Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I just got the BESTEST TAG IN THE WORLD!!!!!! THE BESTEST!!!!!!!!! FOOOOOOOD TAAAAAAG!!!!! Thank you bluegreenfly.....SPLAT!

Well, I've put 10 things in this list, but I'm not done, so I'm gonna get back tomorrow sometime and get this up to 25! Update: Done! But I'm really unhappy 'cause I just realized that my list would probably go on forever. I was planning to find pictures for all of these things and add them here, but it's a lot easier to just google. Maybe I'll add links and pictures if I feel like it.

I tag i-me-moi, Saket, Jean Valjean, Vikster, and Thë Là¢ke¥. Do me proud my fellow foodies.

Also, I wrote this list from 1 to 25, which will explain some inconsistencies in references. My next post is probably going to be about stuff which I've heard a lot about, but never had a chance to eat.

25. Roomali roti (रुमाली रोटी) - Flat bread so thin and delicate, it's a wonder in itself. The best part of eating roomali roti is watching the cook make it. Tossing and swirling that dough until it's ultrathin before toasting it on an upturned wok (I'm sure it's called something else, I just call it an upturned wok.) Best served with mughlai mutton or chicken.

24. Sutarfeni (सुतरफेणी) - I'm not even going to bother with trying to describe what this is. Suffice is to say that the best sutarfeni I've had has been at Parsi Dairy at Charni Road. Don't miss it.

23. Jalebi (जलेबी or जिलेबी as we say in Marathi) - I don't know where to begin with a description. Deep-fried syrup-soaked saffron-colored spiral flour rolls, steeped in sugar syrup? How's that? Served piping hot or really cold.

22. Kokum kadi (कोकम कडी aka सोल कडी) - A tart drink made with coconut milk and kokum. Good quality kokum and coconut milk are both hard to obtain in the US. Still, if you can get by with canned coconut milk and blackmail a friend into carrying a packet of kokum from India, you're set.

21. Paneer tikka (पनीर टिक्का) - Spiced cottage cheese baked in a tandoor. I remember having these as appetizers at Copper Chimney (at Worli) once, and boy, weren't they something. Each tikka was perfectly done, with the paneer firm yet luscious. Put a piece in your mouth and it would melt with an unforgettable explosion of spice and texture. And yet, I like 20 things more than this!

20. Aamras-puri (आम्रस पुरी) - Fried flat bread served with piping hot with chilled mango puree. For best results, seat yourself in the kitchen, so that the puris are really piping hot and puffed up. Again one of those vegetarian dishes that could make me quit meat.

19. Tandoori chicken (तन्दूरी मुर्ग) - Every body seems to know what tandoori chicken is, but I haven't had authentic tandoori anywhere in the US. Most of the time, it's been some kinda spiced baked chicken with too much red food-coloring. Other times, it's been a little better but not a single place in the US has nailed the taste and texture of this delicacy. But for authentic tandoori, I guess you'll have to go to India.

18. Tallelya bhendyanchi bhaji (तळलेल्या भेन्ड्यान्ची भाजी) - Spicy fried okra. I have this at least a couple of times a week, being so easy to make and delicious and all that. (Buy cut okra from supermarket, heat oil in frying pan, add kokum, add washed okra, add chilli powder, add salt, add dhaniya-jeera powder, fry until okra is halfway blackened. Serve with rice or chapati. The "buy cut okra" step is the most important!)

17. Bhanola (भानोळं) - A sort of savory loaf made from chickpea flour. That description really sucked, but I don't really know what I can do to make it better. (Need to call mom. Need to ask her why I didn't have this during my visit.)

16. Tisrya (तिस्र्या) - Clam curry. I love this, but it's a bit of a pain to have to extract the meat from the clams. (And yeah, I have no idea why they are called tisrya.)

15. Undhiu (उँधिऊ) - Gujarati vegetable stew. I feel sorry for any vegetarian person who hasn't had undhiu yet. Back home, my mom used to make undhiu once upon a time, these days she simply gets it from any of the fantastic Gujju places in Girgaum. Over here, I'm forced to buy the ready to eat version from the Indian store. Not quite as good, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

14. Bhakri (भाक्री) - Various types of flat bread made from either sorghum (jowar), millet (bajari) or rice. Bhakri is so much better than nans, kulchas, and parathas, it's not even funny. Best accompanied by number 8 and 9.

13. Vade (वडे) - Fried multi-grain flat bread. No, it's not what you think non-Marathi folk. This is the traditional accompaniment to number 10 - chicken. Say कोम्ब्डी वडे with me children!

12. Alu vadi (अळु वडी) - Fried batter-stuffed rolled leaves of the colocassia plant. That simple description does no justice at all to this fantastic appetizer. Again, this is the sort of thing that you will never really get in the US. (Unless you count the ready-to-eat heat and serve version.)

11. Pancharatna bhaji (aka Rishi chi bhaji) (पंचरत्न भाजी - ॠषी ची भाजी) - A springtime vegetable stew with Indian white corn, and lots and lots of different vegetables. If I ever decide to quit eating meat, this will be one of the things I'll have to learn to cook.

10. Kombdi (कोम्ब्डी) - Curried chicken. The chicken in this has to be free range chicken. (Desi folk will call this गावठी.)

9. Mutton (मटण) - Curried mutton. I guess having this for lunch every Sunday afternoon for most of my life kinda made this really grow on me. I especially love some of the more esoteric stuff that goes in this curry - spleen (तिल्ली), kidney (गुर्दा), fat (मान्द or चर्बी) and of course कपूरा!

8. Kaleji fry (कलेजी फ्राय) - Fried curried goat liver. This is my mom's signature dish when we have guests over. It's also the stuff that gets over fastest. (I kinda cheat and take a really large helping right in the beginning!)

7. Bheja fry (भेजा फ्राय) - Fried goat brains. We would get this before every major exam. My dad would say, bheja khao - bheja chalao!

6. Tallela bangda (तळलेला बान्ग्डा) - Fried mackerel. The tastiest fish around. The only reason it doesn't feature at a better rank on the list is cause I didn't know what to move out.

