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

"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. 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!