Monday, November 29, 2004

Day 10 Monday November 29th 2004

Back to work. I knew all along it was going to be a hectic day. What I didn't know is that I am suffering from sleep deprivation. Lots of nights being awake late and getting up early has led to the zombie like walk and half closed lids. Therefore, sleep catchup time has come and I am sleeping as early as babies do i.e around 9 pm.

Spoke to Noddy, all is well. She continues trying to fit more stuff into her two suitcases before she gets here. I'm very curious to see what comes.


Day 9 Sunday November 28th 2004

Since getting back on Saturday night, I have accomplished quite a bit. Of course, as mentioned in the previous post, much of Saturday night/early Sunday morning was spent in fighting off the last of the demons in Age of Mythology.

After that started the marathon Lord of the Rings session. I finished the first one around 3 am Sunday morning. Continued to watch the remaining two and finally was done by Sunday evening. Of course I was multitasking as well so there were lots of breaks in the middle of the movie watching.

Here's what I have to say about them. The trilogy is good - especially the sets. I think if you compare it to other visually stunning movies I have to say they did a better job. Compared to say, Matrix, the job for the LOTR team was harder. It is much easier to generate computer animated futuristic images than having to play with real grass, real trees and real sky. Now, if you compare with say, Harry Potter where they deal with some of those elements, I'd say LOTR is better because they deal on a much much wider scale than Harry Potter did. LOTR has these various kingdoms that need to be portrayed differently each time and they have to look like kingdoms, not some 10x10 feet sets. So the challenge seems bigger and they seem to have done a great job of it.

Storywise, it's all enchanted creatures and humans mixed together. Don't go there expecting a Harry Potter. Any comparisons to that series is futile. The plot is much more mature - it's not about fighting day to day battles and resolving little mysteries. One thing in common though between HP and LOTR - they both have heroes that receive help from mysterious quarters at the appropriate times. It's amazing how directors have to do that simply to keep the main character alive till the very end. This guy in LOTR started out with eight companions - each time he'd get in trouble they would bail him out. Towards the last leg of the journey, they split and suddenly he was left with just one companion. Strangely enough, the number of bad guys chasing him decreased exponentially as well. Now he was roaming vast plains alone and walking with no care , occasionally hiding behind a tree to avoid a passing caravan of enemies. But that's it! No secret attacks on him, no lightning strike, no enemy swooping down on him.

Overall, I'm not regretting buying the trilogy. I'll definitely be watching it again. This time round I had to watch with subtitles because I did not understand the accent very well. One STRONG recommendation - do not make the mistake I did i.e. watch the movie on small telivision for the first time. I think the FX will be way cooler if you watch it on big screen first and then buy the trilogy if you need to.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Day 8 Saturday November 27th 2004

Back to Dayton, my flights were pretty uninteresting. I had a layover at Baltimore for about three hours. Apparently, the Baltimore Airport authority believes that more people stopping there drink rather than eat. So there are no decent eating places...just lots of places to get inebriated. I had to settle for Taco Bell which is very sad for an airport. Maybe I was hanging around in the wrong section of the terminal.

The flights were not that bumpy at all so I can blame the weather for my misfortunes on the way into Boston. Being back home felt good although I had a really really good time with Eeyor. We did lots in two days and I wish there was one more day I could afford to spend.

Home felt good and I stayed awake till very late as usual. Oh by the way, I finished the Age of Mythology. After the Norselands, we were back to Atlantis and that completed the game. The final battle was won extremely laboriously and patiently.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Day 7 Friday November 26th 2004

Today was the tour-Boston-in-a-day travel blizzard. There were lots of places I saw including taking the "duck" tour which was awesome. It's called the duck tour because you're in an amphibian vehicle that takes you in the Charles river as well. Anyway, I won't go into details of what I saw or this post would never end. But I have to say this...

I was in NYC this March and now Boston. I've also been in Atlanta and have been given a guided tour by Puppetainer. I feel it's time to point out differences between NYC and Boston since they're really metropolitan - a.k.a. Bombay like.

1) I loved Boston more than NYC. It has the look and feel of having a history and culture with beautiful churches, large libraries dating back to early 1700s. NYC feels like a very large bus depot with shopping malls inside it. Everyone is coming and going. The city's identity resides in it's ability to keep people moving and I don't like that. Boston, on the other hand, feels like it has some character and classification that goes beyond appealing to mad high-end shoppers.

2) Maybe it was just me or the places I visited but African Americans are hard to find in Boston. It was a sea of Caucasians with the usual mix of foreigners. I'm sure there were African Americans but nothing compared to NYC. NYC is largely divided into two parts - those African Americans who live in the Ghetto and the Asians (read Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) who run the convenience stores. The rest are just visiting to see these two communities!!