5. Tallela halva (तळलेला हल्वा) - Fried black pomfret. The meat is succulent yet firm and much tastier than the white pomfret.

4. Chimboryancha kalvan (चिम्बोर्यान्चे काल्वण) - Crab curry. I'm salivating a bit too much to be able to elaborate.

3. Tallelya kolambya (तळलेल्या कोलम्ब्या) - Fried prawns. Heh! Fried prawns. I eat fried prawns in my dreams. I'm not kidding. And the best part of prawns, is that unlike 1. and 2. they are much easier to find in fish-market. If aliens destroyed the earth and I was the only survivor, I would mourn fried prawns. Mom's recipe for frying of course!

2. Shevandyancha kalvan (शेवन्ड्यान्चे काल्वण) - Lobster curry (This is the Indian-style spiny lobster, not the stuff you get in the US, though that's good too.) Lobster meat has to be eaten to be believed. Mom's recipe for currying of course!

1. Talleli gaboli (तळलेली गाबोळी) - Fried roe of the bhing (भिंगं) fish. (Not surmai as I had said earlier.) This is pretty much heaven. I don't care if you're queasy. It just means more for me! Mom's recipe for frying of course!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Yeah, I got really nothing to write home about so I guess it's time to review some comics.

Picked up a copy of All Star Superman last weekend, written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely. Regular readers of my blog should know that that's the dream comic book team according to me. Do they deliver for All Star Superman? Of course!

DC's All Star series is a reimagining to their flagship characters Batman and Superman. All Star Batman is by Frank Miller and illustrated by Jim Lee and that book sucked so badly I asked my comic book guy to stop holding it for me. (To be honest the Jim Lee art was fantastic as usual but Frank Miller seems to have lost all his writing skills after Sin City.) However, the comic did give us the panel that inspired a generation!

Other stuff I'm reading is Desolation Jones by written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by J. H. Williams III. A secret community of ex-spies based in L.A. Hitler porn. And the worst looking protagonist in a recent comic book. This has got to be the best book of 2005.

I'll write some more in the next post, but now, it's time to go and buy some comic books!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Yeah, I'm back in Madison. I've already seen some snow. Somehow, it's not as bad after three and a half weeks in Mumbai. (Having bag loads of desi snacks always helps!)

Right now I'm up so late because I'm recalibrating the battery in my laptop. You basically fully charge the battery, disable all Windows battery alarms and let it shutdown. Then you plug it in and fully charge it. Mine has been stuck at 6% battery for the last half hour! Hopefully this will restore my battery life from 15 minutes to the 2 hours it is rated at.

In other news, I'll be visiting the comic shop again this Saturday after month! This has probably been the longest time I have not been to it. I've missed out on a lot of reading, and hopefully it will translate into a few reviews and rants.

In more laptop news, I also succeeded (after maybe 10 failed attempts) in upgrading the ROM BIOS on my laptop. The trick was to not jump from version 03 to 35 directly, but to flash to an intermediate version first. I also opened up my laptop today, and was disappointed to see that the second (upgradable) memory slot already contained a 256 Mb SODIMM. Now, I'll have to rethink my plans to upgrade it to 1 Gb.

Madison seems to be as boring as ever. I don't seem to have missed anything significant during my vacation. On the other hand, I've surely missed a lot of juicy Mumbai stuff, in the week or so I've been here.

An incredible thing just happened. A drop of sweat just rolled down my forehead and fell on my T-shirt. It's 13°F outside. (That's -10.56°C to you Mumbai readers.) And I'm sweating inside my apartment. Don't you just love heated homes!

It's really late now. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson just got over. I'm gonna be so sleepy at work tomorrow. I might even have to have a coffee to wake up. Usually I have only a tea. Or better yet orange juice.

You can tell I'm really rambling now can't you? Now would probably be a good time to proof this post, but I'm probably going to do that tomorrow. If at all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Halfway through my trip to Mumbai, and I'm still having fun. Mumbai is now:
  • Mall crazy
  • Expensive
  • Filled with stray dogs
  • Smoggy
  • Divine
2 rupees kharasingh rocks!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Just a quick note. I'll be in India from the 2nd to the 26th of November. So if any readers (well, ok, any of you two readers) want to meet up, drop me a line.

Monday, October 24, 2005

My blog is worth $28,227.00.
How much is your blog worth?

Yes, another meaningless post for your pleasure!

Friday, October 21, 2005

List of books to buy when in India:
  • Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach by Stuart J. Russell and Peter Norvig (ISBN: 8120323823, Edition: 2)

  • OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide To Learning Open Gl Version 1.4 by OpenGL Architecture Review Board et. al. (ISBN: 8129705486, Edition: 4)

  • Compilers: Principles, Techniques And Tools by Alfred V. Aho, Jeffrey D. Ullman and Ravi Sethi (ISBN: 817808046X)
List of books that I wish had special Indian editions:
  • Fundamentals of Computer Graphics by Peter Shirley
These list will be constantly updated. Suggestions (fiction and non-fiction) welcome!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Time Magazine has released a list of 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present. Here's what I've read from that list:
  • Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
  • The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  • Lord of the Flies - William Golding
  • The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Neuromancer - William Gibson
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  • Watchmen - Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Tried to read but couldn't finish:
  • Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon
As you can see, that's about 9 out of a 100. Obviously, I'm a lot less erudite than the Vikster, who's read 44!

Vikster, if you're reading this, I will suggest that you find and read the only graphic novel in the list - The Watchmen. Not because it's the highest reader rated book in that list (that's probably 'cause it's the most accessible to us proles) but simply because it's a great starting point to a brand new medium. If you like it, I would suggest:
  • Maus - Art Spiegelman
  • Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
  • A Contract with God - Will Eisner (actually pretty much anything by Eisner is good.)
  • and of course 10 volumes of Sandman - Neil Gaiman and various artists
(Now, I'm heading to the library. Gotta catch up!) (Sprechen, how many have you read?)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Just some random nerdy thoughts today:

This guy just brought to my notice that Firefox lacks a "Make available offline" feature like the one in Internet Explorer. (In IE, apart from the current page, you can also specify a link depth you want to download to, à la wget!) I must say, this is a pretty significant feature that Firefox is missing. Of course, if Firefox is missing a feature, you just look for extensions!

