I am the alpha and the omega
January 27, 2004
My law of Chance
At Saarang, it is highly improbable that two people who expect to meet each other do meet.
Its corollary
On the other hand, two people who do not expect to meet each other, can and do meet.

People, I warn you, this is going to be a very long post. Beware. It is an account of all my last Saarang experiences, divided, of course into various parts. Take your time reading it. It will be on display for atleast a week, I guess. I took about 3 hours typing this and it has a total of about 17200 characters.
  1. The Udit Narayan Show
  2. Saarang Day 3
  3. Rocking hard
  4. Saarang Day 4
  5. Saarang Day 5
  6. Jamming the Jam
  7. Bhakra Bonkers

The Udit Narayan Show (Day 2 - Thursday)
The last time, I left you off when I was going to the Udit Narayan's Show. I thought it would be pretty enjoyable, but they soon proved me wrong. The organisers literally put one of my nitemares into a pro-show and made me pay Rs70 to watch it. (Does anybody remember that line from Friends?). First of all, the show started late - which is not unexpected, so to speak, but it does tell a lot about the organisation here. It started at around 8:30 pm, an hour later than the scheduled time.
The organiser (somebody named Shakil) went on toasting to the greatness that was Udit Narayan - you can read all about it. God, I just hated that. But the most important reason that I was pissed off was because he played Hindi songs - all but 2. Agreed that Hindi is the national language and that everybody needs to know Hindi and Blah Blah blah, but the songs that were played were songs for the older generation, none of the heart stopping pop popping beats of today. Just one Tamil song - which he bungled up and one Telugu song (I had no heart by that time to appreciate any song played). To top all that, the bass in the speaker system was too high, and all the heavy drumming got to my chest which starting thumping - gave quite an uneasy feeling to me. And I got a head-splitting headache that lasted the entire nite after that.
The Shankar Mahadevan show the last Saarang was much better, so to speak. (If I remember rite, even drummer Sivamani came down to the stage to lend a hand at drumming.) Those were the good old days.

Saarang Day 3 (Friday)
The sleepy head of mine awoke at around 7:30 am. As I rushed to get my breakfast, my mind kept wandering over how irritating yesterday's show was. Argh.
Getting dressed up, I wandered over to the main venue of Saarang. Strolled over to the Main Quiz Semifinals, suppoesed to be at 9 am, but started at 10, no 10:30 am (Surprising isnt it, not to me though.). The two rounds in that went on till about 1 pm, after which I had a measly meal of chappati and dosa, but did fill my tummy. With nothing else to do, I was Aimlessly wandering about (as mentioned in the previous post) with a couple of my friends, rolling about from the Power Chord Western Music through the three informals stalls and then finally to the Entertainment Quiz Prelims (which just ended). I must sya that the informals did put up quite a good show - with three stalls competing for the most energetic group of people : E-serve, Hutch and the informals of our college. They all managed to gather a crowd of dance crazy-frenzy people in a huge gumbal about them. It was when I was waiting outside after that, that archs & laks managed to catch up with me. Chatted for some time.
A friend of mine suggested that we go fro Scrabble prelims that day. It must be noted that he had no fundaes on what Scrabble, and for the first half of the prelims, I was teaching him what scrabble is and how to play it, not that I am extremely good at it either. Finally, we did end up cracking some problems not related to scrabble, but more towards word power, although it was not enough to get through to the finals - Obvious isnt it.
I moved on to the hostel after that to get my ticket for the rock show - Pin Drop Violence and Mother Jane. You can read a review about it. (There's somebody in that photo looks suspiciously like me, but isnt.). I will discuss what rock is in the next part. One good thing was that, I did get to meet my cowsin Sujatha (who did say that she reads it sometimes) and also a Karthik. Both of them had come with their own gang of friends, I must say.
One another good news today. For about 20 days till today, a guy from the opposite wing was sleeping in my room because the rooms were being renovated. It was ok with me, but I did get the feeling that somebody was always intruding on my privacy. It is very difficult for two poeple to live in a small room that it is. But now, I am happy: the renovation work was completed and he was shifting. Yippee, a small room all to myself (God know how I managed my first year - where we were put up 3 to a room, albeit a bigger room.)

