Thursday, December 20, 2007

A holiday to remember

This has been one long break on my blog accentuated by the fact that I already got the pizza coupons due to the recall in the mail today, (and no, I did not eat that pizza, although I was pretty confident there would have been no after effects!). At times I wish my work would present me with such a break! Bench sounds awesome at this time, but probably in a month I would be writing about the ill-effects on being on bench. Typical grass is greener on the other side attitude.

Back to business, and it has been an erratic, unpredictable and enjoyable past month culminating with yet another 'change of address'. Erratic is the perfect way to describe my work at this point without getting into details! Unpredictable are my plans for myself and others for me! Let's not talk about that too, I can talk about the enjoyable at length.

The start to the thanksgiving weekend seemed anything but perfect. Decided to avoid the traffic rush and headed out to IAH only about 1.5 hours before my departure time and as fate would have it, the rain God decided to shower us! A treacherous drive got me in time for my 9:15 PM flight and the first thing I noticed on entering the airport was the two hour delay on my flight. Continental did a good job of finding another plane despite the fact that the original aircraft seemed stranded in New Orleans, due to all the rain!(pity those folks).

My destination was Santa Clara, landed at SFO airport, and somehow ended up at the departure terminal (Set to go back already?) Nothing as relaxing as seeing a familiar face after a long time and I was mentally preparing myself to enjoy the holiday. I wouldn't say it was not to be, as I found myself logging into work…just to make sure! And issues there were, although I was spared to quite an extent!!

Thanksgiving Day was reserved for 'The Rock', and the other regular touristy stuff around SFO including the Golden Gate, Fisherman's Wharf and Sausalito. Of course it seemed like one couldn't do without trying out the world famous ice-cream at the Ghirardelli Square. I enjoyed the world famous Hot Fudge Sundae but still think it can't be compared to our own Ideal's.

Lake Tahoe is beautiful in all respects; the drive was scenic and enchanting. It was not snowing, and yet the temperatures were in the late 20's. Since Skiing was first on our list of things to do, we decided to head out to the Boreal ski resort where fake snow was being churned out on the slopes and yet it looked welcoming. Geared up literally with the ski's, ski poles, clothing and the boots all inclusive in a package which included the ski lesson too.

The ski boots are insanely heavy and after trudging in them for a little, I felt like taking them off. A little more than an hour of ski instruction and I knew how to put on my ski's! and the theory of skiing and controlling my speed and stopping although I wasn't able to completely put it to practice. The 2-5 ° slopes sufficed me, yet the chair lift was beckoning us, all I wanted to do was get on them and get back down on the same lifts. Who would have realized that it was only a one-way ticket!.

I didn't even feel confident of getting up on to the beginner slope and how we ended on the inter/expert slope is hence no question of debate. Getting on and off the chairlift itself was such a joke and of -course the staff there probably are used to people who know what to do!

The top of the slope!, an almost 60° slope which looked beautiful and scary!!!, We just stood on the top for a few minutes gazing in awe and I thinking up tactics on how I could ski or rather slide down. Despite all this, a photo op was not to be missed; after all I was one of the few people who decided to carry a camera on a ski slope!!! All the worry of ‘how to get down a ski slope when you did not even get down a beginner slope’ was set to later!

Down we had to go, there was no other way. With kids zooming by and me feeling extremely foolish, I managed to slide down the ski slope!!! With one ski on my foot and the other in hand…Gosh, am I glad there was no one with a video cam! And despite the initial mishaps I managed to get down the slope with minor bruises and in good time!

That was enough skiing for a lifetime and I couldn’t wait to rest my feet and rest we did at the Ferrari Crown Motel, would recommend this place to anyone visiting the area. After a delicious dinner at a local steakhouse, we decided to call it a night and after a scrumptious breakfast the next day, we set out to the casino’s to utilize some of my beginner’s luck only to realize that there’s no such thing as beginner's luck!!! A drive down to South Lake Tahoe and after more oohing and aahing about the vista, we headed back to San Francisco. Eventide had set in when we reached Santa Clara. It was Nov 24th, 2007.

The rest of my vacation was reserved for relaxing and personal time, meeting up with relatives and friends and more drives into San Francisco and the many neighboring towns!

My first experience on a red-eye flight was awesome and I awoke only in time to hear the announcement that we were set to land in Houston. And you know you are in Houston with all the Tuesday morning traffic snarls, and despite that you make it in time for a day at work.

4 years in a single and only organization and the date didn't even register!

Writing about San Francisco and thereabouts (PST), started the post in Houston (CST), wrote the major sections in schiphol airport (CET) and publishing it from Mangalore (IST)...

Excuse the mess up of timelines in this post as it was started a couple of weeks ago and published only today.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

e Coli anyone?

The first time I heard about e coli was in regard to the recall of some brands of spinach almost a year ago, but then who cared?...not that i would pick up the secret of Mr. Popeye's strength from a supermarket aisle!

Totino's pizza, well this strikes close to home... right in the freezer to be precise. Saying I live off frozen foods would be an exaggeration, however the frozen pizza rolls and pizza are a life saver for me at times....infact I almost ate one of these yesterday but then decided to order a nice fresh pizza from pizzahut online( something to do with Halloween?)

This press release talks about destroying the pizza, but what about those that have already been consumed... anyway, I've still got one of these lying in my freezer, don't think it would contaminate the rest of the items in the freezer!!!

