Saturday, February 26, 2005

Week Past, Week Ahead

This was a great week. I had a panic situation at work to deal with before a customer release due out on Monday. I had to finish this by Friday @ 5 pm. Those kinds of deadlines are always fun particularly if you are hard pressed for time. It can get stressful but when you accomplish what you needed to, the feeling is great. That's how things went Wednesday/Thursday/Friday. Lots of work to get done and finally wrapping up Friday @ 5:20 pm. A big hee-haw to the project manager who severely doubted my abilities to meet the deadline.

On a much more euphoric note, Smita got accepted to her internship program. She will know the exact location on Monday but boy was this a stressful process for her. Lots of interviews, lots of permutations in order to select the site where she would want to do an internship. Once she finds out where she's going to be on Monday, you will find that info posted here as well.

Other than that, oh yeah, I'm gone to Chicago from Sunday thru Wednesday to the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) for some work related meetings. I have to go back there again next week for two weeks. It's pretty exciting and challenging stuff and will push my limits somewhat. Again, a good thing! I'm going to try and blog from there but might be hard. I don't know about internet connectivity. So the next post might be sometime next Thursday but I'll definitely post something if I can.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Smoking is injurious to .... others' health

Archana's last post had some comments that diverted from the original topic to the topic of smoking. Utkarsh mentioned that smoking occasionally might not be such a bad idea but he's only tried it once so he's on the good-guys team :-).

But in all seriousness, I care two hoots about most smokers. However, there are some principles that I do follow religiously (strange that I used that word knowing I don't believe in religion too much). These are listed below:

1) If you really matter to me, I will tell you that you should stop smoking - whether you like it or not. The reason is, you matter to me therefore your life is precious to me and therefore I shall warn you against anything that is bad for your life. Some smokers find this annoying but I have to be truthful if you truly matter to me - even at the expense of the friendship. I can't lie and be a true friend at the same time. I have to concur with the Surgeon General's words on the pack.

2) You will not smoke near me. In a social environment, either you walk away or I'll walk away. The moment you start smoking, our conversation will cease and desist. I might really like you but I put my health ahead of your ignorance. I'll come and talk to you later whenever it's convenient for you to stop smoking for a bit.

3) If you live in my house (roommate, guest, whatever else), you will smoke outside. I don't care if it's 20 below zero. The house is a complete no-smoking zone and I make the rules on that. I refuse to jeopardize any member, even my pet fish !!

Real simple isn't it? And it's totally non-intrusive. I'll avoid smokers if they don't avoid me. This is a free world, they are free to smoke and I am free to walk away.

The company where I work has strategically placed a "smokers shed" right outside the entrance. This is for the convenience of smokers who need to come outside to smoke since the building is a no-smoking facility. Well that's great but what that also means is anyone entering or exiting the building has to go through the nicotine chamber!! So what I've done is I've started using the far entrance which means it takes me longer to get to my cube but hey, I'd rather take a healthier longer walk than a gas chamber treatment at 8 am.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Spunky - the male Siamese fighting fish

Spunky is really a fish with an attitude. It takes me about 20 minutes to get him out of his bowl without hurting him the slightest bit. He simply hates to be meddled with. He eats as if he is never going to get food ever. If I feed him one small pellet, he swallows it and holds it in his mouth. Once I give him another pellet, he sucks that one in too. At that point his mouth has these two large pellets which he refuses to let out or chomp. Very wierd but quite entertaining. !!

Female Guinea Pig # 1

This is Oreo. She's a cute female guinea pig born on January 24th 2005. We went to Jacks Aquarium and Pets and bought her. We named her Oreo because she looks like an Oreo cookie. Notice the two brown ends and the white in between. Oreo is really lively, actually too lively. She can hardly be held in place. She eats quite a bit and drinks water very noisily. Her favorite sleeping place is the small igloo like enclosure.

Female Guinea Pig #2

After we bought Oreo, the pet store was left with just one more guinea pig. That one was a sibling of Oreo and belonged to the same litter. Somewhere I had read that they do well in pairs and there's nothing like pairing two from the same litter. So we went back and bought this one and named her Mars. That's because her hair colors have consistent layers like the chocolate layers in a Mars bar. She's got white, light brown, brown and then dark brown. Hence the name Mars. Mars is very different than Oreo. She is very very scared and scurries around when you try to touch her. We have a feeling she wasn't ready to be weaned off her mother yet but maybe it's a personality thing. She loves to hide and can spend hours sitting next to you hidden in an old t-shirt provided you lump up the t-shirt around her real well. She likes the security and hates to be exposed out in the open. I think Mars will take quite a while to get used to human interaction and the surroundings than Oreo.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

