I am the alpha and the omega
August 27, 2004
Law of Computability
Any system or program, however complicated, if looked at in exactly the right way, will become even more complicated.

The Start of my Graduate Life

I enter this new era, a new phase, a new dawn after a long nite.
My graduate life. In perhaps what is one of the toughest fields. In a whole new country.

You miss the simplicity of an undergrad at this stage. The monotonousness of coursework and assignments is all over.
Only to be replaced by research oriented high level graduate courses, all the more tougher.
Will this be a change for the better?

The University did its own bit to welcome the students.
The Gone to Texas
A spectacular display of events, presentations by the various deans, dances (including a balley), an aria and finally, the band playing the theme song of the University.
All this on the eve of the commencement of classes.

Now that the classes have started, how do I feel?
Probably not.
I have had only 2 classes till now. And no assignments were given as of yet.
But I am still brushing up on my rusty C++ programming skills even as I type this.

The TA work is draining though.
After a monstrous 3 hour session being a TA, I was tired, thirsty and was standing with aching legs for a very long time.
All the while correcting papers and checking homework assignments and helping some students with problems.

A Graduate Student Assembly Barbeque was held, well, by the Graduate Student Assembly.

Now, you would be wondering. What a vegetarian like me would be doing in a Texas Style Barbeque?
Good Question.
An answer for that is that I went there to enjoy a live band that was playing.
And I did have bread and baked potatoes. (which somehow sufficed as dinner).

Now, if you will excuse me, I have something of a date tonite...

Posted by satosphere at 3:09 PM

August 23, 2004
Law of Competition
The more qualified candidates who are available, the more likely the compromise will be on the candidate whose main qualification is a nonthreatening incompetence.

* * *

The first time I saw her.
An Angel in living breathing blood.

There she was, draped in all white, a bridal dress, clinging on to a perfect body and a lacy headgear flowing all around her body and a smile that would turn Julia Roberts green with envy.
Sitting in the center of this huge decorated circle, she was a fairy, without wings.

A sensual feeling swept through my body. A one in a million feeling.

Bridal wear can do that to a person.

The view which I had got, minus the bride sitting in the center of the circle.
Thanx to the Texas State Capitol Preservation Site

* * *

On Saturday, I went to the Texas State Capitol.
A huge building, partly dedicated to the administrative offices for Texas state.

The Texas State Capitol - A view from the north

It seems to be completely built of stone, and reputed to be just smaller than the Washington Capitol.
The inside is dominated by the area under the highly visible rotunda. There are also the halls of legislature - the Hall of Senate and the Hall of Representatives, where the main administation would take place.
The area outside is enclosed by a very picturestique lawn, and the Congress Avenue, a long straight street leading to the south, and which comprises most of the downtown business district.
A beautiful place to visit. I am still awed by the huge size of the building.

* * *

Had my first nite in a casino yesterday.
Thanx to the University which organised a casino nite yesterday, for all of us to come and take part in the fun, for free, without the fear of losing anything.
They had about 10 tables of Black Jack, a Roulette Table and a couple of tables of Craps.

When I went it, it was quite empty (I usually arrive early) and I had no idea what I was going to do - it was quite a foriegn place to me.
Then I started with couple of rounds of Black Jack - which a person can easily lose. Then I went over to Craps - quite difficult to learn - but easy to master and win.
AFter a couple of rounds, I went on with more rounds of Black Jack - where I ended up losing a lot more chips than I cam in with.
So to change luck, I headed on to the Roulette table.
It was a blast.
Its one of the easiest you can get.
And I ended up being there for more than an hour (aching legs) amidst a huge crowd. And I totally enjoyed it. One of the best gambling games ever.
Later, I ended up losing all my chips. And it was late - 11 pm.
So I had a nice nitely stroll back home. And kissed the lucky stars out tonite.

Posted by satosphere at 12:15 PM

August 19, 2004
Compensation Corollary
The experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurments must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with theory.

Google's Languages

Just something that I found while roaming around the World Wide Web.

