/* */ vita graphein/-: June 2005

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Ok, this weekend is almost over and I can't wait to get back to work (!!) tomorrow. The temperatures are fricking soaring like mad here and I can't seem to take it too much further. Its almost 4-5 degrees (C) more than Bangalore and on the midnight of Friday, it was 35 C!! Its so so hot in here and burning all the time. We could not seem to sleep, so of all things, we decided to go cycling. So we (me and roomie) took the cycles and just went cycling around town; alleys and main streets, the former scary 'coz we could get mugged, the latter scary 'coz we could get run over by these cars or trucks!! Anyways it sure was good fun and we got back close to 1 am and then decided to sleep. With the heat, it really was not possible, in fact even while we were cycling around like after midnight, all the restaurants and bars were just getting fuller and almost everyone in town was out that night at that hour, which is now earthly I realize in this country. Came back and saw
Fight Club, nice way to end the day, to sleep at some 0330 hrs on early Sat morning.

Also have been hearing a few friends of mine (not just 1 or 2), getting married soon....wo! Are there any I did not hear? Please let me know. (Do not worry, I sure am not).

With the days becoming hotter and hotter day after day, the girls here are following suit, and no one really wants to seem to wear any more clothes (lol). Well.... (?!)

Taste of Chicago just started yesterday and we thought we will check it out today evening. Seems pretty cool. Otherwise its the same here, I am trying my hand at more and more new dishes (level 2, you could say!), and most of them are coming through successfully. Level 3 is still a far way off and most of the dishes I am talking about are like weird combinations, something I would never ever think of making and eating..like spinach and carrot and pickle fried and some 'secret' ingredients added to make it a gravy!

Just rushing off, so nothing really interesting any further. (ya, my movie collection is growing exponentially, and so is my watching though linearly!).

Sunday, June 19, 2005

work (not mine..for a change)

Well, another weekend at my disposal and haven't done too much. Wanted to catch up on a lot of sleep, but never did. Yesterday, we had gone to see Batman Begins, which seems to have got some great reviews and currently is ranked #64 in the Top 250 movies of all time according to voters, which seems a bit far fetched, but nevertheless was a decent movie. Katie Holmes looked real cute in the movie I thought and after her recent high profile media attention (engagement to Tom Cruise), she sure is going to get a lot more offers I presume and make waves. In fact speaking of this media attention, on Friday evening it was all over TV for almost a couple of hours and the entire unfoldings in Paris, France were being telecast and was pretty amusing. Celebrity weddings always makes a lot of headlines, man!

Simultaneously, I was watching on ABC, about how goods (clothes, etc), are made overseas and then sold here. So a couple of Americans had gone to Bangladesh, to one of the numerous factories there and by means of hidden cameras, filmed life out there. People almost consistently working 2-3 hours overtime and not getting paid extra at all. In most cases, working conditions being so deplorable, it made me seriously sit up and watch. In a life where I am not too sarisfied and complain of slow download speeds, bad phone quality and lack of space on my HDD, its sad, to really see stuff like this. Well, going on, they actually brought one of those ladies who was working there, to America. She had dropped out of school in 1st grade and I am sure she never would have heard of America, but anyways, they brought her to Walmart and she saw the same trousers she made back in Bangladesh and was surprised/happy/overwhelmed to see 'her product' (some Starter trousers) here in Walmart in America. Well, she was told how much it sells for and she broke down big time after a initial shock response, as it costed how much she earns in 2 weeks! She said she was in so deploarble conditions and would be well served to support her family if only she had a better deal. That's the hard truth, I am paying for a trouser maybe 100 times the cost she takes to make it, but unfortunately, the money is not compensated to her in the right deal. In fact, they also showed, that Walmart was contacted with this video and asked if they would care to sell this at a higher price, so it may help this lady, but they declined to comment and also turned down a talk/interview over the issue. They of course advertise a lot of their Walmart Foundation, which I am sure is a very noble and great cause, I can't complain. It was really terrible to see a program like that and I certainly did relate to it, and making comparions of work ethics and styles here, man, it was a shocker. Well, you have people here in any job, the minute it strikes say 5, just get up and leave and when I did ask a couple of them why so, as sometimes they are bang in the middle of something, and all they reply is "If they paid me time and a half (overtime), I will work beyond 5". That's how it is here and of course with legal and government ramifications related to work abuse and ethics, you can approach your employer with audacity. Its some time before work conditions are made sane atleast, in many places. Heart rendering truly.

On an another note, I have noticed my readership is falling, and maybe its a case of familiarity breeds contempt. Hmm.....

