Friday, June 24, 2005

Random stuff...

1) So the heat is now gone (for the most part). Monsoon rain is here!
2) I got admitted to International University Bremen, which is the heart of Europe (Germany). Still waiting for the fin.aid package to determine if I'll be able to attend or not. Can't wait to be there!
3) Finally bought my domain name, as well as 1 year hosting package. Nothing's there yet, but a crackerjack site will be up soon. Watch this space.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Damn this heat!

It's now 8:20 AM, and the sun is already beating. Ambient temperature: 39° C. In a few moments, it will be soaring to 44° C. The room temperature is likely to be in excess of 46°. When I turn the computer on, the system temperature shows 51° C - when the case is opened up. This might well be the ambient temperature of my room, it being on the first floor of a two-storeyed house. My computer refuses to run as well. CPU Core Temperature: 54° C ...

A fan doesn't cut it anymore. All it does is circulate hot air.
ACs are not an option because it sucks a lot of power and we are already paying our assess off.
An air cooler is no good since it humidifies the air, and I have to run a computer here.

What next?

Well the mantra (or should I say, mom's order) seems to be moving from An-Hour-A-Shower to A-Shower-An-Hour, since the only way to beat the heat is to perhaps shower every hour or so. But be prepared to be greeted with water running at between 50°-60° C. That's because some bright mind had the idea to paint the water storage tanker black, let it be non-insulated, and kept on the terrace at the very top. One might as well install a solar water-heating panel; though judging by the temperature the water is already at, that seems wholly unnecessary.

While someone did come up with the idea to paint water tankers black, no one seems to have figured out a way to install water coolers in domestic plumbing. For winters, we have geysers alright, but what about the summers?

The Met department has no clue about the monsoon (annual rain clouds), which is already two weeks late by now. Such is the heat that the roads are deserted by 10 AM, and remain so until sundown. All schools have already been ordered closed until the 30th of June.

Perhaps the only respite is that (thanks to President's rule - or, in light of recent political upheavals - a non-Laloo rule) electricity supply is nearly 24/7, with a couple power cuts a day, each lasting 5 minutes at the max. (Even though I'm guilty of saying so - people in most of the other parts of the city are living in heavy power crisis, and consequently, an acute water crisis). Even with regular power supply, in my case, that brings us back to the question of whether a fan is enough or not.

Perhaps. Perhaps not. For many, air-conditioning is an absolute necessity, while some have to make-do with folded newspapers (you get the picture). All I can hope for is that the monsoon arrives soon. We learnt that rhyme in pre-school - "Rain, rain, go away." What nonsense!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Yahoo Avatars now work on Firefox

In yet another victory for Firefox, Yahoo Inc. have kept their promise and released the long awaited Firefox compatible avatar customization page! Firefox users can now finally use their favourite browser to customize their avatars. You need the Flash player for Firefox for it to work.

In my initial testing, everything works perfect. Nice!

Friday, June 10, 2005

The difficulty of drawing the line

When does a fuzzy boundary turn into a rigid one (or vice-versa)? Consider these cases -

1) Speed limit: 40 km/h. Had you been driving at 39 kmph and meet with an accident, the damage would be the same. Alternatively, if a policeman stops you for speeding at 41 kmph, you might apply the same line of reasoning, citing that it's only 1 kmph above the limit; another person might cite 42 kmph as being 1 kmph above the last permitted (your) limit, and so on.

2) Passing mark: 40%. If you get a 39, you are retained in the same grade, and study the same thing over again. Someone else who gets a 41 gets promoted and studies at the next higher grade level (along with those that scores 90s). How is this bifurcation justified (clubbing 41 and 90 together but separating 39 and 41?).

3) When a convict pleads innocent, an inquiry is conducted rather than believing his/her statement; but when s/he pleads guilty, it's (mostly) taken to be true. Where did the "Innocent until proven guilty" principle go? Isn't this "Guilty until proven innocent" ?

4) Dress codes in colleges: some are rules for uniform-like dresses, some are guidelines. Who gets to decide what you wear today is permissible under a certain dress code? More importantly, who gets to decide to what extent the dress code will control what you wear?

5) Western music genres: What is pop and what is rock? Bouncer? :-P It is getting increasingly difficult to categorize music these days, what with sub-genres and sub-sub genres getting into vogue (look up subgenres for Trance or Techno).

Reminds me of lyrics from The X-cutioners' song "It's going down" (feat. Joe Hahn and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park) :
A logical progression on the timeline,
The seperation narrowed down to a fine line,
To blur the edges so they blend together properly,
Take you on an audible odyssey now,
It's going down.
On a different note, if you're interested in collaborative music or fusion of different styles, I recommend the above song (a must-listen). Lyrics are here (a must-read).

Thank you for reading through this totally useless post. You've just been had. :-P

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Below is something I whipped up one lazy evening in 2003. Short (and maybe sweet?).

“Oh no! That one’s reserved for Shelly!” giggled Karen.

“What the heck, I’ll just eat it myself,” I said as I munched on the chocolate bar.

It seemed she couldn’t stomach me relishing the bar all by myself, so she hissed, “But you can always buy another one for her, can’t you, Darren?”

“Of course not! Now stop with all this Shelly crap,” I retorted back. Why was everyone trying to tie me up with every single girl in school? Though I didn’t mind a joke or two, I never approved of it. Yet they’d continue, making me resort to stupid comebacks, so I said, “When my girlfriend hears about this she’ll make sure none of you has a bone left in you.”

“Oh, you have a girlfriend?” Karen asked with a wry smile on her lips but an inquisitive look in her eyes.

“Yes I do. What’s so surprising?”

“What’s her name?”

“I wouldn’t tell!” I fumbled.

“Aw come on: I don’t believe you.” Karen had started to pretend she wanted to shake it off – but I wouldn’t let her.

“Allessandra. That’s her name. She’s the best mate you could have!”

“Really? How long have you been together?” I saw her face redden.

“I’ve known her for more than a year, and man, were they the best days of my life! It’s like every time I’m around her, she fills me with a never-ending energy, a kind of energy that’s neither physical nor emotional.” I was beginning to lose it but I kept talking, “She has this special vibe, a charm about her that makes me want to be with her all the time. She and I make such a team, I wonder where I would be without her, and she without me. We have a long way to go and I know the days ahead are going to be a blast. We’re truly the best couple on earth!”

I said it with a lot of passion and faith. I saw Karen’s face growing even redder. She had always thought I was single. Now she knew that that wasn’t the case; that I wasn’t a lonely heart seeking refuge in every girl’s smile that chanced upon me.

I went home and thought about it. ‘Allessandra. Now that’s a nice name.’ But Allessandra was special: she was invisible.