Initially, none of the extensions I found could add this functionality to Firefox. Then I found the updated version of Spiderzilla. (Keep in mind that Spiderzilla doesn't seem to be in development and the version I have linked to, has been repackaged from the original by someone on extensionmirror.)

(At this point, people will say I just should just use wget. Well, yes, I already do, but wget cannot do things like download CSS background images or images loaded by JavaScript. And if would be nice to have a tool integrated into the browser rather than hacking around on the command line each time I want to download a site. I should probably be looking at HTTrack which Spiderzilla embeds. Of course, the real solution would be to use Gekco itself to parse through the page and find all downloadable data.)

Among other things, Hotmail is beta testing a newer interface. (Ajax and all that!) I just hope that they make it cross browser, and compete using quality and not lock-in.

There seems to be a lot of new web-based RSS aggregators out there (My Yahoo, Google Reader and of course BlogLines) but the one I like the most is Start.com by Microsoft. Why? Apart from a very capable interface, it's the only one you can try and use without having to sign in.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Is being addicted to the Internet less harmful than being addicted to the television?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I just finished reading two books.

The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams. I vaguely remember reading this book during undergrad (I'm not sure I really did though, there was just so much Dilbert floating around during undergrad.) Of course, reading a book like this after getting a full-time job is a completely different experience. Geeks can relate.

Microserfs by Douglas Coupland. This chronicles the lives of a couple of geeks working for Microsoft during the early Nineties. A frankly accurate portrayal of geek life, this was probably the first book in ages that I didn't feel like putting down. Geeks can relate.

Both are recommended.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A final word on Opera.

So, after testing the waters, Opera has decided to drop the $40 paid registration and make it free for everyone. Which is great, but I will still use Firefox as my primary browser. Here's why:
  • No Adblock in Opera: This is probably the most important reason. And I have no reason to believe that Opera will ever have an Adblock feature.
  • No rich text (WYSIWYG) editing: As a blogger, it's pointless to use a browser which doesn't have a WYSIWYG edit control. I'm not going to write HTML code in my blog if I can avoid it. Opera engineers say they are working on a WYSIWYG edit control, so maybe sometime in the future it will be available.
  • "Wrong" tabbed browsing behavior: Closing a tab selects the previously selected tab in Opera. There is no way to really fix this (there are workarounds involving gestures etc.) My desired behavior is that the tab to the right of the closed tab should be selected. This is the default behavior in Firefox. Also, if for some reason, you want Opera style behavior in Firefox you can get it using an extension like Tab Mix. This shouldn't be hard for Opera engineers to fix and seeing as how many different people have requested for this, they should try and do it soon.
  • Can't move Personal Bar next to the menu: This is just a convenient space saver. In Firefox (and IE) I can move the Personsl Bar (Bookmarks Toolbar in Firefox / Links bar in IE) right next to the menu. Thus giving me some more browsing space while retaining quick access to my favorite bookmarklets.
  • No Ctrl-Enter/Shift-Enter/Ctrl-Shift-Enter: In Firefox these shortcuts autocomplete an address with www. .com, www. .net and www. .org respectively. There are no equivalent shortcuts in Opera, and the workaround doesn't behave correctly when the site in question has bogus .com, .net or .org versions.
  • No Sage: While Opera does have a built in RSS reader, it is nowhere are powerful as the Firefox extension, Sage. Sage has a digest view so you can read all posts on a blog at once instead of just looking at a headline. OPML import/export is the icing on the cake.
There are a few other minor reasons why I prefer Firefox, (minor UI stuff like being able to middle-click on the back and front buttons etc.) but the ones listed above are the most important.

I do like Opera on one of the computers I use. It is an old Pentium III laptop and Opera's fast load times and low memory usage let it run rings around Firefox.

I should however mention two incredible Opera features which no other browser seems to have. If I ever switch to Opera (will only happen if all the stuff mentioned above gets fixed), these two features will be among most important reasons:
  • Zoom: Opera's zoom is unlike every other browsers zoom. Everything zooms, not just the text. Even with the Colorzilla extension Firefox cannot do what Opera can. Don't believe me? Try zooming in this blog using Firefox, IE and Opera. Opera just kicks ass.
  • Fit to window width: Does what it says. Fits the current page to width. You never have to scroll horizontally again. Haven't found an IE or Firefox extension which will let me do that.
My advice to Opera:
  • Make it easier for IE users to switch: Maybe have a special toolbar and keyboard setup which emulates IE installed by default. (Current Opera users should be allowed to keep their customizations of course.) And for God's sake let people import their bookmarks, history, cookies etc. during installation.
  • Rich text editing should be a priority: Let's face it. If you want good publicity from bloggers, then their favorite blogging tools (like Blogger) should function as well as they do on Firefox and IE. No excuses.
  • Create an extension architecture: Yes, it probably goes against your entire design philosophy etc. etc. Well, so did giving your browser away for free, but guess what! It's an easy way to tap into geeks and it's probably the only way something like Adblock will be a reality on Opera.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

So on Conan yesterday, the musical guests were The New Pornographers performing their fantastic (new?) track Use It. I googled for a video or something and found out that both the video (alternate link) and the audio were available for streaming and download respectively. Fantastic. Well, not quite.

I streamed the video which sounded alright. I decided I was going to the buy this CD. Then I downloaded the mp3 and it sounded like shit! Wait a second. That makes no sense, it's the same music, why does it sound alright on the video and why does the mp3 sound like garbage? Especially in light of the fact that the video probably contained a 64kbps audio stream which should sound worse than the mp3. A second listen confirmed that for some reason the mp3 was sounding really really bad, vocals were distorted, guitar sounded too loud, and drums were just one loud beat.

