Monday, March 31, 2003
WoW, this new schedule has me getting home at 6:30AM vs. last week's 2AM
Now, I can ride directly to the motorcycle mechanic & get some work finished. Hope I stay awake. Rumor has it that a car-load of our techs just had a terrible road accident. Our India Country Head & HR Manager stopped by a training session I was running tonight, but said nothing to us. Apparently those bosses were in at that late hour to announce the tragedy to others.
Sunday, March 30, 2003
IPO of this Plog on BlogShares.com
Get in now at US$0.03 ;^)
Blog '03: National Panel on Blogging
was held yesterday at Chennai, India's Anna University. I was the keynote speaker & a panelist on "What Makes a Great Blog". With only a day's notice, the presentation was moved to an auditorium with no WWW connectivity. There's no shortage of Indian willpower & browser caching saved the presentation (thanks, PD). I only came to know of a power outage during the event when a moderator mentioned that we were running on gen set with 20 liters of petrol that had been carted on someone's mini scooter.
The Madras Bulls met at Elliot's Beach, Besant Nagar, late as usual. I wouldn't, however, call 7 of 70 members a quorum. Some people had Saturday night plans & had to leave before we finally got under way after 45 minutes. I raised an expense question of our domain name simply being used as a redirect. Duuuuhhh, it's almost like a motorcycle club with a vanity name. That query never got resolved. I left when the meeting fixated on a club speed ride in April when I'll be at my father's 80th b-day. In addition to the club's tardiness & lack of resolve, I notice the unity of club colors (t-shirt) being ignored. There's no Sunday ride today & I suspect a crumbling house of cards.
Friday, March 28, 2003
Added a new gadget last week, BlogShares, still in beta
I see it's since been copied to the Blog o' ZonkBoard & GeoURL. Some say it's sincerest form of flattery towards the lead dogs. Check out the Top Players.
Thursday, March 27, 2003
Got out of work at 4AM, sped home on the motorcycle & just finished laundry at 6AM in anticipation for this morning's iron vandy.
In the pic below, the giant iron is filled with charcoal & the kid might return my nicely pressed clothing by Saturday. If I want them back sooner, I'll go look for him. Each item sets me back US$0.03
FutureFeedForward will be added to the BlogRoll on the left by the time you look there ;^)
I'll enjoy the site as will you (otherwise, submit your better-crafted stories to them). FutureFeedForward's author & staff, monkeys all, will continue to have a canted outlook very similar to someone I hope to remain knowing in the first person.
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Calling all Brainiacs...which web host will it be?
Help me out, become a resource (after all, this is the World Wide Web). I'd like to migrate to Movable Type-powered web logging, they have their requirements, & I think I've narrowed it down to:
34sp.com at US$21 per year for 30GB space & 1GB transfer per month
powweb.com at US$93.24 per year for 500GB space & 30GB transfer per month. Any "dirt" is welcome.
Monday, March 24, 2003
Live from Bagdad, it's the Salam Pax Blog...
whose ISP has come back to life after two days of initial Allied air strikes. Google has kindly mirrored the Blog at http://DearRaed.blogspot.com (for those having difficulty with the underscore between Dear and Raed). The original, working URL remains in my BlogRoll to the left. Notes of interest include confirmation that Bagdad police have lit sooty oil trenches around the city and a non-military Iraqi's opinion that fellow citizens will not be surrendering en masse.
Sunday, March 23, 2003
World Cup Cricket Final was pretty much a bust...
except for having good friends over to watch the broadcast, eat pizza, drink some beer, etc. India won the toss & elected to chase. Undaunted, Australia stepped up to bat & proceeded to set a record 359 runs on 2 wickets. At the lunch break, the pandits grew quiet, many were depressed & distracted (hence the pic below). India's Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar started off with a lousy 4 runs. This is a guy used to hitting Centuries. When it started to rain at 17 Overs (out of 50), many Indians were chanting for a cancellation. I explained the Rain Dance of the Other Indians, i.e. Native Americans. Choreography aside, both the rain & India's hopes ended quickly. Team India managed a respectable 234, but a quick succession of match-ending wickets closed this Cup. Champions (and US$2M richer): Australia.