Rocking hard
More that 10000 watts of blazing power, of deep bassy drums and bases, fastly pulled strings, 5000 people jumping in a mad frenzy, jumping and shouting and singing in the passion that is rock - hard rockers rock hard...
Rock, as a genre of music is something that is appreciated by only a few many people. But to those who do get influenced by it - it is like a cobra swaying to the tune of (snake music?). They are rockers, who have to go headbanging everytime they hear some of their favorite compositions, who have to have long hair and wierd beards (and possibly girlfriends to accompany them), who have to have a smoke in one hand and a pepsi in the other. You can see them attracted to a rock show like flies to the light. And for the most famous ones, they will literally bombard the venue.
For me, though, I am not that moved by rock. Hard rock, the likes of Black Sabbeth, Guns n Roses, Led Zeppelin are too much to me. I do like listening to Linkin Park (though some may argue that that is not hard rock). I prefer soft rock - the likes of Californication, U2 and others. Mostly pop though. But, I did enjoy this one because it was a welcome change from the melange of Hindi songs that I did hear yesterday. I too did go jumping up and down, but it turned out that I did not have much energy for that.
Pin Drop Violence was not that good, too many of their own compositions and they seem to have left in a very short time. But Mother Jane came up and made up for it, with good tracks from Iron Maiden and Black Sabbeth. Good going.
I liked it.

Saarang Day 4 (Saturday)
The time of 7:30 (again) found me sleeping in my hostel. After the hurried breakfast of (not exactly delicious) idlis, I cycled over to the Saarang venue. The entertainment quiz finals was about to start, and I went in; It was my folly that I didnt know about 90% of what was asked there. Instead of showing blank ignorant faces at everybody, I decided to do something more worthwile. The first thing that did strike my eyes was pencil shading competition. My only earlier experienc of pencil shading was in my 7th standard (grade), but not too much; today, I was going to compete with the professionals. The starting was not to my expectation - the coordinators had run out of pencils for the event as they had an unexpected number of unexpected participants. But I did start. The topics given were
  1. Mona Lisa
  2. Wonder of the world
  3. Youth

What could I possibly draw on.... My eyes fell on a drawing of headaches in an Supplement to a paper that was supplied to us to keep as a base while shading. Voila - a bulb lit in my head. I copied it and titled it "The burden of Youth". Very cheeky of me, isnt it. You would say wrong and that I would be punished for it; Well, I didnt get any prize for pencil shading. The other submissions were way better than mine - students from professional arts colleges take a hand at this, how am I to compete.
Later, I landed up at the finals of an event called "Whats the good word", an event based on the mind power over words. It was nice, but I had to leave half-way because the Cleudo prelims were starting, and I wanted to participate in it, which I did. Nice tough nut-cracker questions and a lot more interactive than previous Cleudo's that I have been to, but my detective skills werent enough to crack the cases. Guess I am not Sherlock Holmes material.
Later, I went on to the Light Music Group Finals. Six colleges were participating in it. I managed to see the first five; I had to leave early to go home. (I ran out of dresses to wear and enthu to wash.) I did hear that Sri Venkateshwara College of Engineering won. Good for them. I missed the Decibels - Rock competition though.

Saarang Day 5 (Sunday)
I was at my uncles place - not at my home - for the mourning. Today was supposed to be the 16-th day and had to go to temple to perform auspicious rite. Did that and came and was feeling extremely sleepy. (I had a programming assignment to be submitted on Tuesday and was working late in the nite - to end up just completing one-third of it. I also installed AOM. Its an amazing game. You have to try it out.
There was Just A Minute finals and Choreo and Main Quiz finals - event that I could not afford to miss. So I decided to go for it. I reached college by 2 pm - when Dramatics was going on. The hall was fully crowded and I managed to squeeze in. To my surprise, I just bumped into Taruni and Pleo. Enjoyed the last few minutes of the dramatics - it was quite nice.. to bad to have missed it. I stayed on for the JAM finals (which got delayed by an hour). So I sat there doing my assignment - some hard coding in C; kept me occupied. I will discuss about JAM in the next part.
The JAM event started at 4 and ended at around 7 pm. I decided to head over to Choreo. To my surprise, they didnt allow any body inside and the security ended up lathi charging people. I guess there were just too many people, too few seats to be takes. I must say that more than double the capacity of the Open Air Theatre (where the show was taking place) was waiting outside. Many friends of mine, cowsins and bloggers alike came up to me and asked me if they could get inside. I just gave back blank faces. They were not allowing even me inside. No amount of pleading with Sai, who was the Personal Relations Coord helped. Even he was helpless. I wandered over to the food stall to have grub. I managed to meet archs, laks and Harini who were in the same plight as me. If you are reading this, did you people manage to get in?
It was literally madness out there. Whenever somebody saw that a person was trying to enter the OAT, there was one huge stampede; easily about 50 persons were seen running towards them and then police driving them backwards. I slinked away to the other side of OAT to watch the show from the back - which atleast satisfied me. At around 10 pm (following an agonising 2 1/2 hour wait), they let some people in, and I joined them. I came inside and sat to watch the last 4 colleges performing. I just missed what was the largest and my last Choreo program. I heard that others students had put more fight than me to get in. Two of my classmated had waited outside for a long while, then they acted as security volunteers for about one and half hour and then a coord let them in - around the same time I got it.
A nice surprise followed that - a live MTV Bhakhra, which I will discuss shortly. Following the Choreo event was the Main Quiz Finals at the OAT, which started at the unearthly hour of 12:30 am Jan 26th (one and half hours behind schedule - I must say. Apparently, one of the quiz coord forgot that the previous event had ended.) I wanted to stay the whole nite, but the lack of previous nites sleep (2 and half hours) and lots of roaming together pulled my eyelids quite strongly. No amount of water ever ressurected me after that. So I went back to hostel to sleep again (only to get up 3 and half hours later at 6 am to go to my uncles place where I stayed on the day that was 26th, missing the reality show and the Unity Concert and a medley of other events.) The quiz (of 90 Q's) ended at around 6:15 am. I am sure that the Don would have stayed fully.

