I am the alpha and the omega
November 28, 2004
Darwin's Observation
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.

Crazy Thanksgiving Shopping

If its ths New Year Sale in India, its the Thanksgiving sale in USA.

And thanks to some friends who owned cars, I too was able to experience first hand what it was. And was able to get some fun stuff

The Thanksgiving sale in most apparel shops start at 12 midnite on the nite of Thanksgiving. And continues through the next day. And most people out of the half a million in Austin, would throng to the stores in Austin itself, leaving no room, no stock and no offers for latecomers.
Thats why, we all went to San Marcos. This should give an idea of what exactly happened here. At San Marcos, the two huge malls Prime and Tanger sporting some of the best clothing, apparels, footwear (Nike, Adidas and Reebok) and lots more.
Shoppers Haven, I tell you.

Apart from clothing and apparels, there is also BestBuy Store, which offers amazing discounts during the thanksgiving nite (more about it later) and also Office Depot which too has good deals.

Normally, I am not the kind of guy who likes to spend a lot, but that day, my available credit decreased by 900$. Thats really a whopper.
The list of things that I bought:

  • A huge Jansport Bag for $20.
  • A fleece jacket for $15.
  • 2 pairs of jeans for $20.
  • 6 pairs of cotton socks for $7.50.
  • Nike Shoe for $34.
  • Napster mp3 player for $30.
  • Sony DSC V1 for $300.
  • 512MB memory stick for $60 for the camera.
  • A case for the camera.

Of these, most of the clothing and apparels were at 50% off. The Napster 256MB MP3/WMA was just $30 (after a mail-in rebate of $70). To get that piece, me and my friends had to stand outside the store, from one hour before opening, and then rush like mad to get the piece, which was in limited quantity. Its actual price is $120. Thats a huge discount.
I also got my camera - normally priced at greater than $330, at $300. Not a great discount, but its an amazing camera. I also got a 512 MB SanDisk Memory Stick Pro for the camera. At Office Depot, they were also giving a free V Tech cordless phone. So I grabbed one. Anybody want one?

An entire nite of shopping.
After leaving Austin at 1 am on Friday morning, we reached the place after half hour. 2 hour of shopping at Prime Outlets and 100$ later and 5 pounds heavier from having to carry everything, we headed off to Best Buy and waited outside in the freezing cold for the store to open. An hour of shopping there later (I almost swooned at the site of a Ati Radeon 9600 Pro selling for less than 100$), we left back for home. Contented and happy.

Had we gone to the Austin stores, we would have hardly had the chance of getting any special offers. Meanwhile, to keep you interested, here are some shots of the Campus.

West Dean Keaton Street, taken from a pedestrian bridge over the roadway.

The UT tower. Taken from behind a glass window.
(You can see the reflection of the camera in it.)

Posted by satosphere at 4:25 AM

November 21, 2004
Darrow's Observation
History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history.

Two movies.
In Two days

I know its not like me to watch a movie.
But two movies in two days.
In the busiest day of the week.
In the busiest week of the month.
In the busiest month of the year.
Thats totally not like me.

But I needed to go out. Break out. And get away from the Freezing LRC's.

And thats why I watched....

Thanx to The Incredibles Official page


Thanx to the MovieWeb site

It was a well deserved break. Thanks to a couple of friends who had cars to go around.

First off. The Incredibles.
(I am not a good reviewer. I just type as I think. An absolute top-notch movie.
As everybody says, combine X-Men, Toy Story and Spy Kids (III atleast), you get this.

With amazing animation and graphics, fast chases, good action, and some really funny scenes, Pixar has pulled it again. And it gives you a rush like no other (though I like to compare it to finishing first by inches in NFS Underground 2). One of the best sequences, according to me is the hair-raising chase of Dash, a character in that movie. That 5 minute sequence just takes your breath off.

Next off. Finding Neverland. Starring Johnny Depp.
True, after Pirates of the Caribbean, where he starts by effortlessly steppping off a sinking ship onto the quay, this Johnny Depp is a totally different one - An aristrocratic English gentleman and a play-writer. Quite a remarkable transformation. And a remarkable actor.

Inspite of a decent peppering of humorous sequences, the seriousness of the plot is never lost. Truly, as said in a review
"Finding Neverland" is the story of a man who doesn't want to grow up, and writes the story of a boy who never does.
It cant be put in any other better words.
Has a pretty solid storyline, doesnt involve too much of hot romantic scenes, but gentle touches here and there which actually enhance the effect, amazing creativity and superb acting by all characters, including that of Peter Pan.
And a perfect ending.

Can't be better.

Has gotten pretty good reviews. And if you are sitting out there, wondering whether to watch it or not, do it now.

Posted by satosphere at 1:20 AM

November 19, 2004
Danforth's Rules of Random Selection
1. Never be first
2. Never be last.
3. Never volunteer for anything.

This had me in splits. It was so funny that I had to control myself in order to prevent the entire lab from shouting at me because I was lol.
By now, most of you would have got the forward anyway. But still, this is just a space filler.

Qantas is an airline company based in Australia. After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which conveys to the mechanics problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight that need repair or correction. The engineers read and correct the problem, and then respond in writing on the lower half of the form what remedial action was taken, and the pilot reviews the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humour. Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems as submitted by Qantas pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers. By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident.

(P = The problem logged by the pilot) (S = The solution and action taken by the engineers)

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're there for.

P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.

