Thursday, December 13, 2007


These days I have developed a strange habit. I sleep with my earphones on. And whole night the laptop is playing the iTunes library in shuffle and repeat mode. Well it's not exactly new. I remember I used to drain the batteries of my Sony Walkman in a single night. But at least then I never used to listen to Trivium, Tool, Black Sabbath and stuff!

If I haven't said it before, I will say it now. VLC is the best damn video/audio player there is. It simply kicks butt of Windows Media Player (duh!), iTunes (duh!), Real Player (DUH!). I haven't used WinAmp since 2.9* ages, but I have read that v3* and v5* are pure crap. So if you are not using VLC, give it a try. I bet you won't go back.

signing off,

Sunday, October 28, 2007

And Here Is the Boss

They say that Mt Rainier inspires each one in some ways. Indeed. How else can you explain two boys getting off their lazy bums on Saturday morning at 5:00 AM to drive about 80 mi to catch sunrise at the Reflection lake? Unfortunately while the intentions were noble, the road to Reflection lake was closed due to snow! So we just got this photo out of the whole 5 hrs trip -

Even that does inspire one, doesn't it?

signing off,

Monday, October 22, 2007

How Much Does It Cost to Bring Down a School?

Somebody please give her a ballpark figure. :-)


For more on Little Becky, visit this site.

signing off,

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sweet Mother of All That Is Pure

Check this out:

But where is the full screen button mommy?

signing off,

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Seattle Downtown

I simply love the photogenic face of Seattle downtown. And I love my camera too.

signing off,

Stephen Colbert for President!

Let's see how far it goes :-) Kinda dream come true for many, if only he had not removed Stewart's name from the bumper sticker. Damn you Huckabee, Putin and Colber't'! But seriously, I think Stephen will not make any dent for 2008 election. But if he is serious, this can be a good experience for 2012 election.

On the topic, I am reading "I Am America" currently. It is funny, but not hilarious. I liked "America (The Book)" by Jon better than this one so far.

And MSNBC, instead of challenging Ron Paul supporters, you need to watch episodes of Poll Smoking with Dave Gorman (which sadly is removed from YouTube by ViaCom, but you can see it on ComedyCentral I think). Internet polling as it is biased, that is why you add the disclaimer about possibility of skewed results. You don't go bashing the supporters. Ever heard of the Streisand effect?

signing off,

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In the Shadow of Mt St Helens

So we decided to climb Mt St Helens. Now I have already completed a trek of approximately 9 mi total distance which gained about 4300 ft in elevation. But this was task ominous any way you looked. Consider this: the summit stands at 8,363 ft above sea level. The path to it is about 5 mi which consists three parts: about 2 mi of trails through the forest, then about 1.5 mi of boulders and rocks and last but not the least remaining path largely covered with volcanic ash which is quite slippery. Then to add to the complications, on Sunday, when we decided to climb, the weather looked bad even by the Northwest standards. The day would start with freezing temperatures, high about 41 and 70% chances of rain along the day. But our platoon (squad really) was up for the task.

We stayed about 30 miles West of the Climbers Bivouac on Saturday night. Sunday early morning at about 6 AM, we set out for Jack's Restaurant, while it was still drizzling. The accident on I-5 North just across our hotel didn't do any good to our morals. The road was foggy and when we reached Jack's to collect our permits, we were not encouraged at all. See these faces, they surely don't look like happy faces, do they?

Or they do. Of course this was from previous night where we had a small impromptu party with BK burger meals and beer (I had water, as usual). I digress. Here's the photo while we prepare for the trek:

We had initially hoped that the rain might subside and we will be able to see the actual scenery around but no, it didn't. But we were able to spot few gems:

After about an hour and half, we reached this point beyond which the climbing permit is required.