Jamming the JAM
JAM stands for Just a Minute, where 8 speakers are given a chance to try to speak for a minute on a given topic, grammatically. Sounds easy - the longest amount of time that a speaker has managed to speak continuously was about 3 seconds.
There are a host of rules involved in it : No starting with a gerund, no direct speech, no post-qualification (wherein you describe the noun after you mention it), no slurring, no speech defect, no late starts and so on and on. Any mistake, and people are trigger happy; they just buzz and if they give a correct objection for the buzzing, they get a chance to speech. A good round of JAM for 60 seconds, with a good round of JAMmers lasts for 15-30 minutes. Of course, a good moderator is a necessity. We had a guy from IIM (A or B, I dunno) The moderator has to be funny, witty, keep the crowd engaged, be fair (to the fairer sex perhaps !?) and keep the competitors from literally clawing themselves. And of course, the topics have to be funny too.
At Saarang, last year, the JAM was a crowd puller. Near the end of it, the venue was bursting at its seams with people. I just managed to squeeze myself in. This time, the crowd was even more overwhelming. The moderator was very dunny and witty, and so were the JAMmers. But 4 rounds into the game, many had lost the enthu, and the crowd started dwindling. The final stages had about one-third the initial crowd. But the last part was the funniest; truly many people had missed that.
That was the end of my last JAMming session.

Bhakhra Bonkers
Did I mention the special MTV bhakhra before. Well, it was a nice surprise when after the Choreo event, the coordinators asked us to stay back and announced that they were doing a live Bhakhra, for the first time in IIT M. They were showing it on the screen there.
A second year student security volunter was asked to go into a room with an MTV VJ (I forgot her name), where there were a lot of cameras hidden around. This guy obviously didnt have a clue on what was happening. They were just chit-chatting for a while, when she recieves a phone call from her "boy friend Rahul", who just mentions to her, that due to heavy workload, he was going to dump her after a "three year long relationship". She immediately starts "crying". Rahul asks her not to cry, but thats of no use. She just wails louder than ever. He then asks if anybody was sitting next to her, and she replies that there IS a guy sitting there; Rahul then asks her to hand over the phone to him and then asks him to ask her to stop crying - that too is of no use. She just doesnt give up.
All the while, all of us outside viewing it, laugh aloud. The coord asks us to quiten down as the bhakhra was taking place in a room close to the OAT where we were sitting.
Hearing the cries, a "policeman" arrives in the scene and starts threatening the student; he asks the student why she was crying, whether had done anything, what college he was in, and that he would call the Dean of Students to take action against him. Sure enough, after the "policeman" leaves, the Dean of Students of our college comes over (Notice this time, there are no quotes; he was our real Dean.) He too starts barraging the student with lot of questions and threats and that student is literally on the verge of crying, trying very hard to explain what had happened and that he was not at fault. He was seriously shocked at the Dean's threat of being expelled from the college. The Cultural Secretary and the Security Coord also join them in this drama and start to put the fear of such acts into his mind - that guy was terribly shocked. I am sure that he could not have taken more.
Meanwhile, the VJ slips out and announces that they are playing a BHakhra on that student. The two coordinators then bring extremely shocked and terrified student vol up to the stage and explain that a prank was played on him. I just cannot imagine how he would be feeling then. A mixture of relief, shock, happiness, (pride?, envy?)...
It was just very funny.. If they ever telecast it, dont miss it.

Have a nice day And respect the 54th year of the forming of the Constitution.

Posted by satosphere at 7:25 AM

January 22, 2004
Billings's Law
Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so.

