Tuesday, February 22, 2005

In Search of WiFi

I called up J~ and thanked him profusely for his 'timely' warning, and ask him for another favour. All the WiFi zones,in the nation's best 'E-Enabled' airport, charge a small fee for their service,an unaffordable 10$ an hour.So J~ finds out that there's this hotel close by which has wiFi zones in its lobbies,and more importantly, its free. Now, thats cool, free WiFi => I can burn a couple of hours easily, and try and get some work done.

So I checked with the Information counter as to how to get there, and was extremely happy when they told me that there was a free shuttle service to the hotel. They casually asked me if I had a reservation there.I put on my poker face,and replied 'Yes,Ofcourse'. (C'mon it isnt all that big a lie!!)

I get out of the airport, see the shuttle, get there and let the handler load my stuff. I'm quite happy at this new devlopment, get in to the bus and find a comfortable seat. That the bus was packed with 'Gentlemen' and 'Ladies', and not dishevelled young grad students didnt bother me one bit. I was a man on a mission. Nothing could stop me!!!Well, almost!!

Little did I know, that this was 'complimentary' shuttle for guests with reservations. So I was 'plesantly surprised' when the handler came in and asked everybody to sign off with their reservations. I had to escape, and that I did!!.

I walked up to the handler, put on my poker face again, and asked
'This goes to the Hilton, right?'..
H - ' No, to the Double Tree, Sir, you're on the wrong bus'..
M - 'Oh No! I think I made a mistake, I need to go to the Hilton, I have a reservation there'.
H - 'No problem, let me get your stuff, and hey!!dont worry!!this happens all the time here'.

For a minute I was confused, what happens all the time here?.People trying to sneak in to star hotels ?.The kind fellow not only got my stuff out,but also gave me directions,and described the 'Blue and white' striped Hilton bus.I guess he had a feeling I couldnt read all that well !! I thanked him profusely, walked in the direction to which he'd pointed till I was out of his sight, and then got in to the airport again.

So much for WiFi, and thanks again J~ for the (in)complete Information. Boy!!I love Atlanta!!

Monday, February 21, 2005

The WeatherMan Strikes!!

Here I'am stuck in America's busiest/most expensive airport, Atlanta Intl airport. The flights take-off and land, but the passengers stay put on the ground. No wonder its busy!!. It all started when I wished J~ well, late last night. Its close to midnight, and J~'s busy trying to predict the next 'solar flare from his 'multi-purpose' lab in the basement.(The janitor also stores his supplies there!!). Solar flares, as he'd explained, affect satellites. Now that is really important research, because without satellites, there is no 'satellite' TV!!. And for a TV addicts,(like me), thats armageddon!!

I'm for sciectific research and the betterment of manhood, So to encourage him and to better understand the importance of his research I pose an innocous question.

'Hey J~, do you see any 'solar flares' coming up tommorrow morning?, I have a flight to catch. Let me know, so I can put some sun-tan on'.

J~. misinterprets my intentions, and replies
'Yeah, I see one, and U'll burn in your flight tomorrow.'.

He couldn't have put it better.My flight from Texas, takes off late, and sometime later, the captain reports that

'Due to bad weather conditions in Atlanta, we'll be flying over Atlanta for an indefinite period of time'.

While I was flying over Atlanta, my connecting flight takes off without me(Yeah!!I'm important, I paid for the ticket). And BURN i did.I've been waiting here for the next available flight for the last 12 hours.

Thanks J~ for the warning, I atleast got my sun-tan on.

PS: I just checked, and the flight that I'm supposed to take ,is delayed by 2 more hours, thanks to bad weather again. This time, its at the place where the flight is coming from!!Brilliant!!

1. Never question/doubt/ridicule the importance of the research carried out by a graduate student.
2. Delta WILL GO bankrupt.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Of Lost treasures!!

Till a few years back I used to get a lot of Cards/Letters, but things have changed now. The Cards and mails have been prefixed with an 'E-' ,and nobody asks where I live, anymore!!.

Infact, there was this one year,I didnt receive many B'day cards. And one E-mail-less day, this troublemaking realization actually came to me out of this room in my head that is the source of useless information.Well,I guess I just needed a reason to feel bad, and there it was. But I was ok with it. I can take it, I'm tough!!. No, I wont complain when my 'cheap' friends dont even care enough to send me a stupid birthday card. I can do without them, Right!!!.

A couple of months later, I was home visiting my parents, and I was cleaning out my room, when I found this box full of cards/letters from the yesteryears.I got the box out,and with a 'heavy' heart and a puzzled frame of mind, I began to read the cards and letters. And who else but Floyd could help in such situations, so I queued them up and cranked up the volume.