...and I'm back

After an extremely busy week I'm back to some blogging. Work is going to pick up pace here in a week or two and is going to stay that way all the way through July August.
Trip to India in December. I'm looking forward to that. A friend of mine is getting married in December so that's good timing.
Valentine's day went well. Dinner at Bravo's Italian (thank god for reservations - those who didn't have it had to wait for 1 1/2 hours!!), two small heart shaped cakes one was German Chocolate and the other was Chocolate Brownie, and a gift watch. Noddy loved it all and that was fantastic.
Mischief's birthday is also on Feb 14th. She got mad with me because I was one of the gazillion people who chose to send her a text message first thing in the morning and didn't call until later during the day. So that upset her because she's one of the sentimental sorts.
By the way, Noddy and I went to two animal shelters today to look for cats. While we didn't find any cats that we liked, we did find out that Noddy is allergic to cats !! So this officially marks the end of our pet animal adoption drive. We're not going to be able to have one if Noddy is allergic. She came home with a stuffy nose and irritable eyes - the telltale signs of an allergy.
We had a guinea pig before so that's what we're going to go for again. We really loved our guinea pig "Goblin" .. he was a little monster. Tonight or tomorrow morning- we're going to be off to Meijers to get one of those.
Spunky's doing fine. He briefly stopped eating early on during the week but that may be because he ate like a refugee on Sunday and Monday. I'm sure his stomach was still busy processing all that food. He was back to his greedy self a couple of day ago. I need to change the water in his bowl before he decides to jump out of it for sanitary reasons.
And that wraps up the week's update. Sorry for the long post - it had been a while. Will cut back down to three paragraphs from here on.

Friday, February 11, 2005

One more thing I did not HAVE to know

There are certain things in life that I prefer to not know. I think I can survive without knowing them and they add no value to my existence, rather they might actually ruin my appetite.

One such thing is this

I stumbled across this while innocently reading CNN and then HAD to go to other sites to verify CNN's story which seemed so improprable and just a figment of a highly caffeinated journalist. However, sadly, the story is true.

Bride and Prejudice what???

And here we go again...the Indian newspapers heralded this as the march of Bollywood into Hollywood. Aishwarya Rai's Bride and Prejudice was going to sound the bugle and apparently, overnight or so, Indian cinema was going to turn Hollywood into the song and dance circus that most of our Indian movies are.

Well Bride and Prejudice has been released. I don't see people falling over each other and standing in long lines here in the US to go see this movie. I also don't see this movie opening at thousands of theaters around here. The movie has a smaller opening than My Big Fat Greek Wedding which had a lead actress Nia Vardalos who is relatively unknown and definitely not beauty queen material. Yet this one has Aishwarya and was supposed to be a big deal. I'm sure the movie had a good worldwide opening but the Indian media is never too hesitant to run off like a stallion and make news out of what is really NOT news. Aishwarya Rai was on Conan O Brien or Dave Letterman or something like that. Hmm...and we were expecting CNN to report this??? Uh...nope. Not happening. Nobody in my office has so far come to me and thanked my country for creating a lady so breathtakingly beautiful that they are floored.

Get real and read this review of the movie on CNN which is a liberal and far more multicultural and tolerant media outlet than some of the others out here in the US.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Google Employee Blogger Gets Fired !

Google started the whole blogging thing in a big way with Blogspot, didn't it? Or am I smoking?

Google fired an employee who had been there only two weeks, because he posted some information that he shouldn't have. While I think Google has every right to do this, I am of the opinion that a simple but severe reprimand would have served the purpose. A second mistake would then be considered deliberate neglect and firing would be justified. But that's not the case.

Alex, a Microsoft guy mentions this incident on his blog which is where I got it from since I subscribe to his blogfeed. Another guy Jeremy met with Mark Gen, the fired employee and the analysis is over here. Mark Gen's blog is over here. I agree that you need to be careful when posting information about your work and your company. That's why you will not find any company information on this blog except some of my personal rants. You will find nothing about the company's inner workings or financials or meetings or anything. I deem those as inappropriate.

Yesterday's post is gone

I had a post here yesterday that I withdrew after a few hours. It asked readers to post their five greatest qualities publicly. The challenge there was that people are often very confident about their qualities in private and in their own head. However, when it comes to stepping up on a pedestal and addressing a crowd the very same qualities can sound phony, braggist and in a sense like a Miss Universe contest where truly intellectually-challenged women stand in front of a similar crowd and announce their positive traits.

