Mehta

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Monster Mix - V

1. Bossy (Explicit) - Kelis
2. Buttons - Pussycat Dolls
3. Let a Nigga Know - Saigon
4. Lean Wit It Rock With It - Dem Franchise Boys
5. Snap Ya Fingers - Lil Jon ft Sean Paul
6. Its Goin Down - Yung Joc
7. Gettin' Some Head - Shawnaa
8. Ms New Booty - Bubba Sparx
9. Promiscuous Girl - Nelly Furtado ft Timbaland
10. Stand Up Guy - T.I.
11. Tell Me When To Go - E-40 ft Kanye West, Ice Cube
12. Shoulder Lean - Young Dro ft T.I.
13. Welcome to Jamrock - Damian Marley
14. I Got 5 On It - Luniz
15. The Letter P - Saigon
16. Gimme Head - E-40
17. Turn It Up - Chamillionaire Feat. Lil Flip
18. Fuck Vans (Remix)
19. Check On It - Beyonce
20. Beep - Pussycat Dolls

Want a copy?

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Great Weekend Away

Compared to my trip to Vancouver last weekend, my weekend in San Francisco was a blockbuster smash! To be fair to the time in Canada, the trip had its memorable moments - the sight of the kid turn 180 degrees and hit the deck when the hose sprayed his face, Geda Geda being the first song that came on at the reception, the searing heat all weekend...

As I sat in the aircraft on Saturday morning, waiting for it to take-off for more than 2 hours, I almost gave up on the SF trip. The optimist that I am, I figured that things could've only gotten better - sure! I land in SF and turn my phone on - no service; turns out, no iMate fucking phone doesn't receive T-Mobile in San Francisco. My friends' Motorola, Nokia, etc phones just worked fine. So much for the $200 the phone would've cost me if I paid for it! Surd was a master mind on Saturday morning - he woke up when I called him after having landed. Vista wouldn't start up because wireless wouldn't work so I was all but ready to bore a hole in the wall. I resisted, bought myself coffee and a croissant and people-watched instead. The coffee was brilliant and the Chocolate Croissant was scrumptious. Surd showed up (finally), he ordered the Tomato Salad at lunch (which is this trip's unforgettable moment) and things started changing for the better.

The weather was gorgeous as we sat on the deck of Moma's overlooking AT&T Park, the site of many a Barry Bonds home-runs. The rest of the day is a blur of events mingling with one another, the warm weather being the only constant. Entering Madjool is when I felt like I was awake again. The people were just beginning to pack the place in, the DJ was starting to spin some tunes and the tables were being cleared to make way for the crazy dancing that ensued. I loved the place for the ambience, the three levels and the snooty people. We went to Lush around 1am to hang with some of Surd's friends; Nina was an extremely amiable person and an engaging conversationalist. Surd is a lucky guy to have a friend like her!

Wake up, make tea, call the world - a usual Sunday. Okay, I replaced calling the world with a great run by the Bay and brunch by the Bay Bridge. My mortal fear of running has dissipated and with Surd being in Seattle through the week, this running thing might recur regularly. Sitting out in the open and eating while watching cars whiz past on the Bay Bridge was calming and invigorating at the same time. This is a beautiful city, especially the areas by the water and the way the environs have been maintained is exemplary. A place like this in India wouldn't exist or thrive!

I finally saw real family today; that she brought me goodies from home was but a fringe benefit of our "rendezvous". Hanging with her and Kunal took me back home again and brought me a little closer to them both. Kunal has changed in the past year, he definitely is more docile than I remember him and Vishaka is visibly happier so them two must be settling down into a healthy, balanced relationship. Two hours didn't seem enough time but she had to get back to work and I had to head back to the city but this was a parting well made. "Till we meet again" I said to her as I drove off into the sunset. I blame all these prose-filled thoughts for what made me turn left on to the wrong side of the road.

The rest of the evening went by without incident. We ate great Sushi in the Mission district and watched Clerks after coming back home. I read about the Yankees acquiring Bobby Abreu and started typing this blog when I realized something. I needed to get out of Seattle to see that I had gotten myself into a rut. The timing of this weekend couldn't have been better and Surd couldn't have been a better host. I feel healed now, happier too and ready to take on the challenges that face me till my next break. Waking up and smelling the coffee tomorrow morning might be easier than it has the past couple months...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

June - Use your Cell Phone Month

Total Minutes - 5482

My left ear is gonna fall out sometime soon. Ironic that I am on the phone as I type this usage info. Enough talk, time to drive over the Bay Bridge now.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Nature of To Do Lists

Them To Do Lists get longer and longer by the day. I am going to try and knock off some of the items from the latest list but this ties in to a tendency of mine to procrastinate till the last moment. I delay doing something even if I have the resources to get it done because of either laziness or indifference till I can't delay any further. It's just a chance coincidence (or a divine conspiracy maybe) that the deadline to get all my stuff done is usually the same day.

I have to get the following done today:
- Work on the Full Test Pass
- Get a failed emissions report
- Go to Accurate Auto Body to get my car damage looked at
- Fax a copy of my I-797 to the immigration folks over in SF
- Get ready for SF tomorrow

Time to get off my ass and get cracking on this list. Late...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It's Going Down

anywhere you meet me guaranteed to go down

To say the last week was hectic would be saying it just right. I have become the owner of a component in Scott's absence that I have very little prior testing experience with. Every time a test breaks, I have to first understand the test code and ensure it has no bugs before diving into the production code. Review time is upon us so there is the added workload of ensuring the right things happen for my people. All of this is manageable when my social life is going through a lean patch. Nothing in my life can be described as lean these days...

