Monday, August 28, 2006

My baby's arrived!!

Was delivered via UPS today at 1:14pm...
Weighs a healthy 8.1 lbs :P
Aaah, zeee wait is finally over...

Waiting to be opened...

Halfway out....



likey! :)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

This is how close....

...I came to taking a picture of the Pentagon.

Yeaah Yeaah Yeaah..that's right..I managed to take a pic of the freaaaakin Pentagon Metro Station board!! I was crazy..there were signs and pictures almost every 10m to make even the most retarded person get it - NO PHOTOGRAPHY. What are they so freakin scared of that they don't even allow you to take pictures in the subway station! I walked around almost the entire perimeter of the Pentagon only to see more signs and hidden cameras everywhere!

Seeing all this security...made me (insanely?) even more determined to take a picture of the US Defence HeadQuarters.

And..nothing comes in the way of stan_da_man when he sets his mind on something.
Gulp..well almost...

You see...stupid-dumb-call-me-anything-you-want yours truly decided to go over to the entrance and try taking a I walked quietly to a good spot in front of the parking lot where I could get a good shot..I looked cautiously in all directions..didn't see anyone..guards especially...and ever-so-spy-like took out my cam.

And then...OUT OF NOWHERE...
A police car turned right into the parking lot! I hadn't seen better (or maybe worse, from my perspective) timing in my life.

Out of the corner of your eye, you glimpse the examiner turn and see you taking a chit from your neighbour during the final year University Exams. (Hasn't happened to me!)

You bunk a boring class and you try and sneak back after the class gets over. So you hide in the bushes nearby, waiting for the sir to leave the building. He gets out of the building, starts walking past, but SOMEHOW sees you hiding there and tells you to come out. (Has friggin happened to me!)

You're playing BZFlag with your project-mate during office hours when you're supposed to be working and then see a bad reflection - the relection of your PM on your monitor. He's standing right behind you. (No comments!)

Anyway, what I wanna say is...
Its one of those moments in life when you know you're done for. Khatham..Kallas...Finissssss.

I couln't hide my gut-feeling was that the police officer had already seen me. Sure enough, the car took a U-turn and came straight back at me.

The police officer got out of the car, walked towards me and politely said, "Sir, I'd like to see your camera." Now that's another thing I've noticed here, the police are very very polite. I think even if they cornered Osama bin Laden, they would say, "Please Sir, please come this way..we just want to ask you a few questions. Its for your own security sir!"

I didn't know what to do, but suddenly decided to play dumb tourist. Smiling brightly, I said, "Oh you mean I'm not supposed to take pictures here?"...Even a blind person could not have missed all the signs, and both me and the officer knew it. "No Sir, you can take pictures of other places in DC like the White House, but not of the Pentagon sir. Now please show me the pictures you have taken sir. You will have to delete them or else I'll be forced to take your camera sir." I told him I hadn't taken any and proved it by showing him the pics in my cam. "See? Nothing!" "Ok ThankYou Sir, I was just jokin about taking the camera..but you should'nt take any pics here sir." Hmmmm...I don't know why I said the next statement, but I suddenly blurted out, "If I can't take any pics of the Pentagon, can I take one standing with you?" What the heck! "No sir!" he said, bursting out laughing, "you can't take pics of me either!".."Ohh alright then" I said smiling stupidly and he got back into his car saying, "Have a nice day sir". "You too!", I shouted back. that's how I got atleast this pic in the station after the incident. And you won't believe it, I got caught again! This time it was a lady guard, but luckily, she didn't ask me show her my cam, so I still have the pic! Yeaaah!

PS: I deleted my "When Terror Strikes" post cos atleast 6 different people over here in the US told me to, citing reasons from bad humour to a FBI arrest! Well, I deleted it finally cos I was worried if it would hurt someone's feelings. If someone did get hurt, my apologies! :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

In My Cubicle

Haha...this is outrageous...check it out - "In My Cubicle", a take-off from James Blunt's You're Beautiful song. And it especially relates to people who live their lives sitting in a cubicle...That means almost ALL OF YOU MY FRIENDS!!