Saturday, March 22, 2003
I got what I paid for
My US$10 per year domain included 5MB of hosting space & that was perfect since I only wanted somewhere to store web pix. The free BlogSpot hosting only handles my text & I've had my pix disappear several times from free webspace, e.g. xoing.com. As faithful readers know, my pix have also continued to vanish from the current paid webspace. I will NOT be renewing next month with the following family of companies:
They have system issues or make changes & aren't openly honest with the customer. They do not have a Status Server or post current downtime reasons in their KnowledgeBase. They do not respond to FlyServer.com email. I could go on, but I'll save my energy for transferring my business. Any suggestions & success stories would be appreciated. I'm looking for a more robust service to include CGI bin & PHP so I can migrate to Moveable Type. I expect to pay US$5-7 per month.
Friday, March 21, 2003
I've got gas over this petrol price issue & I must let it out
The Brits have since agreed that it's 7 well fires, so that extrapolates to 0.88% of Iraqi oil production. The naysayers talk myopically when they don't reference Iraq in terms of world oil production. Who believes Iraq is big time & influences world pricing? Guess again, brain sturgeons, Iraq is hardly a player in the Mid East arena. Bottom line: Iraq produces 3% of the world's oil. Multiply that by the temporary interruption noted above (0.88%) and you've got a whopping 0.0264% effect on supply & demand. The world should boycott petrol retailers cheating us on that minuscule difference. We don't need Saudia Arabia & Venezuela making up that picayune amount: as global citizens, we could easily conserve that fossil fuel energy. How, you ask? If we ran a light bulb or car engine for an entire year, simply turn them off for 2 hours 20 minutes.
BTW, here's a great study on the world running out of oil. Note that Middle East & Iraqi oil production will pick up, peaking in another 7 years, but it's all downhill from there. Please get your kids off Reality TV & have them work on hydrogen fuel cells. [/rant]
What price to remove a torturous dictator & his sons?
Of the friendly Chennai, India citizens speaking with me, few have little to say on the current Iraqi conflict other than "US President George Bush has caused petrol price increases". I offer that any consumer pump hikes would come from greedy middlemen who defy both Saudia Arabia & Venezuela promising their vast reserves to cover any Iraqi shortages. Additionally, British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon notes that it is an Iraqi President Saddam Hussein plan (and reality) to torch their oil economy and an Allied practice to protect the global resource. Hoon goes on to explain that quick Allied incursion into the southern Iraq peninsula of al-Faw has limited the Iraqi-set fires to 30 of 400 wells or less than 4% of relative production. US estimates of 7 well fires lower that production loss to less than 1%.
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Cricket: India beat Kenya; reach World Cup final (against defending Australia)
India led off with a healthy 270 runs on 4 wickets. Indian captain Saurav Ganguly had his century & the chase was on. Considering Kenya's previous best follow-up was a 214 run production to beat Bangladesh in 98-99, today's meager output of 179 was no surprise. The final is Sunday in South Africa, mi casa es su casa.
On the Iraqi Front, Where Is Raed? and what is he doing?
Answer: BBB, triple B (Bagdad, Blogging and Bending over with his head between his knees). Not only does the link above work, but he's been added to the BlogRoll on the left. Updates less than 12 hours old are noted & moving your cursor over his BlogRoll link indicates the exact time of posting.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
India will not provide logistic support to US
India's leadership has been perfectly consistant: on Monday, they had stated that unlike the 1991 Gulf conflict, U.S. military planes would not be allowed to refuel in India during the current conflict. There's a lot to be said for nationalism, the politics of minding one's own business. Perhaps the U.S. will learn to stay at home, taking care of its own problems, rather than intervening into others. The U.S. would have a full time effort fixing its own borders, employment, health, crops, energy, etc. Other countries can be left to resolve their own issues. Let nature's selectivity take its course. Up for discussion: how fine is the line between a nationalist & an isolationist?