Ishmeet has been in town, it's summer time, a large chunk of people I know (their mothers too maybe) were born between June and September and people have suddenly decided that there is no time like summer to tie the nuptials. So yeah, it's been hectic! Okay, I'll quit complaining because a wedding provided me with the excuse to go to Canada.

The only difficult leg of the drive to and from Vancouver is the 5 mile stretch on either side of the border. The lines can be serpentine and it is no surprise if you have to wait for around half an hour to get past the gates and march onward. I expected the worst - a car search, more stamps on my passport, a new I-94, etc, etc but was glad to be disappointed. I didn't need any new stamps, the border officers weren't even interested in seeing my face (hallelujah) and once we got to the patrol booth, we were done in maybe 2 minutes. Sometimes no action is the best kind of action!

The hottest weekend of the year was also the only weekend I spent without air-conditioning in a house that wasn't well ventilated. The coldest room in the house was in the basement and spending time there meant dealing with its dank environs and musty odor - I'll take those (and then some) over the 110 degree temperature without blinking an eyelid! The wedding parties - the ceremony, reception and pre-parties - were lavish but I didn't know too many people so they petered into boring events. The folks I did know were incommunicado because they were elbow deep in ensuring that every event went as planned. I am not faulting them at all, I'd do the same for my immediate family :)

Akash and I drove back after the reception on Saturday night and I slept through most of Sunday. The feeling of sleeping at home, in familiar territory is unparalleled and I reveled in it. Sufficiently rested, I actually wanted to come in on Monday but the bus ride delayed my eventual arrival. Meetings, some work, more meetings, a presentation, coffee break - the humdrum routine can be so satisfying.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Weekly Roundup returns

Sugar is surging through my veins right now! It has been a crazy week fa sho. All three days have been intense on the work front with new problems surfacing every day. It's a great feeling to have so much to get done though so I'm not complaining. In all of this action at work, I chaperoned Rash and Junior as they shopped, ate and chilled. That was just the first dose of a multi-part family-time prescription handed to me for the week. I head out to Vancouver tomorrow with Rash, Jyot, aKash and Mausaji for Noel's wedding. The first party is on Friday with the wedding on Saturday. I'm kinda nervous because I have never been to a wedding in America so I don't know what to pack and definitely don't know what to expect. Just some button down shirts and trousers should do the trick though, correct?

My nerves aside, I am excited about going up to Vancouver again though. I love that city, the environs, the mountains, and especially the party scene. The bummer is my phone won't have any service when I'm away - that's no phone for almost 4 days. This is going to be really fun. T-Mobile is going to be glad that I'm away ;) and fewer people will get "All Circuits are Busy".

Talk to you when I'm back!!

Whatever

F*** Them VANS
F**k Sweet 16s
F*ck Pepsi
Fuck Wisdom People
Fuck 7s jeans for guys (get a penis already)
Fuck, Fuck, Mother Mother Fuck
Fuck whoever didn't drink Bacardi at the Triple Stuff Ridic pre-party!

Go i860! I'm outta here. Peace out.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's Sunday night already

Random thoughts occupy my mental bandwidth in entirety. iTunes has been set to Shuffle but I want to keep listening to a song my brother told me about. It goes like this:

I feel you,
in every vein,
in every beatin' of my heart,
each breath I take.

I feel you, anyway,
in every tear that I might shed,
in every word I've never said.
I feel you


I wonder if I am capable of loving another human like this. In the past, being totally in love with someone else has left me equally vulnerable and exhilarated. That we experience emotions, that we fall in love is a sign of our inherent imperfection. Being perfect is overrated, as is being intoxicated or high.

Actually, getting buzzed is an inexplicable delight. Liquid courage makes you do stupid things but for the most part, putting your inhibitions on hold for a few hours is liberating. Triple Stuff Ridic - Deux will be talked about for all its ups and downs, for the copious alcohol consumption and has officially put Spice on my list of places to party at. As for my part, I feel like I woke up a little crazy. I was going to celebrate the birthdays of my closest buddies in Seattle and that was reason enough to be excited all day. So much energy usually leads to a night of inapp ridicness.

Entourage is my new must-see TV show and I have two people to thank for this reason to smile - Juggy and Senior. Now that I am all caught up, I need to figure out a way to watch the new episodes every week. Hmm, after missing all the tennis action, the F-1 races, world cup games, etc. I am considering upgrading my cable plan to include some more channels. A la carte cable is a pipe dream that I can't wait any longer to come to fruition.

Last week was really hectic at work and I am excited to go back in tomorrow morning. The brownbag presentation on the 12th was well received (ok, it was a slam dunk), we got a lot of issues under control and I have done some research for work that I need to do over the next couple of days. Exciting time for me, hope you have a great week too. Oh yeah, good luck with the GMAT Gundapps - God Speed!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bombay rocked by serial bomb blasts, once again

There seems to be no abatement in the bombings taking place in different parts of India. I've reached a stage where I don't care who is creating unrest, I just want it to end! The story is all over the News; I can't go to a single website or walk more than a 100 feet without some mention of the carnage in my beloved hometown. True to form, government relief efforts were lethargic and lackadaisical at best. I wonder what the death toll would've been had local residents not stepped up to the plate.