I just did some searching on the web, and came up with this link and this sublink where this article was actually found. There are a whole lot more of Worldwar II stuff and other fun-stuff which you can find there.
So if its a lazy afternoon, and you happen to have a good internet connection, you know where to go.

Posted by satosphere at 10:31 AM

November 12, 2004
Czecinski's Conclusio
There is only one thing worse than dreaming you are at a conference and waking to find that you are at a conference, and that is the conference where you can't fall asleep.

Halo 2. The game of my dreams.
Atleast when its PC version releases.

Today, the Texas Gaming Association was having a Console nite at the Jester LanCave, a place which I frequent once a fortnight to satiate my hunger for gaming. True, I was disappointed tonite as I could not get to play anything because of this event (Ironically, I wanted to play Halo. ) But, this was a much better bargain.

NEWS Flash
Halo 2 opens with record one day sales
Halo 2 US sales top $125m, UK launch a success

With reviews just coming out, I decided to give a watch to this epic game, albeit the console based one. I am not a console fan. Never played on one. But just watching four people on a huge HDTV battle against each other in surreal environments blows my mind off.

Its a game impossible not to like.

Its a game like no other.

I am still awaiting the day of my own XBOX.
Or the PC version of the game.

Posted by satosphere at 10:30 PM

November 10, 2004
Law of Cybernetic Entomology
There's always one more bug.

And then there was this cold front, whose freezing hands and icy winds swept across the city that was Austin.
A week ago.
Temperatures obligingly proceeded to drop. First a few degrees in hesitation. Later in full blast, pummelled towards lows of 8-12 C.

And me, coming from the hot and sultry coastal areas of Southern India, where the weather is only hot, hotter and hottest and who hasn't had the slightest experience with cold weather, armed with only a thin woollen sweater felt completely out of place there. Out of time as well.

It wouldn't worry a normal person, as the normal person who sleeps and wakes at the right time would hardly ever feel the coldness of day. It was rather like a cold spring daytime than anything else.
But hell, I am not that normal person. Workload forces me to work late into the nights in the lab. And this late night forays weren't helped by the cold weather at all. Imagine walking on an open area, with 8 C winds blowing at your face - the closest thing to dipping in freezing water.

So after much deliberation, I was forced to go to the Burlington Coat Factory, where, I was told, I would get good cold weather clothes.

1 hour later and Forty six dollars lesser on that cold Wednesday Morning, I was armed with a XL size Polyfill Parka with hoods and a pair of woollen gloves.
An overkill.
When I wore it, I looked like an eskimo dressed up for the north pole. It was SO HUGE. But its amazingly comfortable. It has innumerable pockets, including one for holding a handy dandy mp3 player, a proper hood for covering up the head, but, most of all, the polyfill is about an inch thick. This results in keeping my body so warm, that sometimes, even in that cold weather, I was able to build up a sweat.
And with the gloves, I never have to worry about cold weather any more.

The temperatures have risen now, so there is no need to drag out the big parka now. But with a trip up north (to Maryland) coming this winter, I guess I have got the right clothing.

P.S : Ducks are more intelligent than me - they fly south for the winter, whereas I am flying north.

Posted by satosphere at 3:44 PM

November 03, 2004
Culshaw's First Principle of Recorded Sound
Anything, no matter how bad, will sound good if played back at a very high level for a short time.

There was this one day in the Fall, when the entire nation of USA, excepting two states, goes back one hour. This is the concept called the Daylight saving time.

Simply because, the people want more time during the day (to work longer), instead of getting up earlier and earlier, they decided simply that they would change the time.
Twice a year.
And cause hassle for all the rest of us who aren't accustomed to the Fall Back, Spring Ahead as it is often called here.

So one fine day, I wave up, with a vague idea that there should have been daylight saving time change today. And I see my mobile to get the time, and I find out that that shift hasnt occured (I checked with my alarm clock, which doesnt have such sophisticated features). So I continued during the day.
Deciding to go to the lab on such a pleasant day, I looked up the bus schedule, to find the timings, and started off. And to my surprise, it didnt come. Even after 20 minutes.
I was flabbergasted. Usually the buses are never more than 5-10 minutes late, unless the drivers get lost (which happens quite a few times here).
And when it did come, to my surprise, the time there was one hour behind.

And it was then that I realized that that day was supposed to be when I did a daylight saving. A few minutes spent fiddling in my mobile revealed that I had not enabled daylight saving in it, resulting in me reading the "wrong" time.

With this incident, I started wondering more on why have the daylight saving. Was it so that the new daytime - 6am to 9pm, would have more hours of daylight.
Actually, it seemed not so. For, when evening 6:30 pm approached, the normally brite day was the darkest ever. And it was not because of any cloud cover. So I didnt see any purpose being served. Or was it so that people can sleep for one extra hour that previous nite. (But, it doesn't make sense, as they would sleep one hour lesser during spring Fall ahead anyway.

The more wierd thing is actually when this daylight saving actually occurs. At 1:59 am of the last Sunday of the month of October, they shift back the time to 1 am.
Why in God's name would anybody want to anybody ever want to change time at the godforsaken time of close to am.
Seriously, do they expect people to wake up at 2 am, shift back all the clocks to 1 am.. and then go back to sleep.

These people are crazy, not to mention the other silly stuff that we do often - switches are pushed up to turn on, turn the key the wrong side to open the door, open the taps clockwise to turn the faucet on, use plugs without switches.
There are a thousand other things that I can think of, but this post was about the daylight saving thingie, and I end with that.

Have a nice day, without daylight

Posted by satosphere at 1:31 AM


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