3) Boston seems to be a place of learning unlike NYC. Sure NYC has Columbia University and such but you cannot question Boston's history of having Ivy League Universities and Research centers all over the place. It's not just about being able to get a college degree. The city literally is seething with research activity to discover the next cure or the next disease. Medicine is a big industry and a learning path that is typical of Boston. NYC teaches you to speak English such that no one understands it outside of NYC. That's how you fit in. Beyond that NYC teaches you very little in terms of academics.

4) NYC and Boston come really close when you talk about shopping experiences. I still think NYC has the edge in terms of the sheer volume of retail it processes and the throughput of shoppers in and out of Times Square. I have been to the main shopping hubs in both the cities and I think NYC is more jazzy schmazzy if you're planning to just shop.

5) Bostonians ( or maybe because it was Thanksgiving) do not dress crappily. I had to really try to find people like I see here in Dayton - people with pants hanging down to their knees or reverse baseball caps, eyebrow pierced druggie faces. None of that seemed prevalent although I'm sure it exists. Not much can be said about NYC in that regard because some of this crappiness originates from there so it does not compare to Boston in terms of how bad one can look. I just found that Bostonians had the word "fashionable" associated with their shadows. Maybe a class by Calvin Klein is a core subject in their schools - who knows.

6) Greenery, hands down victory for Boston. It's a big city but definitely not neck to neck with NYC when it comes constructing a concrete jungle for miles. Greenery in and around NYC was non existent and I can tell because I drove to NYC not just landed in an airplane. Boston has parks everywhere and there's no sign of wanting to get rid of them. Streets are lined up with trees on either side and on the median as well. Downtown is pretty well shrubbed as well.

So there you go. My judgement. Of course, I would still go to NYC if I were given a chance to visit one of those two cities. That's because NYC has that aura of being NYC that nobody can take away from it. And I love that. I would never live there but it's a brilliant place to visit if you like life in the dont-care-a-damn lane.

Eeyor was my hostess and she was great. She drives like I used to in Bombay and that brought back "fond" memories of how bad we had to drive in Bombay. She's not alone. Most of Boston drives that way and it's a big city thing not something specific to her driving. Drive like crazy if you want to live with crazy drivers.

Back to good ol' Dayton OH.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Day 6 Thursday November 25th 2004

This one is from Boston and I have LOTS to say !!
First of all, the day started early...real early...right at about 4:15 am. That's very bad for me. I do not handle body clock changes very well at all. Right as I got up I realized I better prepare for a jet lag even though I was traveling within the same timezone.

Have you ever traveled by AirTran? I have lots to say about them. First of all, their boarding pass isn't really a boarding pass. It looks more like a shopping receipt. Your itinerary is printed and so is your seat assignment. I was afraid I wasn't going to be assigned a seat and they were just going to make passengers run for the seats. The lady at the boarding gate was eccentric and that is putting it mildly. At one point she said, "All passengers needing assistance should now board". No one came forward. Then she said, "After that all passengers from rows 25 and above should board". So all who qualified, including myself, went forward and formed a line only to hear, "No not yet, please go back. We're only boarding passengers needing assistance right now". Right at the moment when everyone dispersed she said, "We are now boarding rows 25 and higher". Does that remind you of that scene from Meet the Parents where he tries to board and is given the same reason as above. Well they weren't just making that up apparently. There are people out there who do behave that way.

Once on board, I figured out why traveling during holiday season is a nightmare. The aircraft was a like a really tightly packed Disneyland. I can swear it had more kids than adults on board. That meant nothing but chaos. Wierd looking monsters were peering at me over the seats hoping to elicit the kind of reaction that I really wished I could give them in public. Kids probably don't get this but it's not very funny to stand up and stare at the rest of the plane behind them. Some people get very uncomfortable when they're already cooped up in this little bar-stool like seat and cannot do anything to avoid a long inquisitive stare.

Now, another thing to mention is I do not handle turbulence very well. And this pilot was apparently flying F-16's right before he got to our aircraft. The plane took the worst dip I have ever felt in my entire life. My food rearranged itself and so did my brains. There was a child that was airborne for at least 1 second due to the sudden dip. I was completely nauseated and hoping to find a parachute under my seat where I could drop myself to safety. The sad part was, this flight was till Baltimore. I still had to endure the onward journey to Boston. I was also blessed with a really small baby who cried like he was being strangled. He persistently cried all along and I was kinda hoping he WOULD get strangled but his parents were not my types.