Maybe they didn't want to give a high quality mp3 for download. But a quick peek at the bitrate revealed that it was a 320kbps mp3, the highest possible bitrate, ergo the best quality mp3 (well not quite since they had used iTunes and not Lame, still it should have been decent quality). So obviously that wasn't the reason the mp3 was sounding so bad. Mysteries, mysteries.

Then I ReplayGained the mp3. The track registered at -9.40 dB! What does that mean? It means that if we take 89dB as normal loudness, this track was designed to be 9.40 dB louder. That almost 8 times as loud as a normal track. No wonder it was sounding distorted. Essentially, whoever mastered it just wanted it to sound loud. As loud as can be. With no concern for quality. (You want a better explanation about this and why a lot of modern CDs sound really bad, read this article about the loudness race.)

Ah well, I'm not going to buy the CD. Maybe I'll go listen to them live, if they play nearby. If any members of The New Pornographers happen to read this, I like your music, but until you can rein in whoever masters your music from going loud and distorted, I'm not buying your CDs.

On a happier note, Best of luck to Conan O'Brien for the Emmys! Hope you win both your nominations!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Back in Madison from Ohio.

Friday, September 02, 2005

So, I'm blogging this using Opera. I was able to register during the Opera Party and get a free registration code for myself.

Here's my impression about it so far.

Stuff I like:
  • Very fast startup times
  • Now that the ad is gone, the interface is very customizable

Stuff I don't like:
  • My Firefox/IE shortcuts don't work as expected. Ctrl-Enter doesn't autocomplete to www.url.com, Shift-Enter doesn't autocomplete to www.url.net and Ctrl-Shift-Enter doesn't autocomplete to www.url.org.
    Update: There isn't a real solution for this! There are a few workarounds, like Tools->Preferences->Advanced->Server Name Completion->Unchecking "Look for local machine" and adding net and org to the suffix types, but if a website is a .net or .org and a bogus .com domain exists then things don't work. Maybe they'll fix this in the next release, although it's been on wishlists forever.
  • Quite a few website's have reduced functionality, like no Compose tab in Blogger. As I'm typing this I'm back to Blogger's most primitive interface, can't even do a simple thing like automatically insert a URL. Of course this isn't really Opera's fault.
    Update: Actually it is! Opera apparently doesn't have a Rich Edit control.

  • I miss all my Firefox extensions. Most importantly Adblock.
    Update: And while there are ways of blocking ads in Opera, nothing exists with the convenience of Adblock.

  • The builtin RSS reader, can't seem to be configured to show all posts at once (ala Sage.)
    Update: No way of fixing this it seems.

  • I changed the default fixed-width font to Bitstream Vera Sans Mono, but I'm still using Courier as I type this. Looks like I'll have to change that preference in a bunch of different places.
    Update: That wasn't hard to do.
I'm sure there are workaround's for most of the stuff in the previous list, and once I find it things should be better.

Stuff I really really don't like:
  • Double clicking on a word opens a menu!!!!! This is really really bad user interface design. This goes against standard Windows UI guidelines. In every other application, double clicking a word will select it. Only in Opera does a menu open. If anyone knows how to turn this off, please let me know.
    Update: Turned it off, Tools->Preferences->Advanced->Toolbars->Uncheck "Enable hotclick menu"

  • The apologists in the Opera community. Any time a IE or a Firefox user makes a feature request, there's a huge bunch of users who will try and shut such a person off. Look here for example. These people really really hurt Opera and its popularity.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

So my knees are back to normal. And my throat is almost back to normal. And I'm almost back to normal.

Still settling in to the new apartment. Though honestly I don't think I ever will be able to settle in. I'll always find something to complain about.

Thankfully the weather hasn't gone to hell yet. The days are getting shorter though which is never a good sign. After four winters here I'm still going to hate this new one. We should be like birds and migrate.

Thanks to the physical and mental discomfort of the move, I'm back to reading comics with a vengeance. Comics are my comfort food.

At work on a Sunday. But that's all right, I didn't have much to do anyway. I would have probably spent the day parked in front of the TV reading a comic book. Which sounds great, now that I think about it.

Yesterday, I was at State Street, and was infuriated with the number of parents roaming around with their freshmen children. Parents go home. Leave your kids be. State Street looks better that way.

I have to start going to the gym again, but am apprehensive thanks to the whole knee situation. I will go though. Probably start next weekend.

I'm off to lunch now. Please forgive the poor quality of prose in this post (all those damn "thanks to's"). I'm in no mood to fix it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New apartment. Hectic moving day. Knee problems. Throat problems. Slight fever. Work deadlines. No time to blog :(

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Here's the plot. If you could send one message back through time to your younger self, what would it be and would your younger self listen?

A few (two and a half) years ago I would have answered this question quite differently from how I'm going to answer it now.

Here's the resolution. I would ask my younger self to work a lot harder than he (I) will (did) during the first semester at Wisconsin and to switch from signal processing to image processing even earlier. How would I convince my younger self? Put something in the message which he (I) would recognize as something only I (he) know and would never possibly reveal to someone else even under torture.

Here's the twist. How will I answer this question in the future?

Everyone writes (reads) their own novel.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

So after not buying the series when it was running, and not buying the hard-back graphic novel when it was released a couple of months ago, I finally picked up the soft-cover last weekend. I am talking of course, of Wanted written by Mark Millar with art by J. G. Jones and Paul Mounts. Instead of the usual rigmarole that I usually insert at this point, I guess I'm just going to quote a little (careful this stuff is rated R):
This is my best friend having sex with my girlfriend over an Ikea table I picked up for a really good price.

This is me meeting him for dinner two days later and pretending not to know about it as we enjoy some really nice Korean food together.

This is the office where I work as an assistant to the associate editor on Hypothyroidism Today, the third-biggest auto-immune periodical on the Eastern seaboard.

This is me taking shit from my African-American boss. As you can see, I'm smiling as she insults me but it's only because I'm embarrassed by the situation and more than a little afraid of the scary fucking bitch.

This is the sesame-crusted salmon over sourdough with mustard greens and wasabi mayonnaise I like to have for lunch just to prove I'm different from the herd.

