I am the alpha and the omega
June 30, 2005
Law of Fashion
Any given dress is: indecent 10 years before its time, daring 1 year before its time, chic in its time, dowdy 3 years after its time, hideous 20 years after its time, amusing 30 years after its time, romantic 100 years after its time, and beautiful 150 years after its time.

Random musings and activities

While the akwardly fast-moving week certainly hasn't deterred my spirits, it only seems to leave me with lesser and lesser time to do my project, and more and more work to get completed in time, thence longer and longer hours needed to be spent at office. A small break here and there, and the obligatory 2-day weekend spent uselessly only seems to prod the time along.

Like yesterday - when the UR (University relations) took us to a barbeque and a football match between two local teams (Not American football, but soccer).

A warm day preceding a mild evening.
Cool evening breeze softening the nervous wrecks stuck in rush-hour traffic.
Maddening crowds of people, of all ages, weaving through a virtual parking lot on the interstate. Heading to the same destination.

Barbeque under the sun. Veggie burgers (for me!), salads and corn chips satiating a hungry group.
Interns and new college grads chatting, talking, gossipping, bantering and chiding away an hour of fun and laughter.
All preceding a stampede to get into the stadium.

22 people desparately waiting to get into the stands, and 2200 people desparately wanting to get onto the ground - Football.

Some really lazy photography in a really crowded place resulted in the following.

I got the moment a bit too late - as you can see, the ball has already moved away.

Dressed up-mascots and football, a combination better than ManU and Arsenal. Atleast for the kids. 6 foot mascots, along with a 3 foot wide ball, in a really small area makes up for a really funny game.

The huddle of the mascots - you can see the other team meandering by.

Nvidia also decided to give glowing bumper stickers to the group which came there. But it suddenly became more popular among the kids than with us. And so we graciously donated ours.

A kid, posing along with a the UR people, and the glowing bumper sticker to complete the scene.

Posted by satosphere at 11:11 PM

June 25, 2005
Farnsdick's corollary
After things have gone from bad to worse, the cycle will repeat itself.

The generally slow but busy week for me continues - as nothing much interesting has happened. But here is a gist of stuff that captivates my attention.

Nvidia Geforce 7800 GTX launch

It was on Tuesday, that this graphics system, the most powerful video card, ever, was launched. It is certainly not the most expensive - the bragging rites for that go to this little monster, about 130 $ higher. Even then, the 7800 is still a bit expensive for me; and it certainly wont find its way into a casual gamer's desktop.
With graphics systems, being the primary focus of the company, the 7800 is its flagship product now, and we have done a good job with it. You can read raving reviews here and here. The only cons of this chip, according to many - is its pricing.

Blogger has launched free images for Blogger Images, allowing you to insert images into blogs. For free.

This is, of course, great news for bloggers - who needed to have a separate webserver, or use services like Photobucket, Ripway, etc, for inserting images. It also eases the process of inserting images into blog posts.

How many images can you load? Upto 300MB total, for each blogger. That adds up to a lot of webspace.
Have fun blogging. I know I will.

Google seems to be doing a lot these days. Three days ago, it quitely extended Google Satellite maps to include most of the world. Even India - there are deatailed views of the Southern Part of Delhi.

Here are some of the important landmarks in Delhi that I managed to find.
They were hard to find, without a road map version of New Delhi - so I correlated with Map My India

India Gate and Rajpath.

Lotus temple.

Qutab Minar (You can only see its shadow in the center because of the angle of this shot.)

Humayun's Tomb.

There are lot more places in the world to explore - Paris, London, Rome, Beijing, Egypt and a lot more. Here's to your virtual vacation from your computer.

Posted by satosphere at 11:46 PM

June 19, 2005
Farber's Laws
  1. Give him an inch and he'll screw you.
  2. A hand in the bush is worth two anywhere else.
  3. We're all going down the same road in different directions.
  4. Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows.