I thought if we make past this board, I'd be able to justify to some extent the $22 spent on the permit :-) After a brief halt, we proceeded. But the wind and rain was too much for us. The snow on rocks had started thickening too. I will let few more photos do the talking now:

After about four hours of strenuous trek, we finally returned to the base. Look at us. Just look at us, drenched to our cores:

Now after some time we stopped at Yale Lake and I posed in my pajamas. (Refer to my previous photos for explanations)

* All photos courtesy my friend Paul (the one in red jacket).

Finally, the title is dedicated to the superb documentary called In the Shadow of the Moon. Inspiring stuff, go see it.

signing off,

Friday, July 27, 2007

Finished it Already!

I know I am not as fast as some who finished to book on last Saturday. I am not a book reviewer either. What I will do instead is just write about how I felt after finishing the series finale of the Harry Potter series.

Spoiler Alert!! Don't read further if you haven't finished the book or if you give a s#&$.

How did I find the book? Definitely interesting in parts. Rowling had me clutching the book till 2 o'clock in night on two consecutive nights before I dozed off. The way the story begins is like how you would expect - chaos ranging with the Dark Lord on his helm of power and thus causing a death in as early as second chapter. And then it flies like a speeding sedan doing 95 mph on a deserted freeway in middle of the night until it is slowed down by a jam caused by accident or something. For next twenty excruciating minutes, it crawls through the mess and once cleared, again it attains its original speed.

This is my first complain with the book. The middle part of the book, like a boring second session of the third day of a much anticipated test match, simply doesn't move. I know Rowling wanted us to understand that it is not easy for someone (especially for the group of Harry, Hermione and Ron - short on information, plan and consul) to find a goddamn horcrux. But then revelations such as secrets of R.A.B. and Gryffindor's sword come by without any efforts from Harry and Co. Things do fall in place, Harry is simply in right place at the right time. I felt I might as well have skipped few pages and missed nothing worthwhile.

Then the other problem is the whole Severus Snape's death episode. I was afraid that Rowling might pull a Wachowski, and she did. Snape's death is similar to Trinity's death in the Matrix Revolutions. How lame was that? Fortunately for Severus, Rowling redeems him at least after his death putting an end to one of the most vociferously fought cyber-battles similar to Emacs vs Vi: Is Severus Snape evil?

But that aside, other parts of the book were thoroughly entertaining. This book was by far the bloodiest in the series with as many as twenty deaths (WP) with six of good men, women, elves and animals passing on. With so many deaths, there is not much time to moan like there was in case of Sirius or Dumbledore. Or like the character of Harry, even Rowling makes us to deal with the death as an inevitable part of the life. The proceedings in Ministry, Gringotts and Hogwarts are nail biting. Malfoy Manor, Godric Hollows not so much. The humor in certain situations is notable and helps us keep the tension in check. And no, I didn't miss the Quidditch matches. Enough of it already!

So finally after all this, my conclusion? Not to be missed if you want to finish the storyline. Well, duh! But again, not the best book in the series either. That would be PoA or HBP.

signing off,

Friday, July 20, 2007

Two Launches

Take it from me, you been part of a really, really fortunate generation. How else can you explain this - within a space of three weeks, we are witnessing two greatest product launches ever (and by ever I mean since June 07). First the iPhone and tonight, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I plan to go to our neighborhood Borders store just to see all the hoopla. For the records I had also driven ~15 mi in the torrential rains to our nearby Apple store to check out the iPhone. But unfortunately I had told the 'Apple Genius' that I was there to resolve an issue with my Macbook. So he allowed me in without standing in 'the line' outside, but also directed me to the remotest corner inside the store farthest from any iPhone :-) So I could not even touch it!

But back to Harry da Puttar, I am as excited as anybody to find out how the series ends. Especially after HBP which is a perfect stage for the grand series finale. Unless of course, Rowling pulls off a Lucas or a Wachowski. :-)

So there you go, my second post in two part series of the Potter posts. Happy reading!

signing off,

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bring Out My Freudian Hat

Yesterday night I had one disturbing dream. For all that matter, all my dreams, whatever I can remember of it anyways, are disturbing. I hardly remember my dreams if they are pleasant. Or maybe I have never had any pleasant dreams. And I don't know why I tend to remember the rest so crystal clear.

