December 31, 2007

My dream machine...

..Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic. I wouldn't say no to Road Glide either. In fact I wouldn't say no to any bike from Touring Family of Harley Davidson. Is any one getting any hint or do I need to be explicit? Okay, I am not taking any chance when it comes to Harley:

(This photo is by a friend who doesn't like her name in print.)

December 27, 2007

Yosemite Valley National Park... a must see for anyone visiting California. Why, you ask. Have a look:

This is Half Dome at Yosemite Valley National Park

December 24, 2007


"Back in London, we have a Tube every two minutes. Me and my friends complain when we have to wait for 7 minutes for a train".
Millbrae station at 9 PM. The next train was at 10:24 PM.

"You can drive on the wrong side of the road?"
Its the RIGHT side of the road, in all the sense what-so-ever.

"I can't see any pedestrians on the road!"
Welcome to US!

"There are so many people in the camera section of this store. Back in London, no one knows about the electronic stuff."
Circuit city store. Weekend before Christmas. And yes, an average American is a "Gadget-freak". They want to have all the latest piece of equipment even if they don't know how to use it.

"She knows about Panaromic view in a camera?"
We were trying to capture Christmas Decoration at a mall when the attendant asked us whether we are going for the panaromic view. And almost all the cameras now-a-days (at least all the Canons) have panaromic option.

"People in Europe are extremely health conscious."
We have a bimodal distribution (consisting of two peaks or in lay man language, the people can be broadly divided in two categories) here: Extremely Health conscious and Extremely Taste Conscious.

"Come to London, I will show you better decorations."
I was pointing to the Christmas decoration in a local mall. My mistake, I agree.

"Wow, its beautiful out here. Just like Highlands in Scotland."
Finally, one compliment. I have given up. I know nothing here can be better than UK so I am satisfied to be at least as good as them in some respect. (BTW, the compliment was given when we were in the wine country).

"You have become an American."
And you, my friend, have become a Londoner.

P.S.: 1. No offense meant to the Londoners or the Americans here. Its just two friends catching up after 4 years. I apologize in advance if I hurt someone's feeling in the process.

2. A side effect of being with a Londoner: Politeness. It means I apologize quiet a lot these days. Forgive me, if that distresses you. :)

December 19, 2007

Chaos... the latest stage of my mind. I just went through 40 Hindi sentences, translated them to English and identified the subject,object, verb, tenses and all that crap in them (in Hindi sentences). I have been listening to Telugu song and refreshing my Tamil (konjam-konjam Tamil that I know). So my mind is in complete chaos. It seems like all the languages (and their grammars) are fighting inside my head. I am not sure if I am making any sense right now. I am completely confused and lost.

And to top it of, we (me and my visiting friend) were chased by my friend and her mom. They wanted to pay us for the hours we put in, it seems. As if its not my farz to help someone trying to learn my language. They literally chased us till our car with the envelop in their hand. That was a first for me. To be chased away by the money! Not that I chase money but I was never chased away by it either. I hope I haven't angered Laxmi devi. I don't want to loose the little money I have (remember: I am a PIGS (Poor International Grad Student)!

P.S.: Please pardon my grammar and spellings(if they are wrong)...I told you my mind is in CHAOS.

Health is terrified!

Yesterday, we were helping a friend translate few Hindi sentences to English as part of her assignment (She is learning Hindi). We came across the sentence:

"Meri Tabiyat Bahut Ghabra Rahi Hain. "

She started the translation by writing the literal meaning of the words as:

Meri: Mine
Tabiyat: Health
Bahut: Very
Ghabra: Terrified
Rahi Hain: Is

So it actually summed up to: "My health is very terrified." instead of "I am feeling nauseated." Don't you just love the language translations?

I am back!

The internet is working! Yay, to G3! I will be writing normally from now on...

December 18, 2007

Photo Time

I know, I know. I am very very sorry but the internet connection is not working at home..still. Right now I am borrowing someone else's internet (well we didn't exactly ask for permission though..its an unsecured internet connection) to post this too. We are still working on the problem. Meanwhile enjoy this picture we took yesterday on the street. You got it, it was raining and slightly windy. Hence the results.