Saarang Day 2 (Day 1 for me actually)
The morning of Saarang found me waking up pretty early (by my standards), thanx to the hippie mosquitoes. After my morning ablutions, I started mugging - yeah thats rite. I started mugging. It so happens that I have an assignment to submit on Tuesday, and barring today, I wont find any other time to do it.
I did reach the CLT - the hub of activity for Saarang 2004. I grabbed the flyers of various sponsors and also the brain games sheet - time to get the grey and white cells in my brain working.
I wandered onto the WM solo event - which was noticably late (as are all the events at Saarang, including the inaugration).
Then, wandered on to the Lone Wolf Quiz event, in which I finally realised that a pack of wolves make a better team than a lone wolf. Following that, I was aimlessly wandering around the environs of Saarang. Seriously - I did nothing much; I watched the Infromals for some time, then wandered to the WM solo, followed by a lite lunch and on.
JAM sessions are always interesting and a lot of free usage of words there. So I ambled over there, and witnessed JAMming at one of its best for about 2 hours till 5 - Man, the JAM hall was jammed with lotsof people. Good to get a seat to sit there. I did catch up with some of my old classmates - actually two from my school days.
Tomorrow and always, you can always find me at Aimlessly_Wandering_Zombie@saarang.org
No events beyond that until the pro-show by Udit Narayanan at 7:30pm - while I am waiting for that, I am blogging.
Shobha forced me to write about the bloggers meet. I know its a bit too late on the block - but read on....
   4 pm on the day of the blogger meet found me in the common room cheering India for winning in what was becoming an extremely close match against Australia; the bloggers meet was but a small memory in my otherwise oversized brain. At 4:30, I realised that I the meeting was at 5 pm. So I went to my room, freshened up, put some drabby clothes, got on my trusty 10 year old steed - my two wheeled contraption otherwise called the cycle by others and sped away (not exactly). Pedalling furiously through the South eastern parts of Chennai - including Taramani, Thiruvanmaiyur, Indira Nagar and Beasant Nagar, I finally reached Planet Yumm at around 5:05pm. I did find what looked like a very small gumbal of three waiting outside, but I didnt know if that was the meet. So I strolled into the restaruant and found a lot of gumbals and I didnt know whom I was supposed to meet. Started wandering quite confused now.
Came out again, and a pretty big guy approached me from the first gumbal and asked, "Are you.. here.. by any chance for... a bloggers meet?. I raised my hand and introduced myself and he told me that he was Ravages. I walked up to that gumbal and then Pleomorphous Masculinum (he more looked like a Pleomorphous Minulinum) introduced himself - while he struggled to take the camera out of his helmet which this girl (who was looking as thoough she was ready to fly off to a Tropical island - wearing a big flat hat) Taruni (supposedly the official coverer for the blog meet) was holding. After his ameteurish attempts to take a photo was completed, we waited, staring at each others faces and on....
Sai and Ravi came up in an auto. Kingsly also turned up in what was supposedly a 21 year old Rajdoot (older than me, I would say).
I actually forgot the approach of other people, except that as time progressed (till 5:45 pm) more and more people were there, including Luna and Krithiga, some bloggers from Veltech, Meera, LAzy geek, Krishna, Unjun, Anand... I lost track clearly (Besides, I am not very good at remembering names). With mixed feelings and mixed perceptions going through my mind, I was talking with all of them. We decided that standing in a Round Table Conference was strictly not bloggers style, we decided to go indoors; after confirming with Suds that that was his agenda.
Soon, more joined us, and the group numbered to around 19.

I will continue in the next post - its getting late for the Udit NArayanan show...

Posted by satosphere at 7:42 AM

January 20, 2004
The Billings Phenomenon
The conclusions of most good operations research studies are obvious.

The results (I know its not an exam) the Chennai Bloggers meet are out. And you can read the reviews of it there. But I must say that reality didnt shatter much of my perceptions behind the veil of the blog. Firstly, I didnt know many of the bloggers out there, except the IIT bloggers, whom I know much more than the contents of my wardrobe. The only new faces that I did see were Sirpy and Crithica (btw - a good round up at her blog) and of course Anand's who did take the time to grace my blog. It must be noted that Kingsley and the Lazy geek were the literal hosts who kept the show going.
Photos of the meet are up at Lazy Geek's blog. You can catch me here (at the left) and here (sitting with black T. Shirt in the center). Thats me....
Too bad that the Anna blogging gumbal missed the blog meet. There were really not many familiar bloggers apart from my college gumbal.
The dinner that we guys had at Veroona and the ensuing juicy discussion regarding Ravi did turn our spirits up from the impending Monday blues.

I started this weblog at Sulekha just to participate in this Blogathon created for Saarang. I will be writing as time permits. Just check it out, if ur time permits.

I forgot to add the invite to Saarang. So here it is.
Saarang 2004
The picture looks a bit snazzy doesnt it. : Its not the original picture, just a little change using Irfanview.

