Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Back in the saddle, again
I returned to India on Monday faced with laundry, shopping, etc. Ft. Myers, Florida, was pretty typical Florida & just about anybody can describe it. My return thru Amsterdam was my first in SpringTime & I challenge readers to guess my latest Adventure (use the "Give Me Some Dirt" comment feature below to renew our one-sided dialog). My digital camera is working poorly, but I bought a disposable in Amsterdam & will soon be sharing a whole roll of Adventure ;^)
Sunday, April 20, 2003
Sahastrachandra darshan (seen a thousand moons)
Get out your calculator, convert 1000 Full Moons & see if you come up with a Hindu version of honoring an 80th birthday. I'm off to see the father of YardBoy, to help him celebrate. As they often say in India: it is my duty. Actually, it's my pleasure. All the brothers, most significant others & children will be there to honor him. The whole gene pool: scary ;^)
Friday, April 18, 2003
Welcome to Taster's Choice (BlogRolled on the left)
It's author, PradeepKumar, is in America's heartland: University of Missouri at Rolla. Hopefully he'll post about the dorm parties like the one below. Yee Haw ;^)
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Dr. Atkins dies, aged 72
His pic is in the dictionary next to "irony".
Apparently my Archives weren't working...
Only one man, Harsh, stepped up. The rest of you newbies punked out by not telling me. Jeez, why would I be checking the Archives of stuff I wrote? And what do you expect for free (BlogSpot)?
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
A real YES man by Jim Caple, ESPN Page 2 columnist
I laughed my keester off. Caple should win an award for this one. Praise Steinbrenner, infidels ;^)
I got pulled over by a cop...
Regardless of language barrier, it became clear that he didn't like the color of my license plate. This doesn't surprise me because I know a guy who got pulled over for having a "dirty bike". The point is not the offence, but the Rs. 50 fine on the spot. Imagine my surprise (not) when the cop asked me for Rs. 250, five times the going rate. I was polite, claiming my ignorance, but also asked him if I would be getting a receipt with his name & badge number. He hemmed & hawed, asking to review my photocopied vehicle papers. He had difficulty understanding the International Driver's License. When the fumbling ended, he declined to proceed with charging my crime. As I was starting my bike, putting on my signal, he looked at me imploringly: "Saar, I gave no ticket". I gave Rs. 50 ;^)
Monday, April 14, 2003
Today was the Tamil New Year & a little fun...
I met some fellow Bullet riders at the beach (Besant Nagar) where we had a 9AM breakfast: pongal (rice flour made into a mashed potato consistancy with cashews). It's served with sides of sambar (spicy gravy) & coconut chutney. While the mush is always a little heavy in the stomach, the thump of a Bullet ride kept me alert. As we were exiting the city, heading for the temple town of Mahabs 50km to the South, I noticed lots of people heading into temples on this auspicious day. Many were carrying the stalk of a banana plant & sporting a new garment. Quickly, we were onto the area's premier highway, East Coast Road (ECR) where we could average 80kph. At Mahabs, I had some excellent grilled sora (shark) washed down with "The King of Good Times", Kingfisher beer. On the way back to Chennai later that afternoon, I saw 5 or 6 sulkies racing. Normally, this wouldn't surprise me, but it was right down the middle of ECR, along with the regular, homicidal traffic. And this wasn't just some short sprint. The rustic carts were stretched out over a kilometer & surrounded by well-wishers in vehicles, all weaving en masse at 45-50kph. Did I mention that the race horses were in fact, pygmy ponies?
Sunday, April 13, 2003
The boss is out of town
I had hoped to hook up yesterday evening, but it didn't work out. Instead, after doing laundry, I got to bed at a reasonable hour & back up at 7AM in hopes of reversing my circadian cycle. It was nice to see the sun & have a fresh pot of good South Indian filter coffee (Leo's). I've just finished all the mopping & brushing the rug clean. It's time to hop on the motorcycle for a little grocery shopping (I bungee a tote bag onto the pillion seat). I hope to swing by Apollo Neuro Hospital to see how some employees are doing. As mentioned last week, they were motoring home from Tirumala temple & pulled out to pass, meeting a lorry head on. Nasty.
Friday, April 11, 2003
Let's Do the Time Warp Again...
For you RHPS freaks, my 7PM-5AM schedule is about to flip to 7:30AM-5:30PM. I have the long weekend to get ready. After less than a week, I'll head to my father's 80th b-day in the U.S. which is 9 1/2 hours difference. A week later, I'll be back in India, readjusting another 9 1/2 hours. It's a jump to the left & step to the right, but do so lightly & quietly.
"Long weekend"? Fish-eaters have Easter, we have Tamil New Year. I wonder if our Tamil friend Suresh back in Rochester, NY will celebrate? Break out the fruits & sweets ;^)
Thursday, April 10, 2003
The Boss is in town... (not Bruce Springsteen)
Tonight, I got to catch up with what's happening in our U.S. business AND had a great dinner at Chennai, India's 5-star Park Sheraton hotel near my flat. The only drawback with not meeting him at his regular hotel is that I didn't get my usual haircut/massage. Some entrepreneur in the U.S. really needs to incorporate head massages after haircuts.