Thanks Ravi! :P

Sunday, August 20, 2006

We are on top!


ManUtd beat Fulham 5-1 in the season opener at OT (with a record attendance of 75k+) and are now top of the league..I know the season has just begun, but there's no better way to start!!!
That's all I wanted to rant about now.

Nope wait - One more thing.
I just want to state that I love the technology we have today and I love ManUtd fans too!!
Reading live text-commentary instead of watchin a match is pretty depressing actually..That's why I was so happy when I got to see all the videos of the goals within just 5 hours of the final whistle! Posted by some true ManUtd fan! Awesome I say!

See all the goals right here.

Aloha mates!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My first Tag...n I'm not lovin it!

Grrrrrrrr.......I got tagged by pangu boy sometime in the last 24 hours, and I'm forcing myself to pen some answers down. 50 Questions. Why bother wasting time, let me get my hands dirty right now!

1. Were you named after anyone?
Yeah. But I've sometimes wondered if my parents actually named me after some arbit "Stanley" but got the spelling wrong. But, no worries, I've even questioned them about this, and it didn't happen that way! Thank God!
2. Do you wish on stars?
Very frequently.....I've done it like 2 times in the last 22 years.
3. When did you last cry?
Seriously speaking, its been sucha long time. I don't exactly remember the last time, but I'm guessing its been atleast 7-8 years. Not kiddin. Cos of this, I've even had a bet with one my dearest friends who'd said she would make me cry, but she hasn't succeeded. Yet. Is something wrong with me?
4. Do you like your handwriting?
YES, I humbly state. It has earned me a lot of not-at-all deserved marks many times. ;) How else did I get my B.Tech!!
5. What is your favourite meat?
Turkey has become a favourite in the last 3 weeks. Yum Yum! poor Bird!
6. What is your most embarrassing CD on your shelf?
I don't keep my CDs on my shelf..pooh..feel like kicking myself for that answer..
7. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you?
Good question. Hmmm... I would, but it would depend more on WHAT type of a person I was. But more or less, I guess I would.
8. Are you a daredevil ?
I wasn't until a few years back...but looking back at the last 3 years and especially at the last few months, yeaaaah I'm turning into one.
9. How do you release anger?
Sit quietly and have a battlefield take place in my mind. Or just listen to heavy music or Eminem.
10. Where is your second home?
E-103, Adarsh Hill Apts, Kumaraswamy Layout, Bangalore. I'm missin it right now!!! :(
11. Do you trust others easily?
Yes I do. I like trusting people. Sadly, sometimes I do it too easily.
12. What was your favourite toy(s) as a child?
The ATARI my Uncle gifted me on my 8th birthday. I would buy one today also, if I could. Say what, I'm gonna try atleast damnit! eBAY here I come!
13. What class in school/college do you think is totally useless?
Social Studies and Civics. Waaaait, Civics was part of Social Studies right? Ummm...I never paid attention you see! :p useless alright!!!
14. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
A LOT. Sometimes I kick myself for using it too much. And at the most un-appropriate times.
15. Have you ever been in a mosh pit?
Nooooooo...Ragam '05 came close, but not close to what it should be like!
16. What do you look for in a girl?
Gosh...I could start a blog on that. But keeping it down to 3 points - character, looks and humour.
17. Would you bungee jump?
I wanna!!! When will I get the chance!!??
18. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
No...they're exactly the right amount of loose :P
19.What is your favourite ice cream?
That....watsitsname...choco-combo thing I once ate at baskin robbins. I can't remember cos it was very late, but it was gorgeous and I umm...was in a very very "good" mood. Maybe that's the actual reason!
20. What are your favourite colours?
blue,black,grey and red (my ManUtd jersey) sometimes.
21. What are your least favourite things?
Bad people. Can't stand them. Now bad is too vague a word for this I know, but that's another topic altogether. Maybe dishonest/egoistical/greedy will do for now.