All the recalls, well it makes me think twice before buying a gift for a kid, after all the tainted food, tainted toys, what's next... well then i guess there are some things that should be taken with a pinch of salt and despite not being a health freak, i will still have to destroy the pizza!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

not so spooky halloween

The clock gets ready to chime 12 and other than a lady with blood dripping from her lips who made her presence felt in the elevator, the feel of Halloween has been missing, not that I am an expert on such feelings!

I decided to stock up candy in anticipation of some kids who would come round the apartment as part of the trick or treating... but that was not to be, lottsa candy for me!

The concept and origin of Halloween is slightly mystifying nonetheless the word itself has its origin from the eve of 'All Hallows', Tomorrow is All Saints day, a day of obligation for us Catholics.

Nov. 1st - Happy Kannada Rajyotsava to all folks from Karnataka.

will probably have to catch up with an episode of X-Files to get a dose of spookiness!

Friday, October 26, 2007

a few distractions

One of my current favorites from the world of ads, is The Jeep ad

and then there's Apple iPod with Feist's 1234 original version on David Letterman's.

This one can be a little addictive! Mika's Grace Kelly

Sunday, October 14, 2007

48 hours

It was my first experience at a parish bazaar here in the US. We stumbled upon it by chance; our intention was to attend mass and while we found the church under lock and key decided to find the reason for the cancellation of the evening mass. Blame it on me for not reading the parish bulletin.

The limited time we spent there, was splendid, as with everything else, there seemed to be no lack of enthusiasm for a church bazaar. As is human nature, follow the crowd and we found ourselves queuing up in front of the funnel cakes stall! Not that we knew anything at all about funnel cakes! If people can wait in a queue while there are many other stalls with no queues, there should be some reason. The cakes were good….didn't resemble a funnel in any way though, the name could be because of the use of a funnel while making the cake, wouldn't even call it a cake...

The stores comprised from regular flea market kind of stuff, to live music, an auction, raffle games, and of course food and drinks. The rains seemed to have been kept at bay just enough for the occasion.

A visit to an art exhibition yesterday featuring Annu Naik and my second visit to SJV in as many days, this seemed like a perfect weekend.

Friday, October 12, 2007

hate 'em love 'em, but you just can't avoid them!

What's the one place that can make you feel crammy one second and elevated the next?

We've all had our fair share of experiences with them, most likely without the sauciness as in the elevators of Seattle Grace and surely not as in the talking elevator of Private Practice.

What makes something as simple as riding an elevator an unnerving experience at times? What about elevator etiquette?

My present office building has six elevators. There can be nothing more frustrating than getting into an empty elevator only to be joined by people who seem to somehow want to get off at every floor before mine (doesn’t leave them with much of a choice, since I have to get off on the topmost floor... well...) and worse still, is when you have stops on 2 and 5 and a guy gets in on 3 to get to 4! Talk about timing...

I usually punch in my floor number and relax, lean against the wall, get lost in my thoughts. Mundane thoughts float in my head…the BOK's I should have got started on last week or the 135$ jacket on a rack at Macy's. Often the thought of crashing has crossed my mind and the fact that there seemed to be no emergency phone and also that my own cellphone provider T-Mobile didn't seem to provide service in the elevators further heightened such thoughts until I realized that there was an alarm. Ah! Well for the day when I can press that little white button!

My behavior is always altered based on that of my elevator mate. I'm not one for socializing in an elevator and will not initiate a conversation, but will participate if engaged. Weather seems like a safe subject but I’ve also had people talk about their kids, about their rising mortgages... If I make eye – contact, I hope I have to only smile! or say hi and often while getting off say ‘have a good day’ or something equally benevolent.

In a crowded elevator, I often am simply just waiting to get off and pretend to be preoccupied, stare at the floor as if it’s going to gobble me any second or keep checking the floor numbers as if I don’t already know which floor I’m on. And during some of those long never –ending rides; I’ve even ended up on the wrong floor a couple of times!

Encounter people carrying on loud conversations and in strange languages? To avoid the crowded elevators is as simple as avoiding the peak hours… easier said than done…

Ever wonder the brains behind the elevator, the erratic wait times? I sometimes press the button and guess which one of the elevators is going to take me for a ride, have a 16% chance of being right everytime! Elevator Algorithm was that in PU or Engg. Mathematics.... can’t for the life of me remember when I came across that!

My previous work place had elevators with mirrors on all the walls, get in and distract myself with my narcissism!

Getting to the bottom is never frustrating, getting to the top is always, as everyone seems to want to do just that.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

the coffee-pot is empty!

Have you found yourself refilling the coffee-pot in your office pantry more than three times per week? Well, I have and wonder why... it seems like 3 could be well above the average… considering the about ‘x’ number of people drinking out of the coffee-pot and it being refilled ‘y’ times a day, hmm... However I don’t seem to have factored in ‘z’, which is the number of times a given person decides to have a shot of caffeine....not that I mind the refill job, love it... infact, the fresh smell of roasted coffee beans and then the fresh coffee...

Today is the official first day of fall and it just doesn’t feel like it… and yeah the fall season is here, primetime tv at its best…!, kicked it off with Survivor, and they are in some woods of China!!!… never been a follower of such shows, but decided to give it a try this time and I think will continue on. Will definitely tune into CSI, Miami, NY, House, Ugly Betty, Smallville, Numb3rs, Grey’s Anatomy, DH, Brother’s n Sisters, ‘the’ talk shows! and then will probably check out a couple of new shows too… wow that’s a whole lot of TV and that too with conflicting times… no DVR or TiVO...