No doubt, there are members of the administration involved in these attacks; the Indian government(if you can call it that) is diseased and infected to the point where personal gains outweigh public health and safety. You would think that the flood related loss to life and property during the Monsoon season of 2005 would result in infrastructural changes in the city. I know that a lot of money was "ear-marked" for such development because the press reported it. How can one then explain the victims of flooding during the 2006 monsoon season? Worst still, year on year, the same areas fell prey to the floods. Whose pockets is the money lining?

Is this The New India that everyone is agog over? If a description of the financial capital of The New India is replete with "IS NOT"s rather than "IS"s, what's does it portend for the future of The New India? For the sake of the country's growth, I hope that something changes for the better and galvanizes my people from their stupor. The pervasive indifference needs to be supplanted by a sense of entitlement and accountability so that the sections of our society that violate every law of the land can be brought to justice.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Domestication Blows!

A weekend of not partying is a weekend spent recuperating, chilling and running errands. Not being up till the wee hours of the morning does have health benefits but it's not something I want to recur for another couple months. I know that alcohol isn't good for my system, I know that I have to drive for half an hour to get downtown, I know that partying it up every weekend leads to a wanton existence. What's to complain here?! As I read somewhere, a lifestyle is a terrible thing to waste.

To be fair I did have a great weekend. Junior drove to the East Side and we played tennis on Saturday afternoon in the gorgeous sun. The wind was the only thing that made the day slightly not ideal for tennis but that's me picking nits. Her slacker ass was tired within the hour so we showered at the Pro and headed to the mall to get some food. A couple slices of Pagliacci's pizza followed by a monster slice of Chocolate cake hit the right spots (the decadent meal was well earned). After some more TP in the mall, Junior headed home whilst I drove over to the waterfront in Kirkland to hang out with Deepesh, Amru and the rest of the gang. Some drinks, some banter, a whole lot of Amru bashing and it was 9pm already.

Damn that media center pc! Whatever hopes I had of tucking in early on Saturday were dashed when I sat down to catch up on my TV viewing for the week. All I have to say is Thank God I'm done watching all of 24! I passed out around 3am, was woken up momentarily at 5am by a phone call (I wasn't dreaming it) and eventually by a call from my brother at 8. He was so excited about what was going on in the Wimbledon final that he had to tell me all about the action till that point.

I'm glad Nikhil woke up because I was riveted through the Wimbledon final, focused especially on Federer's shot making as he scurried around the court. Nadal put up a great fight but when he lost the second set 7-6, it was a matter of time before the King stamped his authority on his fiefdom. That the tennis action ended just before the World Cup final began wasn't mere coincidence if you ask me - it was divine intervention! :)

Italy won the World Cup (whatever), Sarat and I played a marathon squash match (90 minutes long) and I went grocery shopping. While filling my cart up, I heard a friend highlight her reasons to doubt her involvement with a guy. Turned out that her reasons were purely a figment of her overactive mind but it shed some light on what is a core human tendency. All of us, at some point in our lives, have fabricated reasons to not be happy (in our relationships in particular). It's like a big, red self-destruct button that we can't help but press. Luckily, this one didn't commit the fallacy of doing anything drastic but what if someone wasn't there to talk her out of it?

Friday, July 07, 2006

As I Lay in Bed

Anywhere I roam
Where I lay my head is home


This past week has been very satisfying - I am on top of issues at work and have worked out thrice this week. My squash game is looking up too but it's too early to gauge anything based on the inconsistent nature of my game since my return. I have lost matches to people who I could've coached in 2004, which has me really determined to find the form of yore. I have time on my side so all I need now is to work at getting better.

I got my 45 day notice for the next stage of my green card processing to begin. Not that I really understand what this notice business means except that it'll take an entire year to get the next stage. I asked the attorney how much time I had to get married to a non-American citizen and she couldn't stop cracking up. You know for once, I wasn't trying to be funny even!!

Some part of the upcoming weekend should be spent in putting my house in order. I need to get an estimate on the damage to my car, post my iPod battery replacement form, collect my mail, load the dishwasher and fold multiple laundry loads. Time to recruit Amru's help again in this laundry folding business. Don't you think she won't extract her price - she'll make me cook something, which I don't mind cuz I like cooking!

So here's the weekend lineup. Bizo's cover band's first show starts Friday evening. Some team activity on Friday night. Tennis with Junior on Saturday followed by lunch at CCF. Surprise birthday parties on Saturday night. Soccer World Cup with the chance of a potential lunch with the Pope on Sunday. And a whole lotta chores interspersed with these activities all weekend long. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow morning! Lights out...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Existential Questions

This used to happen a lot earlier but I've managed to find a way to stay upbeat over the last couple of months. There seemed to be no cure for the insidious down times because nothing would make the questions go away, not even intense workouts. I thought I had found the prophylactic prescription to keep the blues at bay: surround myself with friends, watch a whole lot of TV and read to keep myself occupied. I was wrong - the "drug" was no panacea because the blues are back, as is the dour mood.

The questions are the same - What am I doing?, Where is my life headed?, What do I want to do next?, Who am I going to end up with?, etc., etc. I have found that there are no straight answers to my questions because them questions aren't straight-forward. One might hypothesize that these questions are tailored to drag me down till I realize that there is no point deliberating over answers. Given the recurrent nature of this phase, this last hypothesis definitely has merit.