Now when I say disturbing, it usually involves death. And it tends to be anyone - me, a friend, a family member, a spider or another equivalent bug, a colleague or a complete stranger. Yesterday's dream death was particularly gruesome and gory. Like the Final Destination 2 opening scene, it was something to do with a pileup because of three idiots who were scampering across I-5. The other day, there was a huge spider devouring me and in the dim flickering light of the cellphone, I could briefly see its internal organs before passing out. Then one particularly fine morning in winter many years ago, I had fallen off the cliff and on my way down, I had met a particularly nasty person I knew back then. Even though in real life she had nothing but disregard for me, she seemed mellow in the face of the death. She did kinda start off the conversation, talked few good things about me for a while and finally had even apologized with teary eyes before bouncing off a protruding tree branch off the cliff.

Brrrrr!! Tonight is going to be a hell of a long night!

signing off,

Friday, June 29, 2007


एकानं मला काल विचारलं - उद्या काय आहे माहीत आहे?

मी खूश! जून एकपासून अगदी ज्या उत्साहात होतो, शेवटच्या दिवशी एकजण भेटला त्या विषयावर बोलायला. उद्या ना? iPhone येतोय!!

त्याने माझ्याकडे "भो पामरा! कसे होणार तुझे?" असं बघितलं आणि म्हणाला, "अरे उद्या सिएटल मधे बृहन महाराष्ट्र मंडळाचं संमेलन आहे. येतोयस ना?"

येतो मग,

Friday, June 08, 2007

Of Sequels and Originals

One of my favorite movie reviewer said this about Ocean's Thirteen -

Ocean's Thirteen is the first sequel of the summer of 2007 not to fall on its face.
Even though I have not yet watched this number 13, I wouldn't place my bets on lucky number 3. Especially after that last week's movie marathon, when I watched Spider Man 3, Shrek 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End back to back to back (well almost).

How I hope this sequel doesn't disappoint me now that I have spent a good $20 on it :-)

While we are on the term disappointment, even though I love my iPod and am considering a Macbook strongly because how I feel about Mac OS-X, Apple and Mr Jobs, I am praying that all this hoopla doesn't create a large bubble (possibly largest in this decade) only to be burst very shortly after June 29. Call me pessimistic, but after a summerful of disappointment, when that summer is yet to start in certain parts of US, I am little apprehensive. That's all.

signing off,

Friday, May 25, 2007

Maybe It's Stuck

Maybe it reminds me of myself during the days when I used to think that a kick-butt guitar solo is performed to give the guy singing the song some break, but I love the way Frances McDormand ask s "When does it start?". Check it out -

The main reason for back-to-back rock post is VH1. I was watching their show and some guy was talking about defining moments in Metal history. He mentioned Stairway to Heaven as one of them. I was astonished, Stairway to Heaven - Metal?? When? How? Who? Then I do some research and turns out that they are notorious for such false taxonomy.

Well, I hope they don't label Celine Dion as defining artist in rock and roll based on this. :-)

signing off,

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Playing What We Want

96.5 Jack FM is an interesting radio channel. I have not heard them taking calls from Joe listener to find out what he wants to hear. They skip all middle steps and instead just play what they want :-)

Point is, this morning, their playlist on my way to office was like this -

  • Why Can't This Be Love - Van Halen
  • Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles
  • Higher - Creed
  • Def Leppard - Bringin' on the Heartbreak
  • Bangles - Walk Like an Egyptian
  • Blondie - Call Me
  • Guns 'N Roses - Paradise City
  • Queen - Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge

It was like someone at radio station was reading my mind (or my iPod) and playing what I want instead :-)

Totally made my morning!

signing off,

Monday, May 21, 2007

Things Remembered

आई बाबांचा लग्नाचा वाढदिवस होता मागच्या आठवड्यात. तर मी कधी नव्हे ते त्यांना एक bouquet पाठवला. आमच्या पिताजींनी ते courier परत पाठवलं. कारण? त्या मंद rediff.comने त्या bouquetवर माझं नाव लिहिलंच नव्हतं :-) बाबा फ़ोन वर म्हणाले, "मला वाटलं कोणत्यातरी बँकेने पाठवलं असेल ते."