Probably the best new show of last season was Bro’s and Sis, totally enamored by Rachael Griffiths character Sarah, while hoping for life into the characters on GA for this season….Gotta wait until Feb of 2008 for the new season of LOST!

Despite rave reviews and comments on Prison Break in its third season and Heroes in its second, never seemed motivated enough to catch up with them.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

a journey of a 1000 pieces

yes, it began with a single piece on a not so cold December evening, and frankly I wasn't even too enthusiastic then, it was well what can i say sort of forced on me by 'you know who'! and then it traversed through the 827 Christmas party to Sysco EAI and SCM and continued on through the 827 party to BP EAI, enthusiastic individuals trying to make sense of the 1000 odd pieces strewn around the living room! ... and then it was forgotten, just like that, like a scrapped project and packed away at probably a little less than 10% complete.

It traveled with me to 1410 and all the while lying under the patio style hammock (it doesn't swing! and it's in my living room!!...)

And suddenly for no good reason on a not so hot August morning, I decided to revive the scrapped project and with support from atleast one motivated girl we achieved our first milestone, i.e. the top edge was complete. And once I managed to piece together the remaining three edges on my own, I could almost envision the end even though it was probably only about 25% done. Another weekend with 'You know who again'! and it was almost upto 50% and then it was left to me solely, some days I would add a piece while other days I would add a 100. The late night matches at the US Open and also CNN proved a strong motivator while the men fought it out in five sets and McEnroe and Anderson Cooper droned on, it keep me going!

I wanted 9/7/07 to be D-Day even though a part of me wanted to wait for help however the force within me was stronger and was willing me to go and get it done with.

The Puzzle is a part of the Thomas Kinkade's End of a perfect day series and I don't really own it in the real sense of the term. 'You know who' owns it but I think I have a valid claim on this!

A truly impressive piece of work and kudos to all of us involved and like any other task it had its share of downfalls, infact literally, losing almost a days work as I was trying to move the puzzle onto a table. We persevered despite all that. Thank you to all who helped take this project to completion, without taking names, you know who you are… whether you added one piece or 10.

Friday, August 31, 2007

t'was a tax free weekend and t'was a long time ago!

its quite a novel concept, especially with the sales tax rates at 8.25%... tax free weekend seems like the perfect time to shop for all those shoes and clothes which you probably don't really need! Sometimes I do think, the only thing you can do in Houston is shop! Anyway, this time around the state administration themselves told us to go out and shop, well... they did mean to fill up the gas tanks and stock up on groceries but whatever.... and all that in anticipation of Dean, who had other plans!

and back to the movies, seems like that's the only one thing I write about these days... two movies, the only semblance between them is the setting... i.e Britain

Becoming Jane: A simple yet wonderful narration of what is definitely an exaggeration of one of the incidents in Jane Austen's life. Nevertheless, the intricate portrayal of a young girl's life, the difficult choices she has to make... was somewhat poignant. Despite being set in the 18th century, the truths we believe in are all the same, the taste of forbidden fruit seems really exciting! Anne Hathaway made the Jane Austen look glamorous to an extent although her pulling off a slightly older Jane in the last scene of the movie seemed a trifle unnecessary.

and the other movie: there wasn't any hype, well there couldn't have been.... I mean, I seriously did not get the point. This movie is so uninteresting, you could watch the news instead! there's no plot, no story... have to admit the term Caesar was most confusing...the kid from Love Actually(the little boy who falls in love!, the most cliched storyline of all the plots in that movie!) is Caesar huh! and what's with Aiswariya Rai's role... She says in almost quote I'm Mira, from South India, Kerala unquote and talks about her country being an ally of who? the British or the Romans... whatever and who cares, and she is trying to be a Jhansi ki Rani... she's gotta know it, she didn't pull it off. And all this despite the presence of Ben Kingsley and Colin Firth and well the movie was called 'The Last Legion'.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Let’s talk movies

in LIFO order...

Bourne Ultimatum, With a running time of a little under 2 hours, this rendition is fast paced, with non-stop action, awesome international locations and starts with a pledge to tie all loose ends. And tie they did and also more...

I haven't read Robert Ludlum's version of the story but the Bourne series has been one of the best trilogies to date. The pace of the movie is easy without wasting time on frivolous details and Bourne's quest to learn the answer to 'Who am I' leads us through the streets of Madrid, London and finally New York. Somehow found Pam Landy's character very endearing...With a touch of brilliance and a touch of charisma, there can be no David Webb without Matt Damon and no Jason Bourne without Matt Damon.

In my book, Ultimatum is the #1 movie of the year so far…

And there were all those movies...

No reservations: It has an easy pace and with a decent storyline and good acting, it is one of the 'Worthy watch' movies of the year.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Recapped in my previous post, this is a 'must see' if you've been following the wizardry world of Harry. While on the topic, I managed to put an end to the question of 'What becomes of Harry Potter' that was not really on my mind. A disappointing seventh installment in the Deathly Hallows to what has been a brilliant series so far. My perception for whatever reason coz i know a lot of people who absolutely loved the book.