Maybe I need to just accept that I am not going to find answers. Something I read about the human brain comes to mind. The right frontal cortex is most active during stressful times and that meditation helps stabilize the elevated activity. Maybe that's the thing I need to do, meditate. What's it going to be then - meditation to calm myself down or acceptance that I'll never find answers so I should just proceed on with my life? Maybe a little bit of both might be the silver bullet that vanquishes this "demon", for now at least. I'll give it a shot...

Healing The Heart With Bone Marrow Cells

I have stayed abreast with the raging moral debate on the use of stem cells to cure disease. This article, on the heels of another I read on religion (and the hubris of the human race) make me lean towards the use of stem cells. Here are some interesting snippets from the article:
Researchers at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Toronto General Hospital have discovered the 'SOS' distress signal that mobilizes specific heart repair cells from the bone marrow to the injured heart after a heart attack.

While it has long been known that bone marrow cells have the ability to clear the dead tissue after a heart attack, what has not been known until now is the critically important role of bone marrow adult stem cells in repairing a damaged heart, restoring its function and enhancing the growth of new blood vessels.
...
In the study, mice with defective c-kit bone marrow cells, could not mobilize these cells to race towards the injured site and regenerate the injured heart. Their heart function was dramatically impaired and, 42 days after a heart attack, their hearts dilated to twice the size of the normal mouse heart. However, the heart function of the c-kit defective mice could be restored to normal by restoring the c-kit cells in their bone marrow, confirming the importance of these cells in repairing the heart. This suggests that a similar treatment of an infusion of bone marrow cells after a heart attack may prevent progression of heart failure in patients who survived a heart attack.

The study may explain why some patients have mild heart attacks and others develop progressive and potentially fatal congestive heart failure. "We know that the number of c-kit positive cells decreases with age and that elderly patients don't recover from heart attacks as well as younger patients. The key for the older patients would be to find new ways to restore this particular subset of cells in their bone marrow," said Dr. Fazel.
Hopefully, this research is "real" and isn't another case of the medical community indulging in Cargo Cult Science.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Don't make a deal with the Devil, err Terrorist!

Here are some cold, hard facts:

- If terrorists are blackmailing you to do something for you, don't give in to their demands.
- If they are holding your family hostage, they're going to kill them.
- Once they are done with you, they'll kill you.

So in the end, you'll lose your life for sure, the terrorists will have their way and you'll become a martyr for the wrong cause. It's a cold world, eh?!

Here's the final word on dealing with terrorists:
- If a terrorist asks you to prove your allegiance by shooting someone, do it! Most likely it's a test and the gun will either have blanks or not have any rounds.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Online Confessions

Some of the confessions people have posted on this website will appall you. The key is to get beyond the stage of judging someone you probably don't know. You will then find solace in the fact that someone else has indulged in an act you beat yourself over because you considered it immoral. This is as close as you can get to a group anonymous confessional; hopefully, reading what others have to say will make you feel more normal and less...

Monster Mix - IV

19 Tracks - 6 Years in the making - 1 Master copy.

One - Metallica
Back In Black - AC/DC
American Bad Ass - Kid Rock
Would - Alice in Chains
The Hollow - A Perfect Circle
Tainted Love - Marilyn Manson
Chop Suey! - System of a Down
Somebody Told Me - The Killers
Stupify - Disturbed
B.Y.O.B. - System of a Down
Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes
Numb - Linkin Park
Like a Stone - Audioslave
Last Resort - Papa Roach
In the End - Linkin Park
Show Me How To Live - Audioslave
Ænema - Tool
Creep - Radiohead
Son of a Preacher Man - Etta James

To Order yours now call the Toll Free Number 1-800-BTS-RECORDS. $9.99 including Shipping and Handling. But wait, if you order in the next 999 minutes, you'll get a copy of Monster Mix - III absolutely free. Reach for the phone now...

<This product may cause insomnia and an inexplicable adrenaline rush that might lead to violent outbursts. It is meant for a mature audience that will use this as directed. Caveat Emptor!>

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

An Update on the War on Obesity

Jay Leno had an interesting take on Nestle's buyout of Jenny Craig:
In business news, chocolate maker Nestlé is buying Jenny Craig. Well, that says all you need to know about the war on obesity, doesn't it? It's over. Apparently we surrendered.

You can read more wise cracks by our favourite Late Night TV hosts via the NY Times homepage.

So Tired - Where Web surfers go when they haven't slept a wink

Some of you might feel a kinship with this person who sent her reason for being tired to tired@tired.com:

"The world-weary teen, the site's fastest-growing demographic:

when you're a 16 year old girl who from the looks of things, doesnt have a single problem, people think you're strange and maybe even high. I am tired of counselors. tired of hearing about political and economical problems the world has. tired of being expected to put family before friends. SO tired of other females no matter what the age feeling as though every other woman is competition. Tired of my best friends mother jealous of her 16 year old daughter. This, my friend, is only the very tip of the iceberg."

There was a time when I was tired 24/7, I couldn't sleep and I didn't have the energy to work out. That is slowly beginning to change now because I am making a conscious effort to sleep earlier these days. I fail in my attempts many a night but eventually, like last night, I emerge victorious. To be out like a light before midnight is rare for me but that's exactly what happened yesterday. It's a different story that I couldn't get myself out of bed till a little after 9am but that's moot. Brasil played Ghana this mrning and I decided to stay in, work from home and watch the game. Two meals and a soccer game under my belt, I am now ready to go to work.