Most weekdays, these semi-literate cholo fucks meet me off the bus and on the walk behind me hurling insults about my baggies or my old-skool pumas.

Most weeknights, I tell my girlfriend I'm finishing up some work, but spend a couple of hours browsing the net for new stress-related diseases I think I might have.

I'm not a bad person or anything. I'm just an ordinary guy in a bad situation. Doesn't everyone hate neighbors who exhibit a relentless cheery disposition? "Cheer up, Wesley. It might never happen, kiddo."

My name is Wesley Gibson and my dad walked out on my mom when I was eighteen weeks old.

Did he look into my baby-blues and realize that he'd just fathered one of the most insignificant assholes of the 21st century?
From here on things only get much much better. This is closest a comic book has ever come to Kill Bill. In some places this thing is even better.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

If we are all going to die anyway, why do we continue to live our lives?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The night’s too quiet
Stretched out alone
I need the whip of thunder
And the winds dark moan
I’m not Abel, I’m just Cain
Open up the heavens
Make it rain

"Make it rain," Real Gone, Tom Waits.

Tom Waits is a bloody genius.

Friday, July 08, 2005

After getting pissed off with what Starbucks (and all the other coffee shops in the US) try to pass off as chai, I decided to make some real chai at work.

How to make chai in a chai-challenged office:
(i.e. with a mug and a microwave)

  • Tea-bags (Black tea only, try Brooke Bond Red Label or Brooke Bond Taj Mahal available at your neighborhood Indian store. If you can't get those, try Twinings English Breakfast)
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Milk (Vitamin D is the best, you can make do with 1% or 2%.)

  • Fill half your average coffee mug with water. (Yes, half.)
  • Add two teaspoons of sugar (You can add more or less depending upon your nationality.)
  • Add the tea-bag (The stapler pin hasn't sparked in my microwave. It could in yours. This is not my problem or responsibility.)
  • Microwave on high for 45 seconds. The water will boil. The resultant brew will be very dark and very aromatic.
  • Let the tea-bag steep for about 45 - 60 seconds more.
  • Add enough milk to fill slightly less than three quarters the mug and stir. (Yes, three quarters. Only barbarians drink a mug full of tea. The only reason I even use a mug is because I don't have a tea-cup at work and mugs are easier to handle with my huge hands.) Update: Slightly less milk than that even. You'll know it's right when the taste of milk does not overpower the tea. I wish I could say what color, but browns are hard to do on the web.
  • Microwave for 15 more seconds.
  • Chai is ready. Be careful, it will be very very hot! (Serves one.)

Things to notice:
  • Notice how I haven't added any extra spices to the chai. This is basic chai as served and enjoyed by millions (billions?) of Indians everyday.
  • You could try adding some cardamom during brewing. Very little, very very little. What most Indians actually add are the skins of some shelled green cardamom pods. Of course, only wimps do this sort of thing. Real men only drink real chai, not some wimpy brew containing strange spices. You want strange spices, go eat some curry.
  • As you drink it, notice how those taste buds wake up from the coma that your daily coffee has put them in. Notice how your nose remembers that it's alive and starts sending signals to your brain again.
  • Drinking tea regularly will dramatically improve your sex life. (Why else would India and China, the largest tea consumers, also have the largest populations?)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Book tagged by Saket.

Total number of books I own: About a 100 in the US. Many many more in India.

Last book I bought: The Batman Chronicles - Vol. 1, by Bob Kane, Bill Finger et. al. This basically reprints the 1938 comic strip introducing the Batman. But this was more of a fanboy purchase. The real last purchase has been the three volumes of Animal Man, Animal Man, Origin of the species and Deus Ex Machina, by Grant Morrison, Chas Truog and Brian Bolland.

Last book I read: The Filth, by Grant Morrison and Chris Weston.

Currently reading: Trying to read The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman.

Five favorites:

1. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie: "All children, except one, grow up." How could you not love this book? It had everything, you could fly, you could go to Neverland ("Second to the right, and straight on till morning."), and fight pirates. Hook, Tick tick tick tick!, Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily, the never bird, I could go on.

2. The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman and various artists: This is actually ten volumes (14 if you count the two newer ones and the two Death volumes) but it's one long story so I count it as one book. This is probably the best long story around, having equal parts fantasy, horror, science fiction and art. It's also the best introduction to graphic novels for beginners to the medium. Recommended without reservations. , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

3. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: I guess this was my first introduction to capitalism, which you didn't really understand growing up in the '80s in India.

4. Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: Again, this is one long story and counts in my mind as one book. I read these when I was really really young at my father's recommendation. I identified with Tom Sawyer. The faking of illnesses, the importance of your "stuff" (locks with no keys, pieces of film, magnifying glasses etc.), that first crush on Becky Thatcher, I could go on. You should read these, and more importantly have your kids read them too.

5. I guess it's hard to choose a fifth book because there are so many books that I liked enough to put in the this slot. I guess I'm going to put them all. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and Dave Mazzuchelli, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, The Complete Far Side by Gary Larson, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Candideby Voltaire, everything by William Shakespeare, I'm sorry but I'm going to stop abruptly because I don't see any end in sight to this list.

Who do I tag? sprechen obviously. And also /<0USIK. And also Jean Valjean (A brand new blogger! Let's all welcome Monsieur Valjean folks!) Damn, I wish more of my friends would blog!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

And so it is
Just like you said it should be
We'll both forget the breeze
Most of the time
"The Blower's Daughter"
Damien Rice

Monday, June 20, 2005

Clementine: This is it, Joel. It's going to be gone soon.
Joel: I know.
Clementine: What do we do?
Joel: Enjoy it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Friday night. Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Imsomnia. The Crystal Method. Tweekend. Orkut surfing. halftoneimg. flickr album. Café del Mar. Conan reruns. Sennheiser HD 470. Straight Ahead. Silence when the playlist is over. Nitin Sawhney. foobar2000. Replaygain. Migration.

If I'm lucky, Grant Morrison tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Sea spray. I touched, tasted and smelt it over this weekend. Needless to say, I'm gonna be high for a while.