You know those times, when you did a ctrl-X on some text and forgot about it momentarily only to do a second ctrl-X and then fret that you lost all the original data that you had control x’ed… Well today was one of those days, after constantly reminding myself to always use ctrl-C rather than ctrl-X, well the mind has a mind of its own and here I am having lost all my thoughts on ocean’s thirteen, don't care enough to recap it all, its been ages and there's no way of recalling it from cyberspace!

Ocean's thirteen: Good one, fast paced and there's enough in it to keep you from looking away from the screen, well being a die hard George Clooney fan, and with the awesome rest of the cast, I couldn't possibly entertain thoughts of turning away from this one!

Shrek3: You could skip this one, and if you can't, make sure you don't watch it on big screen. The entire cast of the books I used to read as a kid, seem to have made their way into this movie...If we didn't have enough of Puss in Boots and Prince Charming, we have to contend with Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, Gingerbread man, Pinocchio, Cyclops, Ugly Ducklings and a host of other characters I can't even remember. Some of the scenes were so frivolous such as the one where the toad king dies... there's nothing to say!

Knocked up: with Katherine Heigl and an insane story line which could probably happen, filthy and vulgar humor but an okay watch overall.

Perfect Stranger: My only motivation to watch this movie was coz Halle Berry’s character name is Rowena, another disappointment... Gracie's Choice, an old one but found one more Rowena, two characters in a day and both anti-social!

Worthy watch: Wedding Date, Nancy Drew, Hitch, Babel, Deja Vu
Don’t go near them: Absolute zero

Haven’t yet caught up with Spiderman3 and POC3…some day, some time!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

blame it on the rain!

I thought I'd dwell on and find a reason for my recent lack of interest in blogging... well reasons i did find. I think it all started with the shifting plan, settled in my new apartment with cable TV and over 200 channels, if not for the hours of movies, x-files, alias, sabrina that are already lying recorded on my dvr, then Anderson Cooper seems to have me hooked onto CNN... and then there have been all those amazing F1 races, including today's, if only Kimi had managed to win as it had seemed, this weekend would have been great.

Houston public library, lets put that one on my list too... always have a armful of books whenever i get in and out of that place! Certification coming up in two days, work and calls, and then more calls - that about makes my list.

Its been a while since I made it for the Sunday morning service at St. John's Vianney, evening service is wonderful too. Fr. Jose from Kerala, has joined the parish as an assistant pastor, truly a small world and he seemed pleased to have met a few Indians, M'lore/Karnataka is after all a neighbor to his home state!

and how can i forget the rain, its been raining cats and dogs, off and on and the rain in Houston, is as unpredictable as the politics in India, its raining in Mangalore too, so much so that some areas were flooded, now that's a first since i always believed the drainage system in M'lore was excellent, the adverse effects of growth and like Milli Vanili said, whatever you do don't put the blame on you, blame it on the rain!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


From a post a week to a post a month!

The spate of movie releases is ongoing, after the trilogies here comes the pentalogy! (Well there seems to be no word like that!). Will try and do a LIFO for the significant thoughts I would probably have mused about on this blog under different circumstances (whatever that may mean) and yet I promise only to try.

Back to the Order of the Phoenix, watched the movie @IMAX; however our tickets were for the 'regular' screens, nevertheless the movie compensated for the lack of 'experience'.

A condensation of almost 900 pages to a little more than 2 hours and I must say that this rendition seems worthy of a good review. It is an eternal debate if having read the book would have made for a better watching experience… My friends who haven’t read the book awaited in anticipation, to know more about the return of Voldermort and all the hurdles and abracadabra Harry Potter would reveal on screen.

On the same lines, I believe the Da Vinci Code movie, would have been confusing to follow if I had not read the book whereas I was able to follow the Bourne series and LOTR which did a marvelous job of story telling without having read the books.

From little and cute to almost mature adults, the characters have come a long way. Harry Potter and his friends have come of age, his battle with his fears is more prominent, he thinks deeply and his fear that he could be turning into something evil is heartfelt. Dolores Umbridge’s character was perfectly portrayed, all pink, all rules on wooden boards…!, Ralph Fieness as Lord Voldemort was awesome as always, hard to believe that this is the same guy who swept Jennifer Lopez off her feet in ‘Maid in Manhattan’, while he seems like the perfect 'Red Dragon’!!!

The special effects seemed slightly mediocre for a movie with this amount of buzz, however the movie didn’t stop, there were no long pauses on nothingness…

A worthy watch, can't wait to drink in the last installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

More on the spate of movies…

Thursday, June 14, 2007


For lack of a better title, i decided to literally name it blank!. Well it's been quite a while since I visited my own blog, to the extent that Firefox didn't auto complete the URL for me....

A once a week task for me is to visit google reader, everyone seems to have forgotten their piece of work on the internet (yea the blog, incase you put the wonder cap on!)...

Strangely excited, when I saw the news about Pratibha Patil as a likely candidate for the top post in India, kudos to her tho' I've never actually heard of her before, truly a surprise candidate...