P.S. Iraqi soldiers are surrendering six hours ahead of deadline at the Kuwait border. Considering the attrocities Iraq committed against Kuwait in the 1991 conflict, it's poetic justice that the current Iraqi deserters were turned over to Kuwaiti police. I don't believe police operate under the Geneva Convention ;^)
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Holi: Indian Festival of Colors (and also the Fire Festival)
Celebrated on the full moon of Phalguna (March), mostly in the North of India. Also known as Dol Jatra in Bengal, the holi-day (d'oh) holds several meanings. It marks the end of Winter, the burning of dead branches & leaves, casting the evil effigies (Holika & Pootna) into the eternal fires of the damned. Sometimes the pyromania gets out of control. Holi also marks the beginning of Spring, memories of Krishna frolicking with beautiful gopis (female cow herders). It's a fun time when gulal (colored powder) is smeared on the faces of unsuspecting revellers.
French cognac not doing well in the world market
The BBC was just discussing how sales of the time-honored French brandy have declined 40% over the last several years due mostly to the "Asian financial crisis". One worker on hunger strike against the Martell winery in Cognac, France, complained that his management didn't understand global issues. Gee, go figure. The BBC went on to note that the U.S. was France's second largest cognac consumer, but anti-French sentiment could easily cause additional skidmarks. France is certainly entitled to their less than global strategies, but I suspect they'll soon need to change their soiled panties. Meanwhile, I can unequivocally confirm the fine ports & sherries from our ally Spain. I have good memories of Australia's malted beverages, particularly XXXX.
Sunday, March 16, 2003
Spring Cleaning... as South India's days get warmer (32C/90F).
I have a small living room rug that looked stained & today, I gave it a shower. The beauty of totally tiled Indian bathrooms is that there's no bath tub, just a showerhead. Brilliant: I could spread out, scrub, & rinse half the rug at a time. Its wet weight was probably the hardest part. I dried the rug on my balcony rail in hours. Next, I machine washed the towels I roll at the base of doors to keep out the corsu (skeeters). Lastly, I cleaned all the fan blades. After 2-3 months of slicing thru polluted air, they get a greasy, sooty coating that sometimes flys off onto my clean bedding. When I finish with the fan blades, that sponge gets thrown away.
I also shopped for food today, the 2nd time I've hung grocery bags from my motorcycle mirrors. I wonder why Chennai eggs are ten to a plasticine bag? A year ago, they were packaged as nine. They can't have gotten any smaller. Unlike U.S. eggs that come jumbo, extra large, large, medium, & small; Chennai eggs come one size ;^)
Saturday, March 15, 2003
My father just had a face lift. Hollywood will come calling.
I couldn't resist, hee hee hee. He actually had drooping eyelids corrected. Jeez, I thought they were a distinguished feature for men in our family. Spend enough time in the sun & it catches up with you.
Went to a new Malaysian joint for dinner...
after our Saturday night Bullets meet at the beach & some beers at Harsh's flat. BTW, Harsh has great, older, American CDs. At the restaurant, I thought about having a soup starter, but then I saw the menu listed a "mutton spare parts soup". I instead went straight for the prawns, rice, veggie, pappad (fried crepe) & murtabak (stuffed flat bread). The place was too brightly lit, much like a coffee shop; and for 10PM, they had run out of too many entrees. But I finished my dinner because there are starving kids in ...
Friday, March 14, 2003
"...we are in India and not in the US and here people rely more on trust and virtues rather than contracts and deals"
So says Chennai's Harish Anand Thilakan, a Royal Enfield motorcycle rider, posting in the Madras Bulls Yahoo Group.