The Boston flight was better, we had the same kind of turbulence but luckily I got to sleep because there were three seats empty in the plane and all three ended up being right across the aisle from me. So I stretched myself out and tried to ignore the rollercoaster I was on. My nauseating feeling kept coming back and I kept fighting it. Finally arrived here and have been having fun since then. I rested my poor and sorry self for about a good 2 hours and felt better. Eeyor is treating me well.

I visited the mosque today for Thanksgiving dinner. Good environment, great people, good looking girls and of course outstanding food. I did not care very much for turkey when there was lots of chicken and biryani right next to it. At the end I did feel like a stuffed turkey. I also happen to look like one because I desperately need a haircut.

Now, Eeyor and I shall watch a movie. She's already called twice so I better go!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Day 5 Wednesday November 24th 2004

I really don't know why most people came to work today. Football was being thrown across cubes. There was a small gang of people who were in the cafeteria hanging around till someone higher up saw them or their own conscience got to them and forced them back to work. The latter eventually happened. Work wasn't that great - ended on a semi-sour note, which is not how I wanted it right before the long weekend but oh well....can't let it get to my real life.

Synapse guided me through much of the packing. However I dropped quite a few suggestions. For example, taking a backup pair of shoes for a two day trip did not sound appealing. Nor did extra jeans or extra underwear. My rationale did not work that way. I did not plan on sharing my underwear with anyone so I was not planning on carrying extras. Plus, there IS such a thing as a washer/dryer so I think I'll be fine but thanks anyway Synapse.

Fahrenheit was not very happy to hear that he would have to get up at 5 am to drop me off !! He has to go to work today and that means his work day will start early. Maybe it will end early as well. We're really good friends so I have pestering rights on him. I better get to bed or I won't make it to my flight.

Bon Voyage to Moi !!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Day 4 Tuesday November 23rd 2004

Work is work as usual. I'm multitasking and loving it. I am also told that the new year might bring me additional responsibilities so the next year onwards might be a busier work life. We'll see. I've managed so far and haven't had work related stress.

Today was spent hanging around with Smita. She was great company. I think we think alike on a lot of things and the friendship should continue to grow in that manner. The mall was our hangout spot. We didn't do much.

Spoke to Noddy and Mintoop who are in India scarfing down as much food as Bombay can produce for two very hungry Jains. They are also shopping like crazy, so I have heard. We might need new malls by the time they are done with their trip. But to be honest with you, if I had the chance to be in India for such a short period of time I would probably do the same things.

The progress on being a Norse king in Age of Mythology continues.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Day 3 Monday November 22nd 2004

The bachelorhood continues. I got invited to Fahrenheit's home for some tasty Indian Chicken. His wife cooked and not him. That way, I was in no danger of accidentally setting my stomach or other inner digestive organs on fire. She cooked great. We watched Oceans Eleven. Is it just me or does that movie remind you of The Italian Job - a group of thugs after a large loot and they manage to pull it off. Sorry, I just gave the story away.

My campaign in Age of Mythology continues. I have now entered what is known as the Norse stage. For the first time my kingdom is in the snow.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Day 2 Sunday November 21st 2004

So back from the exciting and very engaging trip to Deer Creek with about 14 people. I got out of there around noon and got home an hour and a half later. Spoke to Serendipity in TX. She's the one who's got a Ph.D and I wrote a blog about that over here. So go read that for background info.

Talking to Serendipity is always fun. She's probably the only person who I can talk to about two years of my life that had a significant role in how I have turned out to be - Grades 11 and 12. She knows the ins and outs of that and that's something that no other friend of mine knows about. So it's always a walk down memory lane when talking to her. It's been roughly 10 years now but feels like yesterday when we talk about those two years. Memories are very much crystal clear and attention to details is at a very high level.

I called up Noddy to make sure she reached okay and she did. After our conversation, I decided to go back to my strategy game - Age of Mythology. It's starting to get a bit repetitive so I might give up on it real soon here and try something else. An hour of playing that and I was sleepy - maybe from the food, maybe from staying up late or maybe both. Slept off for an hour and deeply regretted that for the next two. My head hurt when I got up, I was completely disoriented and it was dark outside. That is always a bad combination.

Had to do some shopping from Meijers so I was on the way there when Fahrenheit called up and asked if I wanted to come over for dinner and a movie. Hey I'm always up for that !!. So we watched Sea Biscuit and I really liked the movie. Pizza was brought by Lou and Nicole who are Fahrenheit's friends, so, thanks Lou and Nicole.

Other than that, waiting to call India to check how things are with Noddy's dad but I'm pretty sure it will turn out to be okay. Will keep you posted.

Day 1 Saturday November 20th 2004

The night before, I went to a friend's place for an impromptu get-together for a few hours. That went fairly well. Got back home at about 11 pm. From then on till 4 am, played Age of Mythology. That was unbelievable fun. I plan on continuing on such marathons.

