Sep 29, 2005

Rain!

"Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb"

Phreaky Fotoshop:
[Credit: http://www.welaf.com/funny-picture-313.html]
I am placing this as a non-clickable link coz I don't know if corporate webfilters will like this site. If it were a link, you might click it and curse me if if the webfilter blocks the site saying it is "Pornography". I am of the opinion now that the corporate webfilters are really a joke. Good sense of humor, programmers. You did a good job of making software engineering a hilarious activity.


I cleaned up the litter in the living room. Rest of the apartment is clean already. Surprisingly, my roommate (Shanmugam) and I are still cooking every day. Good food too! I can't believe it myself. Kinda made it a habit. When several of us were together, we did try our best but something or the other kept getting screwed up. Anyways, knock wood!

I bought few shares of DELL & QQQQ today (not the game.... real). I think DELL is available for a bargain price now. Still I don't think I'll hold it till its earnings announcement day - Nov 10. I hope QQQQ will do good as the economy is doing good. May be not. Lets see. Any opinion?

I haven't completed the score computation for the trial run of the stock market game yet. Real time crunch - not procrastination.

I love rain. Even two and a half years in Seattle hasn't changed it. After a really long summer, it started raining today. Yay! Not so happy news for most folks... they look glum and say 'its raining' as a drawn out whine. Poor guys! Nine more months of this for them - most will be suicidal by the end of it I guess.

Dang! I have been watching RHAT for a couple of months now. Today it went up 30%! Opportunity loss.

Sep 28, 2005

Sarge

I bought 'Linux Format', a magazine from the EU. It came with Debian Linux 3.1 (Sarge) DVD. Need to install it in my laptop. The main reason I log into Windows is because I haven't configured Wi-Fi in Linux yet. Right now I have Suse 9.1. Do you use Linux on a daily basis? Well, I guess all of us would when that gOS comes out.

The stock market game trial run did dig up some interest. Mostly from people who did not participate :-) Several of my friends want to be a part of the next run. I am putting together a document that can be continuously improved over time, with procedures, FAQs etc. I am yet to publish the results of the trial run. It will be done today by all means.

Finished seeing 'I Love Huckabees' as if it were a project! Phew! I found it kinda shallow although they have tried to make it look something profound. Did you see it? What did you feel?

Sep 26, 2005

DogSense

[Credit: Mark-> New Yorker Magazine -> Cartoonbank.com]

And The Inevitable Monday

It is for this reason that I like long weekends where we get the monday off rather than the friday. It gives you a feeling that you are getting more out of it, although, logically speaking, it is just a 'three day weekend' no matter how you look at it.

I am trying out this Zimbabwean coffee. I think it makes blood rush to my face! I am loving it. It is from the Dandoni coffee estate. Shaking sleep away off my face.

"Begin each day as if it were on purpose" (from the movie 'Hitch') - I am trying to hold this in my mind :)

What were you guys up to this weekend?

[post in progress... brb...]

Sep 25, 2005

Ah A Weekend!

Went to the Ballard Locks to see ships/boats/other-water-crafts being raised and lowered. Lake Washington (fresh water) and Puget Sound (salt water) are at different levels, you see...

It was interesting but not as impressive as I had visualized in my mind :)

[post in progress... brb...]

Sep 24, 2005

Should Try This Next Time

Little More Than Cosmetic

Do you like the new color scheme and layout of this blog? I want to know what you think of the changes.

Check out my photo in the profile. It is from a couple of weeks ago from the shores of the Pacific.

I have added translation feature. If you want that in your blog too, refer "Translations" in the 'Links' section.

What else would you like to see? Copious comments please...

Sep 23, 2005

Man's Second Best Friend

I am reading:

Online Investing Hacks [O'Reilly]
Cascading Style Sheets [O'Reilly]
China Inc [Ted C. Fishman]
(re-reading) If It's Raining In Brazil... [Peter Navarro]

I will try my hand at writing a brief review here.
Reading something interesting? Leave a comment and we'll discuss.

Sep 22, 2005

Carnivore

I don't mind being a bit higher up in the food chain. I kinda made a vegetarian friend dizzy by saying that I chopped up chicken and cooked it. Probably the process was visualized as me grabbing a hen by throat, biting off its head savagely as the hen violently tried to escape flapping its wings amidst desperate blood curdling cries, and plucking off the feathers with hands, with an evil laughter.

All I did was - I bought boneless skinless chicken breasts (hey! stop grinning pervert!!) - it was neatly packed and could have easily been mistaken for some exotic vegetable or even pudding. Then I sliced it softly and cooked it. Actually it turned out pretty good.

Cooked shrimp and mushrooms yesterday. Del.icio.us!

I just remembered this picture taken about two years ago:
[Thanksgiving Dinner 2003 - Murali's apartment]

Sep 21, 2005

Share And Sharing

I am organizing a game 'Bulls N Bears'', where we trade shares with virtual money but real market data.

The participants are: Shan, Mark, Sukumar, Mallik, Senthil, Gopi & me. Trials are going on now with $1000 of virtual money per person. Check it out at the blog created for the game. Exciting!

