Saturday, 30 April 2011

The stars, like dust...

What's up with the weather? It's been raining almost everyday, and this is supposed to be summer! Well, I'm not complaining. If I manage to sneak out before the heat really kicks in, all the better. That would be day after. Yes, the flights came in. Of course, seeing how I'm travelling to... yup, you guessed it, the Red Sea again, the escape from heat might not actually work out. Still, I suppose it's better than tornadoes bringing hailstorms that put holes through your car! Which is what apparently happened to my aunt in Tennessee earlier today :S.

Right, so I'm finally done, with everything written by Asimov himself in the Foundation universe!! Yay! :) The pile of unread books in my shelf right now has been reduced to only GRRMs, and those I'm going to keep that way till book six comes out. Or till such a time when I've finished reading everything else I've ever wanted to read, in case said book takes a really long time coming.. who knows right?

And having started my foray into the rest of Asimov's formidable works with Nemesis, I was struck by the publishers' sense of humour. I mean, who feels the need to put this disclaimer in a sci-fi novel?!!
"All of the characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental."
But it was the Author's Note that really embodied some of the reasons that make reading Asimov a delight for me :).
"... I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing - to be clear. ... I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and the professional critics - Well, they can do whatever they wish.
However, my stories write themselves, I'm afraid, and in this one, I was rather appalled to find out that I was writing it in two strands. ... I am sure you will have no trouble following the pattern, but since we are all friends, I thought I would let you know."

- Isaac Asimov, Nemesis
Currently: procrastinating
Listening to: The Cinematic Orchestra - Breathe

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Burnt rubber

Emptiness has a way of spreading itself, sometimes. No matter what you throw at it, it just gets swallowed up. I guess black holes tend to be like that, don't they? Then again, those aren't exactly nothing. Oh never mind.

In the mean time, not a lot has happened. Actually, I suppose that's not entirely true.. Road-tripping happened, the usual family visits thing. Somewhat brief, given the length of the break, but more pressing matters have kept me home for much of the break.

If one were to discount a duck-stop, a few cattle-traffic jams, one blown tyre and almost running out of gas on the empty highway, the driving part was pretty much the usual. It definitely is nice to take some alone time every now and then.

For a change, I decided to re-familiarise myself with the sights by the highway - the drying river beds, the banana tree forest, the broken, overgrown chimneys... All I seem to remember from the last few times are snaking dashed white lines marking the lanes.

On the other hand, the not-driving part, that brought up some interesting realizations. Growing up is a sticky business isn't it? As is growing old.

Well, I suppose there's less than a week left for me to head back to work. And, somewhat annoyingly, I still have no idea when that is. Don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly itching to get back to work, but it would be nice to know how much longer I have till that happens.

Currently: finding KKR's IPL fate amusing
Listening to: Anna Nalick - Wreck of the day

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Still life

Weather's not been too bad lately. I'd been expecting the full force of the oppressive Cal summer heat. However, the rain has helped :).

Surprisingly enough, it took me all of two weeks to get around to using my cam since I was re-united with it. Yes, I've been lazy mostly. And quite unashamedly so. Did finish off with Larsson's third though!

Was it just me or did the ending seem a little weird? Almost as if someone else had written it! A rather jarring attempt at tying up the trailing threads. Nonetheless, it was definitely worth the time! All three books actually. The only thing I regret is the fact that I kept confusing some of the Swedish addresses :|. But I don't think being able to read a trilogy more conveniently is a justifiable reason for trying to learn a language :).

Right, and now I'm back to the comforting world of sci-fi intrigue! Somehow Asimov's just easier to read :). And now that I have all three Empire novels, let's see if I can finish them off so that the next time I leave I can get books on the fly with a clear conscience!

Currently: bleh
Listening to: Sara Bareilles - King of anything

Friday, 8 April 2011


I think the cricket fever's run its course :). No, I'm not a big IPL or T20 fan, so.

So, flashback to the flights back home. One might question the sense in choosing a book titled Turbulence for reading on flights, but that's what I did. Promptly, I was transported back by Basu's trademark haphazardness (possibly unintentional, but whatever) to the Game World universe! It was quite entertaining actually :).

