June 28, 2008

System Crash...

Ok, I have officially crossed the boundary between exhaustion (which has been my usual state of existence for past six months). I entered the realm of being fatigued some time this week though realized just now.

I drove 5 hours last night to Bay area (my home) and already attended today's Karate class. I still have to go to bank, get something to eat, sort out few documents I need back there and then sleep. I don't think I will be able to write any post for next 2-3 days. I NEED to rest, so thats what I am going to do in any spare time I can afford. Until then Sayonara...

June 26, 2008

Spoiled American..

...thats how I drove yesterday. Ok I need to start from the beginning and give you the whole picture.

I don't have an AC in my car as you don't need it in Bay Area. The summer lasts for a month or so there and its not too bad. Maximum temperatures would be in order of 35 C but those are the hottest days. Here, on the contrary, 35 C is one of the coolest day. Temperatures are usually between 35 C and 40 C (well thst what had been so far). People have been telling me that summer hasn't started yet. The worst is yet to come. Temperatures will rise above 40 C to upto 47 C. July and August are supposed to be the hottest months. So I figured, if I want to go back to Stanford alive, I would need an AC in my car. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, the public transport system here- not so good. My Londoner friend was complaining about public transport in Bay area...she should see this area. I have seen bus stops here but no buses so far. My guess is that they do have some sort of bus system here but frequency or connectivity isn't as good as in Bay area. Anyway, so the consequence is that I am getting my car AC fixed. Can't drive without it and have to drive on daily basis here. Its costing me a lot but then you have got to do what you have got to do.

Ok, now coming to the point of the post, finally. So yesterday morning I gave my car for repair (haven't got it back yet) and then I had to drive back to work so I rented a car. At Enterprise (Renting company) I asked for the smallest and cheapest car available. But they only had a Ford Escape available. Now as I have often reiteriated, I hate to drive. I never drove such a big thing in my life. To compliment it, I was in a new plcae where I don't know the routes yet. And the average speed limits on the roads here is 50 mph (~80 Kmph) while people usually drive at 60 mph (~96 Kmph). I was pretty nervous when I started driving but once my mind got used to dimensions of the car, it was pretty cool. I didn't feel any of those bumps on which my poor 93 Toyota Corolla starts performing gymnastic tricks. And later in evening when it actually cooled off, I thought about being a good person and switch off the AC and roll down the wiindows instead. That lasted 5 mins. Honestly yesterday I drove like a spoiled American whom I usually despise. I was driving a truck. I was the only passenger. I switched on the AC to the max and kept it so the entire time. I drove like that for approximately 60-70 miles. Guess I pampered myself yesterday... Hopefully I will get my car tomorrow and I will be back to being me again!

June 25, 2008

Project Snapshot #49 and #50: Golden Jubilee

Yay! Its been 50 shots since I started Project snapshot. Hopefully it will keep going for at least the whole year. Anyway, so last two shots are here.

Ok the first one is from my mentor's (for internship) colony. I am planning to car pool with her to office. Anyway, she told me that the directions to her home is very simple. You reach at this street which is the gate of this colony and then you take a right and then a left, right again and finally a left. And then she gave me the name of her street. See how simple R-L-R-L...thats it. Once you reach that colony area, cross the locked gate thats how the road looks. I am not sure whether this will be considered a right and then left or simply a bent in the road? Anyway, luckily she gave me her house number so I reached though I was 5 mins late.

Date: June 24, 2008
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Titled: Twists

And finally today's shot. This is my office desk with my office computer. Hopefully you can't read anything on the computer screen. Oil companies are very paranoid about their data secrecy. In any case, the window on the screen is a help tip for the software which hopefully doesn't violate any secrecy codes.

Anyway, so this is my new office. Its so clean. I wish my office in Stanford looked nearly half clean as this one. Though may be by end of the internship, this will be as cluttered.

Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Tupman, CA

Allowing God?

I have been meaning to write this post for a week now. Last week my room-mate, my sublet-room-mate and I were talking, you know, late night chit-chats. Somehow the conversation steered towards religion. And my room-mate, being as witty as she is, used the phrase "allowing more power to God" while describing the difference between detheist and agnostic person (basically detheist "allow" more power to God than agnostics do). Her brother is a Theosophy major. So she has an active interest in the subject.