22. How many people do you have a crush on right now?
Maybe one..or two. I'm not very sure. Sorry! :)
23. Who do you miss most right now?
Wow...well, let's just say I miss a LOT of people right now. Family and Friends. And I'm missing some people much more than I thought I would! ;)
24. What are you listening to right now?
(God save me) Some kannada song my room-mate has put on...
25. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
I don't want to be a crayon. HMPH. I wanna be a faber-castle colour pencil. My childhood love.
26. What is the weather like right now?
Hmmmmm.The weather in my hotel room or outside? It's cool and "GoForANightWalk!!"-like outside; smoky, steamy and humid inside. (Don't get any ideas please. I just burnt a burger)
27. Last person you talked to on the phone?
Tony. (my friend out here.He was scared dat cos I hadnt reached home till 9pm since 10am, and dat i'd got lost in DC as
28. The "first" thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Do I notice them at all? :p Well, the eyes I guess.
29. Do you like the person who sent you this?
Yea Yea I do like him. I'm kinda enjoying this now, so I'm liking you even more dumbo!!
30. How are you today?
Pretty good...good..I'm feelin nice...good good...(Conan O'Brien style) hahahahahaa!!
31. Favourite non alcoholic drink?
Hmmm...Lipton Brisk and Gatorade. Just AWESOME!
32. Favourite alcoholic drink?
Gimme a B! Gimme an E! Gimme an E! Gimme an R! watahaveegot? ahahahaha. I don't drink anything else (alcoholic), so that's the one and its gonna be the only one. Am I treating it like my wife?? :P
33. Natural hair colour?
34. Eye colour?
Dark brown v/s Black. (I'm a Mutant you see, my X-name is Octomystique)
35. Wear contacts?
Nope, maybe I should.
36. Siblings?
Yup.. two. Both elder - that makes me da youngest!! :)
37. Favourite month?
Dec15th - Jan15th is a month too, and that's my fav time of the year.
38.Favourite food? many things to name! Well, right now, its the "Meat-lovers" Pizza.
39. Favourite day of the year?
Dec 25th. Nothing can beat X'Mas!!
40. Have you ever been too shy to ask someone out?
Yup! and I'm ashamed! No more shyness!!
41. Scary movies or happy endings?
Happy endings!! Maybe an anti-climax too which makes you feel happy but sad cos the happiness was at the cost of something else. (The ticket price for example?) :p
42. Summer or winter?
Both. Summer for the Sun. Winter for X'Mas!
43. Holi or Diwali?
Diwali..the sweets especially!
44. Do you like your name?
Love it. Will not change it to Stanley!! No No!!
45. What book/magazine are you reading?
Right now? The World is Flat. I've never finished it, but I think I should after this.
46. What's on your mouse pad?
Stopped using mousepads 5 years ago! They are meant for mice! (pun intended)
47. What did you watch on TV last night?
Some arbit movie on SHOwtime.
48. Favourite Smell ?
The smell of fresh roses at dawn...bwahahahha!!! actually Grilled Sausage!! Aaaaahh..feeling hungry!!!
49. Have you ever regretted breaking up with someone?
Regretted? Never...actually, I've never broken up with anyone, so this question is not Valid! next!
50. Most tiresome thing you’ve ever experienced/done?
Answering some 50 questions cos my friend tagged me!? Naaaa....I guess it would be the night I helped in moving furniture for a friend who was shifting houses. The whole process took 6 hours : 1am-7am. And Boy! the aches didnt end for a whole month!

Yaaahooooooooooo!!! I finished it!!! Hahahahaaa...I deserve a gold medal!!..and I've decided not to tag anyone too! No wait...maybe I should make one and tag pangu back!! hahaaa! awesome!

Mmmmm.....I'm lovin it!

Well...the smell atleast.
Cos I'm not sure if I can get a taste of it here in the USA.
Of what???????

The Community Shield just got over and Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1, Crouch heading home the winner. This is (surprisingly) what the (usually bitter) Jose had to say post-match, "They are a very difficult team to beat. When you play them you can win, lose or draw."
DUUHHHH????? As if anything else was possible in football !!!
What an @$$!!