Knowing how much it sucks to be tired all the time, I hope you don't feel that way. But if you do, trust me, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Mercury Rising

In the summer time when the weather is high
You can strech right up and touch the sky
Summer is finally here! Since we're on the West Coast, we're used to seeing everything delayed by a few hours. Okay fine, Summer came a few days late but who cares. It's time for outdoor tennis again, for wake-boarding on Lake Washington, for motorcycle lessons, for hiking (which I'm about to give up if I don't indulge in this year)... sorry the sunlight distracted me, for having a BLAST!

One of my friends commented about the increasing level of partying I have indulged in through the first half of 2006. If you are reading this, I have some bad news for you - the partying level is gonna go through the ceiling till I eventually buckle down on my flight to Bombay. Now is as good time as any to work on getting myself a solid tan (since I'm so pale); ridic + exotic, now that's a dizzying combination :)

The fitful sleep episodes have returned, a small price to pay for the rising temperature at night. I was practically useless yesterday so I decided to not attempt hanging around the office doing nothing. After WAR last morning, I worked for a little more than an hour and headed to lunch. Senior and Junior had driven in to Seattle, which is so rare that I couldn't pass up their invitation to luncheon at Cheesecake Factory! Lunch was more about catching up, meeting Senior than about eating as was evidenced by the huge boxes the girls carried out of the restaurant. Every half cute guy was checked out by them two, inappropriate commentary flew thick and fast, the cream was tastier than the cheesecake (duh!) and before we knew it, two hours had flown by. Time flies when you're having fun?

I couldn't keep my eyes open on the drive back so I bypassed the exit for work and drove home instead, to sneak in a quick nap before returning recharged to Bldg 27. Good intentions, poor execution! I woke up two hours later and had to go to the gym to wake myself up before heading in to work. It all worked out in the end - because I napped in the afternoon, I had energy to work out after which I found some more energy to work till 3am. All's well that end's well!

It's Friday and I'm blogging - god damn it! I'm getting outta here to enjoy the sun. Peace out and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Absolute Truths

The awful thought still follows me,
That even kings can die.


Being a liberal, I didn't believe in absolutes; the colour of life through my periscope was gray. And then, I grew up and realized that there had to be some absolutes, that the colour of some issues was distinctly black or white, no in-betweens.

The miracle of life, from conception to birth, is one such absolute. It's birth's antithesis that has motivated this post - Death. Growing up, I learnt that death wasn't something to fear but to embrace because it provided a passage to the next life. Strange then that this spiritual fact didn't quite dull the pain I experienced when someone close to me "passed" away. Grudgingly, I accepted death as an inevitability.

In the past couple months, my family has lost two stalwarts - my maternal grandfather passed away last month and my paternal grandmother passed away this morning. The generational shift has begun - all my grandparents are now in the "Happy Hunting Grounds" while my aunts and uncles are starting to don the role of grandparents. I didn't even realize that this shift was in progress - the sands drifted while I was looking the other way. I feel neither armed nor ready to embrace this change, I am still grieving the losses of my dear ones. Grudgingly, I must play catch up and accept my new role in the grander scheme of things. "Wither can I fly?"

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

All in a Day's Work

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


Yesterday was work from home day. I had to catch up on a lot of reading, papers, specs and reviews, that needed me to be in environs conducive to focused activity. The office isn't really suited to reading for two reasons. 1stly, the ergonomics and lighting just aren't right for reading. 2ndly, there are too many distractions within an arm's reach - Outlook, the Internet, Meetings, TP with colleagues...

Spending the day at home also let me catch up on some much needed rest after an eventful weekend. Ishmeet stayed at my place over the weekend and aside from the usual ridic Saturday night activities, we were up and about on Sunday too so I didn't really get a chance to recharge. In its defence, Sunday was an action-packed day - we watched the Brasil game, hung out by the tennis courts at the Pro, cooked dinner and watched 40 Year Old Virgin. Come to think of it, the movie really tired me out; the three of us couldn't wait for it to end! Apart from a few funny scenes, it was onerous to sit through and the running time was more than 2 hours. Holy smokes!

Waking up early these days has done wonders for my mood specifically and for my productivity at large. Working from home had the ancillary (and unexpected) consequence of relaxing and invigorating my system. I made it to my meetings on time, had good discussions with my people on future assignments and caught up on email. I need to figure out what role I am to play in the coming months as we wrestle with the design of new components. Knowing my propensity to check out when so much is changing (we are in the planning phase which is characterized by change), I am going to stay vigilant and keep my focus in the upcoming months. Hopefully the effort pays off and I can make a lasting contribution to our future releases.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Cargo Cult Science

This is the subject of an oft quoted commencement address given by one of my favourite scientists, Dr Richard Fenyman. An article I was reading on programming style lead me to it and I realized that some of the "cargo cults" he talks about in 1974 and prevalent in society till this day.
During the Middle Ages there were all kinds of crazy ideas, such as that a piece of of rhinoceros horn would increase potency. Then a method was discovered for separating the ideas--which was to try one to see if it worked, and if it didn't work, to eliminate it. This method became organized, of course, into science. And it developed very well, so that we are now in the scientific age. It is such a scientific age, in fact, that we have difficulty in understanding how witch doctors could ever have existed, when nothing that they proposed ever really worked--or very little of it did.

