Boxing Day Disasters

There’s something about Boxing Day and disasters: In 2003, it was the Bam Earthquake; in 2004, it was the Indian Ocean Tsunami and; last year, it was the Hengchun quake in Taiwan. There’s fodder for those claiming some significance. I remember having to write something about the Second Coming of the Messiah a while ago, my essay was a work of art I tell you, a work of art.

I remember we were at the beach near Nikhil’s place in Thiruvanmiyur the day before the tsunami playing football. If it weren’t for the classes that they had that Sunday we might have gone there again. Funny. A moment of silence…

Tsunami hitting Marina Beach

Football on the beach

I went to play football today with my old classmates from school. It was fun, but I learnt that I’m hopelessly out of shape. Less than 30 minutes of running and I was completely out of breath, not to mention I was starting to get a headache. I’m middle-aged at 19! I’d also like to complain about buses and the way they don’t like to show up on a Besant Nagar bound route for more than half an hour, no good sirs, that’s simply no good.

In any case, Karthik dropped me home. I don’t know if I could’ve made it back by bus, I was so tired. Anyway, my phone camera is useless for anything but daylight photographs. The moon was so low today, it was like it had come closer to Earth or something and it was reflected in the water so brightly it seemed like there were floodlights on the water. Amazing sight. Simply amazing.

In other news, it’s John Thanky’s birthday today. I met him on the way there. Wish him :)

The Holidays have begun

They weren’t supposed to start until tomorrow, actually. But the kind government gave us all a holiday, so I could take today off. The holiday routine involves waking up past noon, and then wandering around in a sleepy daze before going to sleep at 4. I’ve gotten used to it.

Marc and I were supposed to go to the IOB branch at Besant Nagar for an account for him, but it got late and they turned him away. Poor fellow. In any case, he drove me to a place to get a microSD card for my phone and when we were done he burnt Counterstrike:Condition Zero on a disk for me. I haven’t gotten round to installing it, though I was supposed to join the game tonight. I wonder if they’ll give you a legit copy of CS:CZ if you have a half-life disk, I remember CS 1.5 being free, I started playing it around that time.

Incidentally, while I was waiting for the bus at the stop, I snapped this with my phone (I have no clue how I managed to make it take a photo at that resolution, I can’t make it do it again):

Hotel Runs

I have a new phone – A Nokia 3110 Classic

A few days ago, I posted about going to get a new phone. Well, now I did. I settled on the Nokia 3110 Classic, a completely unimaginative phone which does all sorts of completely normal things. I can’t believe everybody has all these features these days, so many options, so many settings. It doesn’t have much memory inbuilt, around 8.5MB or so, so I’ll have to go buy one of those 1GB microSD cards. Here’s how the phone looks:

The phone’s got a camera. I wasn’t particularly crazy about one and would have taken a similar phone without a camera if it cost less, but now that I have it, I’ll concede that it’s pretty useful. My digital camera, an old Nikon 995, is rather large and isn’t easy to carry around so it’s all cool. The phone has the usual GPRS, EDGE and Bluetooth and supposedly works just fine with Linux though I have yet to try using it as a dial-up modem. It has completely average JBenchmark scores, so nothing to get excited about. I have to admit I like the idea of making lots of Hello World Java MIDlets :) Fits neatly in the pocket, has nice big buttons for messaging, works just fine. I’m happy.

The place I bought it at is called The Mobile Store and it’s here in Adyar, walking distance from my place. It was okay, quick service, they give you an envelope with a part to scratch for a prize. I got 100 bucks off my bill. Pretty funny considering that when I asked him about the student discount they’d advertised, he told me that the offer was over and that it was 2%. Same amount, funny.

I’m going to buy a new phone

My old Nokia 1100 has reached the end of its life. It keeps sputtering and dying and temporary resurrections only delay the inevitable. It must be put to rest, and another must be chosen to take its place. At first I thought I’d just go with Marc’s choice, a Nokia 5200 but I’m careless and prone to damaging stuff so I took Danny’s advice and decided not to take a slide type phone, or anything which had parts I could break easily. I shall be trying to get a Nokia 3110c.

Here’s what my current phone looks like:

Nokia 1100 - Thumbnail

Weird offers – All those things you wished were built-in to your laptop.

Lately there’s been a craze for laptops: There was ELCOT’s 50-60% discounts, some price cuts on some older Lenovos, this morning I wake up to receive the perfect laptop offer in the news. It’s not in the specifications, it’s not the look, it’s the accessories. Accessories, accessories, accessories. Observe:

Laptop Offer - Front Cover

Okay, not too great, if you’d been around a couple of weeks ago you could have had a nice Thinkpad for cheaper. Not exceptional or anything. It’s not clear whether they’re just dual core Pentiums or Core 2 Duos. It hardly matters though, what’s on the other side would make up for this even if they were old Compaq Armadas.

Laptop Offer - Back Thumb

See, I’m no great fan of bundled offers myself. Usually, they’re rip-offs. But tell me this, if you were given the chance to get an MP3 player, a colour printer, an HP + Mic and an antique clock, cordless iron, and dinner set wouldn’t you jump at the offer? I mean, come on, every up and coming executive who needs a laptop will require a cordless iron, antique clock and dinner set for all those long flights between cities. I can’t wait for the day these features are integrated with the laptop itself, mine has the clothes iron part done right already.

TNPCB Results

I was just walking by the TNPCB building many weeks ago, and I snapped this. Just found it among the crap that’s accumulated on my hard drive.