Here it all was. The candles, cakes, money, wisecracks, jokes, ure old enough to.., miss you's, and the Untellable. Heavy messages about love and joy and peace and goodwill. If that wasnt enough, there were those handwritten messages of affection from my 'cheap' friends. Seldom have I felt so bad and good at the same time. So wonderfully rotten, elegantly sad, and nostalgic and all. Utter Bathos!!.

And as fate would have it, I was discovered in this condition by my friend, who'd come to see me. She laughed. I showed her the 'find', and there we were, swept away by this outrageous outbreak of nostalgia, singing along with Floyd,

"Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the english way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say

Well, what can I say?. I guess wonder and awe and joy are all always there in the attic of one's mind somewhere, and it doesnt take a lot to set it off. But yes, I sure do miss getting cards and 'handwritten' letters!!.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Artistic 'HIGH'


This 'Untitled' oil on canvas, was sold for 9 Million Indian Rupees.(215K $). I'm no art connoisseur, but after looking at it from (all) possible angles, all I can conclude is that
- I should give up interpreting 'Modern Art'....after all its 'modern' while I'm not!!.
- The 'artist' is a genius.
- Selling a non-existent 'painting' for 9 Million, and making a mockery of supposed 'art lovers', by aptly titling the same 'Untitled' -> Sheer Genius!!

But, If you do see something in this work of 'art', do let me know. I'd love to know if it actually means something.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Three's Company!!!

'Three' is a number that's been haunting me for a long time now..

Mangalore, India

It all began, close to 15 years back, I was in my 4th grade and was vacationing at my aunt's place in Mangalore. M'lore's a beautiful place, great beaches, amazing weather and the works...and as brilliantly portrayed by every bollywood movie ever made, thats where I first fell in love....Ok!!As a 4th Grader, I guess I didnt know much about love then,(not that I know now), and for that matter, I didnt know what to fall in love with. But I just knew, I couldnt go without this amazing creation for even a day!!. My First Love....Ideal IceCreams...the best IceCreams I've ever had till date!!. Now, getting back to the main thread 'three';My Aunt and my Cousin were getting ready to go out, and submit my cousin's application to one of the school's there!!.And I smelt my chance to tag along and get some much needed 'milkshake with Icecream', and so I very innocently asked my aunt if I could come along too. My Aunt was horrified at the thought of the 'three' of us going out together. And she said,

"Dear, We're going out on some important work, and its considered bad luck to go in three's"....

All that ran through my ignorant mind then was ,how some dumb number could deprive me of some much need ice cream...

.................'Three' didnt strike for another ten years..................
BITS, Pilani, India

Another beautiful night in Pilani, (and this time around I was in love with an intoxicating liquid), me and my friends were returning from c'not, when we were stopped by this 'supposed' ex-Bitsian. He was drunk, and claimed to have passed out from BITS a few decades back, and that he was living a comfortable life in the US. We humoured him for a while, and were just about to leave when all of a sudden,

"Hey Guys, You all remind me of the times I had in Pilani, tell you what, I'll give you three hundred rupees, drink to my good health"....

he gave us the money and two packs of ciagrettes to go with it, and left. Boy!Were we thrilled...Hail!!Drunk Ex-Bitsians!!..We had THREE HUNDRED bucks, and that was BIG MONEY in Pilani!!. We quickly worked out a plan, 4 of them went to ANC(Oh!How I miss the All Night Canteen) to get the goodies, 2 to the Bhavan to set things up for the party, and the lucky THREE were sent to get the main course. It was close to 11.30 PM, but then we'd done the 'walk' a zillion times to let time bother us, and besides this was a godsent gift.

The THREE - S~, K~ and B~ (Relative anonymity ofcourse!!).

Just as we were leaving the campus,

B~ : "You know what, they say when Three Brahmachari's go together, bad things are bound to happen"....
S~ : "Oh No!!Not that number again, its already cost me a lot (I was still sore about that lost MilKShake), it isnt stopping us now, stop this Mumbo-Jumbo, and think rationally.
K~ : "Yeah, c'mon B~ dont tell me you beleive that"
B~ : "Well, Ok, if you guys insist"

To cut a long story short, On our way back, we were mugged by some god damned locals,forced to exchange the 'stuff' for safe passage, and walked the 'long' walk'(It was always longer on the way back) back emptyhanded and cursing B~ for bringing up 'Three'!!!.