:-) Happy Anniversary, आई बाबा! आणि लवकर बरे व्हा.

येतो मग,

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Funny Sign

Clerks is a funny movie. Some people find it offensive or distasteful, like Pulp Fiction or even Fight Club. But you gotta admit that the movie is freakin hilarious.

Check out this sign from the counter in Quick Stop Groceries -

signing off,

Image acquired using a screen capture program while running the DVD.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Emerald City

It can and does get better than this, but for now I love the photo. This was during our Bremerton to Seattle ferry on that laid back Saturday afternoon, when for once, we did not have rain.

signing off,

RIP Jackson, Hamilton, Grant, Washington

च्यायला, या ऑस्ट्रेलियाच्या बैलाला ढोल. देऊनच टाकाना त्यांना तो वर्ल्ड कप! नुसता वैताग!

आणि हा सब्जेक्ट आमचे जे पन्नास डॉलर्स गेले (क्रिकेट मॅचेस बघण्यासाठी विकत घेतलेल्या पॅकेजसाठी) त्यांना समर्पित.

येतो मग,

Monday, April 23, 2007

No Kidding

Two ladies in my new office share their office wall. On that wall they showcase their nameplates. One lady bears the family name Schumacher. The other one, Ferrari.

As I said, no kidding!

signing off,

Friday, March 16, 2007


I am a big fan of /. The nerds there sometime can get on you, but sometimes you stumble upon a real gem, such as this - (I quote mi from this discussion)

In short, you have to remember, that you (an administrator) exist for the benefit and convenience of these people, not the other way around. So if they want to be able to access their webmail, you must have a much better reason than "you may get a virus" to deny it to them.

I bet, more productivity is lost, when an employee brings in flu and half the office gets sick. But no one is advocating forcing people to take vitamin C and wear scarves, right?..

signing off,

Sunday, February 25, 2007

पॉलिटिकल कथेकरी बुवा

आता मी काही धार्मिक वगैरे नाही (असं म्हणायची फैशन संपली नाही ना?) पण कधी जर कोणी मला देवळात घेऊन गेलं तर मी जातो. कशाला कोणाचं मन वगैरे दुखवा? आणि दुसरं म्हणजे आमचं सर्वात जवळचं देऊळ 20 मैलावर आहे आणि तो रस्ता drive करायला मस्तच आहे. दुधात साखर म्हणायचं तर, थोडा पाऊस पडून गेला होता दुपारीच. असल्या मौसमात अगदी खंडाळ्यात आल्यासारखा गारवा आला होता हवेत आणि मला देवालाही नाही म्हणता आलं नाही.

तर सांगायचं काय, सगळं मस्त माझ्या मनासारखं चाललं होतं. आम्ही देवळात पोचलो आणि रीतीरिवाज पूर्ण केले (you know, नमस्कार, प्रसाद वगैरे). एक कोणीतरी बुवा काहीतरी सांगत होते, ते थोडंसं ऐकून निघू असं मत मांडण्यात आलं आणि आम्ही त्या carpetवर तळ ठोकला.

बुवा रंगात होते. 'आत्मू'उन्नती विषयी ते सांगत होते. (माझं मराठी वाचन पु.लं.पुढे जात नाही) आणि थोडंसं sensibleही वाटलं मला ते. आपण आपल्या शारिरीक गरजांना खूप महत्त्व देतो, खूप काळजी घेतो. बौद्धिक गरजांसाठी शाहरूख खानचे सिनेमे पाहतो. इत्यादी, इत्यादी. पण आध्यात्मिक गरजांसाठी ... (हे बुवांचं नाही, माझं प्रवचन आहे; आत्ताच सांगून टाकतो, नाही म्हणजे नंतर confusion नको!) सांगायचं काय, कदाचित बाकी सगळ्यांनाही ते पटलं असावं की काय, पण त्यांच्या बोलण्याकडे लक्ष देणारा मी एकटाच नव्हतो. बुवांनाही ते जाणवलं. 7-8 जणांचा group जर तुम्ही काय बोलताय याच्याकडे कान टवकारून लक्ष देत असेल, तर तुम्हालाही थोडंसं अवसान येतं आणि तुम्ही तुमच्या आवडत्या विषयावर येता. माझी ही theory आहे. कधीतरी prove करीन.

