Thursday, September 30, 2004
Yet another new diet and perfect for South India
Cherie Calbom, out of London, has written "The Coconut Diet". The deal: add 2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil to a low-carb diet daily and lose 4.5kg in 21 days. DUH!, grease the chute, movement coming ;^)
The author bases her diet on a 1960's study of Pacific Islanders before they were exposed to refined foods. Obviously, Ms. Calbom never heard of The Wild Samoans.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
"DD", Dumpster Diving, not Doordarshan
Back in 1996, public interest litigation on segregation of garbage reached committe in the Supreme Court of India. Findings included best practices in collection, storage, source segregation, transportation, processing, and disposal of waste. [The Hindu]
I've been consistent on my two criticisms of India: pollution and lawless traffic. Much of Chennai is a garbage pit, but as we near the end of 2004, Chief Minister and ex-actress Jayalalithaa is now promoting phased garbage segregation within this city of six million. While the theory is great, I foresee two hurdles:
1. Garbage pickers who will negate the segregation by "diving" the bins
2. Police who enforce little now, let alone a new campaign that will bring new bribes into their pockets.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
A week ago, a woman working in a call center in a building we share was murdered as she left a club here in Chennai, India. As she exited the Hotel President, four male youths "made obscene gestures at her and the latter scolded them." She then left on her scooter and the infuriated perps followed in a car. They shouted at her as they drove down a busy road, hit her with the car, and ran her over.
Police said they were busy overseeing security arrangements for the Vinayaka idol procession. Faithful readers will remember two years ago in Pondicherry when I Plogged about Plaster-of-Paris statues being thrown in the sea. Once the idol immersion ceremony is over in a few days, police said "We hope to secure police custody of the four youths".
Monday, September 27, 2004
Manmohan Singh, PM of India, Salesman
"I am here (New York) certainly to sell India, explain to the rest of the world what India is doing. The rest of the world knows that the bulk of the resources for India's development have always been mobilised domestically and we will continue on those lines..."
Sir! Like the West Indies, you have overlooked one valuable resource that is NOT mobilised domestically: intelligence. Your best minds are going abroad and not returning to India... brain drain.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf at the UN
was quoted by CNN as saying he was "reasonably sure that Osama bin Laden was still alive".
** rumored remainder of quote that was omitted **
"...but then, maybe not. After Dubya sent those Hellfire chicken wings over to our hotel room, Osama has not come out of the loo."
Friday, September 24, 2004
You say "po tay to", I say "po tat to"
The hotel pub scene here in conservative Chennai has been getting some critical exposure. The local Hindu newspaper describes it as:
"Spaghetti-sporting 16 and 17 year-old girls ... with their 19 year-old boyfriends at a pub known for its teen crowd patronage on Saturday nights. Sometimes the girls drink so much that they end up doing things that they are ashamed of telling their parents."
City police describe it as:
"Issuing Public Resort (PR) Licenses whereby nine hotels could organize cultural programmes past midnight that won't include indecent behavior or vulgar dancing."
This often visiting foreigner would like to know what the Hell is "spaghetti-sporting" in a late night "cultural programme"? Do these young Nubians get a buzz on and head to the dance floor with handfuls of pasta? Do they gyrate and writhe in the midst of a spaghetti-slinging bacchanal? Sounds kinky, I need photos ;^)
Saturday, September 18, 2004
From the mouths of babes...
In his Sunday sermon, the preacher used "Forgive your Enemies" as his subject. After a long sermon he asked how many were willing to forgive their enemies. About half held up their hands. Not satisfied, he preached for another twenty minutes and then repeated his question.. This time he received a response of about 80%. Still not satisfied, he lectured for another 15 minutes and repeated his question. With all thoughts now on Sunday dinner, all responded except one elderly lady in the rear. "Mrs. Jones, why are you not willing to forgive your enemies?" "I don't have any," replied Mrs. Jones. The preacher stated, "Mrs. Jones, that is very unusual. How old are you?" "Ninety-three," proudly stated Mrs. Jones. Pleased with her mild manner the preacher commented, "Mrs. Jones, please come down in front and tell the congregation how a person can live to be 93 and not have an enemy in the world." The little sweetheart of a lady tottered down the aisle, slowly turned around, and said, "I outlived all them bitches!"
** tip of the hat to Laura & Jack **
Friday, September 17, 2004
The power of cinema
Just to the north of Chennai is the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. There, Transport Minister Reddy watched a short film on motorcycle safety presented by the Police Commisioner. As a result, a compulsory helmet law will be enforced beginning 03 NOV in the twin cities making up Hyderabad. The cities of Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam will follow suit shortly afterward. The plan has the support of Chief Minister Reddy.