More Habaneros

More Habaneros, as requested by some people. No videos - I did not have time to make them - and I realized I would also end up feeling really stupid making a video.
So here they are.

The ideal Habanero combination

What the habanero burger is - Bun, patty with the habanero sauce, lettuce leaf, onion, pickled cucumber slice, with a side of corn chips and ketchup.

The spicy bit is the red paste on the patty; and as can be seen, there is absolutely no cheese - the idea being to keep it as least greasy as possible, to heighten the spicy effect to the maximum extent.

What you also see in the picture is a friend of mine, having ordered two, just about to have his first bite. And you can also see his weapons against the hot burger - a glass of Guinness (I think) and a bottle of chilled water. Also seen is the orange habanero bumper sticker you get when you eat one of them - actually, you can see two of them. An ice-cream sandwich completes the picture - though that is later.

This friend of mine - also had a total of 11 habaneros that week, for a competition among companies - to see which company would eat the maximum number of habaneros.
Myself, I had just five. Not that I could not, but just because they were too expensive as a dinner.

This was on a day when 17 of us from the company went to torture ourselves in the ritual of the habanero.

16 nvidians proudly showing their bumper stickers.
We downed 24 habaneros that day.

Next post: A chain blog ...

Posted by satosphere at 12:49 PM

June 15, 2005
Falkland's Rule
When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.

A forward, after a very long time.

13 differences between men and women


If Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara go out for lunch, they will call each other Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara.

If Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut-Head and Scrappy.


When the bill arrives, Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom will each throw in a $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want the change back.

When the women get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.


A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.

A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale.


A man has five items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from the Marriott. The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify most of these items.


A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

6. CATS:

Women love cats.
Men say they love cats, but when women aren't looking, men kick cats.


A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.


A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change and she does.


A woman will dress up to go 4 shopping, to water the plants, empty the
garbage, answer the phone, read a book, and read the mail.
A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.


Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.
Women somehow deteriorate during the night.


Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.

A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.


Any married man should forget his mistakes.
There's no use in two people remembering the same thing.

Posted by satosphere at 8:41 PM

June 12, 2005
Another year of my life

Life goes along, but there is always a moment to stop and say - This is something special.
Trees of Muir Woods, reaching for the sky.

Posted by satosphere at 12:17 PM

June 08, 2005
Faber's Law
The number of errors in any piece of writing rises in proportion to the writer's reliance on secondary sources.

Numa Numa Dance

If you haven't seen the Numa Numa Dance yet, do see it.
Its about this 19-year old from New Jersey who created a home video sitting and dancing like mad in sync with a song Dragostea Din tei by O-zone, a Polish band.
Amazing antics and lip-syncing. So popular that he even came up on MSNBC news

Never realized you could do so much by just sitting in front of the computer.

And its too addictve.

Posted by satosphere at 11:08 PM

June 05, 2005
Extended Murphy's Law
If a series of events can go wrong, it will do so in the worst possible sequence.

The New Century's spiciest Burger

It started with this rather innocuous company email a couple of weeks ago challenging people to take on the habanero hamburger at the Prince of Wales pub.
As soon as I saw the word hottest, my mind wandered - would it be Sahara hot, or would it have really sexy dancers on it?

A quick flash preceded a moment of pondering and hesitancy. A battle enraged in my mind - To go or not To go. And then, to help in my decision, I shot a quick couple of emails - whether they have veggie burgers, and whether there is transportation.
Phat came the reply. A call confirmed that they do have veggie burgers. And possible transporation. (If you haven't realized by now, the place where I work, communicates mainly by emails, even with a person in the adjacent cubicle)

The D-Day came - the 2nd of June. A half-hour drive to the pub landed me in front of a small two storey building, with a really cramped pub tucked inside it. A brite red board advertising Prince of Wales Pub, San Mateo swung lazily outside, innocuous in its own way with no insinuation of the fiery hell awaiting unsuspecting visitors and first-timers.