ते आले त्यांच्या सनातन धर्मावर. थोडं Christian आणि ईस्लाम धर्मांशी comparison करून, सनातन धर्म श्रेष्ठ कसा हे अगदी उत्साहात त्यांनी सांगितलं. त्यांच्या बाजूलाच एक आजी बसल्या होत्या. त्या पण देवळाच्या management teamमधल्या दिसल्या. कारण यानंतर लगेचच त्यांनी 'आरतीची वेळ झाली' असं बुवांना बजावलं. माझ्या डाव्या बाजूला बसलेला स आणि माझ्या पुढे बसलेली म यांची नजरानजर झाली आणि दोघेही गालातल्या गालात हसू लागले. मला प्रथम कळलं नाही. नंतर जाणवलं की त्या आजी त्या बुवांच्या better half असल्या पाहीजेत. म्हणूनच म आणि स ला त्या बजावण्यात "been there done that" असं काहीतरी वाटलं असावं. बुवा थोडेसे हिरमूसले, पण अगदी थोडा वेळ. "ये बहोत डरती है, मै जबभी ईस विषयपे आता हूं।" असं काहीतरी बोलून परत चालू झाले. 5-10 मिनिटांनी माझे डोळे थोडेसे जडावले. पूर्ण दिवस हाफिसात काम केल्यावर अजून काय होणार? पण अचानक जेंव्हा मला पं नेहरुंचं नाव ऐकू आलं तेंव्हा मी खडबडून जागा झालो. पं नेहरु?? अमेरिकेतल्या देवळात?

झालं काय, तर बुवा पुनर्जन्म या विषयावर होते. त्यातही Christian आणि ईस्लाम धर्म पुनर्जन्म मानत नसल्याने सनातन आणि झालंच तर हिंदू धर्म श्रेष्ठ कसा हे दुस~यांदा prove झालं. (टाळ्या) नंतर त्यांनी बरंच काही सांगितलं त्याचा सारांश असा - माणूस या जन्मात जे काही करतो ते त्याच्या गतजन्मांचं प्रतिबिंब असतं (वा! वा!) आणि त्यांचा प्वॉईंट असा होता की नेहरू परिवाराने जसं काही आपल्या लोकशाहीवर राज्य केलंय, त्यावरून असं सिद्ध होतं की त्या परिवाराच्या links मागील जन्मी कोणत्यातरी तशाच परिवाराशी असल्या पाहिजेत. म्हणून त्यांच्या मते, पं नेहरु मागील जन्मी रावण (हो, हो, रामानंद सागर यांच्या रामायणातलाच) असलेच असणार.

या वाक्यानंतर आजीबाईनी बुवांना धारेवर धरून आरती करायला लावली हे कालचं शेंबडं पोरही सांगू शकेल. मी माझी केस रेस्ट करतो. त्या बुवांपेक्षा पॉलिटिकल बुवांना मी तरी स्वत: भेटलेलो नाही.

येतो मग,

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


To do -

  1. Practice parallel parking.
  2. Signal when shifting lanes.
  3. Look when backing.
And I am not even sad that I couldn't beat her.

signing off,

Friday, February 09, 2007

Corollary 1

It is true then.