I have always struggled with that. I simply undermine myself when someone asks me what I do. I know I do a whole lot and am an important contributor in my company and I hold a whole lot of credibility. But if someone asks me what I do, I give a stupid dumb answer like, "I'm a menial programmer"...and that's so untrue it frustrates me the moment after I answer. I'm definitely not a menial programmer. I started out that way four years ago. Today, I barely write any code whatsoever. I have moved on to be a Technical Lead and coordinate internal or customer projects with teams of three or four people at a time. See, that's so far away from being a menial programmer yet I can't get myself to say that to someone because to me it sounds like I'm bragging. Am I ???? Can you state your qualities publicly like that ??

And that's why I withdrew the post - precisely because of this struggle that I go through. I read my own post - felt like I was bragging and sounding foolish - and withdrew the post. I have GOT to overcome this stupidity !!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

A Memorial, A Movie, A new Fish...

Firstly, got a new fish. Blue Betta. Named him Spunky. Again, Noddy picked the name. While we were in PetsMart, there was an entire set of rescued dogs up for adoption and I came "this" close to adopting a year and a half old Siberian Husky mix female. Then it dawned on me as to why I was getting a fish - it's because I need something extremely low maintenance and dogs are the complete opposite of that. So no dog for me.

Secondly, went to a memorial service for a Muslim friend of mine. What is ironic is that death is so real and so in-your-face yet a memorial service is so unreal and so artificial and so fake. They all gathered together to mourn the death of someone....the real death of someone. Yet their purpose was so artificial. They were all busy talking about things that were of better interest to them. Football games, a newer TV, someone's new born nephew, an urgent cell phone call that "had" to be answered while prayer service was going on. It was so fake. Why come to someone's memorial if you don't have the respect or the sentiment. Nobody forces you and frankly the immediate family doesn't care. They are busy grieving their lost one and not counting the attendance sheet. So do me a favor - next time you are obligated to go to someone's memorial service and deep inside you you know that you don't care, just sign the damn comments book at the entrance and leave. Don't insult the dead.

Thirdly, watched The Manchurian Candidate fact it ended a few minutes ago. Nice movie, good theme but will need patience and willingness to go with an extremely unlikely story. If you can live with that and let your imagination ride really far with that of the director, you'll do fine. If not then, like Noddy, you'll be scratching your head going "Huh?? What a stupid waste of time".

Good night my felow blogizens. I miss you folks' company sometimes and hope to meet some of you some day. Hope our paths cross, knowingly or unknowingly.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Ah the Friday

What a start I've had. It is Friday so I decided to be high spirited in my clothing. Therefore, I am wearing a bright orange full sleeve roundneck t-shirt with jeans. And the comments started coming. I've been told the following since I got to work:

1) You look so orange. What's up?
2) Hello Mr. Orange
3) So what's with the orange?
4) Are you under construction?
5) You look like an orange barrel that they use at construction sites
6) Have you joined the Shiv Sena? (Indians will get this)

So I'm thinking....hmm... on one hand this is good news that co-workers consider me a good sport and are open enough to joke about me. The attention helps too. But on the other hand, am I really looking too bright and too outta place? I guess I don't care. But I will defintely refrain from wearing this extremely orange upperwear to work.

Current state: Busy like a worker ant
Current mood: Very Peppy ( oh god it's the orange talking!!)
Current music: Ultra Dance - Johnny Vicious

PS: No fishy yet. We decided that the weekend is a better idea to get fishy so that we can spend more time acclimatising it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

High tide day

Ever had one of those days where everything goes right? That was today for me. Got up on time, got to work on time, did work that was expected, sent out a document that was well received, spoke to my boss' boss in a candid fashion and he appreciated it....things just went well. Smooth sailing all the way through the end of the workday. I love ending workdays on a high because that just makes the evenings so much better. Otherwise you come back home, you're bummed and even if you put it on the backburner, your mind still has to handle it in some nook or corner.

It's hard to have one of these high-tide days. Lately work has become less about work and more about everything else. For example, you gotta watch your back so don't send out frank emails. Don't commit to any work until your boss okays it. Don't upset people by pointing out their mistakes. I think people who like to do their job well, should be left alone to do their job well.

By the way, tomorrow shall be new Fishy day. I don't know what we're going to get. That will depend on Noddy for the most part. Her inclination is a blue colored Betta. Not a bad choice - I like bettas in all colors.

So what's going on in your lives, blogging people?