People who are using Blogger, BlogCity, Movable Type should start using W.Bloggar if they ever post from Windows. Its an amazing software to post blogs. Once you set it up to you account, all you have to do is write your post, preview it (if necessary) and then voila : a single click post and publish. Its much more simpler than following 5 steps to publish a post via the Blogger website. It support many languages and many more blogger interfaces than mentioned here.
It has kind of an Office XP like interface, works out pretty good. It has a lot of in-built buttons so that a non-geek (html ignorant) person can easily put up links, images, set up tables, change alignments, font adjustment and much more. You can also change the template (when you are connected to the net)It is really easy. Just try it out. Its really a boon for those living in the dial-up world. Click here to downlaod it. Its 1732 KB only.

Posted by satosphere at 4:09 AM

January 17, 2004
First Law of Bicycling
No matter which way you ride, it's uphill and against the wind
Well, I came across this story in the Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul. (I know that I am not supposed to be reading this, but I was feeling pretty bored, and this the only book that came within my viewing angle, and this was one of the funnier ones). I warn you, Its long, bring your cup of coffee and read on...

What Women don't understand about Guys

   Contrary to what many women believe, it's easy to develop a longed, intimate and mutually fulfilling relationship with a guy. Of course, this guy has to be a Labrador Retriever. With human guys, its extremely difficult. This is because guys don't really grasp what women mean by the term relationship.
   Let's say a guy named Roger asks a women named Elaine out to a movie. She agrees; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later, he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and soon neither is seeing anybody else.
   Then one evening, when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine. She says, "Do you realise that we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"
   Silence fills the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself, "Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he feels confined by our relationship. Maybe he thinks that I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation."
   And Roger is thinking, "Gosh. Six Months."
   And Elaine is thinking, "But hey,I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really know this person?"
   And Roger is thinking, "So that means it was... let's see... February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means... lemme check the odometer... whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here."
   And Elaine is thinking, "He's upset, I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship - more intimacy, more commitment. Maybe he senses my reservations. Yes, that's it. He's afraid of being rejected."
   And Roger is thinking, "I'm gonna to have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say - it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent, thieving cretins (subnormally intelligent person) 600 dollars!"
   And Elaine is thinking, "He's angry, and I don't blame him. I'd angry too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure."
   And Roger is thinking, "They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty. That's what they're gonna say!"
   And Elaine is thinking, "Maybe I'm too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting next to a perfectly good person who's in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl fantasy."
   And Roger is thinking, "Warranty? I'll give them a warranty!"
   "Roger", Elaine says aloud.
   "What?", says Roger.
   "I'm such a fool", Elaine says, sobbing, "I mean, I know there's no knight and there's no horse."
   "There's no horse?!...", says Roger.
   "You think I'm a fool, don't you?", says Elaine.
   "No!", Roger says, glad to know the correct answer.
   "It's just that... I need more time", Elaine says.
   There is a 15-second pause while Roger tries to come up with a safe response. "Yes", he finally says.
   Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand. "Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?"
   "What way?", says Roger.
   "That way about time", Elaine says.
   "Oh," says Roger, "Yes."
   Elaine gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last, she says, "Thank You, Roger."
   "Thank you", he responds.
   Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted soul weeping until dawn, whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of chips, turns on the TV and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czech players he never heard of. A tiny voice in his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he figures it's better not to think about it.
   The next day, Elaine will call her closest friend, and they will talk for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said. They will continue to discuss this subject for weeks, never reaching any definite conclusion but never getting bored with it either.
   Meanwhile, Roger, playing racquetball one day with a friend of his and Elaine's will pause just before serving and ask, "Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?"

   We're not talking about different wavelengths here. We're talking about completely different planets in completely different solar systems. Elaine cannot communicate meaningfully with Roger because the sum total of his thinking about relationships is Huh?.
   He has a guy brain, basically an analytical problem-solving organ. It's not comfortable with nebulous concepts such as love, need and trust. If the guy brain has to form an opinion about another person, it prefers to base it on facts, such as his or her earned-run average.
   Women have trouble accepting this. They are convinced that guys must spend a certain amount of time thinking about the relationship. How could a guy see another human being day after day, night after night, and not be thinking about the relationship? This is what women figure.
   They are wrong. A guy in a relationship is like an ant standing on top of a truck tire. The ant is aware that something large is there, but he cannot even dimly comprehend what it is. And if the truck starts moving and the tire starts to roll, the ant will sense that something important is happening, but right up until he rolls to the bottom and is squashed, the only thought in his tiny brain is Huh?.
   Thus the No. 1 tip for women to remember is never assume the guy understands that you and he have a relationship. You have to plant the idea in his brain by constantly making subtle references to it, such as:
   "Roger, would you mind passing me the sugar, inasmuch as we have a relationship?"
   "Wake up, Roger!, There's a prowler in the den and we have a relationship! You an I do, I mean."
   "Good news, Roger! The doctor says we're going to have our fourth child - another indication that we have a relationship!"
   "Roger, inasmuch as this plane is crashing and we have only a minute to live, I want you to know that we've had a wonderful 53 years of marriage together, which clearly constitutes a relationship."
   Never let up, women. Pound away relentlessly at this concept, and eventually it will start to penetrate the guy's brain. Someday he might even start thinking about it on his own. He'll be talking with some other guys about women, and out of the blue, he'll say, "Elaine and I, we have, ummm... we have, ahhh... we have this thing."
   And he will sincerely mean it.
Sincere thanx to Dave Barry whose story it is.