TNPCB - Thumb

On a barely related note, I was typing this out with one hand and I realised that it’s hard to type in all capitals without Caps Lock. Except I’ve replaced the Caps Lock function on my keyboard with a Compose key function. Ah, weird.

Getting back home – Raja Hamsa

Kempegowda Bus Terminus - A blurry photo Being incredibly lazy, P, S and I didn’t book our train tickets back home. So, Thursday night we found ourselves at Kempegowda Bus Terminus with a confirmed ticket for an ‘Executive Class’ bus arriving at 10:21. We got to the terminus by travelling by auto, and man the place is wild. It’s like a giant bus dumpyard or something, they’re just everywhere and in every direction and in lots of colours and with route plates in all sorts of languages.

We managed to get to the appropriate platform much ahead of time and spent our time looking at the Volvo buses and wondering if they were worth the extra 150 bucks. They look pretty damn awesome. So how this Bus Terminus works is, each bus arrives and the conductor dude starts yelling the time that the bus was meant to arrive at and that’s how people know which bus is which. They’ll wait lots of time and call out for passengers that haven’t yet arrived. So while we waited, we saw 10:10, 10:15 go by and alarmingly, 10:30, 10:35 and 10:50. Naturally, every bus but ours had arrived on time and left. I blame Pipe. You can always blame Pipe. It’s usually his fault and he’s very blameable. Actually, in this case, he was the one who went and got the tickets so I get to blame him however much I like.

The seats - thumbnail At around 11 our bus arrived and we boarded it and promptly made our seats lean back the most we could, reclining peaceably and drinking apple juice. The bus left half empty and so we asked the conductor if any more people would be coming, and after he said that 12 more would be waiting at another stop we grabbed the last row of seats. The good thing about this last row is that the seats are contiguous and so you can use them as a bed… or so we thought. Anyway, the thing is these buses have a button that you press to recline. The problem is that this button is placed between seats, so it’s rather uncomfortable unless you manage to miss those buttons. Just takes a little practice. I managed to sleep at 1:30 that night, not strange considering I had one of those reasonably decent espressos at Café Coffee Day. We reached CMBT at around 6 in the morning. Not bad, pretty quick. Enough time for me to get home, unpack, get ready for college and fall asleep instead. Pipe managed to get to college though. Typical. Though he did collapse that evening. That’ll teach the fellow. Simbly roaming here and there.

Some other pictures:

Sitting at the window - Master of the Blurry photo
Guy carring weapons at Kempegowda
Pipe reading Catcher in the Rye

Funny, I thought this was a safe neighbourhood

Well, apparently it wasn’t. Some chain-snatchers style guys grabbed her phone from her hand as she was walking on the road. They were on a motorbike and managed to get away. Typically, we don’t have the serial code for that phone so tracking it is impossible. I don’t know though, I thought Gandhinagar was a reasonably safe place, the occasional murder notwithstanding, so this is a bit disturbing.

However, this just reminded me of how a couple of days ago I was walking down the street and it was dark (there are few streetlights here) and there was this schoolkid walking behind me. Except I, being the paranoid[1] nutcase that I am, I did all the classic tricks to confront the fellow. Of course he turned out to be just a schoolkid, but better safe than sorry, eh?

What I don’t understand is why the mobile phone companies don’t simply triangulate the signal and locate the phone (It’s still on, one of my aunts was trying to reach my mom). Surely it’ll be remarkably trivial, I can see a whole industry around triangulation though, location-sensitive advertisements, faux-GPS,… Ah, if only I had a couple of millions.

[1] No really, paranoid like mad. I treat everyone as guilty until proved innocent, always place my phone in my front pocket, under my handkerchief and the papers I carry, do checks on my wallet, watch my luggage out of the corner of my eyes on long trains, see a robber in every man who doesn’t look well off.

Inferiority Complexes

The way it seems today, everybody has an inferiority complex, and for reasons that are very often all their own. I’ve encountered enough of these people often enough to believe that India is a country full of belief in its own inferiority. There are those who believe in their own inherent superiority but they can safely be ignored because they’re just deluded. The other people are weirder though, they think they’re inferior. I never understand this.

Language inferiors:

I dislike this bit very much. My Tamil is abysmal, really. It’s funnily accented, I frequently put the wrong word in the wrong place and often instead of a word coming out there just comes out a garbled mess of noises, but fortunately I can read, write and communicate just barely enough that I wouldn’t be completely lost in a purely Tamil-speaking neighbourhood. Now here’s the bit, a lot of native Tamil speakers find the way I speak hilarious (I do too) and make no attempt to hide it. The problem comes when it goes the other way. I can’t laugh at a person’s bad English (however bad it is, even if it is super hilarious) without that person being offended, and feeling bad about it. What goes around doesn’t seem to come around. Strange. It sucks to have people going all sad because they can’t speak English properly though, so you better not laugh.

Complexion inferiors:

Of all the people I have met who have trouble with dark skinned people, not one person has been fair skinned. You can see the whole affair in bright colours in a newspaper, in gimped orkut photos and in the way people talk about how this girl they know is very fair. To quote Aerosmith, “If you can tell a wise man by the colour of his skin, then mister, you’re a better man than I”. Seriously though, it’s not just the girls, I remember an ad for a ‘Fair and Handsome’ cream. I swear they invent these products just so we can laugh at them. It’s okay if they’d just keep their idiot self-hating to themselves but they won’t.

I have to admit, though, it works in my favour. All the dark skinned people who can’t speak English properly give me more respect than I deserve. I’m not complaining, it’s your call.

Disclaimer: Yeah, I know about caste oppression and stuff like that. I’m particularly talking about reasonably well off people.