Anyway the term allowing God more power got my thinking gear active. Isn't thats what all the religious beliefs or non-beliefs are about? How much power you will allow an imaginary figure, namely God, to have on you and your life? In case of an atheist it comes to allowing God to exist or not. Its ironic, isn't it? The believers say that its God who allow us to exist while in reality its us who allow God to exist. Its us who allow the amount of power He/She has even though the believers believe that He/She is the mightiest.

Oh, the beautiful ironies of life!

June 24, 2008

Project Snapshot #48 and some more

Did I tell you that I am living in Rajasthan these days? Honestly, thats how it feels here. Same landscape, same temperatures, same dryness, same water problem, same perpendicular long roads with no houses for a long long time. And our office is right in the middle of NOWHERE. Just like our exploration camps in Rajasthan. Did I mention, I used to work for an oil company back in India? The asset I used to work for was Rajasthan so I did quite a few field trips in that area. And it feels like I am back there. This is a shot from last evening in the parking lot of the office. I had to move my car to a shady area so that I can go home after an hour after it had cooled off a bit.

Date: June 23, 2008
Location: Tupman, CA
Titled: Parking

Anyway, so I went a bit further and took this shot using the panaroma feature of my cell phone. It didn't come out very well as the sun was behind me and I couldn't see very well on the screen. Anyway here is the result. Now you tell me, doesn't this look like Rajasthan?

Finally..Project Snapshots #43, #44, #45, #46 and #47

I got to uploading and posting the pictures. So here are the pictures...

The first one is actually first day of the conference. We went a little over time that day so I was sitting in the conference room when alarm went off. So here is the shot.

Date: June 18, 2008
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Titled: Presentation

Next day I was walking out of the conference place (Quadrus Conference Center) when it started ringing. So here is the view from somewhere in the way from the conference hall and parking lot.

Date: June 19, 2008
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Titled: Quadrus

The next day my shopping spree started again but this time it was for essential I would need for the travel and new place. So I bought few sodas for the way and a cooler (and I am so glad I did. there was no way that I could have made it alive to Bakersfield without them. Saturday was the hottest day in the country which makes Southern California even worse.)

Date: June 20, 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Titled: Shopping 1

Next day, after reaching Bakersfield, I went shopping again. I needed some basic necessities like dish detergent, fabric detergent, few hangers, bath rug, shower curtain etc. In fact I have been shopping for past 5 days now. You don't realize importance of those small things till they go missing. Things like lamps (oh yeah, quite often they don't provide any lights in the living room or bedrooms. They are only responsible for florescent lights which they place in Kitchen and Bathroom. And its not like that they have wall mounted lamps where you can put your bulb in and start using. you have to buy the lamps and bulbs for each room.) or waste basket. Anyway, so thats what I have been buying for past few days. I keep forgetting something or the other (I did make list but somehow I keep forgetting it at home...EACH AND EVERY TIME!).

Date: June 21, 2008
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Titled: Shopping 2

I haven't started rambling about my apartment yet, have I? Ok here it goes...I love it. I absolutely love it. Its a nice enclosed society with about 100-150 houses (I think). They have two pools and a fitness center and quite a few fountains/small ponds on the property. As I was walking towards my apartment, unloading things from my car, about 4-5 ducks lead the way. Combined with the calming sound of fountain, it seemed so perfect. I would just love to sit in the grass near one of those fountain and read something. I will get around to doing that one of these days. Meanwhile, enjoy the shot from just outside my apartment. I was walking towards my car to go for shopping (yet again). The sun is bright and hot but shade feels nice..

Date: June 22, 2008
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Titled: New (Temporary) Home

June 21, 2008


Pleasant Valley State Prison

...Saw the board today morning on the way to Bakersfield. :)


...is extremely hot. And extremely dry. I started driving today morning at 4:30 AM after 2 hours of sleep. The 4.5 hours drive gave me a sun-burn. I actually have a sun burn for the second time in my life. I am an Indian for crying out loud. I shouldn't get SUN BURNS. I should have some biological advantages! And that too in morning hours! Its completely horrifying!

Anyway, the sun-rise was beautiful. I was driving through Pacheco Pass. I had to stop to take few pictures. Enjoy...

