An Afternoon Out

I get two Saturdays off in a month. My fortnightly ritual on Saturday is to get up late on Saturday morning, have as little breakfast as possible and read my mails will sipping on hot coffee at my pc. This is because I usually go out for a long cold coffee and brunch at noon and don’t want to eat much.

Similarly today followed the same style. By 11:15 am I was in the shower and fresh as a lotus after a rainfall, I stepped out ready for some time spent out. I went out a little after 12 pm to Barista Cafe and ordered a Barista Blast (which is awesome and loaded with ice cream in your coffee) and a delicious smoked chicken sandwich. Once again, I was hooked up to their Wi-fi service on my BlackBerry but it was slower than usual. I was also reading a book – The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. I spent almost 90 minutes there before I went out for a walk.

Vodka + Sprite on the rocks

I then went over to Velocity Bar for some vodka and some food. I was hoping that Neil could join me for a late lunch and waited for him for while but I guess he got caught up with something. I sat near to their flat screen tv (showing The Condemned on Star Movies) and ordered 3 White Mischief vodka and sprites with lots of ice. I also had some fish & pork with porotta.

Over all it was a nice afternoon and I took another walk for a little bit. I came  back home to a nice evening breeze and watched episode 4 of Stargate Universe.

Stargate : Universe – Episodes Air 1,2 & 3

The third live action series that sprang forth from the original movie Stargate is Stargate : Universe. The first 10 episodes have been aired live in the US, UK & Canada. I don’t get it on cable tv here in India as of yet, but I am able to download them from torrent files.

When the series opens we seen a huge & long Ancient ship, which we later learn was named Destity, emerge from hyperspace. One by one the characters drop through the stargate built into the ship, tumbling as they all flee destruction. Flying equipment hits the stumbling survivors, some injured and bleeding. We see the brilliant scientist Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle), Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira) and Lt. Matthew Scott (Brian J Smith). There’s Eli Wallace (David Blue), Lt. Tamara Johansen (Alaina Huffman), Sg. Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker) & Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) whose Senator father sacrifices himself to save the rest.

The survivors are from the Icarus Base, on a planet many light years from Earth, where they they tried to use the planet’s unique radioactive core to power a Stargate and dial the 9th Chevron which has eluded them so far. The planet is attacked by alien ships and the base is evacuated through the Stargate onto Destiny just before the planet explodes. Thus our cast is lost on a million year old Ancient Ship and they have no way of dialing Earth and returning home.

Tensions run high as most people don’t trust Dr. Rush who assumes command as the Col is injured. Supplies are short and the ship’s life support systems aren’t functioning properly. They find a holographic log of the ship’s journey. This map shows Destiny’s original departure from Earth millions of years ago and its passage through numerous galaxies, placing them currently several billions of light years from home. They also find that a ruptured hull on one of the ship’s shuttles is causing the air to leak out and that the CO2 scrubbers need to be cleaned.

Chloe’s injured father Senator Armstrong (Christopher MacDonald) sacrifices himself by sealing himself in the shuttle, buying the rest of the reluctant crew some more time of breathable air by stopping the air leak. The ship stops near a planet and the crew see that they have 12 hours before the ship’s FTL drive starts up again. A seven member team is sent to find supplies or help on the planet. If they don’t make it back in 12 hours, the ship will leave without them and they have no means of getting back.

Dr. Rush, Eli, Lt. Scot, Sg. Greer, a soldier and 2 scientist search the desert planet for an area where the sand contains gypsum, to make a solution that can scrub the CO2 scrubbers and get breathable air working again on the ship. The team split up into two but the two scientists and the soldier want to try one of the other planets. They dial the stargate and enter the portal but a returning Greer shoots Frankin (a scientist) in the arm, preventing him from leaving.