Google has something called Language tools.
Apart from helping you to translate pages or selecteds text from any (of the available) languages to any other, you can also choose Google home page to display in whatever languages you want.
Here lies the fun.
Apart from the standard languages - Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada, Punjabi and all that included, there are also a series of wierd languages, some of which have had influence from Television.
These include

  • Bork Bork Bork! - I dont know where it is from. But it sounds really piggish.
  • Elmer Fudd - from Bug's Bunny Toons, with his characteristic accent, that is quite difficult to recreate.
  • Hacker - all secreted and crypted with numbers and random letters.
  • Klingon - of the Star Trek fame. If you search around the web enough, you can actually find out The Klingon Language Institute
  • Pig Latin - of course, it wouldnt be complete without Pig Latin - which is a confuscated way of arranging normal English letters

Go on.
Try the languages out.
Bork Bork and Elmer fudd will really tickle your funny bone - if you have one.

Posted by satosphere at 12:59 PM

August 17, 2004
Commoner's Three Laws of Ecology
1. No action is without side-effects.
2. Nothing ever goes away.
3. There is no free lunch.

First few days

After a disaster start to the US, things have kinda settled down.
Time slowed while I made my initial perceptions of the US - which is really quite important. (Don't they say - The first impressions are the best impressions)

The brite morning which I woke up to comprised of the following:

  1. Clean air. Slightly cool. Lots of trees.
  2. Wide spacious roads, with a small track of grass followed by a concrete footpath.
  3. Very less vehicles on the otherwise spotless clean road - You cant even see the dust which usually collects on Madras roadsides.
  4. Vehicles zipping by very fast, yet sticking to their lanes. No lane violations
  5. A swimming pool in the apartment complex - thoh I was not to live there, as it was a seniors.
  6. Nice air-conditioned buses, no standing, and absolutely free (for UT students ;) )

Everything is big in Texas. Especially Austin. Its a very flat town => not may tall buildings, there isnt really any space constraint here. Even the downtown has only a few buildings over 20 floors.
But it is big, sizewise.
Also with an interstate, a major highway and about 3 state highways, there are a lot of multi-layered crossings, which I got to discover when the college arranged for a tour of the city.

Food was always a problem in my mind. The first morning, I had something called Tortillas (pronounced Torteeyas) - which looks much like Roti.
Then, the senior took us to the UT campus - a nice cool lazy 20 minute speedwalk!! from there. Got myself checked in at the Office there.

I had to get my luggage!. Remember - I had mentioned that it was coming in the next day morning flite. So, off I went to the airport. Retrieved the baggages and then took a taxi back.
Luckily, I did not have jet lag, otherwise, I would have been sleeping by now.

Then, there was a load of departmental work to do. I had to get some forms filled up, had to attend orientation sessions and all, and also, look for an apartment.

I moved into a new place - on Saturday evening. Two 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartments for 4 people. It was kinda small, but the rent was less, and it was a furnished apartment. That solved a lot of hassles.
I mite probably shift in next May to a larger place - when the lease expires.

Also did a lot of grocery shopping. At some big department stores.
Here you dont have that road-side shops which sell small quantities of stuff.
You buy it => You buy it big.
And if you buy it big => You need a car to bring it home - which I dont have - thats the initial problem.

Things have settled down. With the help of a senior who HAD a car, went on to an Indian store to get Dhals and spices which are usually not available anywhere else.
So with that, myself and my roommate have started cooking. He handles sambhar and rasam, while I handle the curries and also pitch in washing the dishes - a backbreaking job.
And till now, I have survived, having eaten out only once so far.

Posted by satosphere at 8:11 PM

August 16, 2004
Committee Rules
1. Never arrive on time, or you will be stamped a beginner.
2. Don't say anything until the meeting is half over; this stamps you as being wise.
3. Be as vague as possible; this prevents irritating the others.
4. When in doubt, suggest that a subcommittee be appointed.
5. Be the first to move for adjournment; this will make you popular -- it's what everyone is waiting for.