San Lius Reservoir, Pacheco Pass, CA

Sunrise , somewhere in Southern California

Sunrise , somewhere in Southern California

Sunrise , somewhere in Southern California

I am very sleep deprived and tired at the moment. Will download and post the project snapshot pictures soon.

June 17, 2008

Life Lesson # 1: One mistake or three mistakes

If I was a "writer", I would have said 'Life is a classroom and everyone you meet is a teacher. You can learn something from everyone you meet.' and so on. But I am a blogger so I don't do such sophisticated stuff. So I would instead tell you what happened the other day. :)

The incident is from my Karate class. So I was preparing for my blue belt test and as I am simply overwhelmed with work these days, it was affecting my Karate practice too. I was way too distracted and was repeatedly making mistake. I got a time off for that too..but thats another story beyond the scope of this post (I have a technical presentation in two days, I am practicing to answer the tough questions ;) ). Anyway, so I was repeatedly making mistake and my problem is (I guess its a problem with quite a lot of people) that I get hung up on those mistakes and ruin the rest of the technique or kata I am working on. So the instructor approaches me and tell me to relax and tells me something very profound. Something I want to share with everyone I know.

He said that you can either make one mistake or you can make three mistakes. The choice is yours. I was obviously completely blank at this point so he started explaining: "If you are doing something, its very likely that you will make a mistake. Everyone does. Now its your choice whether you leave it at that or go on to make two more mistakes. The second mistake is regretting your mistake in middle of your work which actually draws attention of your tester/spectators to the mistake. And the third mistake is to keep thinking about that mistake and hence ruin the rest of the work which you could have used to overcome that mistake. So its your choice whether you make one mistake or you triple it."

Yesterday, I had my blue belt test and I aced it (my examiner said that) not because I didn't make any mistake but because I didn't get hung over that mistake. Its a very difficult thing to do. I am so proud of myself at the moment. I could achieve that control over myself. So as of last night, I am a Blue-Belt in Kenpo Karate. Voohoooooooo..........

June 16, 2008

Quick note

Ok. I am going crazy here. In past few days, I had to pack up everything I own, divide them in things I will take and things I will leave behind (packed in boxes) and things I need this week. The girl I am subletting the apartment will arrive today evening. I will be crashing on the couch for next few days. To add to it, I have my Karate blue belt test today and two presentation in two days. I haven't yet started making the presentation. There are still umpteen number of tasks I need to do.

My stress level is at its highest at the moment. I am extremely irritable and have started snapping at everyone. Thankfully, my friends are understanding and don't get offended. I don't know what I will do without them...

Anyway, the quick note is about a long complain that I don't change 'Think it Over..', 'I wonder..' and 'Musing Amusing...' section of my blog. I did it today. I can't say when I will do it again but it will be soon enough. So keep checking...

Project Snapshot # 40, # 41, # 42

Ok I missed one day in between again. I was talking to a friend and couldn't afford to get distracted at that point in time. You know, at times, you just have to be there. No distractions allowed. So I let it go.. Anyway, here are rest of them...

The first one is my neighbors door..

Date: June 12, 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Titled: Welcome

The second one is a parking lot. I was driving, yet again when the alarm went off. So I waited till I parked to take the shot.

Date: June 13, 2008
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Titled: Arrow

Lastly, a shot from the park in front of my house. Somebody actually dumped a tricycle in garbage bin..

Date: June 15, 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Titled: Garbage

June 12, 2008

Project Sanpshot #34, #35, #36, #37, #38 and #39

As I said in previous post, I have been very busy this whole week. So usually when the alarm went off, I would be either on phone talking to someone or the other about credit cards or bank accounts or lease signing or some other paperwork. Otherwise I would have been driving around or sitting in my office working on my presentation. In either case, I just clicked whatever I could set my eyes on an here are those shots.

Starting with a shot from home. I was talking on phone and clicked this.

Date: June 06, 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Titled: Blinds

Next day I was driving. And no, I didn't click it while I was driving. I take safety very seriously so I don't talk on cell phone while driving or take pictures. I was on a red light when I took this one.

Date: June 07, 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Titled: Red Light

I was on phone talking to someone (I don't even remember who) and TV was on. This is some news about public transport or something. I didn't hear the story, obviously. I was on the phone.