So what do you people feel about it?

Posted by satosphere at 10:40 AM

January 14, 2004
Bicycle Law

  • All bicycles weigh 50 pounds:
  • A 30-pound bicycle needs a 20-pound lock and chain.
  • A 40-pound bicycle needs a 10-pound lock and chain.
  • A 50-pound bicycle needs no lock or chain.

Happy Pongal

Well, I promised you Flash Animation for Pongal, didn't I.... Well, here it is. Just remember that this is my first animation that I made in Flash (with a little help from one of my cowsin). I actually wanted to do for New Years', but I didn't find time for it, so I postponed it for Pongal.
It is a short one, albeit very fast. Just tell me what yo think. Your words of encouragement would probably inspire me to do more animations.
Also, can anyone guess what software I used for this - I did not use Macromedia Flash MX (do you expect such an easy answer..?) Kudos to anyone who gets the right answer, which I will tell later.
Turn on the speakers for this one. It has a nice sound track running in the background and some good sounds (actually whatever wav files that I could excavate from my system. A good games should be able to hear a very famous sounds : Three guesses?
*Due to technical difficulties in blogger displaying the Flash animation, click here to see the animation.*
Inconvinience regretted

Posted by satosphere at 11:21 AM

January 12, 2004
Berson's Corollary of Inverse Distances
The farther away from the entrance that you have to park, the closer the space vacated by the car that pulls away as you walk up to the door.

Feeling much better now, but am still trying hard to get over it.
I suppose its just a lesson that life poses to us once in a while; to experience the "harsh realities" of life.

Am trying to do what we call as proffing, whereby we email professors in the Universities to which we are applying, convincing them to make us part of his/her research team. For doing that, we go to the professors' web sites on the departments to find out about their research interests, the projects they are doing, whether they are looking for students, whether they have funds (this is an important part)... you get the idea. This is an important part of an application because they are the ones who decide whether the given candidate gets a research assistantship; which provides for valuable aid during the graduate education. This process usually drags on for a couple of months, till we hit jackpot. Hope it goes fine.

Downloaded Winamp last week. IT REALLY KICKS THE LLAMA'S ASS - as they say it. It has so many desirable features, and it really rocks. Here are some of the salient features that I liked.

  1. It is much faster than Winamp 3 - which BTW was really sluggish, much slicker than Winamp 2. Infact, they skipped Winamp 4 because Winamp 2 + Winamp 3 = Winamp 5.
  2. It offers 3 versions, a Lite one (650kb), the Default Winamp 5.01 (4.1 MB) and the Winamp 5 Pro (which is 15$).
  3. It really looks wonderful, with its default skin created by none other than the man behind the MMD3 Skin for Winamp3
  4. You can use all the classic and modern skins on it; without any problem - those swearing by MMD3 can use it here; those still holding on to the classic Winamp 2 skins can switch over to Winamp 5 without any problems.
  5. The preferences dialog box of Winamp 5 has attained the classic look of Winamp 2. In Winamp 3, the preferences box was very bad - You could not access the plugins windows at all. Now with its classic look, you would have no problem at all
  6. The plugins developed for both Winamp 2 and Winamp 3 work fine with Winamp 5
  7. It supports CD ripping - albeit at low speeds (U need to upgrade to Pro by paying a little fee to get much higher speeds)

Go On
Why Dont you check it out.
If You are still not satisfied, all I can say is that you dont listen to music the way it should be heard.

Posted by satosphere at 9:54 PM

January 10, 2004
MOOD: Extremely Sober

My periappa(uncle: father's elder brother) passed away yesterday

I have never ever seen my father cry before

It is difficult to cry when a person is in grief.

I realised that,
It is even more difficult to smile.

It is very difficult to console a person when u r in more grief than him.

To know that that person will never walk on earth again, is difficult.

On a beautiful day like this...., how can something be so awfully wrong.

Death was, is, and never, will be, fair.

I thought people lived forever... Truth is... they dont.
I want to wake up from this nitemare.

Posted by satosphere at 1:17 AM

January 06, 2004
Berra's Law
You can observe a lot just by watching.

Lotsof Things have happened in the past two days.

