RIP Les Paul Guitar Innovator

Lester William Polsfuss, known to the world as Les Paul – guitar innovator, passed away last night. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which “made the sound of rock and roll possible.” His many recording innovations included overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects, and multitrack recording.

After years of playing professionally, Les started building his guitar, which came to be known as ‘The Log” built in 1939. In the early fifties, Gibson Guitars commissioned him to create the gold top Les Paul version after creating guitars based on his configurations….and a legend was born. The Les Paul was designed by Ted McCarty in collaboration with Paul.

Rest in peace – Les Paul (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009)

Independence Day Celebrations Lined Up

Independence Day is almost upon us. Most of us are glad to have a 2 day weekend to kick back & enjoy some good times with family and/or friends. I plan to enjoy it to the fullest. And speaking of kicking back and enjoying some good times –  our Admin team were able to get us a cool deal.

The hotel Park Residency in Kakkanad is having a bash from 10 am till 5 pm on August 15th to celebrate another year of freedom. They are offering a grand lunch, 2 drinks & a live DJ shelling out music & access to a dance floor for couples. The charge is Rs.1000 for a couple but because we have a tie-up with the hotel, all HODs of my company (that includes me) will get a 50% discount! Rs.500 for what they are offering is a good deal and we could go as a group instead of couples.

However, my buddies Anil & Madhu want to hang out on Saturday and so I have to choose! It’s no contest, my buddies will win hands down. So I guess it’s coffee for an hour or two and then heading for a nice bar to have a few drinks for me & my friends on the 15th. It’s been a while since I’ve met the guys and I miss them.

A Long Day But Here’s The Short Version

I worked as normal from 10:30 am till 8 pm and then – went to the hospital this evening at 8 pm as one of my colleagues had fainted and was taken to the ICU in Ernakulam Medical Center. Turns out that his BP dipped at an alarming rate and he hadn’t been feeling well the past few days due to a fever & cough.

A few of us were at the hospital till about 9:30 pm and we got him discharged and packed him off home. He seemed ok by then. After that I accompanied a lady colleague till her home in Fort Kochi and then the cab driver drove me home. It was 10:30 pm as I stepped in and I’ve just had some dinner and now I need a bottle of water and I just want to go to sleep for 9 hours if possible. Goodnite folks!

A New Meaning To The Term “Out Patients”

Is this like the worst hospital policy ever? Patients from ward 4 of the SAT Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) had been asked to vacate or accommodate themselves in other wards as the authorities intended to conduct the MBBS final year examination there. This led to protests, as patients had to find space on the floor of other wards for their sick children.

Protests by the public and the hospital development society members at the SAT Hospital here on Sunday over shifting of patients from ward 4 of the hospital to conduct the final year MBBS examination forced the hospital authorities to shift the examination venue.

The hospital authorities said the practical examination for MBBS final year students were always conducted in the wards itself as the students had to examine patients, diagnose their problem and make a case presentation. This has been the practice all along and the college did not have another space to accommodate 200 students. However, as protests mounted, the authorities decided to shift the examination to a lecture hall.

You wanna know my theory? The examiners were afraid that the patients would give out the answers to several difficult questions to the medical students. “What are the symptoms for this disease?” And a patient who raised his/her hand and say “Hey I’ve got that disease, I’ll tell you the answer”!

Indiblogger’s Ranking System

Got an email today from Indiblogger that I or rather my blog’s rank in their national list is #81. That’s good. And their ranking system is different so read this first:

What does my IndiRank mean?

It’s like runs in a game of cricket – the higher the score, the higher ranking you have. Blogs are ranked on a scale of 1-100.

How is IndiRank calculated?

A blog’s IndiRank is calculated based on various factors. Other blog ranking systems rate how popular a blog is. We’ve taken it a step further based on how deserving a blog is of becoming popular. This is to ensure that the lesser known, but well deserving blogs are pushed up the ladder as well. IndiRank will be completely refreshed every month, so a blog’s previous rank will have no bearing on it’s present rank.

So, cool eh? I like it. Good way to start off the new week!

Crazy Like A Fox On Fire

Even though I had some issues with the first attempt at installing or rather upgrading to Firefox 3.5, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I tried again. Cause I love Firefox – about as much as it possible to love an inanimate software web browser application!