Date: June 08, 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Titled: News

Next day, I was working in office. Some cool results from my research. Enjoy. ;)

Date: June 09, 2008
Location: Stanford, CA
Titled: Research

Next day, I again found myself sitting in front of computer but instead of taking yet another shot of my computer, I turned around and took picture of our office.

Date: June 10, 2008
Location: Stanford, CA
Titled: Office

This was yesterday. I had a terrible headache yesterday so I came back early. I was trying to catch some sleep when stupid alarm went off. I groaned and moaned and thought about ignoring it but then I did get up and took this one of our backyard. Soon after that I got ready and went for yet another grueling Karate class. I am getting tested for Blue belt on Monday. So I couldn't afford to miss the class. Life is no fun these days.

Date: June 11, 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Titled: Backyard


Moving to other city for three months is a lot of work. Moving to other city with all your credit cards blocked is worse. Moving to other city with all your credit cards blocked and an affiliate meeting in which you have to give two presentations...is even worse. Add a blue belt test onto it and welcome to my world. Life is no fun these days.

I will try to blog as much as I can for next two weeks. Tune in for news from Bakersfield after that. And for all the inquiries: No, I haven't abandoned this blog. Yes, my hand is perfectly alright...well at least I can type and write. I still can't shake hands but thats a different story. And no, I haven't gone to Europe AGAIN. Though I wish!

June 7, 2008

Adventures of the week

Seriously this was a pretty eventful week for me. Ok, first apologies for disappearing for few days though there was no dearth of topics to write on...I was just being lazy.

Anyway, so my week included a snake, the fire, identity thefts, phishing and breaking wooden boards. Too much, you say? Listen to my past few days and you would know how each day was more exciting than the other.

It all started two days back, on Thursday when I went for a run. Nah, it started before that when on Thursday morning I decided to bike to work. I used to bike to work before I joined Karate. But since Karate classes go late in night and I am usually starving after them, I started taking my car to office. Since I am in conservation mood, I have stopped driving altogether, so I decided to start biking again. Anyway, so I biked to office which is approximately 7 miles from my home. Since I biked after a long time, I was tired by the time I reached office, even though I loved it. I realized how much I miss biking.

Anyway, so I was a bit doubtful about going for a run since I was so very tired already. But anyhow, I decided to go for it and thats when it happened. There was another runner before me. He kind of stopped and start staring on the ground. I look down on the ground and see nothing. I continue running and since he had stopped and gazing at the ground too intently, I looked back and then I saw it. A brown snake slithering through exactly same spot where my feet were. I stopped dead on my track. The snake camouflaged pretty nicely with the ground. Unless you are looking from the other sied you can't see it. Anyway, so this stupid runner, who spotted him first (who should have warned me that there is a snake on ground) tried putting his foot on his tail. the snake slithered faster towards the grass. But this idiot can't let it go. He now tried to pick the snake up by his tail or something. Don't ask me why. Thankfully the snake was too quick for him and he disappeared in the grass. But honestly, don't people have an ounce of common sense? I spent my entire run cursing him.

The second part of adventure began at home. Though I was tired after biking 14 miles and running a mile, I still wanted to try out the new Cheese (Paneer) chili recipe, I found on internet. So I started by getting everything ready. Put the pot on the stove. It got a bit more hot than I intended it to be but still I put oil in it. Exact that moment I realized that I haven't put on the exhaust fan (which happens to be on top of the stove). So I turn that on and BOOM. There are flames inside the pot!! Honestly nice big flames. Actual fire. I was scared. I didn't know whether lifting that pot and putting it in the sink was a good idea or not but I did it. Next challenge came to turn on the tap as the flames were pretty high. I somehow plucked some courage and turned the tap on. The flame went off. Thankfully I didn't burn myself during the entire incident and I did make the Cheese chili later on and it turned out to be pretty good recipe.