To step inside, the air reeky of cigar smoke and nauseating alcohol, was to go into a world apart, a bygone era in the middle of silicon valley - an anachronism unfolding in itself.

Live country music permeated the air, plucked guitar strings and tapping feet, cowboy hats, laughing and drinking, all confined in a cozy room; pale red, pink, velvet and yellows sprayed across the room from aging bulbs and lights; dart boards with the obligatory floor markings competing for space with large tables and high-heeled chairs; lively posters and wallpapers highlighting the real mood of the place.

Mind you, this is my first time in a authentic pub.

I joined the perfunctory queue to the counter, to place my order - a Veggie Habanero burger. What I didn't expect and what I WAS warned about was a dirty yellow declaration form informing me in petite legalese that the pub would not be held responsible for anything that happened to me, my stomach in particular. And then I trotted to the lawn outside, still brite at 8:30 pm due to the daylite savings time. A more joyous crowd lazed around, hiding their high-tech profile behind sleazy t-shirts and torn jeans.

A quick science lesson, for those ignorant about the habanero.

The Habanero is generally known as the hottest pepper in the world, typically measuring about 300,000 units on the Scoville scale, the standard yardstick by which a pepper's "hotness" is measured. By way of comparison, the well-known Jalapeno weighs in at a mere 2,500 Scoville Units. At something less than one-hundredth the potency of the powerful Habanero, the Jalapeno is a veritable lightweight. Even the formidable Cayenne and Tabasco peppers can only claim a measure of 25-30,000.

In other words, the Habanero is not a chile to take lightly, not a pepper to toy with. It is a serious chile - a chile with attitude. It demands respect. It's black seeds almost seem as though the fires of this Faustian fruit had already scorched them, even before the pepper had grown to fulfill its demonic destiny.

Taken from G. L. Please, Too hot to handle.

I suggest the link above, quite a worthy article, a read that describes the authors experience with the above burger with even more fluency.
And for comparision, the Indian dry chilis that is used commonly in food is equivalent to the Cayenne peppers memtioned above.

A half hour wait, gladly passed by mindless gossip with colleagues.

Then came the announcement:
"Mr Sathish, Your habanero is ready."
followed by delightful jingling, almost disillusioning you for what lies ahead. A short while later, IT lay before me - buns, lettuce green chilli, a patty, and what seemed like a dark red paste, with no allusion of its fieryness. No other sauce, no beer and only a clear glass of water, with ice floating sluggishly, to give me company.

I took a bite.

It hit me. Thousand taste buds screaming in pain. STOP IT. STOP IT.
I continued on. The second. The third ...
And soon, hiccups from eating too fast.
Water and some more bites later, it was all over.
No coughing, no burning lips, no painful tongue. Only slight tears from the eyes, and nasal leakage. Nothing that an ice-cold glass of water, or a declicious ice-cream sandwich cant treat. And treat, it did. That sandwich, at that time, tasted like heaven.

What was it like?
Burning hot, for one. It was quite spicy, but not as spicy as I thought it would be. And I had another advantage on my side - I had burnt my tongue over some hot soup the previous nite. And it tasted pretty good - one of the better burgers that I have had.

What I earned?
A brite red bumper sticker that adorns the outside of my cubicle and goes something like this.

Someday I hope to collect eleven of them - thats the number of stickers outside the cube of the person who has eaten the maximum of these.

Would I have it again?
Sure. In fact, two; and if possible, even three. Though the side effects will not be felt at that time - only the next day when frequent visits to the toilet will become a part of parcel of that work-day.
To go further - there is even a competition in a couple of weeks - to find out which company can eat the maximum of the habaneros. I will be there to contribute a bit, and to the beat the heck of Electronic Arts which won last time with 55 of the spicy burgers.

The end of another peaceful work-week, followed by rest and relaxation in the b-e-a-utiful Muir Woods.