But even today I meet lots of people who sooner or later get me into a conversation about UFO's, or astrology, or some form of mysticism, expanded consciousness, new types of awareness, ESP, and so forth. And I've concluded that it's not a scientific world.
Read on for more on science, scientific methods and scientific integrity...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Public vs Private

[Update: Fixed some kux sentence construction!]
I am continually intrigued by how people treat others in public surroundings. Strangers don't count in this analysis, which eliminates almost 99% of the people around me. The people I am in some way "acquainted" with fall into three distinct categories. Those that don't give me the time of day when I meet them one-on-one but give me a hug, even a peck on my cheek when I meet them in a bar - go figure! Those with predictable and consistent behaviour; like me so I can't complain. Finally, those that I know well through 1:1 interactions but for some reason act weird when I meet them in public. Must I explicitly state which set of folks intrigue me most?

Sometime in the past, I reflected on veils and cloaks in relationships :link:. In my never-ending quest to understand the human condition, I want to figure out what triggers this behaviour in us. If you know something that can shed some light on this topic, please leave me a comment or send me an email, Thanks! Here's my naive input on this matter: inconsistent behaviour and mixed signals are pure entertainment! Your turn now...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Free Form Writing - June 15 2006

This Fajita Chicken Sandwich on Pita with Portabello Mushrooms is so tasty (and spicy) that I might consider making it a regular order. It took me a while to get used to the slight chewiness of meat - now I enjoy boneless chicken as much as I enjoy vegetables. It might be a while before I make the transition to eating meat off the bone but like all things in the past, I will have to work at developing a taste for the new.

A conversation I had last night prompted me to start eating meat again. In my quest to become healthier, getting enough protein has always been a challenge. Now that I am over the initial hump of adopting meat in my diet, I should eat it more often. My children are going to be full blown carnivores even if that is the only thing I have any say in when it comes to their upbringing.

Waking up in the morning has become tedious again. I am just too exhausted at 8am so getting my ass out of bed is that much harder. Actually, I don't mind sleeping in on account of being physically tired - that's an indicator of the effectiveness of my workouts. I did expect some fallout from last night's squash match. The four games I played last night lasted over 70 minutes, 30 of which were spent playing the last game. I stretched a bit, loosened up, played a few more games and headed over to Amru's for dinner and a movie.

Amru finally made good on her promise to make me dinner. Dosas don't count as dinner but something is better than nothing (as she would put it). I didn't have any expectations of the postprandial entertainment but Gangster turned out to be an engrossing film. I particularly liked the acting, the minimalistic dialogue, the cinematography (especially the lens work) and the soundtrack. Ya Ali is a breakaway hit but my pick of the soundtrack is the track Bheegi Bheegi (Sachin was right). If you haven't seen this movie and don't cringe at on-screen violence, you should watch this movie.

I fell asleep while watching another episode of Top Gear but only after I read an article on Dream Teams in Fortune. As I watch a recording of the Brasil-Croatia game I wonder, is the Brasilian team of superstars be the one aberration to the rule of thumb that Dream Teams are doomed to failure.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blogging with Flock

If this works, this is going to be very tight! Blogging directly from my browser...

Curly Fries Wednesday

I look forward to Wednesdays. I wait with bated breath for it to be lunch time. I have a small jump in my walk as I make it to the cafeteria. My joy at holding my plate full of curly fries is immeasurable. Ten minutes later, I am stuffed with spicy curly fries that I usually wash down with a Coke Zero. Utter satisfaction.

Curly fries are everything the doctor suggests I don't eat. Deep fried potatoes, chipotle dressing - that's a carb and fat bomb! I should get rid of this day then? I do this once a week though and if I stop, I will eventually binge one day and that will be a disaster. No fries were eaten all of 2005 but I ate a plate full on every day of the first week of 2006! Maybe it is time for a repeat performance?! Aliter, moderation might be the real answer - this "poison" won't will kill me if I use it rather than abuse it.

Monday, June 12, 2006

To Trust Another

Precious and fragile things need special handling

A conversation I had yesterday made me think about men, women and trust. Trust is one of the key threads that binds two individuals. This thread of trust is a tenuous one, that which can snap after a few quick tugs. Once snapped, what ensues is usually a chain of events that makes both parties unhappy while all attempts at restoring the lost trust go in vain. That's the nature of such things, the severing of the thread is permanent.

My friend was at a club with a bunch of his friends on Saturday night. There was a new girl in the group with whom he shared a few drinks. Before he knew it, they had danced the night away and it was time to say goodbye. He found out the morning after that the girl was in a serious relationship with a guy in another city. He couldn't quite get his head around the fact that he had freak danced with her all night and she was committed to another man. He wondered if he could trust a girl like this to be his woman...

Some difficult questions popped into my head after I was done talking on the phone. What did I consider acceptable? Would I do something like this with a woman when I was in a relationship? What were the bounds of this "fragile" trust? Have the rules of being in a relationship changed? Are such occurrences to be expected and tolerated because they are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things? Is this the price we gotta pay for adopting Western ideals? Should I seek a person a tad more conservative than myself?

