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Why I won’t be buying anything from U2 anymore

Because they have a git of a manager who thinks consumers all steal his stuff and wants to restrict our rights to enrich him and his buddies in the recording industry.

Read his speech.

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It’s a Small World, After all…

… we just don’t seem to recognise how small most times.

Today, entirely by accident, I found the blog of someone I knew a long time back and also then found their personal website.

It was an interesting, and nostalgic half an hour spent. The person never kept a blog during the time we were acquainted, so it was interesting to see if interests, speech, etc had changed in the interim (it had not!) What was fun too was that I discovered some stuff that I didn’t know earlier…

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Revisiting tenacity

Just under a year ago I (semi)-cryptically wrote this entry. I got a few silly comments from people who didn’t know what the eff I was talking about (all gone now since I stopped using HaloScan) and not even a single helpful one.

Anyway, what I was trying to say is that it’s so hard to figure out when to stop being obsessed with something. Or someone. How do people figure these things out? I certainly can’t. It could be something as simple as being worried about some old newspaper cuttings or book you’ve had for years. It could be the completely more complex thing as getting over a relationship (potential or real :p)

(To be honest, I still don’t expect great and terrible responses, but what the hey.. )

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Hmmmm

Long rides on the commuter trains make me thoughtful and introspective. When I’m not sleeping, that is.

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Struck

Something a friend said to me today about how the GNE/flickr crowd spends way too much time online got me thinking. I was talking to her about how a whole bunch of us people on GNE moved en masse to flickr when Ludicorp first launched it and how we all tried out/signed on to other sites like orkut, Breedster, Friendster, Kingdom of Loathing, 360°, Wallop and probably others.

All of us were quite happy on GNE and in the initial phase of flickr (lots of live chat, horsing around, etc) But none of us really got hooked onto orkut. Some of us explored Breedster for a short while and a larger number quite enjoyed playing the Kingdom of Loathing. Most of the other social networking sites generally left us cold. Now the #flickr channel on IRC (when people are in there) is usually active with chat, jokes etc. So what I thought was this: we’re people who like live interactions. Live chat, so to speak. We get bored easily with places like orkut which are just fancy “boards.” We need to be able to talk continuously, bounce ideas, jokes (and each other) off each other.

Sure, some of us adapted well enough to orkut and the new face of flickr and some are active on other community and networking sites. But what held us together as a community from GNE (along with some people who joined during the flickr stage) and still holds us together is being able to chat live. To horse around, flirt and emote. Wallop, orkut, 360°, or any other such conventional networking site will never work to keep our community together.

Makes sense?

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I used to be able to handle this…

There was a time I was pretty cool with whatever went on in the world of computing. I was a mad code monkey that wrote programs in assembly for fun, wrote DOS utilities, batch scripts and some simple database programs (for a library and a hospital.) The Internet came to India and I was on top of things since a geek friend and I hacked into the VSNL server in Bangalore and created accounts for ourselves. (Well, not really, it was simpler than that, but if I tell you how simple, I can’t brag then, can I?) That time has long since passed.

All my friends went on to be computer engineers and I studied biology. I finished a bachelor’s degree in biology and got a master’s too. My metamorphosis from computer geek to biology geek was complete.

Nevertheless, I still played with computers a lot, never did any coding ever though. I surfed and surfed and then surfed some more. I had a million (some would say zillion) accounts wherever they were free and some paid accounts too. I was active on newsgroups, on fledgling social networks, played online games, and chatted with friends across three networks and IRC. Phew. And all this while being a grad student at university.

Today though (and for a few months previously) I can’t be that active anymore. I barely make the time to read and reply to email. I check friends’ blogs for updates maybe once every two days as opposed to several times a day! I rarely ever login to orkut when I used to be on for most of the day earlier. Yahoo! Messenger which would have me logged in even while I was asleep, hardly gets a workout these days. And I login to MSN only to play Minesweeper Flags with friends.

So why am I boring you with all this? Well, it’s just so if I don’t comment on your latest blogpost, don’t read your new 360° page/blog, don’t reply to your email as often, you know why! 😉 (Yes, Yahoo! 360° yet another social network is out and I have a page there…)

The funny thing is, just about this time last year, I was writing this post about how cool (sort of) my online existence was! One year later…

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Home is where the hearth is?

On one of the four bus journeys I make during a regular work day, I suddenly got to thinking of what if feels like to be “at home.” To me, Bangalore has always been home. I was born there, I grew up there and only left there for a long period of time just about five years ago. Yet, I don’t recognise that city much anymore. And I feel vaguely uncomfortable in my parents’ new home (They just moved in November.)

I lived in a hostel (a dorm for my American readers!) for two years after I left Bangalore. I never felt much at home there either. My first few months in that city I hated because I resented being put into the programme I was in and I was generally annoyed with classmates and other people. In short, I was being a brat. I grew to like the people and made some of my best friends there, but I still didn’t feel at home. It was always just this place I was at to study.

I moved to the US then to join grad school there and I thought I would never feel at home there since everything would be quite different. I was wrong and I was right. Some things were not so different, I had to fend for myself, cook my own food, etc but I was surrounded by other Indians and had very few American friends to start off with. (Not too many at the end either but then my excuse is that I wasn’t in the US long enough!) You’d assume I’d feel at home since there were all these Indians around me. But no, most were so different from me in so many ways, in thoughts, in ideas of what was “cool,” in backgrounds back in India, and, not the least, in the subject they were in grad school for. All engineers! And me a biologist! My first few months were spent in some sort of denial, I spent hours online chatting with my friends back in India and spent hundreds of dollars on long distance phone calls to India!