The real game, which will begin on Sep 26, will start with $10K per person and will go on for 6 weeks. It was decided that the entry fee will be $5, which will be used towards giving the prizes. We hope to learn a lot and have fun too from this game. I will keep you 'posted'. Follow the developements at the dedicated blog.

Sep 13, 2005

Pause

For those of you wondering why I said that I update this blog daily when I haven't, I would like to just say that I am on vacation but much more busy than I would have been, had I been working... Parents are leaving to India this weekend. So lots of shopping, packing etc etc.

I might be out a day or two, ok? I might still blog, but I might not be able to put in hours of uninterrupted effort.

Sep 10, 2005

Salem

I am blogging from Salem, Oregon. I don't know if there is a connection between the Salem in Oregon, USA and the Salem in Tamil Nadu, India. Do any of you know?

We are planning to spend the whole day tomorrow by the Pacific Coast. Highway-101 Scenic Highway.

We ate in a Taco Bell here. On a sause packet it said "Of all the sause packets, why me? why now?" :-)))

The Stock Challenge

We are planning to have a contest on who makes most virtual money on a simulated stock market. I am considering various options to host this contest. There will be no real money lost - as this is only a simulated stock market where the data reflects the real stock market but buying/selling is virtual. The plan is to collect a nominal entry fee to buy a gift for the winner.

# of contestants : 6 now. I think it will be 8 soon
The first price will be a good book on share trading

I hope this will be a good learning experience.
There will be an email blog - so you can follow the fun! I will post a summary of the progress everyone is making.

Any ideas/opinions/comments?

Sep 8, 2005

GO GOOG GO

A successful first step into the American stock market (apart from my ESPP). Bought and sold Google for a small but decent (by my standards) profit.

I opened my share trading account in the beginning of August. Started buying from then. Sold off everything today.

Climbing The Corporate Staircase

"They" can conviniently blame the system, not give me the promotion I think I deserve and stop me from climbing up the corporate ladder. But "they" can do nothing to stop me from climbing up the corporate staircase :-)

A comment to my previous post said that my resolution was too unrealistic. So I decided to climb the tower, just for good measure.

I didn't want to climb up like a maniac. I went to my favorite coffee shop 'The Ugly Mug'. The barista said with a real heartfelt sorrowful face that they were closed. I thought, well since this is a corporate event, I might as well go with a big corporation, just for the symmetry of the thing :)) I got an extra-hot-no-whip-double-cupped mocha from a nearby Starbucks. The plan was to sip coffee and relish the climb.

[i'll continue this story later... mostly tomorrow morning before I leave to work...]

In the mean time, here is the clue to the story:
I was not keen on doing this fast. Will tell you when I do time myself.

Sep 7, 2005

Kaizen

I have given up using elevators (starting today) after reading this:
Top ten stupid unhealthy lifestyle trends:
...
6. Using the elevator or excalator when you are not handicapped
...

I work on the fifth floor. I thought that this will be a good baby-step towards better shape.

Immediately after the decision came the sathya-sodhanai (test). Lax (a.k.a. Lakshminarayanan) wanted to go to the HR floor in the other (main) building to get his ID card. 17th floor. Even while going near the building, before I could say anything, he said on his own that his legs are aching. When I asked if we can climb 17 floors, he laughed. He thought that I was just joking :-) I didn't want to look like an extremist/fanatic/freak. So I went up the elevator :-(

Universe has a weird sense of humor.

Anyways, I modified the decision a bit. It now reads "Always stairs except while with others and while going up the Empire State Building"

Aim Low

I practiced racquet ball for about an hour. Mainly practiced hitting low. My back-hand skills suck too. So I was working on that as well. All these are steps in the path to defeat my colleague Thom. He has trash talked my game sufficiently enough. I don't want to go into the specifics on that :-)

My plan is to:
1. Practice by myself for some time daily - to improve my technique and specific skills.
2. Build up stamina by jogging/stair climbing etc
3. Increase arm power with chin-ups
4. Playing the pros at the gym, asking them for tips to improve etc even if that means begging

You should aim high in life and aim real low at the racquet ball wall :)

Sep 6, 2005

Bee-utiful

Picture Of the Day
[POD 20050906]
.
.
Photo Credit : My Dad
Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC
(Photo quality intentionally decreased to decrease file size)

Sep 4, 2005

Sleepless In Seattle

Sleeping in Victoria

Victoria!

We are in Victoria, BC now. It is a beautiful island in British Columbia, Canada. The guy at the front desk of our hotel has invented the world's most inefficient & convoluted check-in process. WOW! You can only imagine. We were there for what seemed an hour - and it could have easily literally been an hour while he stapled stuff, asked us to sign here, counter-sign there, attended phone calls, talked about seeing my name somewhere in the computer some time ago for some reason some how etc etc...

The room is cozy. Gotto go now... Will blog in a few hours... Bye!