Coming to Identity theft now which happened yesterday. An official Stanford laptop was stolen from campus which had personnel information including the social security number. So the university sent all of us emails regarding that. Don't ask me all the details but I ended up having all my credit cards, ATM card blocked and a fraud alert is issued on my account. But this means, I don't have any way to spend money now. Banks are closed on weekend so I can;t withdraw cash either. Plus I need to travel to Bakersfield in less than 2 weeks. I am not sure I will get any of the credit card till then and its so dangerous for a woman to travel alone with luggage and cash. God help me... (Figuratively speaking, I am still an agnostic)

And finally today morning I broke two wooden boards by hand. Honestly I was scared before we started. The boards were pretty thick and I wasn't sure if I had enough strength to break them. It wasn't hard actually except while breaking my first board, the angle of my hand was slightly off so I ended up hitting my wrist bone slightly. So I refrained from breaking more boards or try breaking the brick. My right hand is pretty sore at the moment but I am glad I did it. Its such a boost for my confidence. I also attempted breaking the board by my elbow but couldn't. And that hurts badly. You know, the rule of breaking the board is that you need to go all the way through. If you don't break the board and just bounce off the surface, it hurts like hell. It doesn't hurt at all (unless your point of contact is wrong, like my poor wrist bone) if you successfully break the board.

Ok. Now let me get back to nursing my wrist and my elbow. Have a great weekend...

June 6, 2008

Project Snapshot #32, #33

The two shots:

The first one is once again my office...

Date: June 04, 2008
Location: Stanford, CA
Titled: Boxes

The second one is my bike as I just entered my home (I rode the bike home from office ~ its approx 7 miles bike ride) when alarm went off. So I took picture of the bike..

Date: June 05, 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Titled: Biking

June 4, 2008

Project Snapshot #30, #31

so I have been playing with lights for past two days. Just didn't get chance to upload photos. Here are the results.

The first one is a (*dirty) glass vase kept on our TV with the blinds behind it. Except for all its smear being shown by the light, I liked this shot. I was obviously lazying around on the couch this particular day..

Date: June 02, 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Titled: Shaping up

This is another trick of light..only this time I played with evening lights. The shadows are growing longer and sun is coming towards the horizon. May be I could have concentrated on the shadows and cropped the foreground plant while taking the pic. Oh well, ther eis always a next time :)

Date: June 03, 2008
Location: Stanford, CA
Titled: Growing Shadows

June 3, 2008


Today, for first time in my life, I seriously regret forgoing the Infy offer (Yes. Once upon a time, I had a job offer from Infosys) and sticking to oil industry. Reason? Yahoo's employee severance plan. I agree that was just a strategy for thwarting Microsoft deal but still imagine quitting Yahoo at the moment means:
  • - up to two years of full pay and benefits following departure,
  • - $3,000-$15,000 of "outplacement services" (help finding a new job),
  • - accelerated stock and option vesting, and
  • - the ability to leave the company--and trigger the severance payments--for any "good reason" (including, presumably, that you'd rather get paid not to work).

I learned the exact terms of the Yahoo Employee Severance plan today. All I knew until today was that it helped Yahoo to get out of that deal. I never thought of it in terms of a Yahoo! employee.

Usually senior executives of top companies (Companies in Fortune 500) get such an offer. But Yahoo is offering this to an ordinary full-time employee! I envy all the Yahoo employees at the moment and seriously regret forgoing the chance of being in IT industry. I wish...

7 cents

Once upon a time, we used to have an AT&T phone in our home. We got it disconnected few months back. Last week I received a check from AT&T for 7 cents. Yep, thats right. 7 cents. Apparently I overpaid my last bill by 7 cents so they reimbursed those 7 cents!

I am not sure if they actually expect me to deposit that check in the bank. You know the paper, the printing, the postage would have cost more than that. Even the ink of pen I will use to write on deposit slip will cost more than that!

I am not sure whether to feel embarrassed or angry or disgusted? What a waste!

June 2, 2008

Sex and the City...

Ever Thine.
Ever Mine.
Ever Ours.

If you haven't watched the movie yet and are in love with the series then you must. Its a beautiful movie though too sweet for my taste. Typical happily ever-afters with a lot of drama in between. Still it had few good one-liners: The reason I love the series.

Project Snapshot #27, #28, #29

Well here they are. I missed a day as I was catching up with some sleep at 5:02.

The first one is my office desk..

Date: May 29, 2008
Location: Stanford, CA
Titled: Files

The second one is bus stop. I like the lines here.

Date: May 30, 2008
Location: Stanford, CA
Titled: Waiting

And the last one is park in front of our home. I was walking out for grocery-shopping today when alarm went off.

Date: June 01, 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Titled: Park