An ogre or gingerbread cookies?

I picked up one of those best selling thrillers for light reading a few days ago. I must say! I am a software engineer and all that, and yet it stumps me every time I read one of these techno thrillers. Get me started on some code, and try as I might to design and think of all possible scenarios, seldom is there a time that I have the blasted thing to work in the first attempt. If nothing else, I would have taken care enough to miss a semi-colon in a particularly hard to spot spot. Without a once-over, I am bound to have let something slip.

Yet, these fantastic heroes and heroines of these thrillers just sit there and whiz through complex networks and hacking into the most complex systems set up with millions of lines of security code in a jiffy.

All I can do is sigh, and hope the sigh would transfer some of that luck over to me. Imagine how much time I would get to muck around with what to write if I could only do that?! Here, allow me to wallow in some scenarios for you…

Scenario 1:
The question in the practical examination in the Engineering examination read:  Design and code the shortest path algorithm and come up with the best route to get from the USA to Sevapettai village.

What happens to me if I were brilliant heroine like above?

The question could have stumped everyone, but being an excellent programmer, she had got it right in the first attempt. She actually proved that Djikstra not only had a spelling that wasn’t the shortest possible, but his algorithm could be improved as well. She was left to think and write about the pros and cons of having ogres as pets in the house for the remainder of the examination.

Scenario 2: I forgot my password.

What happens to me if I were brilliant heroine like above?

She never forgot her password because she was so good at cracking them. It took her 2.56 seconds to break into her own password and transfer all the data she needed, leaving her with 59 minutes and 58.44 seconds to twiddle her thumbs and wonder about whether gingerbread cookies had ginger and bread in them and why they were called cookies if it were really bread.

See the possiblities? Sigh again.

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I Dare!

I wonder if you have seen or heard about the Ariel advertisement for detergent in India. The media company did not go for actresses, models, sportsmen and even politicians to star in their advt and went in for the serious effect. Watching a spot of Indian television always seems to remind me of the inordinate amount of time we spend thinking about and caring for our clothes. It tugs at my heart strings a bit to see that I don’t accord more than a second’s thought in selecting detergent. It is mostly void of thought while yanking on the phone and lifting it off the shelves at Costco. If this is the lackadaisal attitude I take towards something that is advertised for 1/3rd of all the slots, I wonder what I would be serious about. Tut Tut.

Still such is life. If I haven’t been too worried about that slight yellow tinge in my creamy whites before, why start now? Yet, I was forced to think about it with a trifle more seriousness when I saw a person I thought was worth emulating go on screen and telling you about how she cares for her whites. The guilt pang is a bit strong as the household has no whites to talk about anymore. All whites in the house are systematically washed with runny colours and their peace is shattered. I see to it. I give it enormous odds of 5 washes, and if by then I haven’t ruined it, I will change my name. I am not nourishncherish anymore! I shall be whitewash.

Given all of this, why do I ramble on about detergent? Well..I confess I felt numb when I saw Kiran Bedi go out on television and tell me how to soak the darn things. If she told me how to react to a poor child unable to fend for himself by the roadside, or even told me about how to rescue a stranded cat from high up a telephone pole, that was different. But, Kiran Bedi telling me how to wash my inner garments seems as un-Director-General-like as it is possible to be in Modern Civilization.

I remember my adrenaline high for several days after reading her biography, “I Dare”. To the feminist teenager, that is the sort of story that fills you with willpower to achieve and dream. I actually attributed my lack of spectacular success to the fact that I did not have to swim across a river everyday to get to School. I remember my friends asking if everything was okay with me, and I said, “Yes…I will!” or some such equally irrelevant answer simply fused with determination.

So, here it is. Just thinking of “I Dare!” has awakened that spirit in me. I will take a couple of whites and try Ariel Oxy on them to see if the Director General is as good as she claims.

Yogic Alcoholics

I travel quite frequently by local buses. The travel itself may not always be pleasurable or aromatic for that matter. The buses cater to a large population of homeless and destitute folks and aroma therapy is not one of their strengths. I don’t blame them – far from it – when poor and hungry, smelling good is not exactly on their priority list and I can understand that. But sometimes, you also have quite the belligerent bloke.

One time, I am standing in the bus surrounded by the homeless and soapless – my tummy neatly tucked in for longer and longer periods of time before exhaling slowly and then inhaling again swiftly. All of this in an unconspicuous manner mind you. For they get upset if they think their body odours offend you. So, I have this nice Yoga routine going on when one bloke with tattoos all over his body looks at the bloke next to me,and says , “Yo! What – getting smart with me eh?”

To which tattooless odour replies nonchalantly, “Yeah .. ” and turns his back on him and starts looking out the window. By now, the female next to Mr. Tattoo casts him a glance that had nothing but admiration dripping from it. There is something in admiring looks from the opposite sex that seem to act like dish soap, baking soda and vinegar(the combination makes it foam like a volcano)

Mr.Tattoo upped his belligerence quotient a bit and took to shouting. Now folks who know me will attribute this sensitivity to the length of my nose, but I smelled something different in the whole melee. Alcohol. I am a careful sort of person and prefer not to be in the limelight, if at all possible. So, I tried to discreetly move away from the spot, when tattoo guy spots me inching away and thinks his bravado has impressed me to such an extent that I actually decided to move away, and he gathered all the energy at his disposal and shouted. “You want to see how hard my punch is? Ya da?”