But this is why I love it...the whole feel and excitement of a Season start....aaaaaahhh...and it bugs me to no-end cos I can't get to watch it here!! Grrrr....makes me wish I was at home or in B'lore stuck to the television, watching John Dykes and Co. disussing about my favourite sport, league and team.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Baltimore National Aquarium

Last weekend, we decided to "put" a short Road Trip again...a very very short Road Trip to be precise..a visit to the Baltimore National Aquarium which is just a lil more than a hour's drive from our place. We'd heard quite a bit about it from people here, and boy! we weren't disappointed. We reached the place at around 11am, but could get an entry ticket for only 1:45pm. Entrees are allowed inside in batches, and there were a LOT of people too (probably cos it was a weekend). But we used the free time to do some local sightseeing...a visit to the ESPN SportZone in Baltimore was the first place on my list, cos a no-go to a place like that for a sports freak like me would be like a Muslim pilgrim going for the Hajj to Mecca and skipping the Masjid al-Haram. (Now where did that come from!) ummmm....kinda atleast..Old Trafford would be more appropriate. (*Hi-fives all my fellow ManUtd men*) The SportZone is a pretty cool place though, and contains a bar/restaurant/arcade center and had an awesome SportsCenter Store too. Alas, a bit too pricey for my liking. We spent the rest our time visiting local shops and trying out the local pier cuisine.

Well, our entry time came at last and we experienced a totally different world once we were in. I can't bring myself to explain every aspect of it, but in short, the place is HUGE. By the end of it all, I was so tired that I felt like a fish who'd injured its fins cos it had swam too much. We were treated to all kinds of aquatic species, (atleast our eyes were treated - not our stomachs) sting rays, sharks, small fish, big fish, medium fish,pretty fish, ugly fish, cute fish,NEMO...haha!That was sooo funny...I saw atleast 10 kids excitedly telling their parents "Look! There's Nemo!" when they saw a clownfish. Only two parents were good enough to respond "Oh look! there's Dory too!" Tch..Tch..Sad. (I'm not doing a survey on parent-child interaction over here by the way). We watched a film show by Animal Planet...visited the Australia Wild Extremes section, visited Frog World, Coral Reef, Tropical Rainforest etc. Saw turtles, sea-horses, octupuses, eels, and other weird species galore. The Sharks were very impressive too, but looked dull and bored. Seeing fresh meat through glass partitions for long durations can make you that way I guess.

Well, the BEST section of the Aquarium is the Dolphin Show. This is a 30-min special show that takes place only like 4 times a day. We had to get special tickets for it too. I've liked Dolphins ever since I was a lil kid and now I love them. Such cute and intelligent creatures! We were treated to so many tricks from them including 10-foot leaps, doing circus-like hoop jumps, swimming on their backs balancing toys on their bellies, heavy-duty doses of water splashing on the people who were sittin in the front 3-4 rows. The 6 female trainers were amazing too. Ahem...I mean...they showed the right commands, fed the dolphins with little fish after they had done their tricks, and so on..see!

I Want A Dolphin As A Pet!!!!!!! (even better if a trainer comes free with it)

Umm...I'd better stop now.

//On the personal front...Life's going on takes up all the time during the weekdays...but then weekends come too! Watched 'Pirates' and 'Miami Vice' last weekend, and I thought both were pretty poor. Watched 'Omkara' yesterday..had to travel to the next state (Virginia) to get a hindi-flick screening theatre! But really liked the movie...Saif was awesome.
yup that's pretty much it!

Here are a few visuals of the Baltimore trip.

In front of the Zone

Sting Ray!

Beautiful scene in the Tropical Rainforest World

Spotted Nemo?..or Dory?

A diver feeding the fish

Whatcha lookin at?

Small in size, Large in number


The Dolphin Show

*Dolphin Leap*

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The day I met Tom...