Posted by satosphere at 12:46 AM

June 02, 2005
Extended Epstein-Heisenberg Principle
In an R & D orbit, only 2 of the existing 3 parameters can be defined simultaneously. The parameters are: task, time, and resources ($).

1. If one knows what the task is, and there is a time limit allowed for the completion of the task, then one cannot guess how much it will cost.

2. If the time and resources ($) are clearly defined, then it is impossible to know what part of the R & D task will be performed.

3. If you are given a clearly defined R & D goal and a definte amount of money which has been calculated to be necessary for the completion of the task, one cannot predict if and when the goal will be reached.

4. If one is lucky enough to be able to accurately define all three parameters, then what one is dealing with is not in the realm of R & D.

Movie Chain

Following Blythe's suggestion of chain blogs for movies, here is my contribution.
  • Films I own: NONE.
    While that may seem as a surprise to you, it is not to me; the reasoning is quite simple - I end up renting most of the movies, and so I don't own any movie, nor do I have any illegally stored one (I do not have a computer yet). True, while in India, I had quite a few movies on DVD's, but I dumped all of them before coming here - you do not want to be caught at the US Customs with a pirated DVD. All I managed to squeeze through was the entire collection of F.R.I.E.N.D.S which I still preserve carefully.

  • Last Film I rented: Lord of the Rings - Extended edition of 5 DVD's. Last film I bought / illegally borrowed - NONE.

  • Five Films that mean a lot to me

    1. LOTR: I love the entire trilogy. Nothing can beat it. As plain and simple as that. Inspite of the fact that it doesnt follow the original story perfectly. (I know that because I have seen the movies twice and have fastidiously read the book twice). The sheer brilliance of Peter Jackson in porting such a mighty novel as this into an amazing adventurous movie is extremely commendable.

    2. Independence Day: Admit it - it is one of the few movies that really hit off quite well. And for 1996 movie, its graphics and cinematography is quite good. And who can't love the wisecracks of Will Smith and his sidekick-like Jeff GoldBlum. I still wouldn't mind watching it again

    3. Finding Neverland: One of the very few dramas that actually inspired me a lot, and took me to the edge of tears. Johnny Depp's acting is quite amazing, proving that he is quite versatile. And the story is quite good.

    4. Shrek: Among animated films, this is a rare gem. It combines action, comedy and voice-overs in a quite unique way to make every viewer laugh. It was a tough call between Shrek, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles; nevertheless, Shrek deserves it.

    5. Pirates of the Caribbean: This one probably has the best of all - Comedy, Action, Adventure, Beautiful islands with golden sands and sparkling waters and beautiful gals (make it Gal) - what more could you want. It even has lot of ghosts, for crying out loud. I still love it, and am eagerly awaiting its sequel, due next year.

  • Other Hot favorites:

    • Comedy: Finding Nemo, Shrek 2, Bedazzled, Mummy, Mummy2 (Ok, they are action too), Bruce Almightly, Me Myself & Irene, Hitch, The Mask, The Runaway Bride.

    • Action / Adventure : Terminator 2, Terminator 3, Matrix, Matrix Reloaded, Revenge of the Sith, X-Men, Black Hawk down - No Man Left Behind, Die Hard (II).

    More are there in the back of my memory, but they would take some time to drill 'em out of there.

  • List of other people whom I want to write one:: Sidharth, Saumya, Twin Gemini, Neha and Sirpy.

Wondering why there are no Indian movies in there? Yeah - I do not watch many of them, and I was only impressed by quite a few - Thiruda Thiruda (Tamil), Ayutha Ezhuthu, to mention a few. No Hindi films, of course.
And wondering why there are action films which have a lot of actions - well I am inspired a lot by these kind of movies - for the same reason that I like FPS games.

My next post, probably on eating the Worlds Spiciest Ham Veggie Burger

Posted by satosphere at 7:09 PM


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