Thursday, June 28, 2007

High Five

And just because I sometimes make reference to this theme song and people don't really seem to get what I'm talking about...

"The Wayans Bros." premiered in January 1995 on the WB. The show starred real-life brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans from the multi-talented Wayans family playing brothers Shawn and Marlon
Williams, who shared an apartment in New York City.

The show shadowed the brothers through their experiences with love, career changes and life. "The Wayans Bros." was sometimes funny, but mostly mediocre. The best part of the show was the catchy theme song with the unforgettable line, "
We're brothers / we're happy and we're singing and we're colored."

From here.

Books & More

Finished reading "One Night @ The Call Center" and "The Hotel New Hampshire!" See more here.

I applied to be a student volunteer at OOPSLA! It's in Montreal, and I desperately want to go, see the sweet programming languages research and also practice my French! Wish me luck!

We're finally going to Hampi this weekend! We've had some set-backs (our original trip was canceled to to some last minute shenanigans) but I expect a fun weekend of site-seeing. We leave tomorrow and get back Monday morning, just in time for work. Hopefully this train car will be as nice as the last one, and hopefully I'll be able to get some sleeps...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

This Dumb Paper

Well I found out yesterday that a paper I submitted this past semester was rejected. 

I  am disappointed.

This is the paper that I spent most of last semester preparing for. The reviewers focused on my weak evaluation section, which, frankly, I knew was pretty weak. But the acceptance rate at this conference turned out to be 50 percent. 50 percent!!! So I think that at this point there's no way that I won't feel at least a little disappointed. Boo.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Nice Indian Saturday

Today was a good day. Nothing special, no trips or anything, but still a good time in the city. I tried to get some work done during the day.   was there when I got there, and so we were working together. We have a deadline (which we've set for ourselves) to be done with some implementation by July 1st, and we really would like to hold it. On a somewhat related note, our mentor had a baby boy on Friday! Congratulations Aditya!

But after that, we went to downtown Bangalore with a few friends for some bowling and good times. We started out at Amoeba which is like a fancy bowling alley for upper and middle class Bangalorians, so it was a little expensive by Indian standards, but still not so bad. It was crowded though! I don't remember the last time I had to wait to bowl (except maybe at Arsenal in Pittsburgh, but since that's hipster bowling that somehow always made sense to me). After that, we headed over to my new favorite place in Bangalore; Blossom books. They have the most amazing selection of English books. They have new one and used ones, but it doesn't matter; they are all as cheap as dirt ($2-$3 for most) and it really makes me happy. I went like two weeks ago and picked up three books (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Hotel New Hampshire, and Feakanomics) and now I'm just about done with the last of them. Tonight I picked up A Night at the Call Center, which takes place in Bangalore, and Bonfire of the Vanities, which I have always wanted to read.

After that we had some fantastic Punjabi food. Fantastic! Now a little chillaxing before what will hopefully be an equally dope Sunday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Photos: Bangalore Site-Seeing

Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
More pictures! Here I am site-seeing in Bangalore.

Photos: MSR Retreat

Pictures from our office's retreat to a resort outside of Bangalore.

Photos! (In Reverse Chronological Order): Mysore

Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
Here are pictures from Mysore!

If you haven't guessed, we finally got the Internet at my apartment, after two weeks!


I may have mentioned this here before, but the power in India goes out so frequently that people at work don't even notice when it happens. So far today it's gone out four times, but it only affects us for a few seconds since we have generators or batteries or some combination of the two. But if you're out on the street at night it can be a big pain. Last night  and I were coming home from a little shopping expedition when the power went out, and it was freaking dark. We couldn't see the sidewalk, and the only light we had came from the headlights of passing cars. This did little more than blind us. 

Well yesterday I read a little bit more about the situation in The Hindu, the paper that we have delivered ever morning. I found out that when added together, Bangalore goes over three and a half days each year without power!  For comparison, New York City only goes ten minutes a year without power. They have a rolling blackouts policy here in India (sort of like they did in California for a while a few year back) because the demand is so much greater than the supply. Pretty hardcore.

Monday, June 18, 2007


This morning when I came into the office I was telling my mentor about our trip to Mysore this weekend. I told him that it was pretty sunny, and then I showed him a bright red triangle on my upper chest that my Polo neglected to cover. He looked at me quizzically before asking, "is that a rash?" As you might guess, the concept of sunburn was a little bit foreign to him...