And since then we've been quite wary of 'Three'. Infact, recently, B~ had an interview, and I was to drop him. But as would have been, another friend of us also wanted a ride. But B~ and me didn't want 'Three' along this time, and dragged another
'Non-Beleiver' along.

B~ got through the interview!!!!

.................And last night.................................................

Holiday Valley, NY

After THREE hours of skiing, we were relaxing at the warming hut. And I noticed this gang of four snowboarders. One of them lit up A match, and lighted the cigarettes of two others. And finally, he was about to light his cigarettes with the same match stick, when the fouth guy said

"Dude, don't use the same stick, lighting three smokes in one stick will bring bad luck".

And bang came the reply
"Oh S*** you!!", and he calmly lit up his cigarette with the same matchsick.

Now, I knew 'Three' had quite a reputation back in India, but here, Nah!!It couldn't possibly hold, but I sure was surprised to hear 'Three' being mentioned. After all , we were in America, and I'd just finished a wonderful 'Three Stooges' roadtrip.Soon, We left the hut, and hit one of the tougher trails. I was almost down the trail, and skidded to a halt, to take a break, when I saw the 'Matchstick Dude' fly past me. He was taking a sharp turn, when his snowboard hit a bump, and he flew off the trail in to the bushes!!...Ouch!!That was the worst fall I'd ever seen. Before we could go over and see if he was alright, the Ski Patrol and his friends reached him, and helped him out. The guy was badly bruised and had also twisted his ankle.

When I passed the group, I heard his friend say..'I told you, it'd bring bad luck'....and bang came the reply again '...S*** You'....


'Three' was back......

Big Brother is Watching...

All Ye Bloggers out there, you might be interested in knowing about this 'new development' in Corporate America!!.

And they sing 'the land of the free and the brave'...Pretty close!!..We're almost free!!!..

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Mid-Week Blues!!

Grad Life

Every morning,(Ok!Make that afternoon),when I near school, I sincerely wish for one for these 'happy' mishaps'!!. Honestly. grad school ain't all that bad, but OH YEAH!!It does get to you at times!!.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Shoot

Me and some friends of mine had been on this roadtrip to Florida, and we'd tried to outdo each other with our 'photography' skills. For purposes of 'relative' anonymity lets call the three stooges(Yes!!We were three), J~ , V ~ and S~, and here are their masterpieces.

J~'s entry, titled 'The Watchtower', a snap clicked in the everglades.
The Watch Tower

S~'s entry, titled 'Born Free', taken in Keywest, Florida.
Kid - Soft Focus

And V~'s entry, titled 'Flying high', clicked in Keywest, Florida. BTW..That's one of us up there!!
Flying High

Any winners here?.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Games People play..

Many thanks to Blockbuster for
1. The End of Late fees
2. The Monthly pass, courtesy of which I have seen almost every A,B,C-Grade movies ever dished out by Hollywood.

Infact, I'm in to movie-reruns now. I've been picking up movies which i've previously seen and enjoyed, seen but need to refresh the lead role's punch lines, tried to see but slept through. I'd picked up 'Beautiful mind' on one such occasion. As most of you know, its a brilliant movie, and I still believe Russell crowe deserved an Oscar for his acting in this movie than for his portrayal of Maximus in Gladiator(BTW..I loved the movie). Getting back to the movie, its about the legendary John Nash, whom I will always remember more for his letter of his recommendation, than for his brillant work in game theory.
Well, who wouldnt want a letter of recommendation that just had "This man is a genius". Mine went 'I know Sunil for the last.....hardworking,sincere..........admit him with aid...yeah with AID".

OK, absurd as it may sound, I was really 'inspired' by the movie, and I decided to take up a course in Game Theory. My decision to watch a movie over deciding courses to register for the semester had, as Nash would have put it, 'paidoff'.The course itself is really interesting and to top it, its being handled by one of the best Professors that I've ever had.(Prof.Wayne Bialas). Here's are some interesting titbits from his class.

- Game theory is so popular thanks to a) Von Neumann b) John Nash c) Robert McNamara d) 'Beautiful Mind' - the movie and e) The other (un)fortunate mathematicians who choose to work on it.
- Robert McNamara's claim to fame : Advised the Kennedy Govt to increase the number of nuclear war heads. This, he predicted, would also encourage the soviets to increase their warheads thereby neutralizing the nuclear power of both countries. The argument being, If I had one nuclear war head, and you had none, I would be at an advantage. But if we both had 100 Warheads, then we're better off not using them.
- Unfortunately, the above logic still holds true. And this implies nuclear disarmament will be an unrealized dream.

Well, I'll leave it at that. BTW, for the movie buff, here's a list of movies which use game theory.
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