Also met someone who gave up meat voluntarily in seventh grade. Got me thinking. How? How is that possible? How could she decide and then stick with it? When she was what, twelve? I still have trouble waking up when the alarm rings every morning. How can you be that determined?

Also met an old friend. Who's still the same. More or less. Changed as much as I have.

Met old acquaintances. Another old friend sent me a hi. I said hi too.

Did the stupid-ass things that we would do as students. Except that we aren't students anymore. But doing stupid-ass things never goes out of fashion.

Realized that I have finally mastered the art of sleeping on long flights in seats with limited leg room.

Madison is warm as hell and I love it. Dandelion clocks are flying all over the place. Sleep with the windows open. Someone send me a lover.

Sea spray. I touched, tasted and smelt it over this weekend. And saw wild orcas frolicking in the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, I'm gonna be high for a while.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

About two weeks ago, I experienced the literary equivalent of suddenly noticing the rather large African elephant that's part of the bathroom decor. I realized that I had never actually read "V for Vendetta" by Alan Moore.

The book arrived in a few days and like most other Alan Moore books was a gripping but difficult read.

Instead of spoilers I'll just quote.
I don't know who you are. Please believe. There is no way I can convince you that this is not one of their tricks. But I don't care. I am me, and I don't know who you are, but I love you.
I'm sure you'll want to read the rest of Valerie's letter.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mondays: Designed by mankind to torture all joy and happiness out of me, they work very well. I hate Mondays. I hate Monday mornings (hungover, sleepy etc.), I hate Monday afternoons (sleepy), I hate Monday evenings (the fact that the week has four days left sinks in) and I hate Monday nights (keep thinking about Saturday night).

Tuesdays: Tuesdays are a wee bit better. But mostly I hate them too. My bad mood from Monday hasn't disappeared and all the work procrastinated on Monday has come back to bite my ass. Time to procrastinate some more!

Wednesdays: The first rays of hope in the week come on Wednesdays. Early Wednesday morning, I wake up and I think, "Half the week is over, half the week is over!". Wednesdays keep me alive.

Thursdays: Ironically they are worse then Wednesdays. Every Thursday I come to the sad conclusion that the weekend isn't here yet. But I do feel better as the day progresses.

Fridays: The weekend starts in my mind as soon as I wake up. My mind starts the complex procedure of shutting itself off. A complete system shutdown has happened by the time I have my first coffee. Luckily my body has trained itself to pretend to work so my coworkers don't notice.

Saturdays are holy. The day starts at lunchtime when I wake up. After a visit to the twin Churches (those would be the comicbook shop and the library), my legs go on vacation after parking me in front of the TV. As I watch my mind atrophy, I smile comes to my face.

Sundays: Sundays are spent pretty much the same as Saturdays. Except Sunday nights which are spent blocking out the looming Monday.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Listen to Nick Drake. Listen to Five Leaves Left. Listen to Bryter Layter. Listen to Pink Moon. Listen to Time Of No Reply. Listen to Made To Love Magic. Be careful not to hurt yourself.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

From the how-ignore-a-Microsoft-solution-and-diss-them-anyway department.

Boingboing reports how to prevent data loss from a stolen laptop. While they mention moving to a Mac and using a PGPDisk or using FileVault (which is broken), they seem to conveniently forget that Windows 2000 and XP Professional ship with the Encrypting File System, made specifically for this purpose.

Yeah, I'd really love buying a $2000+ Apple laptop and go through the pains of moving all my data to it, to use a feature my current operating system already has.

I also love this quote
2. Seriously, about the Mac thing. Police organizations are far more proficient with Windows.

Yeah, we think security through obscurity is very very bad thing. Unless of course, we can use it as a reason to get people to switch to a Mac.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Round and about, inside the leper's skin,
Do run the warriors, fighting from within.
No questions are asked, no answers are needed,
There is no plan, they fight unheeded.

Someday, somehow, the leper shall wake,
And ask his masters about yonder snake.
They will not answer, they will not reply,
For they know, that to answer is to die.

Falling asleep again, the leper shall dream,
About the snake and the hiss and the scream.
The leper will sleep until he wakes again,
More questions, no answers, no rain.

The story continues, no lessons are learned,
Again the leper and treasure unearned,
The snake and the dream and no replies,
This is the end, the truth sometimes dies.

Reply -Hob Gadling, April 15, 2005

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Have you ever pondered Leonardo Da Vinci and how none of us can ever be like him? He was a master painter, anatomist, physiologist, inventor and engineer. He painted the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, he invented a flying machine, he thought up the first robot, the first tank, the first machine guns, and this could go on.

I write programs that teach computers how to see. But I'd like to also be an artist, a musician, a singer, a doctor, a writer and a millionaire. But I there's no damn way I can do that many things professionally. Sure, I could probably buy some papers and ink or a Graphire and draw, or buy some canvas and paint, or just start hammering out my great novel, and maybe even get some multitrack software and write and record some songs. ("Doctor" is not a possibility even when I'm fantasizing) But I don't have the time to do any of this. Regular readers will know I don't even seem to have enough time to update this blog.

A cynical friend of mine introduced me to the cliche "Life is a bitch and then you die." And scrawled on this pillar, by some homeless guy, near where I used to live, at Kala Ghoda, were the words "I know I'm going to Heaven because I've lived my life in Hell." Actually life isn't that bad, but it's stressful enough for me to want to spend most of my free weekends soaking into TV, movies, music and books. I often used to think that I lacked ambition, but now I realize that I'm too ambitious for this era. There are too many things I want to do and the world won't let me. So I don't bother and if this world misses out on my genius, it's not my problem.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

If the earth was destroyed to make way for an intergalactic hyperspace bypass and a spaceship whisked you away at the last minute, making you the only human being alive, which songs would you be able to sing to yourself, remembering all the lyrics (no snatched stanzas)?