I'll translate Harish's Hin-glish (or is it Tam-lish?): he was riding his Royal Enfield & stopped at a signal. An auto-rickshaw, taking tiny school tots home, pulled up next to him. One kid called out "Hey, Royal Enfield" and Harish was filled with what he calls such a blood rush. Harish asked the auto-rickshaw driver for the child's home address, received it AND transfer of the youth. Harish proceeded to give the excited tot a motorcycle ride home, albeit without a helmet for the kid.
I suggested to Harish that his intentions could have been misunderstood, the child & the livelihood of the auto-rickshaw endangered. Harish spouted back with the hackneyed India vs. U.S. rhetoric above. Harish went on to say that he met the parents, explained his appreciation for their child's enthusiasm & encouraged them to invest in a Royal Enfield motorcycle. India: land of trust (blind), virtue (assumed), and gonzo marketing ;^)
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Bruce Springsteen coming to Chennai, India?
Got your attention, didn't the Lord of Linwood? To quote Mike Myers from Wayne's World: "When monkeys fly out my butt." Bangalore, however, India's Silicon Valley, 320km to the west, gets Western talent: Elton John, a few months ago & the Rolling Stones in two weeks. The Pasha of Pavilion is also spot on about my not needing Google to identify Norah Jones' father. I, too, saw/heard the pandit (perhaps 1970 at St. Lawrence University, things are hazy).
Make Love Like A Teen!
So reads the email I received in the midst of my monastic life. Should I be as lucky to fullfil my amorous fantasies, I don't think my partner would appreciate the 30-second wonder of teens, let alone the fumbling & awkwardness. Checking the true headers of the spam [126.96.36.199], I suspect [shanghai-fengxiang-corp] has an open email relay or the Chinese just don't understand long, drawn out pleasure. In the fight against spam, I offer up the admin addys detected by whois to the spambots: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Stupid Hindu URLs change after 24hrs...
one below has been fixed twice. This is why I switched to posting articles from the Indian Express who also did the Madras Bulls coverage on Saturday.
Monday, March 10, 2003
The Hindu, India's National Newspaper, covered the Chennai Bloggers Meet. I've lost 15kg in the last year, but in the article's pic, I still look huge compared to the local blogging crowd. Hell, I got off my bike & had some kids ask me if I was the Undertaker. I proceeded to throw a Sleeper hold on one guy & had the cops eyeballing me ;^)
2nd Annual Chennai Bloggers Meet
Last year's Meet attracted about six literati from the infancy of blogging. Yesterday's gathering at Cozzee's, Besant Nagar beach drew a good twenty. After introductions, we each gave our reasons for blogging, insight to the man behind the curtain. A reporter from one of the dead tree collectives and her photographer rounded out the discussions. Lastly, a few guidelines and topics were bandied about for the upcoming seminar, Blog '03, the Power of Personal Publishing at Anna University on 29 MAR. As the saying goes: "meatspace rules" and we enjoyed seeing the faces behind each other's web sites. Many were young, one was in his prime. Some were university students, one still appreciates the grace & beauty of co-eds. Afterwards, I had a little fried chicken at a beachside joint and an easy ride home on my denuded Bullet.
BTW, when one pulls up to the beach, a collector gets Rs.2 for parking and I just noticed the receipt is for Rs.1. When it came time to leave, I noticed the parking collector had allowed another row of bikes behind the first row in which I was parked. While his business (and profit) may have doubled, it made leaving difficult and I don't like touching any else's bike, any more than I want them touching mine. In the pic below, put the second row directly behind the first and you'll understand.
Sunday, March 09, 2003
Den of Thieves
Years ago, my house was robbed. The perps had broken a window on my back door, gained entry, and done their looting while I was at work. The loss of property was inconsequential compared to the loss of privacy & faith. If you've ever been robbed, you know the feeling: it's personal, you've been raped. The value of mankind has become less (whoops, to be politically correct, I must include womankind). Not only do the thieves earn this stigma, but your supposedly watchful neighbors & police have failed your belief system. I remember reacting such that I only believed in myself. I remember sitting in my darkened house with a gun waiting for the next thief. I remember parking a block away from my house & sneaking up in hopes of catching the next vermin. It took time to calm down. I remember going from the personally armed & dangerous stage to the booby-trapped my house & still dangerous stage.