  1. Crack Found on Governor's Daughter [imagine that!]
  2. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says [no, really?]
  3. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers [now that's taking things a bit far!]
  4. Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus? [not if I wipe thoroughly!]
  5. Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over [ what a guy!]
  6. Miners Refuse to Work after Death [no-good-for-nothin' lazy so-and-sos!]
  7. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant [see if that works any better than a fair trial!]
  8. War Dims Hope for Peace [I can see where it might have that effect!]
  9. If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile [you think?!]
  10. Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures [who would have thought!]
  11. Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide [they may be on to something!]
  12. Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges [you mean there's something stronger than duct tape?!]
  13. Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge [he probably IS the battery charge!]
  14. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group [weren't they fat enough?!]
  15. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft [That what he gets for eating those beans!]
  16. Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy [That was really giving of himself!]
  17. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half [Texas Chainsaw Massacre all over again!]
  18. Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors [Boy, are they tall!]
  19. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead [I certainly hope so!]

Posted by satosphere at 11:06 AM

August 13, 2004
Committee Law
1. A committee is the only life form with 12 stomachs and no brain.
2. A camel is a horse which was designed by a committee
3. If more than one person is responsible for a miscalculation, no one will be at fault.
4. A committee is twelve people doing the work of one.


I know that I did not put a part one on it, but, since I left you guys hanging by a thread last time, I thought that it was my responsibility to continue. This is going to be big.

First, a little geography of the Chicago O' Hare International Airport. There are four terminals in the airport. Terminal 5 is the international Airport - where the Air India Flite landed. United Airlines - my connecting flite services in Terminal 1 and American Airlines, which I finally came in services in Terminal 2. Terminal 3 doesnt come into the picture at all. All three are connected by a train system which runs every four minutes

I land at Chicago Airport, Terminal 5 at around 2:45 pm, local time (same as in Austin) (Errata in the last post - I had mentioned the time as 2:15 pm. That was the actual time it was supposed to land). By the time, I get to the Immigration queue, it was 2:45 pm. And what is ahead of me is this huge market place of people waiting for their immigration. We were lucky in one sense that ours was the first flite of people in that queue.
Inspite of being served by 8 officers, it was a long wait. My chance came at only around 4:15pm. No problem there, luckily, and was granted stay for the duration of study.
Then went to baggage. It was a big hassle. For those going now, I advise you to tie some very colorful and easily spottable ribbons or laces, because, in that huge mess of baggages, it IS very difficult to spot them. And also, get a trolley ready. It may be difficult to spot one there. And finally, also Pray.
My baggage came through that little hell-hole only 45 minutes before the connecting flite and I still had Customs to clear.

Finally managed to heave the baggage through to the Customs. Luckily, it was hassle free, inspite of me carrying pickles and loads of snacks. (I did not declare anything on the Customs form).
It was around 5:15 when I finished customs, thanx to the huge queue there for the boarding pass, and then managed to get to UA counter. There, I didnt know where to tag it and all, and in the big hurry I was in, got totally confused. Luckily, the Transit security guys directed me properly. And told us where to go (Terminal 1)

Terminal 5 -> Terminal 1
So. I hopped on to a train to Terminal 1. Reached at 5:20. And at the UA counter - there was again a huge queue. No amount of pleading did help. And when we reached the end of the queue - it as 5:45pm. And I had missed the flite by 9 minutes.

Now begins Part II.

The person at UA told us to contact the AI guys to set things rite for us.
Terminal 1 -> Terminal 5
So. off we went to Terminal 5 to the AI counter. And they managed to put us up at the 9 pm American Airlines flite to Austin.
Terminal 5 -> Terminal 2
Then hurried to AA counter in Terminal 2 and got the boarding passes for that flite.
Very Good.
But what about baggage?
AA said that it was not their responsibility to transfer the baggages from UA.
We were dumbfounded.
And in this running around, my friend had lost one important book somewhere which contained his credit card details, calling card details, phone numbers and stuff.
Terminal 2 -> Terminal 5
So we shuttled back to Terminal 5 and it wasnt there :( (He still hasnt found it)

Finally decided to go back to UA to figure out what to do.
Terminal 5 -> Terminal 1
The people there were gracious. They said that the baggage would come on their next UA flite to Austin, the next morning. No extras required. (And Rash, thats how the extra weight problem wasnt there for me)
Terminal 1 -> Terminal 2
So shuttled back to Terminal 2. On some phone booths there, made calls to my uncle (who was in Maryland) and then home (but that surprisingly got cut). It was 8 pm then.