Oh yeah, have you heard the song Jill Jill Jinga? Well for people with no clue, its a Telugu song. I don't know Telugu either. Trust me you don't need to know Telugu to understand this song. Just know that you add an "u" in end to make Telugu words like "Waiting" becomes "Waitingu" or "Chatting" becomes "Chattingu". Nice song. My friend (from London) got me addicted to this one. (If you want to read the lyrics, here it is).

December 16, 2007

London se aaya mera yaar..

A friend of mine is visiting from London and the internet connection at home is down so again, a slower blogging for few days I think. My friend is from IT and she isn't going to rest till the internet connection at home is fixed (I think the internet connection knew that she is coming, somehow). So I think I will back in no time. Till then, ciao...

December 14, 2007

Bumper Stickers

More accurately, Virtual Bumper stickers..its an application in facebook that I just added. And here are the bumper stickers from the application:


(Image from a lot of sites including:this, this, this and this.)

December 13, 2007


Redundancy is rule of life and part of our daily language. You don't trust me? Tell me that you don't use these phrases:

- Intermediate between: if its intermediate, it automatically means its between two things. you don't have to say it twice.

- Revert back: you revert to or go back to and not revert back to. If you revert back to something yo will end up in completely different direction.

- Plan ahead: well if you are planning, it will be in advance. Thats why its called planning!

- Advance reservations: Again reservations are always made in advance and not on the spot.

- Advance warning: imagine giving the warning after the event has happened.

- Armed gunman: well if he is a gunman, he automatically has a gun and hence is armed, for crying out loud.

- Baby boy was born: I know, you don't see anything wrong with this, do you? How about if I say baby is redundant? Who can born but a baby?

- Free gift: Gifts are supposed to be free, signor.

- Frozen ice: As opposed to boiling ice?

- Commute back and forth: When you commute, you do go back and forth.

- Unexpected surprise: Is there something like expected surprise?

- Regular routine:So whats your irregular routine?

- Difficult dilemma: Dilemmas are always difficult, trust me.

- Green in color: As opposed to Green in taste or Green in smell?

- Poisonous venom: Oh please, snake that bit me had non-poisonous venom. :)

- Reason is because: you are an idiot?

- Pair of twins: means four people, i.e., two sets of twins.

- Autobiography of my life: as opposed to autobiography of someone else's life?

- at 12 noon: At noon means at 1200 hours. It can't be at 1100 hrs or 1300hrs, can it?

December 12, 2007

Amitabh's magic

Okay here is a story. Once I was going somewhere through a jungle and I had an encounter with a lion. The lion ate me up. The end.

Yep, thats the whole story and it happens to be my favorite story. Only difference, Amitabh sang and acted it out in an unforgettable way. I never pondered about the actual story before today. I was always so wrapped up in the whole song that I never thought about how pongi (stupid) the actual story is. But thats magic of Amitabh, isn't it?

December 11, 2007

I simply can't...

..walk in high heels. Today I had a poster presentation at a conference. So to complete the "professional" look, I went ahead and put on high heel shoes. BIG mistake. My feet kept crying "HELP. TORTURE. " the whole day and I can't put them on the ground anymore.

Result: I actually have a new respect for all those fashion-conscious girls around the world who undergo this torture willingly. My salute to everyone who can wear and walk around in high heels. I simply can't.

December 10, 2007

I just don't get...

...people who wear shorts/T-shirt in winters and then complain about the cold. They will bundle in front of the heater/radiator and keep on about how cold and chilly its out there. If you feel cold, wear more clothes. Its that simple.

I know few people may have problem being all covered, all the time but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. Just stop whining.

December 9, 2007

Cloud Nine

Lately, I have been getting a lot of compliments for my photographic skills. Most recent being,
"You should sell your shots of Stanford Campus to the Stanford students and alumni".

Okay people, I am on cloud nine. Does anyone know the route back to the Earth? I am seriously scared of heights. I will send you this picture for free (I told you, I am on cloud nine), if you help me out. That is, if you like it. But either way: HELP.