Beautiful British Columbia

Having toured Canada before (so far they have used up 6 pages in my passport) I thought I will be showing Vancouver and Victoria to my mom & dad, friends Shanmugam & Mala. But thankfully everything didn't go as planned. In fact nothing went as planned. We left from home at 8AM instead of the planned 5AM; on an impulse, we went to Semiahmoo for breakfast (two unplanned hours right there); we waited in queue (another great British invention!) for about an hour to enter Canada; to top it off, it rained! So it was not me showing them around - We ALL ended up seeing places never seen before. I love serendipitous vacations. Microsoft 'Streets & Trips' has added so much value to all my trips. (Yep, we have to concede that S&T and Excel are really good)

The place we had breakfast, Semiahmoo, could have easily been mistaken for heaven yesterday. Mom's Idli, Idli podi & Chutney - definitely heavenly :-)

I know.... text-only blogs suck. I'll write more with photos. Gotto start the sight-seeing of today. See you!

Sep 1, 2005

Arrrgh-uments

Stumble reads my mind. I squandered the opportunity to click 'No' when I was asked "Do you want a cookie set in your brain?". I don't regret it though.

Anyways, it served this (today of all days - don't ask me why) in a fine plate, garnished and everything.

This guy talks about the things that he and his girlfriend have argued about. Hilariously charming British humor! I laughed hysterically, uncontrollably... I am sure you'll be identify yourself with several of the arguments.

Here are some extracts for the linkually-challenged (a terribly handicapped population who can't click on links - it is known as 'laziness' in certain uncivilized parts of the world):

See if you can spot the difference between these two statements:

(a) "Those trousers make your backside look fat."

(b) "You're a repellently obese old hag upon whom I am compelled to heap insults and derision - depressingly far removed from the, 'stupid, squeaky, pocket-sized English women,' who make up my vast catalogue of former lovers and to whom I might as well return right now as I hate everything about you."
Maybe the acoustics were really bad in the dining room, or something.


Arguments. There are many arguments we have over arguments. 'Who started argument x', for example, is a old favourite that has not had its vigour dimmed by age nor its edge blunted through use. Another dependable companion is, 'I'm not arguing, I'm just talking - you're arguing,' along with its more stage-struck (in the sense that it relishes an audience - parties, visiting relatives, Parent's Evenings at school, in shops, etc.) sibling, 'Right, so we're going to get into this argument here are we?'

An especially frequent argument argument, however, is the result of Margret NOT STICKING TO THE DAMN ARGUMENT, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. Margret jack-knifes from argument to argument, jigs direction randomly and erratically like a shoal of Argument Fish being followed by a Truth Shark. It's fearsomely difficult to land a blow because by the time you've let fly with the logic she's not there anymore. A row about vacuuming gets shifted to the cost of a computer upgrade, from there to who got up early with the kids most this week and then to ... , those-are-hair-scissors-don't-use-them-for-paper and, 'When was the last time you bought me flowers?' all in the space of about seven exchanges. 'Arrrrrrgggh! What are we arguing about? Can you just decide what it is and stick to it?'
You definitely should read the rest, even if you are linkually challenged. Here you go...

Artery

Picture Of the Day
[POD 20050901]


The beautiful I-5 with downtown bound traffic this morning.
[I-5 is Interstate #5 - a major freeway in USA that passes through Seattle.]

What could be more boring...

than bloggers blogging about blogging?

Sadly, most of the visitors to this blog are bloggers themselves. So I think its kinda okay for now...

I created a test bed blog to try out new templates, tools and hacks.
http://tstexpuid.blogspot.com [don't bother to go there]

I am trying out this tool w.bloggar. It is an interface between you and your blog, as they put it. It is simple and convinient. But haven't used it extensively enough to yay-or-nay about it. I would definitely prefer an open source equivalent. I need to research on that.

I am trying to make my blog more interactive. How To Save The World is one of the blogs that I follow and am impressed about. You can see it on the list of blogs on the left side of my blog (I might move it later though). He talks about how interactive blogs will be the successful ones in the future. You must be seeing radical changes to my blog content-wise, interface-wise and interactivity-wise in September. If my plan works out, this blog will be re-born several times over this September.

These are the things I am going to try out:
1. Video blogging
2. Text box that will let you send SMS to my mobile (for free)
3. Integrating Google Talk or some other IM into this?
4. Blogging using a tool - like w.bloggar - but hopefully open source so that I can explore it deeper. This will also help in backing up the blog.
5. Way better layout. I think this can be accomplised only by trial and error.
6. Should I give a link to an MP3 where I speak out the post for today? Pod-cast? You can continue "working" while I ramble on...
7. I need to change the core purpose of my blogging. A fundamental shift... All that I know is, it is not okay now. Suggestions?
8. Integrate as many tools to make it more simple and interactive as I can. I have to reaseach on this.
9. Hopefully, I will take the blog where no blog has gone before... Stop grinning...I meant innovation you sicko! :-)

I am listing here so that YOU will tell me if you think there is something else I could try too.
A corny but true speech: "You and I are going to make this blog a phenomenon" :-)

Additions:
http://www.7cmarketing.com/blog/2004/09/blogger-tricks-providing-translations.html
More encouragement to comment on posts