The point is, yesterday we went to Mysore, and it was pretty neat, but one day was perfectly fine to see most of what it had to offer. We took a train because it's about 85 miles away. It was a three hour train ride each way so we left at 6:30 in the morning (!!!) and got back at 9 at night. First off, this was my first Indian train experience, so that by itself was pretty neat. When the train pulled up, hundreds of passengers began to push and fight to get on. There was a huge line at the entrance to each carriage, so I was a little bit worried about the whole thing. Fortunately, we reserved the seats in highest class car (about $9 each way). Our car, therefore,  was nicely air-conditioned, and had no line whatsoever. If  you want to draw the conclusion that I am a high roller, you probably aren't that far off.

Mysore has a few sights to see. It was the former center of the Maharajah empire, and therefore has a large palace. This was by far the coolest sight. There is also a famous/sacred hill, Chamundi hill, which has temples and a nice view of the city. We hiked down the hill, but got to top via the world's slowest auto-rickshaw. We did the whole 13km trip going at like 15 miles an hour (sorry you'll have to convert yourself...), and the whole time it sounded like the piston was about to explode through the top of the engine. We didn't mind getting ripped off on the price (Rs. 150) because that guy had some big auto repairs in his future. As you may have guessed, the hike down is where I got this gnar gnar sunburn. For some reason if I leave the house and it's not sunny outside, I can never remember to bring sunscreen... It was pretty much a disaster.

Finally, for the first time in India, we were in a place where we really had a lot of people (beggars, salesmen, conmen, children, etc) coming up to us and talking to us. I've had a lot of experience with this before in other less-developed countries, but hadn't seen too much until yesterday. Apparently, I have a lot more in my future from what others tell me!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Adventures in Moving

While I still don't have the Internet at my apartment (hence the two week flickr hiatus) today we were moved into a new apartment on a temporary basis, and apparently Tuesday we will be moved into what should be our final apartment for the rest of the summer. The apartment will be back in my original neighbor, putting me back in walking distance and removing my dependence on others for on-time work arrival. Excellent.

Tomorrow we are going to a little place called Mysore, which should be a fun day trip (6:30 am departure and 9pm return). I can't say much about it except there's supposedly an excellent palace to see, a great view from the top of a mountain, and it's not the sort of place you need to spend more than a day in. Good to hear.

Also, we've finally gotten into the habbit of going to bars on a semi-regular basis. This behavior is habitiual for me back home, but due to my poor knowledge of the local bar scene and (up until now) a lack of willing bar-partners, this natural behavior had been put on hiatus. Thursday night we went to a quiz night at Opus, a swank lounge sort of place within walking distance of work. It was great as the "tricky-ness" of many of the questions was fact they were about American pop-culture; our forté. However, we still managed to do pretty poorly and skipped out before the whole thing was over. Still, I plan to make it a regular part of my repertoire since I have the feeling we could dominate one week (unlike, say, at Brillobox trivia). Conincdentally, the same bar has karaoke on Wednesday nights! I don't really sense there are too many others here who are quite as interested in karaoke (besides of course) but at the very least we are going on my birthday, which I have figured out is a Wednesday. Singing is a requirement!

Let's see, I've been reading a lot recently, one of my favorite summer-time activities, and so as soon as I get the Internets back I will post three or so new reviews.

That's it for now. I'm working on a Saturday for the first time since I've gotten here, but we have a July 1st implementation deadline that I want to make sure we meet...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Where I B?

I know what you're saying. 

"No updates? No pictures? WTF, I thought you were in India or something dude!?!"

It's twew, it's twew. But see here's the deal: On Friday I was told that I was going to have to vacate my apartment the next day. They moved us to an apartment that a.) it way farther away than my old one, necessitating early-morning haggling with rickshaw drivers, and b.) doesn't have the Internet! And because I am quasi serious about work, I try to keep the personal Internet time to a minimum... But anyway once I get the Internet installed (I love saying that, like the entire Internet is some appliance that 300 pound men carry into the back room of my house), I will be posting pictures from this past weekend, which unfortunately was not spent in Hampi.

In other news, this weekend we are going to a resort somewhere outside of Bangalore for the yearly employee retreat. There are going to be games and puzzle hunts and swimming and tennis and stuff like that. Rad? My opinion would be 'yes.'