So yesterday morning I took the plunge again and hoped that it wouldn’t be a case of once bitten, twice shy. Well…I’m still facing the same problems but it’s adjustable after a few minutes. In the long run, it’s much faster and therefore that’s a good thing. So I’m using version 3.5.2 at the moment.

Espanyol’s Captain Dies At 26

Barcelona based Espanyol’s football club’s 26 year old captain Daniel Jarque died of heart failure while in his Florence (Italy) hotel room. The central defender was resting on the eve of his club’s exhibition game against Italian club side Bologna. Jarque played his entire career with RCD Espanyol, and died just a month after he was named team captain.

A product of RCD Espanyol’s youth system, Jarque made his first division debuts with hometown club during 2002–03 and, after 15 appearances in two seasons, went on to become a defensive mainstay for a Catalan side that won the 2006 Spanish Cup. He was found after teammates realised he had not turned up for a meal.

For My Friends – Blind Melon

As most alternative rock music fans from the 1990s will remember, Blind Melon went on a hiatus after the death of their charismatic singer Shannon Hoon in 1995. Since then they have released an album of back catalogue songs in Nico and a best of.

But what’s this? This little tidbit had escape my radar. An album of new songs was released in April, 2008. Joining hands with singer Travis Warren, the remainin 4 members of Blind Melon came out with For My Friends, which starts of with Warren sounding a lot like Hoon in the title track. The first single is about drinking with your friends and missing the good ole times. It is spoiled unnecessarily with a silly laughing fit on the part of Warren, that seems put on.

Musically the band sounds tight and I especially like the drums in With The Right Set Of Eyes. Wishing Well has got to be the best song on the album. It sounds lyrically like an anti-suicide song and has some great guitar playing on it. Sometimes comes off sounding like a Brit pop song; I think it’s the organ part that does it for me. It also has a lyrical tribute to Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain (you think this song is about you, don’t you). Tumbling Down sounds a lot like the old Blind Melon.

Down On The Pharmacy is an anti-drug song warning against abusing chemical substances that can catch up with you later. Make A Difference sounds Lennon-ish with political overtones. Harmful Belly is about the pain of love and the heartbreak when it dies. Folksy & jingle jangly acoustic guitars start of Last Laugh until the chorus break and more classic rock tinges take over. Hynotized is more 1970s retro rock and this shouldn’t come off a a surprise since the band has been influenced mostly by that period’s music.

Father Time does not sound much like the old Blind Melon but it’s an ok tune. So High is a mellow tune even with electric guitars. Album closer Chettum Street is a slowed down track about nostalgia.

There’s no No Rain on this album and I would have to place it as their 4th best record till date – but that’s ok. It’s still got plenty of tunes to please a rocker like me and appeal to my ballad side as well.

V : The Final Battle

The second mini-series in the V franchise was shown on television in 1984 was played out over three episodes, set several months after the events of the original miniseries. The resistance has just been thwarted at the attempt to stop a human food processing unit. Robin Maxwell’s pregnancy is known by all members and the impending birth is a case of alarm for all.

At a visitor conference to announce a cure for cancer, the resistance infiltrates the venue & attack. The commander John is unmasked in front of live television by Julie, who is later captured by Diana’s troops and taken through a horrible conversion process. Meanwhile two new people join up (although a bit by force) the resistance – anti-hero Ham Tyler (Michael Ironside) and his associate Chris Faber. They two of them help the resistance to escape from their hideout when the visitors attack.

Diana has some problems – Julie is a tough nut to crack and there’s new threat to her in the form of newly arrived Squadron Commander Pamela (Sarah Douglas). Julie is rescued at the visitor headquarters in LA but Ruby is killed by Daniel Bernstein, a human who works with the visitors. The resistance also disrupts the alien plan to steal all the water in California, where Mark is killed. Later in exchange for his son, Mike gives himself up to the visitors. Martin (Frank Ashmore) helps Mike escape from the mothership after he is outted as the 5th columnist who is helping the humans.

Robin goes into labour and gives birth to fraternal twins – a human girl with a forked tongue and an alien boy who dies in a few days. The girl, Elizabeth, grows at an astonishing rate and is soon the equivalent of a 8-9 year old girl. Meanwhile, the reason for her brother’s death is found to be a bacteria deadly to the aliens – a toxic substance to the visitors known as Red Dust. It is tested on Brian, the one responsible for impregnating Robin, by herself.  With this weapon, the plans begin to attack the aliens. A vaccine is also developed to safeguard the 5th columnist aliens who help the humans.