Lt. Scot finally finds the needed substance and they arrive just back in time to reach the gate and exit into the ship. The crew has lost two members already. However as the ship leaves orbit, the CO2 scrubbers are clean and the pure air starts pumping in much to the relief of the crew. We see the survivors breathing easily as life support returns to normal and the immediate danger of death via asphyxiation is averted. But the crew is heading into the unknown with no way of reaching Earth.

A Day For Team Bonding

I’m excited about Tuesday. No, not because it’s Indian Republic Day! Not that it is a bad thing but I have a different agenda over it.

I’ve arranged for my team to go on a little off-site event on the 26th. I’ve booked a hotel board room (Hotel Park Residency) from 9am till 6pm. I’ve planned for a half day workshop with a few ppts and some activities. To refresh ourselves, we will have some cold fresh fruit punch and some snacks by 11 am. There will be a good lunch served in the afternoon.

Post lunch it’s gonna be more of a party time! I’ve got some music playing, some games and we’ll have some fun. I’m gonna make people dance and sing and for the day, I want them to forget about the stress and strain at work. Release their tension and pressure and let loose – release some steam and add a few more cliches! Whatever it is, my boys & girls work hard so we need to play a little bit hard as well.

This does cost money and the company is not gonna foot the entire bill but I managed to squeeze some money outta them. The rest will be put up by us. My total budget is Rs.4000. I plan on putting up a little bit more just to cover some other aspects like a laptop for hire from the hotel.

They deserve some respite after back to back hiring & training non-stop. I want to make it happen for them. Expect some photos.

Smile And Laugh

HAVE A BLAST………………….

Police arrested a drunkard & asked: Where r u going? Man: I’m going 2 listen lecture on ill effects of drinking.. Cop: Who’ll lecture at midnite? Man: My wife…

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Before marriage: Roses are red, sky is blue. U r beautiful,I luv u. After marriage: Roses are dead, I’m blue. U r my headache, one day I’ll kill u.

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Man: Is there any way for long life?

Dr: Get married.

Man: Will it help?

Dr: No, but the thought of long life will never come.

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Q: Why do women live longer than men?

A: Shopping never causes heart attacks, but paying the billdoes!

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Whats the diff between Complete & Finished?

If you find good wife u r complete otherwise u r finished.

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So many options: Poison, sleeping pills, hanging, jumping from a building, lying on train tracks, but we chose Marriage,slow and sure!

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Have u heard about the man who threw his wife into a pond of crocodiles? He’s now being harassed by the animal rights for being cruel to the crocodiles.

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Two men r talking. 1st: I got married coz I was tired of eating out, cleaning the house, doing the laundry & wearing shabby clothes.

2nd: Amazing, I just got divorced for the very same reasons

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Wife: If I dismiss the cook and make the food myself for amonth, what willyou pay me?

Husband: I won’t have to pay you, you’ll get my entireinsurance amount!

Sens Update, 21st Jan

The Ottawa Senators have bounced back well from those 5 loses in a row and now have 4 wins in a row. First, on Jan 14th 3rd choice goalie Mike Brodeur had a shutout away against the New York Rangers in a 2-0 win. Chris Campoli & Chris Kelly scored the goals.

Two nights later the Sens went to Montreal and beat the Canadiens in captain Daniel Alfredsson’s first game back after a 3 week layoff due to injuries. The captain, Chris Phillips, Mike Fisher & Zack Smith scored in the 4-2 win. Brodeur stopped 30 shots on goal.

Then it was on to Boston. Alfredsson had a hattrick in a 5-1 win away against the Bruins. Alexi Kovalev and Jonathon Cheechoo scored the other two goals. Brian Elliott started in goal when Mike Brodeur felt dizzy before the game.

And then on the 19th Ottawa returned home to face the Chicago Blackhawks. Smith, Ryan Shannon, Peter Regin & Fisher scored in a 4-1 emphatic victory over the team tied at the # 1 spot in the NHL. Ottawa are currently at the 5th spot in the East but have a lot more work to be done to ensure a playoff spot.