Old and Young

Just read:
"That's the duty of the old to be anxious on behalf of the young. And the duty of the young is to scorn the anxiety of the old." --Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass.

And people in middle get to do both, don't we?

Color Blindness

Nope, I am not giving a lecture on Color-blindness. If you want to read about color-blindness, then this article is for you. All I want to tell is that Color-blinds don't see the world in B&W.

Our eyes are like the color computer monitors or color TV (Actually its the other way round, they took inspiration form human eye system). It has three nodes to give the entire spectrum of colors. You might have heard some where or the other about the RGB (Red, Green Blue) nodes. Thats what we have in our eyes too, which help us define the entire color spectrum.

The simplest way to explain color-blindness: Remember, when your color TV got old, one or the node stopped working so that you had a greenish hue or reddish hue over everything. There were certain colors that didn't appear right. Thats how color blind people see the world depending upon which color node is defective (I think. I am not an expert on the subject so thats the best I can come up with) . The most common ones are red and green blindness. Blue color node usually work for most people (only one in 10,000 people has blue cone/node defective). Anyway, here is how different color-blind people see the rainbow.

(Image from J-Fly site)

Just FYI..

December 8, 2007

Color-blind friendly

Out of 250 people in a room, most probably 10 will be color-blinded. If you want to make color-blind friendly presentation/posters try out this link (its actually a ppt file (9.3 MB) that you would need to open/download). And if you are looking for creating an effective poster, check out this link.

The Golden Compass

Great, now I need to read the book. Urghh, how much I hate movies based on books, especially if they are part of a series!

Update: Got the whole series. Now I just have to wait till Tuesday to start the first book. Or may be I can sleep half an hour less and get started on it tonight. My mind is playing non-stoppable record of: "Can't. Wait... Must. Read. Now... Can't. Wait...Must. Read. Now."

December 7, 2007


A brief 10 minutes break before I start working again. I have no ideas about what I can write in 10 minutes. So here are few things going on my desk right now:

- papers and papers and papers everywhere. It takes approximately 2 minutes to find the right document

- The applications running on my computer: 8 presentations, 6 word documents, Adobe Illustrator, Windows explorer, Mozilla Firefox (obviously) with 8 tabs and a calculator

- An open bottle of coke and an open bottle of water. Oh yes, papers and papers and papers everywhere. Dangerous combination, no?

- iPod attached to the speakers singing, "Humne Sanam Ko Khat Likha". Papers again..

- On the cover of shelf overhead, a small piece of paper attached by scotch tape telling me the colors I can use for my poster so that the poster is color-blind friendly. My advisor is color-blind. Well he don't ask us to us those colors but obviously you want your advisor to be able to read your poster at least. Though while trying to find those colors, I found out that color-blindness is far more common than we think. Out of 250 people, 10 are color-blind. I think its a good practice to make the presentations color-blind friendly.

And my 10 minutes are up. I am sorry for this disarranged, random post. But its better than nothing, no?

P.S.: I am going for movies tonight, so I have to finish up before that. The movie is: The Golden Compass. After all, a girl deserves some entertainment, I was in the office till 12 midnight last night and was back in the office at 10 in the morning.

December 6, 2007

Stanford Blog Directory

I am a registered Stanford Blogger now. But I don't think the definition apply to me. True I am a Stanford student and I blog but I am not a technical blogger like all these guys here. I am a total misfit. I always said that Admission Committee has made a blunder by offering admission to me. There must have been some kind of mix up. Though this feeling of being a misfit did subside a bit after I passed my Quals (Qualifying exams/proposal for Ph.D.) but here it is again.

Somehow my friends never believes me when I say I am a misfit. For them I am just being whiny. They have more trust in my capabilities than I do, which makes it scarier. I wish I had as much faith in myself..

Anyway, I am off to make the poster for an upcoming conference....

December 5, 2007

Murder, Once Removed

This is an article from yesterday's paper. Its a part of occasional series published by NYT that examine commonplace aspects of the American justice system that are actually unique in the world (if you got that, 'BRAVO'. If not, its a series, period.). This one is about a guy who lent his car to a friend. This friend ends up killing someone. The owner of the car is in jail because he lent the car even though he didn't have any idea about his friend's intention and wasn't present at the crime scene.