Lot of stuff going on, stuff as in the daily humdrum of life, between trying to catch up on all the trilogy movies(some very awful ones in that list), F1 and tennis (awesome match between Roger and Nadal last week :-)) to work and issues...
well it's not a revolution, that's daily life...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

can't stop humming

An amazing gospel song, this was the opening hymn at Joel Osteen's service on May 5th, I guess this was not the first time I heard it, as I was comfortable singing it, but somehow was totally bowled over with the Lakewood Church's Choir version. Have been trying to recollect some words of the hymn so that I could look it up and somehow managed to do so over the weekend, another nice version

Here go the lyrics,

Light of the world, you step down into darkness
Opened my eyes let me see
Beauty that made this heart adore you hope of a life spent with you

And here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that you're my God
You're altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me

King of all days
Oh so highly exalted Glorious in heaven above
Humbly you came to the earth you created
All for love's sake became poor

I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross
And I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross
No I'll never know how much it cost to se my sin upon that cross

So Here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that you're my God

Friday, May 18, 2007

Back to Houston

Well, this post is finally here and after a particularly depressing finale episode of Grey's Anatomy last night, i decided to start on this. I'll probably talk about the anatomy of Grey's, well technically it can't be called Grey's Anatomy anymore!, sorry rambling, will probably write on that later if in the spirit!

It's more than a month since I got back and my travel memoirs are still not on paper or more appropriately on the www!, well who can I blame this time! Well for once I'd probably blame it my lethargy. yea that's a step in the right direction.. Acceptance! here we go...

April 14th, 2007: Mangalore is hot during this time of the year and it was unusually very so this time around, hoped for a few showers but there were none and it was time to leave.

Kingfisher Airlines (IXE - BLR): All red all beautiful :- ), found myself in a small ATR jet, a 46 seater with only one entrance. Ended up waiting on the runway for a little more than half an hour, the showers and thunderstorms finally decided to make their presence felt while I was cooped inside the plane! The flight was comfortable and they seemed to have a good menu but I decided to abstain! So can't comment on the food.

On the ground in Bangalore, and in the coach that was going to take us to the terminal we learned that there could be a delay. APJ Abdul Kalam had landed in a chopper and was in the process of boarding an IAF airplane. We were stuck on the runway for about 30 minutes, watching the IAF plane, not really hoping to catch a glimpse of the President. (This reminded me of the time in MIT, all of us on the terrace of the NLHostel!!!, the first time they let us get there and all we could hear was the whirring of the Presi's helicopter). Finally his plane took off, much to the pleasure of all of us stuck in the coach.

Bangalore Airport: Literally a parade of people, no indication again whatsoever which conveyor belt is going to bring in your baggage! I got out of the terminal and was so glad to see my friend and roomie of 3 years while at MIT, Pearl waiting outside. Unfortunately once you get out of the terminal, there's no real place you can make yourself comfortable in, we ending up sitting on some sort of elevated pavement, right across from where cars would attempt to crawl by. If not for the reminiscing about the past and catching up on the present, I would have gone insane in this place amidst all the human form of life and the not so human form of life (read stray dogs and mosquitoes! Don't get me wrong, I love dogs, just not the ones who wander outside airport terminals! And No, I don't love mosquitoes!). Thanks Pearl for your presence.

I had to kill 7 hours until my flight and there's no entry into the international departure terminal until about 3 hours before the scheduled departure time, there's just no room as the security guard pointed out.

There however seems to be no end to the parade, and the queue to get into the departure terminal was miles and miles long! The flight was overbooked, read about it here, specifically asked for window seats and nominated myself for Lufthansa's 'Miles and more' program.

The waiting terminal is really bad; almost every seat was occupied, ended up on an uncomfortable seat in front of the TV and found myself watching some show on Pogo, 'Just gags', I think it was. 4 international flights take off within a few hours of the other and there's just one gate!. We truly need the Devanhalli airport to be up and running soon, 8 years to completion, better late than never! I boarded with two hand bags, there's always an exception to the rule!

The flight was full, cringy despite the window seat. Don't know what movie was playing, had to strain to watch the screen! Was so glad when the 'fasten seat belts sign came on and we landed in Frankfurt, had about an 1 hour to make the connection and did so comfortably. We did have a security check, but the wait was peaceful and the atmosphere unbelievably calming. The aircraft was parked in some corner of the airport, a long ride in the coach!

FRA-IAH: The flight was only half-full, lot of empty seats and I found myself sitting next to the emergency exit door, was asked to go through some reading material on how to open the door. A teeny voice in my head (not sure if it came from the head) wished that I could open that door. The seat was the best I've had on all my flights with Lufthansa, lot of leg space, we also had side trays, nah... all the seats are not like this, just the few lucky ones who may have to open exit doors in case of an emergency!... better make sure they are comfortable and not cranky!!!

I say it again, the in-flight entertainment aboard Lufthansa sucks, headphones were again not working and they just shrug their heads!, asked me to move into another seat, well i looked around and decided not to leave my exit seat, after all I may get a chance to open the exit door( wow, dangerous wishful thinking). 'The holiday' was on and anyway with or without headphones i couldn't see the TV screen, neither could half the people in our section!

Landed on time, despite the delay and it was good to be on the ground

04/14/07 5:15 PM IST to 04/15/07 1:40 PM CST to Houston...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

what about airport codes

What's the full form of IXE?

George Bush Intercontinental airport, Houston and its code is IAH - IA from Intercontinental Airport and H for Houston.
How about IXE?, I could be India... X could be a random letter as in DXB for Dubai.. Could it? Can't for the life of me figure this one out... We should ask IATA!
Clues anyone?

Some interesting information about world airport codes here

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

to IXE

12:00 AM: The Boeing 747 jet swooned low over the city, right by the roads and the apartments, and there was a difference, yea it was the lack of skyscrapers unlike most of the US cities and international stopovers. There we were at Bangalore 'international' airport.