The tattoo less one meanwhile takes indifference as the best option and continues to look out the window. He then turns and catches Mr Tattoo’s eye for an instant, and that was enough for him. He launched into it – with a vim and the kind of energy that would have been more productively used on soaping himself. Then to my horror, he pulls up his pant legs. Now I am all for self expression and all that, but this was getting a bit thick. I was just thinking of getting down and walking down the rest of the way, when Monsieur Tattooless decided to do the same thing and mercifully exited the bus.

I turned to see that Mr.Tattoo was actually brandishing a knife in his sock when he pulled up his trouser legs. I tumbled out of the bus at the next stop. Crawling was better than risking my life. To my knowledge, all Tattooless did was say “Yeah..”. For that is he got shown the knife, I didn’t know what would happen if he found out that I was inhaling and exhaling rather slowly to keep the many smells emanating from him at bay.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/10/drunks-see-intent/

Then, I see this news article talking of how alcohol makes people see intent even when there isn’t any. Like any bartender would gladly tell you, or I will, having had that exp. on the bus. Maybe, every glass of alcohol should be served only after a few minutes of Yoga. Make every one of ’em Yogic Alcoholics.

Woof Woof!

The husband did well I thought, and yet they gave him a dog biscuit. I mean to say, I did think of rolling up my sleeves to bark at the fellow, but if a non-barker got a dog biscuit, what would a barker get? I was in no mood for bones at the moment.

The h. and his friends performed admirably at the San Jose Rock ‘N Roll half marathon. One of them actually ran like he had a fierce dog at his heels the whole way through and finished in an hour and 36 minutes. I wonder whether they gave him a dog biscuit! If not, I might have a case on my hands what?

Anyway, the point is when these marathons are conducted, there is a goodish amount of food given along the way and at the finish line. Having run a long distance, it is not uncommon to see marathoners sweating and panting like dogs, queueing up at these lines to pick up food. Bananas, oranges, water, rotten tasting fiber bars left to please the smarting eye on the kitchen counter till the lady of the house discreetly gets rid of it, salt tablets, foil cloaks – this is where they make their money back. I mean, these marathoners actually pay to run, so here is where they get their ROI is the general consensus. I once saw a fellow’s pants stuffed with assorted peanut packets, some chocolate chip cookies, three oranges and 2 bananas, and he wasn’t even halfway through the food line.

This, though was the first time I saw a dog biscuit packet in the accumulated finish line wealth. It is entirely possible one mistook the panting and yipped one at him, but I thought it mean. The husband was so biffed, he went and collected a beer bottle to make up for it.

Woof Woof and a Bottle of Beer!

Robots, Lord Indra & Global Warming

You know every time one of these scientists came up with a study on global warming, I shudder. I mean have you seen those photographs of what Earth would like in 40 years? I suppose we should get started on one of those research studies to see how we can spout gills to survive.

But the Summer of 2010, seems to have softened my fears a bit. We had a mild summer, with a few days of the Sun bobbing and fresh flowers. I spent all of this summer annoying my family and friends in other countries, mostly in Asia, telling them all about the mist filled mornings and the mild drizzles and the cloudy clouds. I don’t think any of them were too happy with this relentless gloat I had going on, but distance and love can be a great restraining influence, and I was therefore allowed to roam around sans physical injuries. Just before I transcended the levels calling for justifiable physical violence, the sun burst forth in all its fury. In fact, the Sun has taken it upon himself to expend all the summer’s worth of sun in one action packed week.

Just like we would not know how to react if we were to spout gills, some of us don’t really know how to react to this spot of Summer in the Fall. Some people have reacted to it most strangely by asking each other what they thought of Robots wherever they met. I am usually fairly quick on the uptake, but I was clueless – foggy if you know what I mean,  wondering what robots had to do with global warming. Maybe, I’d let a significant scientific study slip through the cracks.

Some others have become stranger still and talk incessantly about Lord Indra. I know he is the King of Gods and all that, but beyond that I am quite helpless.

All of these factors have left me with a sort of dull ache between the eyebrows. If the temperature goes up any more, and the robots become any matier with the Indian King of Gods, I might just do what the thermometer did.

Did you hear about the thermometer that couldn’t take it anymore? It burst.

I am sorry if that sounded like the rottenest thermometer joke in recent times, but it is the effect of a jarring note on a hot day. I was referring to the thermometer up in LA – it simply threw up its hands in despair and burst at 113 F

http://mobile.latimes.com/wap/news/text.jsp?sid=294&nid=23162863&cid=17190&scid=-1&ith=0&title=Local

To all you folks who think I just became cuckoo with the heat, I finally figured out that robots have nothing to do with global warming and global warming has nothing to do with Lord Indra.

The folks are all buzzing about Endhiran, the new Rajinikant movie about Robots released this week. Since, it would be odd for folks to behave madly in the middle of Fall in the Bay Area, I suppose these movie chaps prayed to Lord Indra to tune up the temperature a bit. The passing madness could be attributed to the sun on the bare head, you see?

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=219283&id=690222330

All is well – watch the robots and wait for the gills to spout.