Next time I lend my car to anyone, I am going to have them sign an affidavit that if they end up killing someone while driving/in possession of my car, I can't be held responsible. Anyone knows a good and cheap lawyer in the bay area?


Bush says, "Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous, and Iran will be dangerous, if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon", after the intelligence reported that Iran halted a covert program to develop nuclear weapons four years ago.

I say, "Let's put a financial sanctions on all the countries who have knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. The biggest sanction should be on US, as its the only country who has ever used a nuclear weapon on another country. Or are we putting sanction only on Islamic countries? Then let's put it on some other Islamic countries with technical know-how, like, I don't know, Pakistan."

Honestly, I respect the way the administration has owned up to this blunder instead of suppressing it like most of the other countries would have done. Hats off to Bush for admitting to the facts that led to this diplomatic nightmare but when will Mr. President accept it and be a bigger man and apologize?

December 4, 2007


Why does the basics of work related to/used in your research becomes clearer a day before you need to give a presentation? I could have avoided so many mistakes if I knew all that before. Not that I didn't read all these papers before (100s of time, I might add) but unless I need to explain it in front of an audience, it just doesn't settle in. All of a sudden all the ideas/mistakes rush in and I want to go back to my work but can't because of this stupid presentation. Oh, the dilemma!

P.S.: You can tell by my current topics of discussion, I am too much into my work at the moment. In case you don't like it, don't worry. It won't last long. I am, after all, Grad student. The motivation graph doesn't stay up for long.

December 3, 2007


Yesterday I learned a new acronym:
PIGS = Poor International Graduate Student

The acronym is specially suitable as the aforementioned species is usually seen pigging out at free food events.

Forwarded mails

My cousin just posted this on the Orkut.
I lost my brand new Natraj HB pencil with a rubber attached. The pencil costs Rs.3/. the orkut people have come forward to bail me out. If u forward this msg to one person I will get one paisa from orkut. If you have heart and want to help a poor child in need, plz fwd it to at least 10 friends. Please don't neglect. Otherwise my mom will scold me. If you forward it then your life will change for ever (u will get one pack of sketch pens and an apsara non-dust eraser within 3 days). Do NOT delete this message otherwise Greek gods will get angry with you and your life will be pencil-less forever. Good Luck will come to you for wasting time & forwarding this nonsense message. May God bless you. Reply to me is a must.

I don't know what is worse: getting the same message from 20 different people or getting excited to see the name of your close friend in your mailbox after a long time and discovering a stupid message like this when you open up.

December 1, 2007

Big Game

Today is big game at Stanford, Stanford Cardinals versus California Bears. Its American Football. Everything is going crazy around the campus. The big banners of "Beat Cal" can be seen everywhere. The fountains are modified so that color of the water is red (its pink actually, but I am not going to argue). Yesterday a friend told me that Hoover has turned red and I actually imagined this magnificent tower has actually been painted red, top to bottom. Thankfully that wasn't the case. They just turned the color of fountain water in front of it to red (pink, no I am still not arguing). But the amount of excitement in the air made me believe that they can actually do that too. I haven't seen so many people walking/biking around campus on a Saturday. Usually the tourists with cameras of different shapes and sizes are found here on weekends/holidays.

All this excitement makes me wonder, why do people get excited for watching a game? They don't get to play it. They are sidelined behind the fences and made to watch other people enjoying/playing. Most of the spectators don't even play the game in the real life. Its more like, "Hey, I love cricket but I don't play it. I like to watch other people playing it." It doesn't make sense to me but then I am a confirmed weirdo.

Once someone argued back by making comparison between arts and sports. Not all the spectators can make masterpieces but they like to see and appreciate the masterpieces. May be she is right. But somehow I enjoy playing more than watching (though choice of sports is important too, American Football is better with other people playing it)...but then again I am a confirmed weirdo who gets stuck with images of red tower and pink water. Not arguing...

P.S.: I am too busy to take pictures at the moment. I have taken a few shots though. I didn't get time to download them into the computer. Will post them whenever I have time...

Update: Surprisingly, We Actually Won.