The crazy start, a storyline that got even crazier. Lots of chatter interspersed with bits of action in the start and middle giving way to exactly the opposite towards the latter part. I love the way he does it. The sense of almost tumbling from one page to the next in a mad rush to find out what happens next! But in the process, you end up lunging headlong into an ending that is, quite frankly, bewildering.

I think he should just have skipped the end entirely :|. I mean, seriously?!!! Cringe-inducing is an understatement!! And of course, there's ample opportunity for sequels. But I'm not quite certain which side of that fence to stand on...

Anyhoo, now that I'm done with that, it's high time I finished off with Hornet's Nest! This vacation so far has a pretty cool feel to it :). Like a proper break from things. You know, like summer breaks used to be in-between school years!

Currently: on break, from everything :D
Listening to: Jaime Wyatt - Light Switch

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Yes it is!!!

I must say, for a while now, every India cricket match I watched, we seem to have lost. However, this one, I wasn't going to pass up on, no matter what :). Back at home, watching it with family, it was like the good old days!

And of course, there was the palpable tension. You know how it is, when India's bowling, every run scored seems like a nail in the coffin. When we bat, every ball a potential disaster :|. It's quite terrible really :).

But what a match that was! Between lunch and a late dinner, I don't remember much else! I know while it was on, I kept worrying someone would do something stupid, but thinking about it now, we did play quite well didn't we?! I mean seeing the pacers diving around the outfield and the Yuvis and Rainas bouncing around in the infield was quite spectacular. Not to mention Zak's opening spell.

The last 5 overs... well, that and India's opening 7 overs were difficult, to say the least :(. I suppose it is indeed too much to ask for an easy World Cup final win :). But soon enough every run was being cheered. The din rising out from the windows all around, the whoops and shouts, the whistles, the impromptu percussion bands using plates and god knows what other utensils, kept getting louder and louder!!

And then Gambhir threw away his wicket! Dead silence pretty much. My dad wasn't being allowed out of his seat. (When he watches, India win! That's the rule in this household!) I kept switching channels in the same order every over-break. Yes, yes, I don't believe in superstitions, but can't hurt the chances :P.

That last six of course, let loose all sorts of celebratory madness :). People jumping in every window you could see :D. Fireworks, music and whistles and victory chants, the whole nine yards! And this is supposed to be the quiet part of town. What can I say? It was indeed a dream come true!

A few excited phone calls later (achieved through persistence in the face of 'all lines on this network are currently busy' on three different networks) things began to calm down a bit at home :). The fireworks took another couple of hours. But by 0100 things were quiet and dark.

That's the thing, isn't it? Once it's over, it's over. And things will, sooner or later, get back to normal. People are still studying for exams. Monday morning traffic will be just as mad as every other week. But in that one moment, it was as if we were all there. We were all world champions :).

Who cares if most people in the world don't even understand the game let alone play it?! :)

Feeling: gloriously smug :D
Listening to: Aqualung - Brighter than sunshine

Friday, 1 April 2011

Is this it?!

Well, that went well! Saw Followed about a third of Sri Lanka's innings while waiting for the supply boat to finally come alongside so we could actually get off of the Trident. (Took them forever! :|) But that was it. Since then no net, no useful TV, nothing.

So yes, I missed out on the IND-PAK semi. Well, almost. Someone sort of eavesdropped on someone else in Tabouk airport (random deserty place somewhere in the north of The Kingdom) with India at 25 overs or so and Tendulkar still batting. Later on in Jeddah something similar happened but this time all I got was a cryptic 'India one wicket from victory'!! Then nothing for fifteen hours :S.

Finally when I did land up in Cal yesterday morning and called home at once, I found out the result! There was almost nothing else in the newspapers or on the telly for the rest of the day :). Since then of course, I've managed to catch most of the significant bits of both that match and the Oz-thrashing quarter-final on TV. Oh, how I've missed the gazillion cricket channels this last month!

At least I get to watch one India match live! Well, on TV. I'm too late and too tired to have had any inkling of hope of a ticket to Wankhede :|. But the big question is, will the boys in blue give us our first Cup since (just) before I was born? Or will there be a repeat of '96, when India clobbered Pakistan in the quarter-final only to be humiliated in the semi by, yes, none other than Sri Lanka?

I guess by tomorrow night we'll find out! Good luck to all 1.21 billion of us! (Apparently, or so the 2011 census says.)

Currently: praying for that win!!
Listening to: The Postal Service - Such great heights