It took a while, but I finally clicked into a routine in America. I had more (and new) friends and I was out doing things, school began to occupy my time and teaching turned out to be a lot of fun! (Not the grading though!) I began to enjoy the “creature comforts” that were so easily available in the US. Netflix, highspeed internet a given where ever I was, fairly comfortable living for cheap, good food and drink was affordable on my student stipend, and generally scratching the consumer itch that we all have. I was just thinking I could feel at home there. I was planning to get a car and maybe move out on my own or with a single roommate.

But then, I moved again. Back to India. I decided I wouldn’t be too heartbroken about leaving the US, and that I should be back into the groove when I was in India. Once again, I was wrong and right. It took me a while to confirm the job I was offered here and that job was in Bombay and not Bangalore. So it meant moving to a city I was not very familiar with yet again. It meant having to strike it out on my own in a city in India which it is supposed to be the toughest to do. I’m doing pretty well I guess. I still don’t have a place to stay and have to live with my god-parents for now, but I’m confident I’ll be finding a place soon and living the “cool single life!” *grin*

I do miss some of those things from the US and of course I do miss my friends, and I have a hell of a lot of gripes about this country, but on the whole I don’t mind being in India at all. It’s home.

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Old habits

So although I was in the US for just 2 years, I walked a lot there. I’ve gotten so used to pushing the button for a “walk” sign when I cross a road, that the few times I need to cross a road here in India, I always look instinctively for the post where I can push the button!

Of course, I always looked the wrong side when trying to cross too, but I lost that habit pretty quickly. Evolutionary adaptation? 😉

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Today’s bits of randomness

Right now I’m listening to the music of 1942 – A Love Story. Once again, I can’t remember how I got there. I remember reading something about Kavita Krishnamurthy and suddenly decided I needed to listen to the music from this movie. Lovely songs.

I finally did my taxes today. I had all the forms and crap ready, just was too lazy to fill the damn things out and mail them. Well, now that’s done. So I should get my return soon. I really need it, it’s around 500 bucks!! 🙂 It’s not fair that I’m not allowed to file online. It is so easy to do it online!

Speaking of which, my life is rapidly transforming into a complete online existance. I spend my time on my computer recording bee dances, writing software for the lab, reading papers, and I even do my notes on it. For the classes I teach, I make my presentations, find videos, visuals, resources all online. My bank and credit cards don’t send me statements in the mail. All online. When I do get bills from the university, I get them online. My electricity, cable, phone, all online. Wheeeee! And not to mention all the time I spend chatting on flickr!

I got mad today. Maybe also a bit sad. I’m wondering if I’m too pushy online. Maybe I’m trying to be friends with people who would rather keep their distance from me. I posted a couple of comment on someone’s blog and soon after those comments were posted, that blog was made “friends only” and hence locked me out. It wasn’t the first time I’ve commented there, but I guess I rubbed that person the wrong way this time. I wouldn’t be so mad, if at least I was told that I was not wanted. I hate the indirectness of the whole thing. There’s also an element of hypocrisy involved, but lets not go into that here. For all I know that person is reading this now. Well, see, I don’t care. This is what I feel, and I don’t need to hide it from the world.

Well, it’s also possible I’m being paranoid and overreacting (I tend to do the latter a lot) but somehow I don’t think that’s the case this time.

Anyway, this incident kind of made me think a bit about my online presence. I do tend to insinuate myself into conversations, posts, etc. I never really thought that if I was unwelcome I wouldn’t be told so. What if I’m the online equivalent of that guy no one really wants to talk to but don’t know how to say so? Oh man, now I’m horrified. Have I just been bugging a lot of people all these months? So I’ve decided then to tone down all the chatting, posting, silly jokes, stupid crap that I’m always spouting. Maybe even be more insular too. Ok, that’s done.

Just had to mention here, Shambly Hermit met hey leto on flickr and pointed me at her blog. This is really good reading! I so wish I could write like her! Oddly, I have not met her on flickr yet, but I think when I do, I might just gush all about how much I like her blog. hehe…

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First Snowfall

All day yesterday it snowed accompanied by gusty winds… boy was it chilly outside. So much so that I decided to just stay at home snuggled under a comforter!! Nice!

I finally got around to watching Suraj ka Satvan Ghoda and I quite liked the movie. Mostly for the story and the way it was weaved though I did feel it seemed to stretch a bit too long! In fact at 130 minutes or so, it’s on the shorter side of Indian films. But then again it doesn’t have any song and dance sequences. This film was Rajit Kapur’s debut and I think he does a pretty good job. Watching this also reminded me how hot Neena Gupta is!! 🙂

The big news on GNE, we finally got a few items yesterday! Yay!! All edible stuff. And we also now have stats like karma, mood, energy, tummy and xp. None of which really matter at the moment, but it’s fun to play around with it in anticipation. Stewart has promised more stuff by the end of this week, though with Thanksgiving coming up, I’m not sure if that will happen!

I also chatted with Priya on Yahoo! yesterday after donkey’s years! It was good to be able to speak with her after so long. She says she’s planning to come to the US in December or thereabouts. Not sure when, if ever, I can meet her in the US, but you never know. I keep telling myself, it’s just a matter of getting your own car and then you’ll be mobile around the US, but I don’t know. I just don’t seem to have enough free time to do all the wandering I want and the time I do get off, I laze about at home. New Year’s Resolution for 2004: Stop lazing about! hehehe…