The one question that intrigued me most was - Would doubt creep in and expose my insecurities if an event like this occurred? As ludicrous as it sounds, I couldn't dismiss this notion completely. And then I found my answer, the one that allayed my own self doubt. If my woman has to go out of our relationship to get any sort of gratification, there is something amiss at the core of our bond. In some cases, the problem can be fixed and I'll do the right thing to fix it. I wish I could say "For everything else, there is MasterCard" but I can't.

So what has all this thinking lead me to realize? In my naive opinion, trust is built via transparent communication. The prerequisite to building a strong relationship if you ask me is being open and honest. If you get those two down, trust will follow. What you do to hold the thread of trust together with your partner is totally up to you.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Causality

Causality. Action, reaction. Cause and effect.

With the able assistance of animate and inanimate alarms, I have successfully amended my sleep schedule. I would also like to take a moment here to thank those who don't call me late on weeknights anymore - Hi! Being the first in a meeting room waiting for the others to show up is something that didn't quite exist in my scheme of things. The look of surprise on the faces of every person as he walks in to the room to see me sitting there is so amusing that I am going to strive to make this a permanent fixture, if only for morning meetings.

The most productive meeting of 2006 was a 1:1 I had last afternoon. This single instance doesn't change my overall perspective on meetings being the thieves of time. Back to my amended schedule; shifting my hours of operation an hour earlier than before has affected more than just my ability to be on time at work. It has affected a change in my eating habits, has resulted in a coffee craving at 5pm and I am a tad calmer through the day. This might be a good thing to keep going...

I breezed in and out of the Pro Club last night. Spurred on by Arun's usage of a workout card, I got one for myself and started keeping a record of my exercises. Working out with a partner is so much better than going solo because we motivate each other to go the extra step. Arun is surprisingly strong for his weight in my opinion and if he was a little more regular, he'd very quickly lift more than I can. We did just four exercises last night, didn't do much TP at all and it took us 75 minutes to get through our workout - geez, chest is a long workout. Shooting hoops after was the highlight for me. I have no skills in the game whatsoever so any time on the court is time I spend running around picking up failed attempts at shooting a basket. With some practice, I should get better. Soon, I'll be able to say I know how to play basketball like the other "real" sports I play - Tennis, Squash and Cricket.

Our team is having an offsite at Willows Lodge all day today to plan V2 features. I might not have access to email or the Internet all day, which is going to be a mixed blessing. What if the meeting turns out to be a kux? :) We shall see.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Plan your work, Work your plan

Carpe Diem
Day 1 after being mad at myself for being late: Awake at 8:30 in the morning.

It's not like I can't wake up in the morning - alarms wake me up but the awake state is just momentary. You must think that it's about time I went to the store and bought an alarm. I have four, not counting my computers. I used to have them 4 alarms placed in different corners of the room that I would wake up, turn off and go back to sleep. Playing songs on the computer at the designated time doesn't wake me up. So what wakes me up?

A ringing phone works. I have realized that if I stay awake for ten minutes, I won't go back to bed again. Something about thanking the person who made the effort to call me in the morning makes me wake up and speak to them. If somehow that can last for 5 minutes, I would have jumped out of bed. The rest of the waking up is done making breakfast and/or talking on the phone some more. I did both this morning as I tried to snap out of my sleep induced stupor; here I am, wide awake and raring to go. It will take a few more days before I will fall into a routine but this is a start. A good start - thanks to the two who called me this morning, you know who you are.

Wake Up, Bitch

I spent the entire day extremely upset with myself. An important meeting was scheduled for 9am this morning and my ass rolled into work a little after 11. This is just unacceptable and my tardiness has definitely put a dent in my accountability. First step, sleep early. Second step, wake up early, Third step, don't forget steps one and two. Time for the One, Two Step?

You want to know what makes missing the gym worth it?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Communication Breakdown

Communication Breakdown, It's always the same,
I'm having a nervous breakdown, Drive me insane!

Listening to the song on the radio right now. It's over but it has left me hankering for more Led Zeppelin so my Led-Zepp-favs playlist is now playing on iTunes. As the songs play in the background, I am thinking about what has lead to breakdowns with people in my life. It all boils down to communicating with and understanding each other. So what causes the splits? In some cases, we just don't speak the same language anymore. In some others, I no longer want to speak the same language. And then have been cases that intrigue me, the ones where we started off understanding each other but after a while, things just turned sour. Is there a way to know when the laughing is going to stop and prevent it? How can two people so close start to grate on each other like that? Maybe the tears and subsequent separation are inevitable.

Coming to work after a fun-filled weekend is always a bummer. I have got precious little done today and I really don't foresee myself being productive so I'm just going to leave. The gym is a potential destination as is the neighbourhood park. A game of pick-up tennis might get the blood flowing again; I wish I knew how to play basketball though because it's the perfect summer pick-up sport. Gotta make do with what I have and know; time to be positive!

What do you know, the Immigrant Song just started playing. At least the music is uplifting - that's one piece of the puzzle in place. Time to get up and see if the rest of the pieces fall where they should.

Update: I knew I would suck at squash today and suck I did. Sarat beat me 3-1 (the games weren't even close) and then I played two games with Sheri but they didn't count. Good thing I went worked out and got the blood pumping though. Tomorrow will be a better day...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Blank... Blank...

I can't believe it's 3am already. Today was a day of both mundane and exciting events interspersed among one another. I have found a new reason to go to work everyday (for the time being) and it's finding ways to duck out of meetings X-) Meetings and email are the thieves of time I say!