Tom Who?
Tom as in Tom Cruise? NO.
Tom as in Tom Bombadil? NO.
Tom as in Thomas L Friedman? YES!!!

Well, I got the opportunity last week actually. He's a close friend of Dan Simpkins, the CEO of HillCrest Labs - the client we are working for. Dan had invited him over for a one-hour talk with us. I was under the impression he was kinda free or something, so he was doing his friend a favour. It was only when he arrived that I gotta know that he had landed just four hours earlier from Damascus, Syria! phew! Talk about on-the-go! And I don't think I know anyone who could stand up and speak to 60 odd people with such supreme clarity of thought after sucha long journey!! Amazing...

Ok..let me back up a bit, for people who are still like "Tom who?"...Here's a lil bit of biography:
He's a New York Times Columnist, "Foreign Affairs" columnist more precisely. He's world-renowned for his views and articles. He's a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner too. No simple fellow this. Not at all. Check out his website.

I could barely contain my excitement that Wednesday morning of 26th July. You see, I'd only met one other celebrity personally before, and that was Jagathy, mallu comedian actor, at my friend Sohan's house around 14 years back. I don't remember much, except that he was drinking whisky or something. He seemed very serious, asked me a few questions and my "ever-the-clown" impression of him vapourized instantly. Oh yeah, I've met Captain Raju (another mallu actor) too a couple of times, but that's because he's a family friend of sorts. Nice guy.

Well, you could say they don't come in the same league of Mr.Tom, and hence my excitement. He arrived right on time, and looked pretty funny in his light coloured t-shirt and khaki shorts. Not what I had expected. After a brief intro by Dan, he got into his act rightaway. And my, we were all held spellbound for the next sixty minutes or so. He started off on his new book, 'The World is Flat', which was actually released last year, but a new updated and expanded version is out now. He touched upon points like from where he got his idea of the book - in Nandan Nilekani's conference room at Infosys, Bangalore.

Yeaah...i know all my Infy friends are now suddenly very interested...hehe..aren't you guys? Anywayz, its not news for people who have read the book. But this might be - Nilekani was talking to him about globalization, the growth and advancement in technology today, by which countries like ours and China were becoming dominant. He said "Tom, the playing field is being leveled, (this second half has been left out in the book) and you Americans are not ready." This phrase kept playing in Tom's mind and he hit upon the line "The World is Flat". You see, his visit to India at that time made him very disturbed. He realised he had been sleeping, i.e. he had not kept track of the world of technology cos he had been totally focused on political issues post 9/11. Before that he had been writing on political and globalization issues (The Lexus and Olive forces in his words). But the Sept of 2001 changed all that. He decided to fully dedicate himself to the Lexus Tree and flew to the Middle East. Oh yeaah, he did come back just once cos he thought he should do two articles on a small start-up company..the company's name? GOOGLE.

He spoke to us about the current turmoil in the Middle-East, and said he was very worried with what has happening. He recounted incidents of his Syria trip and said he felt that things were taking a turn for the worse. He spoke about how the US were funding both sides of the war, by not taking a stand in the fuel price climb. We had an open QnA session with him. When one guy workin here openly asked him if he felt the Bush administration were any good (haha) cos they didn't seem able to cope with any major issue, he said he accepted the fact but he would still stick with the present government cos they still had 2.5 years to go...and he would do his best to make them listen and do better. His latest buzzword is "GREEN", and he's going all out on issues like Global Warming, energy effiency, the rising fuel prices, and such. He spoke about his well-publicized spat with General Motors. Man! The guy is hilarious I tell you! Sarcasm aplenty, which makes it all the more better.

He told us how he has almost stopped using the internet..cos he was gettin dragged into all types of wars..ranging from official stuff like the GM dogfight issue to arguing with some school kid who was angrily complaining on his MySpace that his teacher had told him to read some dumb book called 'The World is Flat' and he didn't wanna!!

And the icing on the cake, we got our personal 'The World is Flat' copies (that were gifted to us by Dan and his wife) autographed by him. All in all, a very memorable experience....unforgettable.

Thanks Tom!