Disembarkation was a short smart process. Once outside of the immigration zone, you get a true feeling of being in India. Haphazard crowds waiting for their baggage, no indication whatsoever of which one of the conveyor belts we needed to be at, when we did find the right conveyor belt for our baggage, we were pointed to a few pieces of luggage strewn over the floor near the belt, don't know how it ended up on the floor... After a long wait for the luggage… yea the bags did travel long from IAH to FRA and then to BLR! and amidst the typical Indian scenes of an official on the conveyor belt and after testing my kannada with the porters who seemed to think I wouldn't be able to push around a trolley with my luggage on, it was to the customs, just walked right through.

Based on advice which turned out to be invaluable, I decided to wait out 6 of those 8 hours in the sitting area within the departure terminal itself. An 8 hour wait for a 30 minute flight! With my Toshiba gigabeat and its excellent battery life and Mary Jane Clark's 'Hide yourself away' to keep me company I still can't say the 8 hours felt like 2 hours!!

It is a virtual pounding once outside the departure terminal, 'Taxi, Madam'...'Auto, Madam' I wonder at the sanity of that statement, would I have been able to fit my entire luggage into an auto?

The domestic terminal is okay, almost good…anyway my flight was advanced by half an hour and I had to check the additional luggage in!, Indian flight standards… allowing only one handbag!

We had to walk to the airline… I've always loved walking to the plane, triggering memories of all the times as kids when we walked to the board the flight at bajpe.

Jet Airways, BLR- IXE : Despite us boarding on time, we ended up waiting on the runway as a number of flights were queued up to take off. A drink and breakfast later, that's all this short flight has time for, we could see the familiar plains of Mangalore... The landing awesome as always, amidst the elevation almost as if into a gorge... Jet Airways, no complains almost always...

Mangalore international airport, yes, in this one year it has been elevated to international status and the signage looked welcoming.

03/28/07 3:25 PM CST to 03/30/07 9:30 AM IST
to Home sweet home

Saturday, April 21, 2007

10000 miles

A journey of a close to 10000 miles to and fro and 6 flights later...

The journey started at Houston - IAH, George Bush airport, my first time in the international terminal here and its not unlike any other airport I've seen in the US, infact all of them are pretty similar. However the duty free seemed good, lot of Texas souvenir stuff to choose from, bought a couple and a couple of 'Don't Mess with Texas tees'. The only other airlines I've traveled with in the past... East West, Indian Airlines, Air India and British Airways not including the domestic US airlines. Enough for a comparison?, maybe, maybe not...

On flight :- Lets start with IAH to Frankfurt on Lufthansa...Pricey but comfortable is what I'd heard of this airline from a few of my colleagues, pricey yea it was...but comfortable....hmm... well... the experience wasn't particularly great or better than the only other long distance carrier, BA, I've traveled with in the past, more so it was slightly horrendous. The journey was jerky and turbulent but obviously that's just beyond a muggler's( is that the plural of muggle)control.

Economy class seats... well they are just like economy class seats! even tho the business and first class looked really cool...complete with top level seating. Dinner was okay, complete with a number of rounds of beverages, alcoholic and not.
Inflight entertainment totally sucks in EClass. I wasn't even able to switch to Video mode on my headphones, the flight attendant tried all that i tried and then just gave up, Marie Antoinette was one of the movies on, but couldn't watch it. The headphones, not international standards at all, kept slipping off, size fits a person with a big head, and adjustable only a certain limit!.. continental airlines provides the better clip on type ones! take a page from their book lufthansa!

This was the worst one: Every time i tried reclining my seat even a little bit the passenger from behind(lets call her backseat lady) would completely push it upright, tried it a couple of times only to hear muttering and cursing from behind. Finally I could take it no longer and had to summon the flight attendant, she spoke about rights to the backseat lady!!! and reclined my seat, finally i thought i could get some sleep... weird thing was that backseat lady had reclined her own seat... wow

I was sitting in the middle section, four seats and i had an aisle seat. My co-passenger... well he reeked when he got into his seat itself and a number of Lufthansa served 'beverages' later including a spill of wine on my shirt sleeve and after all the passing around of 'beverages', and hanging out with friends in the aisle, he wanted to switch seats with me. I must say this, I hate middle seats but if I had to count the number of times he had got out of his seat and the number of times he was likely to get out of his seat, well the mathematics and statistics was starting to give me a headache, even though i had a 100 and 99 in these subjects respectively in my PU2 boards...ditching the numbers and using my better judgment i took up on his offer and switched seats. Some hours of sleep later and we were in Germany.

Frankfurt airport: Huge and beautiful, the duty free shops...very inviting, very European. Passengers from US flights could directly go the gates without a security check, with my previous experience in an aisle seat, i decided to switch the seat allocated to me which was 'aisle' again for a window and was able to get one, the last one available. A cursory check of the bags is done at the gate itself before boarding, he just lifts up the bag with his hand and if he feels its over then asks you to check it in. I was carrying a trolley kind of bag, which was beyond permissible hand baggage limits and was asked to check it in, but since i was one of the last passengers to get my bags checked, and all the luggage was already sent to the cargo hold or wherever... they let me board with my extra 4 kgs worth of goods!

