Friday, January 30, 2009

Nuff vibes

Long ago, I was staying at a hostel in Austria. I was pretty surprised that girls and boys, perfect strangers to each other, were sharing dorms. There were two Hungarian girls and an Algerian guy staying in my dorm. We had all become very friendly by the end of the first day. By the time we downed our nightcaps and returned, it was like we had know each other for a very long time. I knew that I'd go back and tell folks about how well I had hit it off with the first foreigners that had crossed my path. Especially the girls! I was still young enough to care about trophies like that. I slept like a rock that night and woke up feeling extremely refreshed. Continuing at the level of cordiality that I thought we had established in the room, I wished everyone a very good morning. I was greeted with grunts. The girls looked puffy-eyed and I asked why. The Algerian said "You snored all night like a pig".

That's when I realized that what I had thought was an urban legend propagated by a suspiciously large number of people in my family, may actually be true. I was a snorer! On a later trip, a separate set of strangers told me that I sound like a two-stroke engine. Yesterday, I stayed over at a friend's place and when I woke up one of the witnesses said I groan like a dinosaur in labour. I was still in denial. Let me now tell you why mobile phones are such pesky little contraptions, these folks had recorded my snores on two separate cell phones. It's not fun to confront evidence like that. Apart from the technical problem that dinosaurs were reptiles which laid eggs (I'm guessing without much groaning), I have to concede that the analogy is fairly accurate.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's not decaying yet

If you've read my posts for a while you'll realize that my cup is usually half-empty. I have a rather resigned view of this world and its prospects. In fact, one of the reasons that I'm an atheist is that I believe any half-decent god would have a done a better job. (And I don't buy the argument that the maker works in mysterious ways. It's the lamest excuse for incompetence). To cut a long story short I'm a cynic. But there are some days when even I'm forced to think again.

I have a rather uncomfortable chair at work. And I'm mindful about picking up those back conditions that seems to ail so many of my brethren. So I keep changing the settings of my chair in an effort to spread my risks. Yesterday, I even tried sitting on the floor for a bit. While I was doing that one of the guys from the housekeeping gang enquired if he could help. I thanked him politely. I assumed that he was just making small talk. This morning the dude had left a beanbag in my place.

I guess I'll keep the hope for a little bit longer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another brick in the wall...

I was watching the video of an all-hands meeting in the US office of our company, and noticed that at the end of the talk people are usually falling over each other to ask questions. I couldn't help contrast that with our own gatherings of that sort. My current work -place is not so bad, but everywhere else I've worked, people wouldn't speak up if their moms were held at ransom. I wonder why we like to fly so low. Why is there such a social pressure against making yourself heard in public? Surely it must be cultural. The education system must be at fault too. (I know I'm over-concluding a bit here, but what the hell, It's my blog) You don't ever hear teachers encouraging the kids to have critical reasoning and independence. This little kid's project offered a glimpse of the coercive persuasion that he must have surely gone through. This guy really believes that "Talking less in class" is the hallmark of a good student. Meanwhile I'm sure the teacher got through her workday with the fewest challenges.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


This evening I'm presenting at Ignite. In keeping with my fetish for being a doomsday prophet, my talk is titled "How the world will end, and why we won't do anything about it". The format is quite interesting. You get 5 minutes to talk about anything that you are passionate about. The template for the presentation is to use 20 slides with auto-transition set for 15 secs per slide. I'm speaking on a topic that was inspired by "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. I have modified the slides that I used in the soapbox talk.

While rehearsing this presentation- and you just cannot do a talk like this without rehearsing at least half a dozen times- I realized how ridiculously short 5 minutes are. There is a big risk that for anybody not concerned already about ecology, the content of my talk might come across as an overly simplified case. Then again, in my defence, there's not much impact anybody can do on any topic in 5 mins. Unless you are unfairly gifted like this guy!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Links I'm excited about

Bwana's rockband just got a new website

My partner-in-arms for my world-domination ambitions, S, got a new domain name registered.
Winston Churchill said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. Even a really popular president, Obama was approved only by 52% of the crowd. That raises the question; have we really exhausted all our options? I can think of one system that we've not tried so far. How about handing over the reins of the world to two arbitrary, albeit capable and willing, guys?

The world needs a lot of help. We first thought of turning to God, but one of us is an atheist, and the other thinks the almighty exists but couldn't care less. We explored several other options before we took it upon ourselves to clean up the mess. We have it all mostly worked out. We have a power-sharing scheme where S will be the supreme commander of the world with special focus on Eurasia, while I take care of (soon-to-be-rechristened) Gondwanaland and also serve as chief advisor. He gets to be the boss, because of his significant height- S is tall enough that his foot and head are usually in very different weather systems- settled the issue in his favor. For all the other details that we haven't yet figured out, read this blog.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Chikmagalur trip

I've been on these treks at least once every year of my life and I'm still interested. That can't be a good sign!

Photos here