  1. Yesterday, in my street, a man was run over by a van, and he died. He was very old and was about to pass into the netherworld anyway, but it was just that I wanted to share that "grievous" news to the world. I was walking back to my house from the bus-stand when there was this huge crowd in my street and lots of policemen were there. Pushing my way in, I saw that dead body, just behind the rear wheel of the van; a 2m long 3 inch wide trail of blood flowing towards a nearby man-hole (which, by the way, can also be called the drainage). Did not seem to affect me much, I dunno why. Many years back, on another main road, I had seen another man dead from an accident, and his wife was sitting beside him, weeping unconsolably; I only seem to have vague memories of that. I dont know whether it should affect me.
  2. My father is leaving today, back to Kabul after 15 days of stay here. It will be another 7 months before I see him; then again, there is always Yahoo Messenger, and Yahoo mail to keep in contact with him. But now, I have to do a lot of furthur application work (and hopefully) the Visa preparations by myself, thats going to be difficult.
  3. Got my UPS repaired. It was a simple problem, the battery needed changing, but it took such a long while coz it was difficult to find the dealer from whom I had bought; he had shifted the place and finding his address was difficult.
  4. Working on a nice little FLASH animation for Pongal. I wanted to do for New Year (Yes, I know that I dont want to celebrate New year - see below, but others do, and I have to wish them), but finally, I didnt have enuf time. So it is coming out for Pongal. Watch out for it on the 13th or 14th.
  5. Was having a bout of fever for the past few days. Got it finally cured though, with an assortment of different colored antibiotics and Vitamin supplements given by the neighbourhood doctor.

Have a nice day.

Posted by satosphere at 10:47 PM

January 05, 2004
Berkeley's Laws
  1. The world is more complicated than most of our theories make it out to be.
  2. Ignorance is no excuse.
  3. Never decide to buy something while listening to the salesman.
  4. Information which is true meets a great many different tests very well.
  5. Most problems have either many answers or no answer. Only a few problems have a single answer.
  6. An answer may be wrong, right, both, or neither. Most answers are partly right and partly wrong.
  7. A chain of reasoning is no stronger than its weakest link.
  8. A statement may be true independently of illogical reasoning.
  9. Most general statements are false, including this one.
  10. An exception TESTS a rule; it NEVER PROVES it.
  11. The moment you have worked out an answer, start checking it -- it probably isn't right.
  12. If there is an opportunity to make a mistake, sooner or later the mistake will be made.
  13. Being sure mistakes will occur is a good frame of mind for catching them.
  14. Check the answer you have worked out once more -- before you tell it to anybody.
  15. Estimating a figure may be enough to catch an error.
  16. Figures calculated in a rush are very hot; they should be allowed to cool off a little before being used; thus we will have a reasonable time to think about the figures and catch mistakes.
  17. A great many problems do not have accurate answers, but do have approximate answers, from which sensible decisions can be made.

Its a bit late on the store but....

I have always been wondering, why do people celebrate a New Year, and why do people celeberate it on January 1st.?
There is a great conflict in my mind; my left half in constant conflict with my rite (I know that there are two halves in my brain and that the left half has nothing rite in it and the rite half has nothing left in it). The great conflict was stated in short and sweet words above.
Firstly, the new year has nothing significant in it; it just probably signifies that the earth has gone around the sun (approximately) once; it just means that the same cycle of winter, spring, summer and autumn is going to repeat again. If that is the import of a new year, what will happen, say if people colonise moon - does one year on moon imply the moon going around the earth once (27.5 days approx.) Or if finally colonise Mars, and if seasonal changes are to indicate a year, then Mars' "one year" lasts (me thinx) four and a half earth years...
So what is its real significance - Or have we lost its meaning completely over the years.

Secondly, why does the New Year have to be celebrated on January 1st - why not any other day - say July 1st.? What is the ground for saying that January first is the first day of the year?
Just because some silly people decided to use the Gregorian calendar (BTW, I am not against it in any way), do we really have to celebrate in on that day against all our wishes?
Think about it; one year signifies that the earth going round the sun once. So any point on the orbit of the earth can be taken as reference to say that one revolution has been completed - and the day when that occurs could be any one of the 364 other days of a year. (365 in a leap year). Recent evidence suggests that the earth is slowing down and atomic clocks are more accurate; so about a millions years from now, New Years may occur on the next day even....
There are some more compelling arguments that I put forth.

Many institutions have made New Years a working day (I have already heard some grumblings about it) and have declared the other New Year days (the Tamil New Year, Telugu New Year... in the respective states) as holidays.
New Years day is not celebrated at the same time everywhere, there is a time lag of 24 hours betweent the first person enjoying it and the last person crossing the 12 o' clock divide. When I get international phone calls or chat with people (to wish Happy New Year), some say that they have completed their celebrations long ago, others have just crossed the midnite barrier and more others are still a long way off to the crossing. And also, there are many people who cannot even afford to celeberate it (the Iranian Earthquake victims this year).