On flight : The seat change was a good one, found myself in the tail of the airplane. The usual side section held 3 seats , however the last three only had 2 and i was in the penultimate row. There's a little space between the seat and the window, i.e. i couldn't lean against the window. Nice co-passenger, cute well-behaved kid in the seat in front and a comfortable seat for a good sleep. Headphones were working fine this time around but same style and they kept slipping off, no chance that my head could have grown bigger en route to Frankfurt from Houston. A Boolywood flick was on, watched only a bit before dozing off, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, don't care enough to look up the name... some day.

Adjusted my watch to IST and some 9 hours later we landed in Bangalore, India... back after exactly a year.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

my tryst with an overbooked flight

Lufthansa on my flight out from Bangalore to Frankfurt offered me 600 euros, acco and a guaranteed flight out exactly 24 hrs later if I was willing to give up my seat, seems like they were overbooked by quite a few numbers. The deal was awesome; I would have recovered half my trip cost and needless to say I pondered on it for a second and sadly only for a second and none too longer.

Well, I’ll blame it on the Bangalore airport for the lack of pondering time, after an awful long wait outside the departure terminal in abject conditions made better only by the fact that I had a friend waiting with me and an equally long wait in a queue to get into the ‘departure’ terminal I seemed to have lost all ability to ponder for more than a second, and if I do believe under any other circumstances and greater than a second of pondering time, I would have pounced on the deal!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

F1 without schumi!

well, that's F1, from today's race on. Its hard to talk about Ferrari or even F1 and not talk about Michael Schumacher. So significant has been his presence in formula1. Infact I dont know what F1 is without Schumi, he has been ever present in all the races i've watched so far...

The man, the personality the aura...It is going to be a tough job for Raikkonen trying to fill in his shoes, and they are certainly big!.

The prancing horses couldn't retain the championship since the past couple of years, despite the greatest F1 racer of all time being in the team, can they do it this time around is what we'll have to wait and watch.

With hopes for a great F1 season even without the great Michael Schumacher.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

rodeo pics




Thanks to Shyam and his Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTfor these pics.Windows Live Writer did not let me post these pics without a FTP server, hence did it using Picasa

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

houston livestock rodeo & Sheryl Crow

Despite all the traffic snarls on 610 we made it in good time (only 45 mins late) for yesterday's SuperSeries Championship round at the Houston livestock and rodeo event to witness some of the rodeo events and the concert performance at the reliant stadium.

And witness we did, in some instances more so than humankind's cruelty to animal, it was the animal's cruelty to man!

Saddle bronc riding is it some sort of rhythmic gymnastics, only not as graceful and on horses!, almost like the horse guffawing at every step! And then the Steer wrestling, where the wrestler who is on a horse has to stop a young bull and pin it to the ground, very cruel

The most popular event did seem like the Bull Riding, cruel again! man on a bull trying to tame it for a few seconds and then running away when he comes chasing after you! And justly so the 2006 champion emerged with flying colors, but then I guess there ain't anything like a winner, they all feel like winners in their own right in this mad mad ride! The Wagon Race was a fast event with horses racing all over. Calf scramble was a fun event with hilarious moments and teens in their quest to tame the calf, a few were successful, it may seem easy but it's not, as of course the calf has a mind of its own!

Barrel racing a ladies horse riding event - graceful and flamboyant event of the evening, cowgirls and graceful, a girl can be graceful on a horse as much as prince charming can be on his!

The lights went out for Sheryl Crow's performance, this being my first time inside reliant stadium for a concert, the atmosphere was electric, the fireworks superb.

Sheryl who last year had to cancel her performance at this same event after being diagnosed with breast cancer, made her way to the stage on a beautiful horse that didn't seem to want her to disembark! Take me for a ride lady!

She started off with a bunch of numbers I couldn't hum to and then got into the groove with First cut is the deepest, If it makes you happy, Are you strong enough to be my man ( An invitation to the Texan cowboys only!), All I wanna do I have some fun and Soak up the sun

The acoustics seemed a little screwed up as while she was talking I could barely understand her and most of the crowd too I presume as they couldn't respond well enough to her!


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Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar night

I read the title of this post and thought 'how cliched!', it reminded me of my neighbor Oscar Weltha, and cute little Ross... the story behind the name, well it's not as straightforward as I thought!
Ellen Degeneres was the host of the 79th Academy awards held last night, she was very refreshing to the extent that the entire show being watch worthy, couldn't say the same about most of the other award shows. Have watched her talk show only a couple of times and it was not particularly riveting but her style, her flow last night was absorbing.

Well, no major upsets as far as the awards go unlike the last time around or maybe there was one, Best Supporting Actor, have watched 'Little Miss Sunshine' and frankly couldn't see the reasoning behind the award to Alan Arkin. Not my place to comment anyway!
Complete list of winners

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Today is Fat Tuesday!

Heard this phrase first when I came across Sandra Brown’s novel with the same title, which by the way is an okay read. The association is relevant, Mardi gras which literally means Fat Tuesday in French, the day before Ash Wednesday, the day for gluttony and extravagance. The last hurrah heralding the start of a somber season.
The name comes from the tradition of slaughtering and feasting upon a fattened calf on the last day of the Carnival. Also known as Shrove Tuesday (to shrive, or hear confessions), Pancake Tuesday and fetter Dienstag. The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins. The official colors of Mardi gras are purple, a symbol of justice; green, representing faith; and gold, to signify power… symbolic.