Here in Chennai, state of Tamil Nadu, we're governed by Chief Minister Jayalaitha aka "Amma" who's an ex-film star. Maybe she needs to watch a current film that will protect the noggins of our motorcyclists and voters. Maybe this is a good time for the Madras Bulls to approach our Police Commisioner regarding the same helmet laws.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
"It's not like that, sir"
I hear that all the time in India, but "yes, it is like that". In the 9th floor canteen, at best, there's one community glass per table. When there's no glass, you hold the pitcher above your face and aim. Often there's just an empty pitcher. Most everyone eats with their hands and I can't remember the last time the tables were wiped. I recently asked the canteen proprietor: "Do you really call yourself a caterer?" He didn't understand me.
Below is our 2kg cake from last graduation. It must have been too large for 31 students because I saw awful large handfuls being smeared in each others' faces.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
You asked, I delivered...
Mark also looks like a chef. His Chia Pet haircut has grown out ;^)
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
A timely pic...
Kribs takes a humanistic look at an Indian bin picker. While I appreciate Kribs' kind heart, the next day I caught a darker side of these polluting pickers, exactly as I saw last year.
The City of Chennai, India has wonderful streetcleaners that come out every night and makeover what six million environmentally unconscious fools have wasted during the day. Amongst others, I'm writing about my co-workers who don't hesitate to throw a paper tea cup or cigarette butt to the ground. That daytime dilema also includes the pickers who empty the wastebins onto the street, recover what they value, and leave the rest behind to blow in the wind. BTW, this is right across from our corporate guesthouse and within 100 meters of the 5-star Park Sheraton hotel.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
WoW, I got a Sunday off ...
but then, the Training Manageress who has previously waited until Saturday morning to email a Sunday meeting notice was sick in the hospital from exhaustion. Good thing she doesn't teach the classes Monday thru Saturday, she'd be comatose.
When our Anti-Virus training class "graduated" on Saturday afternoon, I bought a nice cake for the 31 students. There was the ubiquitous Indian practice of smearing the cake in the teacher's (and each others) faces. I was picking greasy icing out of my ears and hair into the evening.
I recently learned that the top 5 of the 31 students will not answer the HelpDesk phones, but instead join "Quality", which usually means "monitoring" others who have lesser talent. The remaining 26 go "live" today and I sure hope the Operations Center decided to publish their schedules sometime Saturday night or early Sunday. And it would be really cool if the graduates received their System Logins, etc. Reminds me of "JIT", Just In Time manufacturing.
The 31 students sat at 26 training stations where 20% of the PCs often had issues. I had suggested a sub-net for the training room where we could daily push disk images of required training software. Instead, network admins were called into the start of every class for 1-2 hours. In the last week, we received a Ghosting diskette and were told to re-load the problem systems ourselves, but the software was lacking permissions.
Here's a pic of a couple girls having to sit in the same chair, using the same PC while they take an exam. Do you think their answers were similar? The other pic shows the teacher's desk, secure exam locker and projector workstation.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Chennai Blog Mafia
From an impromptu beach meeting two Sundays past. Old faces, new faces, and the usual horde of beggars.
(left to right: Vijay who quit Blogging, Nirenjan aka Nirenjan's Space, Frank aka Prince Roy, Chandru aka Ravages akaSelective Amnesia, Anand aka Mdeii Life, and Subramanian aka Lazy Geek)
Friday, September 03, 2004
New York City's Consulate General of India
I needed to renew my India Visa, so I spent a day in Gotham. The Consulate is on posh East 64th, across from Central Park Zoo. I was amused by the monkeys.
The building itself is classic: "The Beaux Arts street façade is constructed of Indiana Limestone with a mansard roof of blue slate. The design is in the manner of Percier and Fontains who revived the French Renaissance style of Harduin Mansart. One of the most engaging features of the house is the upper storey attic window, which are circular. Rustication, carving and a balcony emphasize the central door of the 5 bay façade." Visa Services, however, are in the basement and with the long lines, I thought the proximity to Hell was appropriate. I must give credit to the non-Indian doorman handing out (and managing) queue numbers. You don't often see line discipline in India.
Complementing "New India House" was a Bentley I'll assume belonging to the Consul General. I wonder what Gandhi would think of this $285,000 car?
My attention was then caught by a curbside tree just beyond the Consulate. It's so contrary to how dogs, cows and humans relieve themselves in India.