The thieves are also here in Chennai, India. Regardless of the token security jobs, the shabby uniformed guards at the workplace (Tidel Park), or the sleeping mannekins at my residence (Royal Gardens, a Cebros building), my new motorcycle had its emblems pried off both sides of the fuel tank. A part of India has failed my belief system & the danger returns.
Thursday, March 06, 2003
One benefit of flying thru Amsterdam...
Belgium chocolates, particularly, Guylian Trufflina. And two boxes of 16 fit so nicely into my laptop bag. Of course, I'm careful of my sugar, so these delicious tidbits are purely for medicinal purposes (like when I get home from work at 2AM & can't keep my eyes open). One of these creamy, chocolate flake covered dynamos picks me right up. However, for every benefit, there's a down side: how to choose amongst the milk, dark & white chocolates. Don't take my word for it, read a review.
Wednesday, March 05, 2003
Rick' Ridin' (Indian auto rickshaw, to be exact)
Tomes are already written about these three-wheeled taxis, but I just spent almost two hours in one of these buzzing putt-putts & can't supress the urge to blab (maybe I'm high on two-stroke fumes). I needed to meet someone at 6PM & that is the height of rush hours (note the plural) with Chennai's 6 million population. I was also running short on time & decided against riding my large motorcycle as rick' drivers are masters of traffic weave. All went to plan, timings were perfect, but I must mention the pollution. My eyes were burning. In every passing headlight, I could see a heavy, blue smog injected further with denser clouds from the worst offenders: municipal buses. I could feel my skin getting greasy & noticed a film on my glasses. I've read that a day of city breathing equals a pack of cigs. Would that be an Indian pack of 10 or a regular 20?
Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Local news is more interesting than my life...
tho sad at times. Yesterday, there was a story about a farmer dying of dismay (and heart attack) over master blaster Sachin Tendulkar being put out after 98 runs during Saturday's cricket win. It's a big deal if a player hits the Century (100 runs or more). Another article featured the man who poisoned himself after someone stole his navaratna (nine jewels), Indian planetary gems. Apparently he was quite disappointed in himself for letting someone hold the valuables while he went into a house to get a drink of water. I could go on, but there's more to India than these aberrations.
Sunday, March 02, 2003
Snip, snip. Rub, rub. Ahhhhhhh.
So I went to the boss' hotel for dinner, rang his room & woke him up. He asked for a few minutes to get ready & I headed straight to the barber shop. As always, the cut was great; the massage, even better.
We also did a little shopping, Jeff & Tim buying the kind of stuff one brings back to their family: jewelry, carvings, silks, etc. I bargined for a soft leather fanny pack & then proceeded to get a little soft in the head: I tried on & priced out a US$700 diamond pinky ring. This from a guy who hasn't worn a piece of gold on his fingers since youthful matrimony. It's a beautiful ring, but jeeez, I could fly one-way to the U.S. for that price.
Saturday, March 01, 2003
Super Bowl party...
well, there was bowling involved as India beat Pakistan in World Cup Cricket. Joy was the party master, the host with the most, providing the match on a crystal clear Sony. Musical interlude during commercials was Pink Floyd. Culinary treats included malted beverage by Kingfisher, chicken & sausage hors d'ouvres, and entertainment by Malik. We were honored by the presence of first time U.S. visitor, Paul B, who has been quietly working on the "other" side of the house for the past seven years. A good time was had by all.
I also had a great dinner with the visiting boss, Jeff M. He had another first timer with him, Tim P, a four year veteran from our Syracuse, NY sales office. Tim did his time at St. Lawrence University which makes the fourth company connection to Canton, NY. The night was capped with a great ride home, i.e. the cows & dogs stayed off the road.