So we hurried to security check. And there, I managed to lose my little book containing all my contact details. I didnt realise it until half hour before the flite departure. I hurried back to that place, and they reported that they hadnt seen such a book.
Then it was announced that the flite was delayed by half hour. And around 9 pm, one of the Transit security guys who found my book came by to the place where I was seated and gave it to me.
My joy knew no bounds.
I still wonder how he had found me.
Finally, I landed at Austin at 11:55 local time.

From the time I left home - at around 8:15 pm IST on Wednesday, to reaching a seniors place in Austin at 12:30 am Central time on Friday Morning, it was one of the most longest and most tedious journey I had ever had - about 38 hours, I think.

I was only thankful that I didnt suffer from jet-lag.

Posted by satosphere at 5:53 PM

August 12, 2004
Comin's Law
People will accept your idea much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first.


Well, guys, gals and bloggers everywhere. I am back.
No, No. I am not back in India. Its that I am back online.

At present, I am at a student library where there us internet access. I will probably use the library until I get my own workstation at my prof's lab, which will probably be this weekend.

I have so many things to tell about. I dont know where to start.

Probably I can start where it all started - when earth began. Or it would make more sense to start where I began (my birth?). The most logical thing to do here, of course, would be to start when I left India.

It didnt start the right way at all. My baggage was 4 kgs overweight. Thoh AI assured that deliverance upto Chicago, they added that I may have to pay something extra to United Airlines - the carrier to Austin from Chicago.

Then at Bombay, the flite left about 45 minutes late at 7:45am - that was the beginning of all troubles.
Till Frankfurt - it was a nice flite, thanx to a nice girl who kept me company. :)
I got glimpses of the hills near Tehran- Iran. Then the rolling plains of Austria. Then the sprawling cities, forests, rivers and streams, crisscrossed by Autobahns and the amazing Clover leaf Interchanges, with some deliteful in-flite entertainment provided in the form of Shrek II and Mai Hoo Na.
Landed at Frankfurt 1 pm local time.
A break of 1 hour later and resumed to Chicago. Cute girl exits. :(

We travel to Chicago. And I manage to catch glimpses of Scotland and Greenland before I fall asleep. Then, when I woke up, I was over Newfoundland (Was it NEwly Found?) Soon I was over one of the Great Lakes - Michigan, I think.
And then, landed at Chicago at 2:15pm.

This is where the disaster starts, unknowingly impending me and my friend. (Of Course, I didnt go alone)
To be continued
I gotta go now.

Posted by satosphere at 3:51 PM

August 03, 2004
Cole's Law
Thinly sliced cabbage.

Exit, Stage Left

Here I am.
Ready to leave my home town in a few hours time, and my country, tomorrow morning.
To explore strange new countries.
To seek out new races and new civilisations.
And to Boldly go where, uhh, I have not gone before.

My feelings now?

Sadness - A bit.
Confucious saying: No cry before leaving. Bad for everybody.

Happiness - A lot.
I am leaving to a new place. Albeit for 5 long years.

Butterflies in my stomach - I hope not.
I am a vegetarian.

Homesickness - No.
I have not left home yet. :P

Went to the beach yesterday morning. with a hope of recollecting all events, thoughts and memories of the last few years, categorise them and then, hopefully archive them. But what came was a deluge of rememberings, forcing me to shudder and get awed by how much I have to give up and what all I have to miss.

Meanwhile, tentacles of logic, kept constantly probing into my past, trying to find out if sometime, somewhere, somehow, something would have shoved me into a different path then where I am. I tried my level best to control them - it was a regular David Versus the Goliath in my mind.
That was all I could do.
Just keep them there for the time being.

Anyway, instead of contemplating and untangling all the complex threads of emotion twining in my brain, I would take the time, rather space here, to thank everybody and bid adieu.