Arsenal 4 Bolton 2

Coming back from 2 goals down, Arsenal scored 4 straight goals to beat Bolton 4-2 and temporarily go to the top of the English Premier League. Gary Cahill volleyed Bolton in front and Matthew Taylor scored from the penalty spot after a foul by Denilson.

Tomas Rosicky struck from 18 yards and Cesc Fabregas slid home a controversial equaliser, William Gallas having injured Mark Davies in the build-up. Thomas Vermaelen hit the third with his left foot before Andrey Arshavin scored after linking up with Eduardo.

Arsenal needed that 2 goal cushion to go to first place above Chelsea on goal difference. In the build-up to the goal Gallas challenged for the ball with Mark Davies – the Arsenal defender was late and caught his opponent on the ankle in what was an awful looking challenge.

Notes For 19th Jan, 2010

  • Went back to work today and it was pretty much non-stop handling of issues till 7:30pm and check out time.
  • I took a free ride uptill Palarivattom – one colleague dropped 3 of us at the bus stop as he was headed off to Kakkanad in his car.
  • The bus we got in broke down at the Ernakulam north bus stop – right smack at the back end of the bus stop.
  • Came home and drank a glass of 7 up and made some popcorn.
  • Found out that my online payment of my Tata Indicom Broadband bill that I tried to make via ICICI’s online payment option had infact got reversed and credited back to my account due to a technical issue. Great – no one told me!!
  • So as a result when I came back home, my internet connection was suspended for non-payment. I made a call to TATA and they guided me to make the payment online – only their website is accessible once your account is suspended. First time in 3 years that I delayed on making my bill payments with TATA and all because of a technical issue!
  • An hour later, my connection is back on but I’m deeply engrossed in watching Stargate: Atlantis.

Why Do I Even Bother?

Today was a typical sick day away from the office for me. Here’s how these days normally go.

  • I keep the client SPOC, my immediate boss, his boss, my team and the local DGM informed that I would require a leave as I am unwell.
  • Open, read and delete the few ‘Get well soon’ text messages.
  • Field around 20 calls before lunch.
  • Read & reply to about 10 emails also before lunch.
  • Try to get some sleep or relax by watching something on my computer while lying under the covers on my bed.
  • Get interrupted atleast 5 times before 5 pm by more calls, SMSes and emails.
  • Get coffee and read more emails
  • Get informed about something urgent that normally pops up on days that I take leave.
  • By late evening and on 5th or 6th cup of coffee, wonder what happened to the rest and relaxation on my sick leave.

My Review Of The BlackBerry Curve 8320

I’ve had the phone for 17 days now so I think it’s high time that I posted a proper review from my experiences. Right up front let me tell you that I absolutely, positively love this phone. Back in 2007 Jan I had included, among other things, getting a BlackBerry as one of my New Year’s resolutions. I didn’t know at the time that it would take me 3 whole years to do so!

Ok, first the colour – the silver edition is the one that I have. If I’m not mistaken, this is the default look of the Curve 83xx series and then they make different colour cases as and when the mobile carrier companies request them. I had preferred the red and the sapphire blue colours or maybe a black one but the shop where I bought this from didn’t have any of those. In fact they only had 3 pieces left, 2 silver and 1 pale gold; but I hate the pale gold colour and so silver it is.

I love the look and feel of the phone. Silver is cool; I have on wallpaper on which accents the silver look of the phone and so it looks awesome. I might look at getting some extra panels for it – if they have them in red and dark blue that would be nice.

I love the full Qwerty keypad although it did get some t getting used to. Especially the Alt, Caps and Symbols keys. I get confused with them even now but it’s not anything serious. I now use the Enter a lot. Texting, sending emails or messages is a cinch on this device as long as you do a little bit of unlearning from using a standard phone like the Nokia or the Samsung phones. I love using the BlackBerry Messenger service although I currently only have one contact on it – my cousin Raju.