But also,

Previous birthdays: 05, 06

signing off,

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Bowl Game Is Here

Go Manning! Go Colts!

signing off,

Friday, January 26, 2007


And while we are on the 'Ron and Don Show', let's talk about the other thing they talked about yesterday. Mainly, how the current generation has been busy with the texting or emailing. We have all heard about/read the studies how those laptops and cellphones are encroaching private spaces between friends, families, spouses and so on. There are reports for those who care, that even when some couples are being intimate in their bed, they will answer cellphone or check the text message!! (I just hope they don't get pissed off if that is a telemarketer calling them :))

That deeply worries me. Not because I am sad for the couple (you know, all that "moment's gone" thing), but because I am irrecoverably (seems like it) addicted to cellphone and laptop myself. And when anyone starts talking about how it affects productivity at work and relationships at home, I keep thinking that has to be on my to-do list. Good intentions.

But the problem is I can't do it even after so many tries and retries. While I don't let any of that interfere with my work, more often or not, my breaks mean surfing to my favorite websites (which are currently /., wikipedia, technorati and my favorite bloggers' feeds) to read anything new. And at home, I surf whatever I can, whenever I can. It may not be completely useless actually. I seem pretty well informed than quite a few of my colleagues and friends. But some times I wonder when was it I read an actual newspaper or a book without being interrupted or took a stroll outside or discussed somethings with friends (and not on Google Talk, no) or just did not sit in front of this idiot box.

Same is with cellphone. I remember days when I used to remember phone numbers. Those days are long gone now. Maybe it is also because there is a lot to remember now. But I can't give such excuses because I don't even try to remember. While many will say it is a good thing and that "frees up" my memory for something else useful, it puts you in very awkward positions if you forget your cellphone or if the battery is drained out or something. After one such incident, I started writing down all important numbers on paper. But still, no efforts to remember.

So what was the point here? Yeah. Dependency on machines. Isn't that supposed to be science fiction?

signing off,

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Go Green?

I am an avid listener of a our local debate show called 'The Ron and Don Show'. It's kinda like 'Hannity & Colmes'. Or had it been more sarcastic, like 'Even Stephven' from yore.

So back to the point. Today they were discussing, like everyone and their grandmothers, on feasibility of us going green in the near future. After Don made all those patriotic (terror-free gas), genial and humanitarian (global warming, think of your grandchildren) points, he claimed people of Puget Sound may not mind spending 50¢ extra for all those points he mentioned. He said, as people don't mind paying a little extra for pesticide-free organic food, the idea can be extended to environment-friendly green gas.

Good thinking. But as Ron said in countering, and I think so too, the "green-gas" may not be as cheap. Ron quoted a study which says, people may be ending up paying $10/gal for going green/terror-free if one takes into account the supply of domestic oil, globally declining oil reserves, limitations on supply of hybrid cars as other sector is still very profitable (may be not Ford Motor).

And simply put, a common man/woman with average income and family to feed may not be in position to afford that kind of hike in his/her monthly gas expenses. Maybe let us not jump on the gaswagon. Going live on small scale is the key.

signing off,

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Quest

This is silly. But I have been haunted by a particular song for too long now. The worst part is that I don't recollect the song title, who sang it or anything else about it. Anything except that the song is a duet and the video features a woman and a man (presumably the singers) in a white attire against a completely white background. And it used to air a lot on MTv and Channel V (both back in India) when I was in college, most likely '95-'97 period.

Now it was not the greatest of songs, in my opinion. Otherwise a search on Google, Wikipedia and Youtube on such a scale that I have done since last five-six months, should have resulted in something. But then, why does it bother me so much? Maybe just something to do with first few English songs that I ever heard and tried to memorize. See, I have not forgotten many such as this, this or this.

How on earth do you search for song on such basis?

signing off,

Sunday, January 07, 2007


During a lighter moment in the movie Kabul Express, which by the way isn't a must watch, but a way better way to spend your time instead of wasting it over Dhoom2, when Suhel (John Abraham) tells Imran Khan, "But Madhuri [Dixit] is married and has moved to US now", he simply replies, "That’s just it, isn’t it? All our best things end up making their way to the US."


signing off,