Afraid of what will happen to Elizabeth, Father brings her to Diana, who is intrigued by the ‘star child’. The attack begins and the aliens on earth are either killed by the dust or leave in their ships. The huge ships leave orbit much to the joy of the humans. Diana manages to escape on a shuttle as the humans begin the celebrations.

Head Cold Be Gone

I’m not feeling so good this evening. Actually I’ve not been feeling so good this entire day. I have a bad cold and a running nose and I hope it doesn’t develop into a fever. I cannot stand another sick day.

I’m going to turn in early, perhaps watch a movie before I sleep. I’m taking a pill for my cold and I hope it’s gone by morning cause I have some shopping to do. So I’ll say good night to you and I hope to see you in the morning bright & shiny!

A Ray Of Hope In The Dark Void

The third one has left the team & the organization. Sreekumar was the perinial scapegoat of a botched up HR & transition goof up and he paid the price for it. To his credit, he has never let his personal & professional problems affect his work and he has remained dedicated & single-minded in his approach to achieving the targets & beyond.

There has only ever been one incident where I had to admonish him and get really dissappointed with. But that’s ok – there were a 100 things that he did that deserved and got high praise. I’m sure that he’ll do well in his new job.

So that’s 3 down, 2 more to go. I have some  hope that I will be able to retain 2 of the remaining guys. I’ve been given a lifeline and I have had the DGM of training speak to them about it. She has asked them to wait for 5 days at the maximum and then see what we can offer them and it is clear that my guys do not want to go. So I have my fingers crossed. Let’s see if it pans out.

Twitter Down, Twitter Down

The little blue birdie has been shot and it’s injured it little blue wings and was unable to fly at all for some time.

This message was shown on the Twitter status page :

Site is down 2 hours ago

We are determining the cause and will provide an update shortly.

Update: we are defending against a denial-of-service attack.

That was 2 hours ago and then an hour later:

Ongoing denial-of-service attack 1 hour ago

We are defending against a denial-of-service attack, and will update status again shortly.

Update: the site is back up, but we are continuing to defend against and recover from this attack.

Imagine the number & quality of Tweets that went un-Twittered (is that a word? It is now)!

Another Bird Leaves The Nest

Another member of my team left today. Neil said his final goodbyes this afternoon just before lunch. He had come in to complete his relieving formalities and hand over his leave card. He is heading off to Chennai tomorrow night and needed some time to finish packing and buy some stuff for his move.

I remember meeting him for the first time in February 2007. Pretty soon we were in the same night shift at the office and he kept calling me ‘Jack Black’ (from his School of Rock role) and we’d talk about rock music and his unabashed love for AC/DC, Kurt Cobain & Janis Joplin. At times I’ve had to take control as he’d do something a bit silly and immature (he’s only 25) but at times he has been extremely level headed and stable.

A couple of us became sentimental and he cried too. He hugged me and I patted him on the back and told him to take care of a few things and do well, as the others teared up around me. I’m gonna miss the goofy idiot and he knows that. Good thing we have the internet otherwise how would people keep in touch?!

And So It Starts….

Well in the end it’s 5 of my trainers who have decided to leave. 5 out of 6! Best thing is that these 5 are all getting a package 100% more than what they were getting here. Where else can you find a 100% hike opportunity?

Today was the last day for my ‘annankunju’, Rashba, my youngest team member and I’m gonna miss her a lot. She and her best friend, who works in the quality, department are making the move together and that is good for the both of them. She completed the exit formalities and signed everything and then by 3 pm she took her leave of us. I teared up as I said goodbye and she wiped my tears (I’m 9 years older and I’m the one who’s crying and it’s her who is wiping my tears!) as I asked her to keep in touch and email often.

She asked me to try to move to the new company that she and the others are moving to. I made a vague promise of trying and told her to be careful and take care. She’s coming back to Cochin in 2 months and we will get together for a lunch or something. I hope she does well.

So that’s one down – another guy leaves tomorrow and the third the day after. The final two will wait till the 25th of the month to leave.