I think the carnival in Goa too is linked to this event only that it lasts for three days. The Carnival season here in the US starts off with Epiphany, (the feast of the three kings, Jan 6th and back home this has traditionally been the day when we pull down the Christmas tree, the Star and all the other Christmas decorations) and culminates on the day before Ash Wednesday.

Mardi gras is a popular event in down south Texas i.e. Galveston and New Orleans too and being as close to these as we could possibly be, the thought did cross our minds, but like some thoughts that never get to see the light of the day… add plus 1 to that count! Add life to the event with a few snaps and commercials on TV with all the masked balls and tableaus and lots of beads, yeah lots of them…. It does seem like tossing of chain beads is quite popular in this part of the world, Infact have always managed to get hold of a few during our visits to Kemah (people partying on boats toss these to the crowds on the pier)

No partying, just a Welcome to the Lenten Season and plans…yea, have lots of them!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


For some reason today, I thought of the maggi served in our night canteen during those good ole' days! 12.5/- for one plate without vegetables and 13.5 with, if my memory serves me right, and yep the 1/- worth of veggies was really worth it!!! Hmm...those were the days in MIT and Manipal! Given a choice it would be yes to top ramen, no maggi!

and then my thoughts wandered to our first attempt at cooking in that hostel room in Block I, 101 was it?... Potato curry I think, as if the aloo that they served in every dish be it breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner in the mess wasn't enough! Turned out good enough to eat I think!

Ah... back to business, my Alma Mater MIT, rechristened as ManipalTech for the jubilee celebrations is celebrating 50 years of its glorious existence; hope to keep my date with her sometime at the end of this year!

Meanwhile check these out, MIT truly looks awesome,
Knowledge is Power.
  • Manipal Map
  • Golden Jubilee
  • Schedule of events

    Chill Maadi!

  • Friday, January 12, 2007

    the gandhi controversy

    yet another one, this seems to have become a norm, recurring every once in a while. Well to be honest, it is 'us' who add fuel to the fire in such contentious issues and then isn't it our right? to voice our opinion to take on whoever we may please be it Gandhi or Martin Luther King and as always there seems to be a very thin line in all that is done and its consequence. Sounds confusing already?

    NDTV caused me to look it up, it ran a headline story in which the link somehow didn't seem to work, after a couple of vain attempts, i just gave up. Going back to the main page i realized the story itself was taken off! as quick as a cheetah darting across on the TV screen(if ever it did), was my mind playing tricks on me?. With the very few details captured from that one glance, I ran a search and somehow
    it didn't yield any useful results. Fortunately or unfortunately my next news doze TOI ran the story. Gandhi on you tube

    I did watch the so called offensive video, yes, it is offensive also i thought in bad and silly taste. The following is listed in the description section of the video
    "The following video portrays Mahatma Gandhi in a way that many people feel is offensive. Please do not view the following video if you may be offended. Furthermore, I sincerely apologize for any offense this video has already caused".

    A complete publicity gimmick, it is a wonder tho, this video was posted on Youtube in early December of 2006, and all this sudden frenzy, comments running into pages posted only since the last couple of days, a couple of news channels back in India telecasted this video! (what were they thinking)...another controversy!. Like i did, a whole bunch of people are going to visit his website, increase traffic to his site... with what purpose. Has he become famous?. Who can dwell into his mindset, into his aim. This controversy will last a few days and already there's talk of banning Youtube like they was the talk of banning Orkut when the 'Hate India' community sparked interest.
    No amount of legislation is going to solve the problem if at all there is one and while the censorship battles rage on, this video is worth watching.

    Saturday, January 06, 2007

    A week after!

    It took a year to update my blog?... It has has been an amazing last couple of weeks of 2006 and 2007 as yet doesn't show any signs of slowing down. With the task of deleting all those 'old' posts in my drafts done including sadly the reviews on 'Blood Diamond', 'The Nativity Story' and 'The Departed', a mention is all they'll get here...all good movies in their own way. I don't make resolutions so i cant promise to keep my blog up to date!

    Just got back from watching the 'Pursuit of Happyness', based on a true story, rather conventional storyline, but portrayed absolutely exceptionally by Will Smith. No repetition of the plot here, but this is one of those movies that can really touch you, it's not just the story its more the acting. Chris Gardner's life story is poignant. There are so many beautiful, simple and realistic scenes, there's a reality sometimes we don't want to believe in. The homeless with 'all' their belongings standing in line for a night's shelter, his trust on a hippie girl!, his inability to make ends meet... At times it makes you wonder 'How can someone have no friends, no relatives they can bank on in a time of need'. Gardner's son Christopher is played by Will Smith's own son who already seems to have mastered acting skills and is so believable. The 'back in time' make believe scene to the ages of the dinosaurs was truly amazing.

    Slightly deviating here's the quote from Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence which is quoted in the movie. Happiness is a pursuit as he says, why is it just not happiness?, why should it be the pursuit, why cant it simply be happiness like life and liberty? probably he knew happiness will always be a pursuit.

    All in all a brilliant movie with superb acting and Will Smith truly deserves a Golden globe nomination. Leonardo has two nominations but i think its still going to be tough to beat this stellar performance, haven't watched the other two movies in the list hence cant comment on who could ultimately win. On a side note my favorite TV shows have managed a few nominations, good going indeed!

    Wish you all a Prosperous New Year and good luck with those resolutions!