My list:
  • One - U2
  • In My Life - The Beatles
  • Girl - The Beatles
What's yours?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

javascript:document.write("<frameset cols = \"25%, *, 25%\"> <frame frameborder=0 style=\"background-color:#000000\" /> <frame frameborder=0 marginwidth=40 src=\"" + location.href + "\" /> <frame frameborder=0 style=\"background-color:#000000\" /> </frameset>")

Updated code:
javascript:document.write("<frameset cols = \"22%, *, 22%\"> <frame frameborder=0 name=b /> <frame frameborder=0 marginwidth=40 name=a /> <frame frameborder=0 name=c /> </frameset>"); a.location.href=location.href;b.document.write("<body bgcolor=\"black\"> </body>");c.document.write("<body bgcolor=\"black\"> </body>");

That's the code I wrote for a bookmarklet that I call 'Frameit'. You can copy the above code to a bookmark in Firefox, (get rid of the newlines of course). Clicking on it encapsulates the current page in a frame surrounded to the left and right by black frames. The frames are resizable. For a lot of pages, this improves the readability as the number of words per line is reduced and the background is black and uncluttered. It's great for reading books and documentation in kiosk (F11) mode.

Known issues:
  • Does not work with Internet Explorer (and I would really want it to because you cannot view HTML Help files in Firefox.) Updated code to make it work on Internet Explorer and Firefox.
  • Does not work on certain sites like Wikipedia, which seem to explicitly disallow framing.
Any Javascript guru's know how to fix these issues?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Sunday, March 13, 2005

What do you see when you look around you? Do you see the slow decline of a dying civilization, or do you see a glorious future for me and you and our children? This is not rhetoric. This is a question.

I have no real answers yet. In technological terms we are certainly better off than our fathers and mothers and our children will certainly be better off than us. We are in the midst of watching technology change around us, but the change is so gradual that we take most of it for granted. Looking back, the first computer I used was a BBC Micro, but I took the Internet for granted. My first phone was a stately old rotary phone issued by MTNL, but I took mobile phones for granted. Some things did jolt me a little. Dolly the sheep was cloned and I do remember thinking quite a bit about that. But on the whole it's not so hard to accept. Perhaps it's because I am an engineer, and I do understand science a bit more than the next person. But then again, I know enough non-engineers who also took all these things for granted, so perhaps it's just my generation. We were born into science.

I do worry sometimes that science will not be able to create enough to sustain us. None of us really take the time to accept the fact that we are creating too many children, and this planet may not be able to produce enough food for all of us. Nor will the planet's weather and soil systems be able recover from the pollutants we introduce. Perhaps science will be able to help. Perhaps. Call me when someone can replicate photosynthesis in a tube. When we can produce carbohydrates in a factory economically without using plants, using a energy source other than sunlight.

It is obvious though. Moore's Law is reaching it's limits and the next generation of life changing inventions will probably not involve computers and electronics.

Where civilization scares me a lot, is when we start discussing abstracts. Culture, art, theology, philosophy. Why can't I name a single artist, poet, or philosopher from my generation? What happened to us? Was it the television? Was it the Internet? (Was it [shudder] blogging?) This worries me because there should be something lasting that I should be able to recall when I am old. What will I remember when I am old and senile? The Simpsons? Star Wars? Grant Morrison? Or will my fate be worse and will tunes by Britney Spears and Ashlee Simpson stick in my head, and decide not to leave, hanging in there like some kind of memetic viruses? Why can't I name a single masterpiece painted by someone I can call a peer?

If a evangelist is reading this he (or she) will tell me that I will find the answers in God (or gods). I will, of course, tell him (or her) to go shove it, because my religion and beliefs are personal matter for me and not something I care to discuss with anybody except my intellectual peers. And most of my intellectual peers are jaded and cynical atheists.

Can you feel this void? You may not most of the time. We lead busy lives; there are creature comforts, minor irritations and career paths to worry about. But you will, on those cold nights when you can't sleep, there's nothing on the telly, there's no one to chat with and there's nothing you can do but think. Why am I here? Why are you here? Should we just not bother with answers and enjoy the ride? It sounds like a good plan, but I pray to God I don't have to follow it.

I have no answers. Not yet anyway. I just hope I do have some before my time comes.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Got up. Got out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head. Then, for the first time in months, I opened the windows and walked out in the balcony.

It was warm today. Heavenly warm. Warm enough to give up the TV and the 'net. Warm enough to walk down to State Street. Warm enough to talk to strangers. Warm enough to drink cold beer walking on the frozen lake. It was warm today.

Tomorrow will be cold, so says the weatherman. Rain mixed with snow. Slippery roads and slow driving. But I don't care, it was warm today.

Right about now, people are going to start calling up, telling me that I should probably consider moving out of Madison, WI, to someplace like California, or Florida, or the Congo. Yeah, I probably should, but I'll do that next winter now. Summer is coming to Madison, and it's gorgeous. Summer, beer and bratwurst at the Union, sunsets at 9 pm, occasional rain, karaoke bar, and girls, girls, girls!

All I need to do now is wait. Summer is coming.

(My apologies to Paul and John.)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

www.badindiangirl.com (link via Sepia Mutiny)

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! This made my day!

How many Rajus, Payals, Johnnies, Pervert Uncles and Nosy Aunties do you know??

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Ok, something's up with Blogger. My posts after October's Crazy Template Problem don't seem to register with Blogger. (Look at my profile.) I'm guessing I broke something on that day. How to fix it? No idea.

Update: It seems to be a known Blogger issue. Hopefully they'll fix it soon.
So a while back (a couple of hours actually), I complained I have nothing to write about. Well, a quick trip over to comicboards seems to have fixed that. Someone on the JLA message board asked for advice on reading material, and everyone knows how much I love giving advice. Of course, for readers here, this is unsolicited advice, but then again, everyone knows how much I love giving unsolicited advice.

(Hillary Swank is so damn hot!!! I'm watching Saturday Night Live as I'm writing this and she is so damn hot!! Is she seeing anyone, I wonder? )

(I'm also beginning to freak out about the sudden downturn in my grammer and punctuation skills. I used to be very good at it, but now... Actually, I used to be good at a lot of things, but now... )

Among the best comics I'm currently reading or have recently finished are:

We3: Written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely, this is the scary, violent, gut and heart wrenching story about a dog, a cat and a rabbit. Make that a dog, a cat and a rabbit fitted with armor designed to kill and maim, as part of an army experiment. Something goes wrong and they have to be "decommisioned". They make a run for it.