As I pulled over to the road-side chai wallah (tea vendor) at 5:30AM, a herd of water buffalo were walking down the middle of the road. That's not so surprising in this city of 6 million, but I noticed the feral dogs were having great fun with a half-hearted bark. It was like a canine yawn, I think the mutts were just waking up. They didn't get too close, they didn't chase, the buffalo didn't seem bothered. It's not a bad life: Chennai bovines & dogs can go where they want, do what they want ;^)
Beautiful sunrise over the Eastern coast of Chennai, India...
As I kicked the Enfield to life at 5:30AM, there were more clouds than usual. No, it wasn't about to rain; that last happened in December. The clouds did help the reddish colors streak across the sky as I headed home with a throaty staccato.
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
I'd like to thank U.S. politicians for making my life more difficult...
Who has the steely courage to legislate the end of Daylight Saving Time? Who has the moral fortitude to do the right thing? Who has the eagle's vision to recognize that few American children work in the fields anymore, let alone have the desire to extend their outside, sunny hours (MTV & AIM rule). Daylight Saving Time is simply an U.S. capitalist plot to screw up Indian business who doesn't observe. This American assault does nothing more than confuse an entire employee transportation system. The payback, however, is that it's the Americans who don't get their service calls answered when an entire Call Center is tardy ;^)
Sunday, April 06, 2003
U.S. Army M-88 & Ford F-450 provide platform for innovative NBC productions of moving Iraqi frontline video
The tank recovery vehicle is mounted with a gyrostabilized camera. Maritime Telecommunications Network outfitted the truck with a stabilized VSAT antenna & soft Goodyear tires that travel nicely through sand. Linking between the two vehicles, the video signal stays locked on its satellite-based communications transponder. For readers having high bandwidth (DSL or cable Internet), here's a Link to an 11MB video of the systems. BTW, videophone reporting runs US$7.50 per minute while this specially equiped truck is "less than a million". PPS: the truck was delivered "target white" & had to be re-painted "camo sand".
Saturday, April 05, 2003
I'm now the proud parent of a brand new...
boy Blog. Check the BlogTree icon to the left and welcome Abhi nahin to kabhi? (If not today, when?)
Saturday was a long day. After getting home from work at 6:45AM, I tried to stay awake for the iron vandy (clothes ironing) who's supposed to arrive at 9:30AM. Sadly, he was a no-show for the second day in a row. I consequently opted to head for the motorcycle mechanic because I was pretty sure there were no bandhs (strikes), festivals, holidays, or other excuses not to work. I rode in a tank top & got some rare sun. I got home at Noon with a purring motorcycle & pink arms. The iron vandy was still absent, so I finally went to bed after a 21 hour day. Around 7PM, I joined friends Charmain & Vernon for our usual weekend restaurant trek. We stopped to pick up another friend Harsh (who has a nice flat, cold beer & an interesting Nepalese man servent). We continued on to "Banana Leaf", in central Adyar (close to our Tidel Park offices), where we sampled some quick & delicious Chettinad (South Indian) styles of chicken, mutton, & shark. All this was mopped up with dosa & paratha (different breads). I hadn't eaten all day & really enjoyed the spiciness. I was crashing hard by 2AM.
Friday, April 04, 2003
From the HomeOffice in Rochester, NY...
Steve P. letting us know where he stands ;^)
Thursday, April 03, 2003
Following up on yesterday's Plog, the black gunk from the water tank cleaning seems to have affected my geyser (pronounced gee-zer)
In the U.S., a geezer is an eccentric old person & a geyser is a spouting hot spring, but in India, a geyser is my 240 volt hot water heater which is small, "instant" & attached high on the bathroom wall. Now when I flip the geyser switch, sparks fly across the bathroom before tripping the main circuit breaker. The timing of water supply gunk & geyser failure is suspicious. Perhaps the heater coils or exchangers are clogged, leading to burn-out. BTW, if you're a dedicated reader of this Plog, you'll hopefully remember that an Indian bathroom floor is the shower floor in its entirety. Imagine the excitement of standing naked, flipping the switch, & getting fireworks ;^)
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
This will probably read like a Personals Ad from an American newspaper
"SWM, US, Bullet rider, 52, domesticated, gainfully employed, entertaining, ISO ...". The first point is that I enjoy doing a good job on laundry. When I got home at 6:30AM, I started a load of clothes & was alarmed by beeps/codes on the washing machine's LCD. I opened the tub to find my white shirts & towels streaked with BLACK gunk. The inlet valves to the tub were clogged shut. I went outside to find the Ceebros building manager who has been described in previous Plogs as "should not be allowed to breed". As happened several times before, the source of the slime was the cleaning of the building's water tanks & once again, the property manager neglected to warn or prepare me. Like a repetitive myna bird, he cawed that another wash should save the shirt. Duuuuh, the second point is that I'm employed & working late. I really don't have time to scrub & wash a shirt several times.
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Chennai traffic is quite light at 7:30AM. Many businesses don't spin up until 9-9:30AM
Traffic was so relatively easy, I made the 5km to the mechanic's shop in about 30 minutes. A neighboring chai walla (tea maker) indicated the garage would be open in another hour (9AM). After waiting 1 1/2 hours, I learned that there was a bandh happening. Who remembers a bandh from earlier posts? Hint: they happen quite often in India & other labor intensive markets. Answer (tho you could have done a search by now): a bandh is a strike. Apparently "tradesmen" (but not tea vendors) are relaxing for the next two days in protest of some tax issue. Me: I'm finally home for some sleep after 23 hours.