Some have already realised this fact and wisely, have made their New Years fall on different days - the Tamil New Years day is on April 14th, Chinese New Year on the 22nd of January.
So whats the funda of holding New Years on New Year Day.

My wish is that each person should celeberate his New Year on a day that he/she wishes, on a day that he is happy, and on a day when HE IS READY TO HONOR HIS RESOLUTIONS (and not break them at all throughout his year).

My resolution would be to be not troubled by Monday blues, with my first week in college.
Monday Blues

Posted by satosphere at 7:18 AM

January 02, 2004
Bernstein's First Law
Buttered bread tends to fall with the buttered side down.

Bernstein's Second Law
A falling body always rolls to the most inaccessible spot.

And now, without undue interruptions, to the last part of the trilogy....

The Afghanistan Saga Part III
The climate of Afghanistan is the extreme. Remember that is higher in latitude that Delhi and is surrounded by a lot of mountains. Summer is pleasant, but the winter is the extreme. During winter, the sun hardly goes above 45 degrees elevation in the sky, always casting slanting rays on the land.

January is the coldest month. But right from Novemeber, temperatures start dropping. It is difficult to go outside without wearing five layers of protective clothing, and is difficult to survive inside a house, any house for that matter, without the warmth of a heater or a fire, especially during the nite. Any water left outside freezes overnite. And it starts snowing in around Mid - December... Us south Indians will find it difficult to survive there.

The people of Afghanistan, are quite the normal people that you and I would expect, except that they are a bit more hardened to the cold, just like north Indians. (Note that I am not trying to segregate people based on spatial locality.. I am all hearts for the Unity in Diversity thing.) They did suffer a lot during the bombing period. Many migrated to Pakistan during that period, So you can find Urdu being understood there, but the main language spoken there is called dhari, a form of Arabic language.

Food is not a problem; and it is not difficult to be a Vegetarian there. You get almost all the vegetables - they come from Pakistan and Iran. Most of the other provision stuff come from Pakistan mainly. Rice is available, looks like basmati but does not smell the same. For the NV's there is beef (local) and chicken legs (arrive frozen from US), river fish etc. Bread is available in plenty. They make a kindof roti that is diamond shaped, two feet long and very thick, which is bought, taken home and eaten with Sabji;pretty cheap too. There are also good kababs available; I dont know how they are or what they taste like. To get your hands on Indian food, there are a couple of Indian restaurants, serving Tandoori and other north Indian food. It is famous for fruits and nuts. My dad brought back seven kilograms of Badam, Pista, and a kilogram each of raisins and walnut; it is cheaper than in India.

Another thing that you mite want to look out for in Afghanistan are carpets. Pretty good too are the exquisite silk ones that arrive from Iran and Turkey, the older the costlier. There are some sites to go and see in Afghanistan - the Balmiyan Buddhist temples, (though part of it was destroyed by the Taliban), a couple of beautiful lakes still furthur. You mite want to check Afghanistan's official website and that of Lonely Planet's to get more details.

But before you start packing your bags to go there... STOP, its not a cats world out there. There are lots of things that you should remember: the Indian Embassy doesnt allow people to go as tourists there, only aid workers, and even there, you have to get special permission to leave the city of Kabul, as it is quite dangerous outside, SERIOUSLY

The people there are of either extremes, very few of the middle class that dominates our country's urban arena. Those at the highest rung of the ladder live in palatial mansions, have lots of cars and security, you can guess how the poorest live. The country, rather the richest people were made rich due to poppy cultivation - leading to the drug heroin, mainly exported (read smuggled) to the European countries, for a heck a lot of money; this being the main source of income to money for many, and it still prevails...

Education suffered a lot during the Taliban period - women were not allowed to study. All that has changed now, for the time being. You can see brite little children going to schools run by many countries; in Kabul, there is a big French aided school being run, and the teachers are trying to squeeze two years of educations into one year, to make up for lost time.

The people of Afghanistan have the earnest desire to change, they do seem to be working hard for it. They need finances, they need infrastructure, they need education. Just read this un-edited excerpt from an email which was recieved recently. (Name removed to protect privacy)

...i want to know about distance study in one of India's universities so please collect me information in this case and also the Indian governoment had a contract with Afghanistan governoment about distance study of afghan students so please collect informatin about this too i wana have distance study in one of India's University.

Such is their determination; As people evolved from a single cell millions of years ago, it is our bound duty to help our brethren. Anybody listening?

Without the help and support of the world, this rich and beautiful country will just degenerate into another country lost in nothingness; it will just get imploded by the various factions fighting among themselves; it will just become something that we would read about in our 'history of the world' books....

Posted by satosphere at 8:40 AM


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