Email is a breeze, although it does get annoyingly addictive. I can never wait a second longer after getting the alert tone and I need to immediately open it up. I have setup my Gmail, Hotmail and my office mail accounts on the phone and so you can imagine that I end up getting quite a few emails in a day. I didn’t like how emails and SMSes were getting saved in the same folder so I separated them from day 1.

I like the camera option, which is 2.0 megapixels. It takes decent pictures and I know it isn’t a higher definition one the way that I would have liked (atleast 5 megs) but I guess it will have to do. I haven’t yet taken a video on it yet, just haven’t gotten used to doing that as of now, or viewed videos on it. I have however seen videos on my colleagues 8310 phone (a Tom & Jerry cartoon) and it’ s pretty good. I have however copied a bunch of songs onto the 1 GB media card that comes with the phone and the quality of the playback option with the headphones is awesome. I think they could have improved the speaker quality on the phone but you can’t have everything.

Ah yes the trackball. Loved by some, maligned by others. The Curve’s trackball is much like the underside ball of your old PC mouse before the mouse moved to laser. I have had some issues with it but too much that I am bothered by it. The newer models of BlackBerrys come with a trackpad and I guess that is a better option. However I do like the trackball – except that using it to browse through a lengthy webpage can be a pain in the…finger!

Which bring me to the next part – the internet. I’ve already posted about trying out the Wi-Fi option. I really like the default BlackBerry browser that comes with the phone. I’ve not faced any issues with it. I did not however like the Opera Mini browser that so many people have raved about. I’m an Opera user occassionally on my PC and since I like it, I thought that the Mini must be great to browse on too. But I did not like the zoom option on the Mini and after trying the browser for 10 days, I deleted it today.

I love BlackBerry App World – it’s really cool and user friendly. I downloaded the latest Messenger version & an app from Goal.com through the App World. I was looking for some themes for the Curve and I did get a couple of hockey themes and a really cool Star Trek 2009 theme.

What else? I like the calendar option and the alarm (I use it daily) and the brick breaker game. The latter is very addictive and so be advised before you start playing it I guess that’s it. This is a really cool phone and I love it. I haven’t had any problems with it except for a low battery life but I think it’s because I use a lot of apps. I know that this phone came out in 2007-08 and so isn’t considered new by any standards and especially since RIM have launched quite a few more models since then. But I treasure it and already it’s a big part of my life. Thanks RIM.

FireFox Version 3.5.7

I don’t remember what version of Firefox I was using till a few minutes ago – but it’s updated now. I now have the latest version – 3.5.7 according to information by Mozilla. I see some minor changes right off the bat – but it’s late and I’m not as sharp as I usually am

Mozilla states a couple of main changes from their previous versions. I would say that I found 3.5 quite unstable and slow compared to their previous versions. So I hope that this fixes those issues. There’s no way that I’m moving to another browser full time. Firefox is the one for me and I hope they keep getting stronger as they go along.

The Flock Comes For A Visit

I knew that I would really miss them but it’s only when they come to visit you do you realize how much that is.

Two of my former trainers came today to the office to submit their applications to move their PF accounts to their new ones. They said that they would come to see us. I was a bit shocked to see them – they looked extremely thin and tired and both had recently shaved their heads as it is very hot in Chennai (where they now work). The remaining trainer and I sat with them for about an hour while we caught up and they filled us on all the things that have happened recently for them in Chennai.

A third former team member mailed me from Chennai and said that she misses us a lot and would want to see us when she could take her next leave. Yet a fourth former member asked to have a few drinks tomorrow. I said yes. Tomorrow’s going to be a little reunion with a few of us meeting up.

Total Eclipse Of The Heart

Hello readers. I thought it would be nice to show you a couple of pictures that I was able to take of the eclipse on my BlackBerry. Go ahead and enjoy these pics and tell me what you think of them.

  

The second pic is of the reflection of the eclipse on the wall of our reception area, that we had done by using a mirror. I thought it was really cool.