Got up around noon. Called Timmer to see how his annual Deer Creek State Park 2 day outing was going. There were about 13 people there. I told Timmer I couldn't come 'cos it was that late. He said, not a problem - you're never late for a party so get your butt here. So I had a bath ( imagine that!) put my stuff in a backpack and headed for Deer Creek to stay overnight with a bunch of strangers !! I know Tim and Pam real well but the rest of them were all new faces.

The group was fun - crude humor was the key and once you got into that, you'd find yourself at home. The games were also along the adult theme and were fun to watch. We played a game called Corn-Hole. Sounds dumb but it's quite an interesting game and can get very engrossing. More abuot Corn-Hole later.

We got the bonfire going, great great music I must say and of course unlimited food. I stuffed myself as usual and had very little to drink because I didn't want to throw up the first time I meet these people. Maybe next year I will.

Into bed at around midnight, some more Corn-Hole this morning and Pam made breakfast. More garfing down the food. Packed and left around noon and was home at around 1:30.

The next blog will outline what I did today!!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Across the world while I'm here

Noddy's off to Indie today .. half way across the world. I have to drop her off to the airport this

And then two weeks I'm on my own - I already have a list of things I want to do while she's gone.

  • Age of Mythology - conquer Troy and expand the Greek empire.
  • Watch Lord of the Rings Trilogy - that is nine hours altogether easily.
  • .NET Programming - I can never get away from writing software - NEVER.
  • Trip to Boston - Lots of fun planned for those two days
  • Food - the perennial entertainer
  • Blogging - obviously. I plan on documenting every day I spend as a bachelor for the next two weeks.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Movie Weekend

A sle(ewwww) of bad movies. The reviews are going to be short and painless

Dawn of the Dead: The movie is really an hour and a half long game played by six people in a mall attacked by undead people. Two rules - if you get bitten you will be an undead person; if you are undead, the only way you are dead is by being shot in the head. That's it. That's the whole point of the movie. Do not spend money on this.

Garfield: Doesn't even come close to the animations that are done today. This movie would have been a perfect hit when Black Stallion was released about 20 years ago. The story line is dull, predictable and not-funny. Garfield's animatronics are funny at time and lame for the most part. Does not come close to Shrek quality - the benchmark that I use to measure animations.

Vaastu Shastra: Indian horror flick. It had it's horror moments but at the end you're left wondering what was the whole point of the movie and more than that, why was it named this way. This had nothing to do with VaastuShastra except for the first two minutes. The rest was just a better version of Dawn of the Dead. My desperate quest for a good horror movie (The Ring style) continues..

Ishq Vishq Pyar Vyar: So apparently everyone in Indian colleges now wears pink, orange or blue and fluorescent counterparts of those colors. The movie is funny but that's where it ends. There's no point. It's a love triangle. For non-Indians this may come as news but we Indians like triangles in our movies. It's our favorite geometrical shape and suits our movies very well. Some movies have more characters and then we choose a better suited shape such as a hexagon or an octagon. The moot point behind choosing multi-point shapes in Indian movies is that the director is banking heavily on the hope that one of the actors or actresses assigned to these end points will carry the movie to success. This one has a happy ending too but you know that after going through half the movie.

So now, I have to look for a good movie to offset the bad horror ones I"ve seen and the others as well. Any recommendations?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

My final predictions

12:30 am EST -

I predict Bush takes Ohio , Kerry takes New Hampshire and Bush takes the Presidency of the United States.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

PA to Kerry

So far PA goes to Kerry. I am projecting FL to Bush (before any major news networks have projected it). That makes Ohio the remaining battleground state. I am inclined to project a Kerry win in Ohio but will not do so yet.

Lets see !

Movie Weekend

Bought six movies -

Lord of the Ring , the entire trilogy - not seen
Secret Window - okay
Kill Bill 2 - real good
Mystic River - real good

Also saw 50 First Dates - bad movie, not very funny

Noddy leaves for India on 19th Nov for a couple of weeks. I am a bachelor.

I have entered into a long term relationship with Mr. Lawn Mower, my newest buddy. Lawn Mower and I shall be together for the next few years - until it stops working. In fact I used it this weekend. Quite an adventure because it was a discovery process. Works great. I was so proud of it, I even let my neighbor use it. What a great moment! I learned to use it an hour ago and was showing off as if I invented the self propelled lawn mower.

Halloween was fun. Quite a few kids came trick or treating. Someday I'll find out what happens if you say "trick" instead of handing out candy. Also if you had out bad tasting candy, do they come back for an exchange or a payback?
Buffalo trip planned for Thanksgiving. Looking forward to being with Eeyor and watching cartoons, cruising through town and having a great time.