  • To all my cowsins, who have been closer to me siblings (if I had had).
  • To all my uncles, aunts, any other relatives and well wishers who had provided the pearls of wisdom (or is it the wisdom of pearls??)
  • To all my friends, who have provided me good company over the past years and saw me through many difficulties.
  • To all my college professors who have helped me rise academically.
  • To my college, which has made me who I am and what I am.
  • To the city of Chennai, which has been my lovely residence for the past 10 years (inspite of the worst weather and worser administration).
  • To all ye bloggers, who have been a source of very good companionship and the some whom I have had the pleasure of meeting. Those who I have not met: A big SORRY.
  • To my computer, which has provided me trouble free companionship for three years and have spent many happy hours gaming and has made my blogging possible.
  • And finally, to my dear parents, whose help is immeasurable (because they are, after all, my PARENTS)

So for now, I bid a temporary adieu to all.

My flite details:
DateFlite InfoFromTo
5th AugustAir IndiaChennai - 00:30Mumbai - 02:15
5th AugustAir IndiaMumbai - 07:00Chicago - 14:50
5th AugustUnited AirlinesChicago - 7:30Austin - 20:17

This blog is going to go on a temporary hiatus (a week or two), until I am all settled, until I get an apartment, until I finish all the preliminary works and until I get a reliable net access at home, or elsewhere.
Until then, Goodbye.

But .
Asta La Vista, Baby

Signing Off.

Posted by satosphere at 11:28 PM

August 02, 2004
Cole's Axiom
The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.


In another couple of days, I will be leaving this country, for a land beyond yonder.

While I have said this in about 16 words, the logistics of the planning and the pre-preparatory work that goes into this is just mind-boggling.

What started 2 months ago with the required immunisations, followed by a week-long shopping spree 3 weeks ago was just the initial stage of the work.

A list of stuff to be taken: suitcases, clothes, stationery, documents, CD's, toiletries, snacks, cooking utensils and a range of masala powders that would make MTR Masalas hang their heads in shame and all other sorts of miscellaneous stuff. The trickiest part of all this is to fit all of it comfortably in 2 pieces of suitcase, while making sure that they both individually (an oxymoron?) weigh 32 kg each and that they can be taken out and kept back in in a hurry. A mighty tough task for even the most regimented person.

At present, my house is in a mess. While keeping the clothes, I didn't anticipate that the shoes would be kept in it, and no space was made for it, and I forgot that one of the trousers required a minor bit of stitching - so the entire suitcase was emptied out. They all lay sprawled on the bed like in a showroom display. (Takers anyone?). And to top it all, I seem to have a shortage of clothes to wear for the next two days, as most have been packed away, and I dont want to wear them.

Another bit of a problem now, is the documents. Here I have, about 30 odd miscellaneous bits of paper, ready to be photo-copied, with one copy in a check-in baggage, original in the carry-baggage and a second copy at home. Right now, they are lying lazily in the hall, waiting for the slightest bit of wind to blow them off.

One good news is that, after days of haggling, I got my college transcripts with me. That is the end of all my ties with IIT Madras now. Its upto the Alumni Association to keep us in touch with the college. That college visit was followed by the a very exhausting last-minute shopping (2 days before leaving :-P ). To get all the miscellaneous stuff that had been left while very careful planning had been done.

On a separate note, I met up with the Anna University bloggers - Laks, Harini and Archana at Planet Yumm. Quite a fun meet. And a treat which they had wanted for a long time.
It would probably be my last Blogger's meet in India, so to speak.

God, I have to give up so many things...

Posted by satosphere at 11:20 AM


Whats hot
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from satosphere. Make your own badge here.
Interrupt Me
Mail Me
Status on Yahoo Messenger

WTF Dude
Twin Gemini
Suzy Q
Lazy Geek
Blythe Spyryt
Devilish Angel

Google Blog
Sepia Mutiny
Flickr Blog

Indian Bloggers
IITian Community blog

Google Ads

Google Search


Great Links
Google Search
Unreal Tournament
Digital Blasphemy
Old Home Page

August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
January 2006

Google Ads

Thanx to

Image: Epiphany Stock
Ranking: TTLB Ecosystem
Images @ Photobucket
  Image Copyright © Epiphany Stock
Webset Copyright © Blogfrocks
Best viewed in Firefox at 1024 x 768 resolution.
This site is a member of The Indian Bloggers Ring.