This is a three issue mini-series, and the final issue was out a couple of weeks ago. You'll need to enter a real comic shop to get your hands on it. (Sorry, but you'll have to do that, maybe dark glasses and wig if you're nervous.) I'm not sure if DC Vertigo is planning a trade, but I think they need to. Reading this series will make you irresistible to the opposite sex. (Or the same sex if you're gay.)

Supreme Power: Written by Strackinsky and drawn by Gary "the motherf*{[!^g man" Frank. What would happen if a rocket containing an infant Superman really crashed down in Kansas? The government would forcefully take him away from the Kent's, that's what. Then, they would raise him in seclusion to be a model American citizen, use him as a secret weapon to win the Cold War, reveal his existence when necessary and finally try to kill him when they realize that they are beginning to lose their control over him.

The first twelve issues have been collected as trade paperbacks, and are available on Amazon. And new issues are out every month. (Yes, I've blogged about this series before, but I'm happy to report that the quality been consistently good all the time.)

Y - The Last Man: Written by Brian K. Vaughn and drawn by Pia Guerra and Jr. Jose Marzan. One summer day, everything alive carrying a Y-chromosome haemorrhages and dies. Escape artist Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand are the only males to survive. Sounds like a good thing for Yorick? Not if you consider that in an women-only world, some want to study him and find out why he lived, others want to make him a stud animal to breed and finally a bunch just wants to kill him because he is the final sign alive of a male-dominated society. All Yorick wants to do is to go to Australia and meet his girlfriend. Sounds interesting? It is. And there are four or five trades available on Amazon already. And the story is still on, growing stranger each month.

Miracleman: Written by Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, drawn by Gary Leach, Alan Davis, Rick Veitch, Chuck Austen, John Totleben and Mark Buckingham. Astute readers of comics (and this blog perhaps) will quickly realize that I seem to have listed Allah, Brahma, God, Shiva, Vishnu, etc. in the credits. Is this series as good as it should be? It's better.

This is the series which started the whole superhero revisionist movement, a new look at superheroes, not just brawny men (and curvaceous women) in tights, but modern days gods, capable of changing the world, destroying it and creating it. And the men and women around them who worship them (temples and all), hate them, try to kill them and beg for miracles. How would you feel if you met who could fly? Someone who could block out the sun? Someone who was so perfect that you wanted them for yourself but were forced to share with the whole world?

This series is unfinished, and currently caught up a pretty nasty legal battle. Trade paperbacks are not available. If you want to read it, find it on Ebay, or at your local comic shop. Or the Internet. (Actually Wizard magazine says a trade could be out soon. Cross your fingers.)

(This was my first offline post. Flaky net connections suck.)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Found. Some more desi photoblogs.

3D Cafe

And what can I say about the loss of words on this blog. Apart from the fact that the last three weeks have been mighty busy, there is also the fact that nothing has happened.

Every day you wake up, go to work and come back home. I wish there was something more interesting I could be doing, but I'm not. (A vacation would be nice.) The worst part of having nothing to write about is that the little you do is terrible. The words don't come easy and they are as terrible to read as they were to write. So I'll stop.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Just a quick update in this busy busy week.

Ballad is fantastic horror comic by Deadmouse, available online. Other comics by Deadmouse are also pretty fantastic. (Keep in mind these are horror comics.)

Also online is Hellblazer #141 by Warren Ellis and Phil Jiminez. This issue was never published.

So press that F11 key for fullscreen browsing and enjoy.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

I am nerdier than 87% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

As the alt-text says, this means that I am nerdier than 87% of humanity. (High-Nerd. Somehow, I like the sound of that.)
Radio Paradise is finally available as a AACPlus stream. This means that even a dial-up user should (hopefully) be able to listen to high quality (near CD quality!) streaming music. You will need the latest version of Winamp to listen to this stream. Dragging and dropping the URL into the Winamp playlist should be enough to get things going.

Radio paradise is one of the best internet radio stations out there and introduced me to music like Air, Lemon Jelly, Nick Drake and the Thievery Corporation. And many other AACPlus streams are available at Tuner2.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

And in honour of my successfully driving home in the snow, without doing something stupid like dying, I shall compose, quite extemporaneously a poem.
Snow, snow, ice, ice.
Snow, snow, ice, ice.

The car skids. Your breath waits.
You push down hard on the antilock brakes.
And pray to the engineers in Toyota who designed them.
And God.

And the car halts. And you drive carefully from there on.

And you don't die. And you don't die. Praise the Lord!

Yeah, that sucked, but who cares! I'm alive, alive I tell you!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Philly radio DJ abuses an Indian call center worker on air.
(Full transcript via Return of the Reluctant)

Yeah, stuff like this make me realize I'm definitely not in Mumbai anymore.

In case someone wants to see a good (read: not offensively racist and sexist) parody about Indian outsourcing, check out Conan O'Brian's fantastic skit here. (Thanks to turbanhead.)

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Fuck Hotmail! Seriously, fuck them!

Didn't sign in to one of my older accounts for a while, and they delete all my old emails (including old ones I had saved 'cause they were important.) Fuck them. World's richest damn company, and still stingy as hell with free email accounts. Fucking assholes. Sneaky bastards changed the sign-on once a month policy to a sign-on every 10 days policy. How the fuck am I supposed to know if I sign on only once a month?

Fuck them.

Monday, January 03, 2005

A couple of things.

I saw Swades by Ashutosh Gowariker. Preachy crap but good shots of inside NASA and halfway decent music. (Is it just me or does anybody else also read the title so that it rhymes with 'spades'?)

I taught three more innocent people the fine art of teen patti.

I realized how hard it is to raise a kid. And yeah, the kid was the best behaved little one year old I had seen in ages.

I got me a nasty sore throat again.

I met a lot of old friends and partied into the new year.

I realized that food is an extremely important driving force in my life.

Happy New Year everyone!