I didn't wake up till a little past 10:30 this morning. This is a weekday first because I didn't even budge till I finally woke up - no snooze button pressing, no requesting of 5 more minutes of sleep. The squash games I played the night before might have had something to do with why I passed out on the couch around 1am but CRASHING like that till past 10am?

Upon returning from the marathon squash match last night, I spent some time reading about George Costanza on Wikipedia. Needless to say, I was cracking up for the entire duration of time I spent reading about his character, some memorable quotes and the like. The one thing that will stick in my head for a long time is this particular quote:
It isn't a lie, if you believe it.
Chew on that for a moment...

The pendulum that is my mood oscillated periodically between ho-hum to upbeat all day. I have a hard time motivating myself to workout on days like this and today was no exception and then I had a shot of caffeine. Some tennis, a whole lot of squash drills and a good chest workout left me pretty satisfied as I walked out of the Pro Club a few minutes after closing time.

As I sit here and reflect on the remains of this day, I am glad that I did work out, that I chatted with my family, that I renewed a relationship and that I have begun insulating myself from another. That's a full enough Thursday in my books. To Friday and a weekend of partying then. Hopefully the weather will change - this incessant rain is getting on my nerves!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Why Ask a Question

<This day makes me think of the "What really grinds my gears" segment from Family Guy!>

... when you're not ready for the answer? People have an uncanny ability to ask questions that they expect will be answered to their satisfaction. These so called rhetorical questions are my favourites - the "Isn't this <fill blanks here>?" type. I'd like to release this public service message for the edification of such individuals and eventually, the betterment of mankind.

First up, rhetorical questions about some topics should just not be asked. If they are, the asker of such question should realize that there are two possible answers - Yes and No. Granted that there is at best a 10% chance that the answer might not be unexpected but the key is to be ready for both possibilities. And god forbid, if it is the asker's day to be shot down, it's time to just suck it up and take the hit.

24 Season 4

I am going to resist the temptation of watching this in a marathon session but instead enjoy an episode a day. If the reviews are anything to go by, Season 4 might be the best season of 24 available on DVD (24 fan-boys might complain that Season 1 is the sentimental favourite). Note that I explicitly say "available on DVD" - Season 5 tops 'em all.

What Really Grinds My Gears

Is to wake up on the day after a long weekend and be at work at 9:06 for a meeting that gets canceled last minute. Arghhhh!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Maybe it is time

For Monster Mix - IV

The Tide can change

I was having a very lackluster Friday. The fact that I was up till after 3 the night before had some part to play as did the number of hours I had put at work over the week. As is customary with a torrent of check-ins, I broke the build on Thursday night because of a change I made to a header file. In hindsight, I shouldn't have changed that file at all but oh well...

The towels are back in locker rooms at Microsoft so I decided to take a shower in an attempt to turn my day around. Caffeine had failed to buoy me up and this point, I needed to wake up and finish the last task on my plate. The shower would prepare me for the night of partying ahead of me so it didn't seem like a totally bad investment of my time.

The shower worked! I got back to my office and cranked out code to fix a long standing issue assigned to me. As I walked to my car at 8pm, the stride was back in my steps and I couldn't wait to party it up with Alex, Matt and Sid. What a night of frolic it was my countrymen...

We started with beers at Garage on Broadway, went to Linda's to toast Matt and Leslie (Patron Silver) , ate Pizza, drank coffee at Bauhaus, had drinks at Chapel, had some more beers at Capital Club and finished with burgers and milk-shakes at Dicks. We had it all - a lot of alcohol was consumed, we reminisced over times past, repeated the same stories multiple times, played drinking games and at least one of us was very heavily intoxicated by the end of it all. I realized that someone had to drive us all home so I stopped around 12:15 - smart move given that I drove everyone back home. I can't wait for the next time us four are re-united. I'd like to be the drunk one for once...

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Quick Recap

I'd say this week was eventful without being stressful. I have played two great squash matches, lifted weights twice, written code for the first time in months (and broken the build) and hung with friends. All these are ingredients for a happy existence, and happy I have been (for once cause results in effect). The highlight of this week has been meeting Alex, who I am seeing after two years. We got a chance to catch up on what has been going on in the time we hadn't met and he described his Computer Science theory paper on Paging and the effectiveness of LRU.

The plan for the weekend is to entertain Alex before he returns back to Germany tomorrow evening. I don't think he'd like to spend time in Seattle couped up in a movie hall but if he were up for it, I would like him to see X-Men: The Last Stand. Here's a link to a balanced review of the film :review:. We saw the movie last night (at Lincoln Square Mall) and I really liked it. The movie was fast paced and both my favourite X-men had prominent roles in the plot - Jean Grey and Wolverine. Storm wasn't as annoying in this installment (she was terrible in X-2) so for once, I actually liked Halle Berry. I'm going to watch this flick at least three or four times at the cinemas (once at Cinerama for sure). What is my recommendation then? Go watch it; I'd give it ***1/2 stars out of 4. Hold up though, if you are a die hard X-Men fan (have read the comics, etc), don't belabour the story changes while watching the movie because you don't want to miss out on the fun as you criticize the story writers for the changes. Hey, Stan Lee is on the advisory board of the movie so if he thought the changes were ok, you should sit back and enjoy too!

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend...