Wednesday, June 29, 2005

powerbook sans power

Shakti , age 1.5 , size 40gb , master volume and storage device of arun kedarinathan spun its disks one last time and gave up with a final wheeze at 10.11pm CST on June 29 2005.

Shakti is survived by a 2 month old 4gb ipod mini and a cheap free-after-rebate 128MB jump drive neither of which, while containing part of it's soul, can never replace it.its extra-brilliant owner who often refers to for word meanings, has now added one more word to his vocabulary.

Additional resources or duplicate copies of data on different storage media for emergency purposes.

he plans to use this new word in many sentences in the near future or in just one sentence repeatedly viz. "i lost all my files because i didnt take a backup".

services will be performed on a future date. a fund has been established in shakti's name for the "purchase a new 200gb hard disk for arun kedarinathan" program. blogging will be suspended for a brief period, while this mac user works hard at re-acclimatizing with windows.(yeah its a bad excuse for not blogging..i've killed several windows machines as well, though its a comparatively easier task.)

Friday, June 24, 2005

a quick tale

the bite

there it was again. this bug was spreading faster than others. this one did not wait for the infected one to contact someone else. normal, sane people were succumbing to this bug one after another for no apparent reason. he clicked on a couple more, experienced instant gratification a couple of more times and with a sigh logged on to his blog and started typing "a qui.."

there are a lot of good ones where it all started, in this filthy, funny, flawed,gorgeous blog and all over in infected blogs. unfortunately for you brevity is not the soul of my blog. you will never know how i restrained myself from making this post a 30 chapter book filled with metaphors and past incidents where bugs have bitten me. i'll stop before this post nullifies its title.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

a general theory of distant relativity

to sum it all up, math totalled me and the chemistry just wasnt there. but physics had a gravitational pull of its own. i'm an engineer by degree. i'm not sure if thats euphemism for geek or if geek is cooler these days. but if one were to extrapolate based on that fact, the conclusion would be that i had an interest for physics in high interest that was exceeded only by a desire to become a board of education director and abolish certain math topics from the syllabus.

physics was glorious if i left out the proofs and equations that one was expected to memorise and churn physics teacher in high school did the best to make us like it. he would liken a capacitor to a member of a tribal group and when they were in series, he would demonstrate, it was like a bunch of them holding hands and performing a tribal dance around an imaginary fire. while the description was pretty good as a memory aid, come exam time all i could think of was groups of male and female capacitors dancing in colorful costumes, feathers on their plates and some beating on drums. the equations were forgotten and even if i remembered some,i would often miss out mentioning units which in high school translates into exactly zero marks. describing the series capacitance equation as an item number probably didnt help much either.

college physics was much better. it should be mentioned that my college unlike others in india was a total party fact it merits a post on its own..maybe some other day. but yeah, total party all the time.but due to the weird laws of physics governing engineering school seating arrangements, no matter how we tried, the girls always ended up on one side of the party, segregated from the boys. apart from the fact that we were made to sit in class from 9 to 5 , it was like a huge carnival without the tents and the rides and the jolliness. to convey how easily college can kick high school's ass, we were assigned 2 chemistry teachers and 3 physics lecturers in our first year. these guys were not ones to joke about the subject though. no singing or dancing. more work for my right arm as they competed with each other at breaking the official black-board speed writing records. we were like pythons, swallowing all that crap as a whole and regurgitating it on exam sheets spelling mistakes intact. yeah we skipped the digestion part. we were clever pythons. thermodynamics, acoustics, optics - all words that we were fluent with in high school merely represented different huge notebooks that reflected the blackboard. one such "ic" pursued me for 3 more years forcing me to learn and then participate in capacitive and then resistive tribal dances. that i managed to escape with an electonics degree was largely as a result of dancing in a huge crowd where my 2 left feet went unnoticed.

i'm done with physics for life. praise should indeed to go those 3 lecturers of my college who caused recurring nightmares in which schrodinger's cat and einstein were tag-teaming against me in a wrestling ring. if not for them i'd have become something pretty cool like a quantum physicist or an astrologist.

Monday, June 20, 2005

(re)verse gear

i was planning on posting this the day after my previous post. but a few world-altering events happened after that..australia lost to bangladesh in a ODI, only 6 cars started the US F1 race to which i almost went and this blog was reviewed in the Indian Express by a reviewer i do not know. you'll just have to take my word for it, it was in the magazine section of the paper edition and yeah i dont understand the logic of doing a blog review on paper either..but i'm glad to see my blog mentioned anywhere.
since this microbe of a blog is now under the microscope of some n readers, i thought i'll hold back my original post and put up something that fits the description in the review more. but you know what its my blog.
first a little introduction to what i'm about to do. chapter 7 of the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy begins :

    " Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe. The second worst is that of the Azagoths of Kria.......The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex, England in the destruction of the planet Earth. "

given how H2G2 is revered all over and now that its a movie and all, its time that i laid claim to that most undesired of titles. so here is my entry for all of you to judge. it was written ages ago and lay covered under layers of dust when i found it in the archives of my mailbox.


Like molten gold
your form pours
through my senses,
filling them.
a monument to seduce my mind
a beauty melted and reshaped into perfection
am i a satyr?

so go ahead and let me know...if you were at the counter of the department of english literature, would i get a poetic license or would you confiscate my keyboard and give me the undesired title?
the poem ended up there..these 2 lines are not part of it

Friday, June 17, 2005

bloggers on blogging

as a blogger i'm interested in feedback..heck i'll be honest and let you know that i've spent hours refreshing the page to see if there have been comments. i also like responding to makes for a good conversation. you are obviously interested in what i wrote( or not if u r one of those who i threatened into commenting) and thats more incentive for me to keep writing. i'll stop the lesson here.i didnt really want to don my professorial glasses and become the most boring blogger any side of the atlantic.

the point is that conversations are good. monologs...hmm..not so much. so when a not so random set of bloggers convened to answer a few questions about blogging, it quickly became an interesting conversation. for once its not about my boring past and for once i shall drop the silly metaphors .instead i'll point you to a very well sewn tapestry of all the bloggers' answer threads on

whats in it for me ? nada..nothin..zilch..emi ledhu. just that i was one of those bloggers who sent in answers..and as a blogger i'm just interested in one ad revenue.oops.sorry for the typo. i meant your feedback

whats in it for you ? an insight into what bloggers think they are doing..a look into what blogs mean to us in this networked world. u can either agree or the comments section of course and thats not the only post there..there is tons of brain food. links to articles that will make you think, to blogs that you should be reading right now.

check it out and leave some comments..i might just have the apt reward when you come back here. i'll give you a hint : its something that may defeat Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings and the vogons

go here : ifaqs

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

this post is injurious to health

i'm thankful to the govt of india for having cleansed the silver screen and getting rid of all that black smoke. i was beginning to have problems seeing the item number's face through all that haze. while we are on the topic, i'd also like to highlight several pertinent yet ignored aspects that the government should consider. the very obvious has now been removed from sight but the subliminal messages that the evil movie makers have been sending need to be carefully taken out of the equation lest they corrupt the movie-goer's mind and remind him/her of the tar monster

first of all , brand names.we'll start with scissors , no more scissors in any scene, even if it is the murder weapon of choice for a serial killer..additionally consider banning the scissor kick from being shown during the football world cup telecast next year. there shall be no gold (no more treasure movies :( ) or flakes (even if they are snow flakes) or kings(if it is an english epic, the word king shall be replaced with the rather safe and harmless 'raja')
there shall be no wills ( rama has to find something else to break in tamil translations of the ramayana, "will and grace" shall henceforth be called "dhill and grace")
and no more governor or khaja(whatever that means..i know its a beedi brand thats all) character in movies
thats as many brand names as this non-smoker can remember - oh yeah no camels either.

then the words associated with the evil, injurious,death causing habit. no more butts. yup though it will make me extremely sad and may cause several youth to pay attention to unimportant aspects such as acting and dialogs. no buts either,the phonetic similarity is too much to ignore. theatres shud be banned from selling puffs, the snack that has long been associated with intervals. you know what people do during intervals. they come out and take a long puff after getting reminded to do so by those puff-laden trays on the counters. thats actually two bans in one bill, considering that the puffs by themselves are probably more injurious to health than cigarette smoke.

i'm not done yet, but i have to go do some work. i'm writing an algorithm that when coupled with a smoke detector will automatically scan reels of film for the occurence of any of the above keywords and will instantly send notification to shri anbumani will also obscure those illegal occurences with square black pixels and add a bright red warning that says : "smoke karne wale, thera mooh kala"
gosh i have to beat those guys on the bench at infosys.considering how hard-working they are , they might have thought of this one already.

Monday, June 13, 2005

a cook in time

yet another search and rescue mission. my five years here have seen quite a few of this. this time though it was a matter of rice and death. i'll have you know that i'm the undisputed rice-cooking champion of the upper midwest south indian male graduate students association. among other traits that south indian males do NOT inherit from their moms is the ability to take raw rice and water and make it something edible. but its our staple food and sambar and rasam take back bench in deference for there can be no magic without the manna. so we start trying from a very early age (ie the day we step into the haloed apt kitchens and find out the flame is now a red,glowing electric coil). after 4 years of flying lids, whistling cookers and pasty white globs that are just one big,fused carbohydrate molecule i started to come into my own. i was conferred the title of l33t rice-geek by my roomies and promptly garnered the requisite CMM and six sigma certification. this caused rice making to become one of my primary duties and the art form that it was, it was a challenge, day after day, to come up with the quality that i'd made standard. it was an even bigger challenge yesterday, when i found that the all important weight/whistle had deserted me and gone awol.

if in all those words above , "whistling cookers" caught your fancy , there is some explanation in order. why not , you may ask, just go with an electric rice cooker like all those other grad students ? no spare parts that are small enough to get lost in the hell hole, all you need to do is plug and play. there are quite a few reasons but let me explain it in the worst way possible - through an unrelated metaphor. lets say you travel a lot by train. you go from madras to bangalore or hyderabad or wherever it is that you want to go in a train pulled by a electric locomotive. sitting inside one you really dont know what is pulling the train, the journey is quite immaterial and the destination is all that matters. now think of a trip from mettupalayam to ooty. the train is pulled by a steam locomotive. unless you are a ruthless serial killer hunting your next victim or you know that you are the next victim of a ruthless serial killer riding the train with you, you are bound to love the ride up the mountain with all the smoke and whistles. cooking with a pressure cooker as opposed to an electric one is somewhat exactly like that (due credit to mr.douglas adams for that line). you enjoy the sounds that scare your neighbors into thinking you have some sort of a mechanical monster and the sights that turn your kitchen into something that resembles a cloud gently invading a walkway in ooty. another reason is that i like giving out subliminal nods to things i enjoy, like heavy metal, and going by weight alone its tough to beat a Prestige in that category (ok..bad reason..sorry ). so steam beats electric and thats settled.

coming back to the weight, the rice was already on the heated coil and i was beginning to get flustered. timing was of utmost importance in my secret process and if things didnt go well i'd just have to start all over again. i ran through a mental checklist of what had happened after my extremely rigorous ritual of cleaning the leviathan vessel. the weight had to be in the corner of the drawer but it wasnt. i stole a glance at my roomie who was busy perfecting his version of a golt rasam for certification and decided against accusing him. it took all my knowledge of poirot and holmes to deduce that there was a possibility that the weight which can balance itself fairly well when vertical might've fallen on its side and rolled off into the deep recesses of my kitchen's closet and there it was , slightly dusty but still ready to face action.dinner was saved. my process is still intact , but the pressure has gotten to me. if only i could find a way to apply the same template to other south indian favorites. something tells me it wont work that way, the variables will change. so i'm stuck without an option unless.., unless the weight "accidentally" falls down from my window when i am doing a close visual inspection in daylight. something tells me its either going to be frozen parathas or sticky rice from lao sze chuan for dinner tonight.

lagniappe : madman has a he knows best. since my process is classified, i'm sure he wont mind if i direct you to his.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

paperback reader

as i watched this meme spread through the blogworld, i was wondering if i'll ever be tagged. suhail was the one who came out of the closet (no not that one..apparently he is a closet fan of my writing) and tagged me. since he also said nice things about my writing, i shall oblige...thanks for the tag, dude.

Total number of books I own: around 10 - 20 here, around the same number back home. after i discovered that there are places that give out books for free here, i stopped buying them..hey i'm just a student living in a not-so-cheap city. being frugal about things like books and lunch allow me to have the odd drink every day

Last Book that I Bought : must be that Calvin and Hobbes i got abt 2 years back, but i gave it away without it must be the lord of the rings i got in dec 2001 from odyssey, adyar...sigh

Last Book I Read : State of Fear , Michael Crichton sometime in Mar this and the selfish gene from the library, intending to multitask...took abt a day and a half for state of fear..selfish gene went back after 6 chapters because it was overdue and someone else wanted it more than i did

Books that mean a lot to me (at least five) :
what does this question mean anyway? if there was any lesson to be learnt from the books that i read, it was that i have to return them on time or pay a fine.. the ones that are listed here are the ones that got stuck in memory..there are others that i thought would make me seem geeky yet cool, bookish yet suave, smart and sexy all at the same time but they are all taken. damn all u bloggers who really read those books. most my posts are from the past , lets start from there :

the mystery of the stuttering parrot - the 3 investigators..jupiter jones, pete crenshaw and the bob guy kept me amused through many a summer vacation..but for some reason i remember more of this mystery than the others

H2G2 : cos its funny. i like to think my life is being run by mice...its much easier to give up and blame it all on them..i've only managed to read the first book in the trilogy and till the bit about elevators that knew abt the future from the second

lord of the rings : all that detail.i'm fascinated by really small,irrelevant details about anything. and am a huge fantasy/sci-fi fan. LOTR is easily the best combination of both these trivial interests of mine.

i,robot : a set of short stories each of which is a logically beautiful puzzle..i "solved" one of them as i was reading and am still patting my back for having done so . sci-fi rocks.

i'm finding it very tough to come up with a fifth book..i want to list 'ponniyin selvan' but i am still on the 4th book in that series and at the rate i can read tamil its going to take at least a year more to complete this and then the 5th book. i enjoyed reading the spy genre -ludlum,clancy and others- though none sticks out as being better than another. i also like some jeeves books, dont really remember any of them distinctly..i'll leave you with a couple of lines from one of them that i remembered and googled for..u have to get something in return for all this narcissistic crap :

It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn't.
- from Ring for Jeeves

i've always been quite lazy , so if u've read this and are one of the few that are yet to post some form of this meme, by all means go fact i'll even let you mention my blog as inspiration for the post

Monday, June 06, 2005

angels in the cricket field

in my infinte laziness i forgot to point you all towards my favorite sports-fiction blog(its a new genre-defying sub-sub-genre that is less sport,more tasteless fiction and is a blog that will hopefully be a book one day), where i managed to sneak something under the mawkish oops hawkish vision of dopppsy
yup i'm scratching his/her/its back, (s)he/it is doing mine (not 'me' ppl 'mine') happens all the time in the blogworld and now without much further ado, here's jagguG, the debonair cricket administrator cum world traveler cum bengali svengali, revealing more than we'd ever wished to see..oh wait, the warning first :

its rated R for Ridiculous and X for "Xcuse my offensive language and racial slurs, if they dont offend you enough, you cannot have your money back"

enough said, just go read it: ughsport
its the one about deepthroat

for those counting or not, that's 3 posts this week already and to add to all those words, someone i never knew just tagged me with that book meme thingy

Sunday, June 05, 2005

more than a peck of gold

i've always liked movies that are based on some kind of treasure hunt. i think i might've once been a soul who was really close to finding some great treasure and was cheated out of it. call it a fetish if you want but i only like the ones where the treasure is old (darn i missed a 'g' there). well stacked crisp currencies do nothing to me. i like parchment maps yellow with age and the way in which movie directors have forever navigated great distances by simply drawing a red line on the same parchment from city to city until they reach the destination in a tiny corner of africa or a snow covered village in nepal.

why would i not want to be the hero? ignoring the fact that i probably look and act more like the irritating sidekick,its probably cos the hero is too ideal in most cases. To shun all the treasure, escape with his life and later find that the horse he rode off into the sunset is the one that the villain tirelessly loaded up with some treasures before dying - he is also too lucky. talk about someone getting what they dont deserve. the villain who planned the whole thing, lusted for the moolah openly, transgressed in several inventive ways that included tying up love interests over a pit full of crocs, barely gets to see the treasure when a quake decides to use the ground he is on as its epicenter. its like those flight points you pile up on your credit card, when at the end you find they wont even take you from the airport's parking lot to the gate and just like us, the villain too is an optimist who finds his glass completely empty in the end.

dont really know when this post went from being one about treasures to being one about how villains are more human than all other characters. bottom line : once i'm a salaried employee i'd like to get paid in gold, even if its only a few gold filings a month. i'll collect them all till one day i can pump them through a shower. i'm sure that that day there will be a quake measuring 50 on the richter with its epicenter in my bathtub.

a peck of gold

Thursday, June 02, 2005

must..write..something..S-O-M-E-T-H-I-N-G, something

more about me and my past. right now about 10,567 indi-bloggers have posted abt ABCDs, or to be politically correct indian-americans, kicking ass in the sport of orthography, or to sound less like a pompous ass, spelling, and this got me thinking about my childhood. yeah i know. this is getting to be a bad habit, this past-posting. but i have no option - my past just lends itself to posting. so what was i thinking about ? oh yeah..second standard (second grade to all you americans,indian- or otherwise ) or was it third when we had those dictation tests, i had been a stellar student till then as indicated by little silver (not gold) stars stuck on my report card..either i was eating my veggies and knew the solar system or my teacher was rather fond of stars. either ways i was one of those kids who sat in the first bench and built my right biceps by constantly lifting it whenever the teacher asked a question of the class. but wait , before you start judging me and words like nerd, geek and teacher's pet start spelling their way into your brain, there's more to this story.

one fine day the girl with the gold stars in her report card was absent. the same day we were having one of those dictation tests. with a gleam in my eye, i quickly scribbled down the words as the teacher called them out. the anticipation of what was coming up after the test was causing my HB pencil to quiver and tremble as it raced across the lines tracing one letter after another. i would show the world that all that glitters was not gold. when the teacher called out for us to spell the answers, guess whose hands would go up first. MWAHAHAHAHA. with ideas of class-domination firmly entrenched in my mind, i raised my arm, like a nazi adjutant eager to please the fuhrer , everytime the teacher called for answers. by the time she finally noticed that a hyper energetic kid was jumping up and down in the first bench, i was almost dehydrated. i rose up from my throne to accept the crown by completing this final quest. the word was "ENOUGH" and the phonetic champion that i was, i didnt even consult the sheet i'd written the words on. and proceeded to spell it I-N-A-F-F.

i am not sure what happened after that but i was scarred badly and i stopped lifting my hand even to say tata. my writing suffered the most, having had to wait till the invention of word processors and automatic spell-checking. i relinquished my first bench to the gold star girl when she came back and turned into one of those kids who defaced desks by writing on them. INAFF , i wrote on the last desk i shared with this guy who had no stars on his report card, INAFF , again and again and again...

disclaimer : obviously i just made up parts of the story .. to the teachers looking for the kid who wrote INAFF on second standard benches, do you have concrete, irrefutable evidence?..and to the girl who is missing one gold star from her report card..MWAHAHAHAHA