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Crossword revived and a special album

Another week has gone by and the weekend probably will go before I even feel it. I am getting more and more settled and involved in work now and also maybe beginning to enjoy it more as well I guess, for a 'variety of reasons', which again is unimportant here.

To start of, I have started doing The Hindu crossword (probably the only thing that kept us alive in some of the most boring classes back in RV!) after a long time and it sure seems like old times again, when you crack a few clues. Well, I have close to an hour on the train to work, one way, so the ride is now constructively used. For those who care, I couldn't help giving some killer clues out here which I managed to crack over the last week or so, and see if you can crack 'em yourself, (Answers at the end of the post....So don't peek)

1)Mark ballot paper, express oneself clearly (3,6)
2)Former partner, stressed about drip that is comprehensive (9)
3)Tired, right in the early morning (5)
4)Reverse the record of arrears of work (7)
5)The requirement they say, is, to prepare the dough (5)
6)Make music and soothe (7)
7)To ring up America about nothing is insensitive (7)

Well, I am sure if (for those of) you haven't done crosswords in a while as well, it seems like old times and something to do. Trust me, if you have time, go back, now I realize how important doing it back then seemed! Yes, I print the crossword and it is like 2 sheets (which kinda sucks) and take it with me, but nothing like the newspaper cutting itself. At office, anyways I am printing these crosswords when I have time and catching back old practices. Maybe, I am getting too involved now in this talk...

Here, the heat is getting unbearable, I can't seem to take it (well, you may be saying 'Wait till you get back here and then talk about the temperatures'), and its fricking burning. Cannot seem to sleep at night, always sticky, and like an oven here. In 2 months time, its going to be cooling down and in 5-6, its going to be cooled down more than we would ever like...shitty!!

I also followed up that D A Pandu died, well it was big news I guess back there. On the political front, there seems to be a lot of drama happening as well, I see, with the Advani issue. Hmm...Its time we got our priorities sorted I think, which has been the call for a long time. Why, I am saying this, almost everything shipped to my company is from China or Mexico. To talk about electronics and Walmart and fireworks (which by the way, I saw a package today in a local store) is from China. We always seemed to be calling and comparing China as our competitor, but I presume its stops only in population (which also they are ahead, but which is not the concern). Even, yesterday, I was reading a very interesting article, (slashdotted) about how the a laptop is born and travels when ordered. It made interesting reading and guess where its all done... China of course. So, its some time before we can actually start pulling forward and making a mark. We seem to have the intellect, but neither the direction nor the initiative to take it upon us and release our hands from the brakes on the wagon wheel. Well, its sad, but lets hope to see more Indian products soon, say in Walmart.

Also, I have decided to go ahead and upload my workplace album, something I had mentioned in a previous post. Its a nice collection with some great pics thrown in... Well, you can see it here, and any comments, I think should not go public, so as far as possible, email me personally ;)

Still living in Chicago and plan to go down to Dekalb, some weekend, may have to get some stuff I forgot. Apart from that, worklife is still on; getting up early still a big problem!

Answers to the Crossword clues
2)EXTENSIVE (brilliant one!)
5)KNEAD (this was awesome!)

I hope you managed to form the connection between the clues and the answers even if you did not crack the clues. If I do come across some more nice ones, I shall post. Do share any, if you have.. Crosswords rock!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Corporate America, recipe and Chicago

Are you thinking, another motley of topics in the subject? Ya..me too.

Well, its been a fortnight since I have had a taste of Corporate America and it isn't too bad or maybe, I have gotten used to it now in all respects. Well I still have to get up like 0530 hrs which is probably the hardest part till date and to leave like 0640 hrs in order to catch the CTA Blue Line. (A really nice layout of the entire system is here and I get on at Racine and off at Rosemont. Look at the Blue Line to locate these if interested). In the evenings after I am back, I have no time at all to do shit and kinda do not seem to have any time at all, as I have to be in bed soon which of course I seemed to have unlearned ever since I came here!

In any case, being in a building right opposite O'Hare International airport (in case you are unaware, this was the world's busiest till 1998 and has since lost that stat to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport) is sure some neat shit and I have some of the most awesome sights everyday. There is literally a landing or a take off every 40 seconds and I have seen simultaneous happenings, which are truly stunning. Its so close for me to read their names on the flights and have never ceased to be amazed at these machines. Coincidentally, I saw an Air India flight (haven't seen that after August 10, 2004 - when I came here) coming in to land a couple of days back and sure was cool. Just amazing to see those things fly in and take off so gracefully. FedEx and Polar have some of their biggest flights coming in and all the other flights seem to dwarf in comparison. Most of the flights are of course United Airlines or American Airlines, though I also see a lot of Lufthansa flights coming in frequently. Many a time, I just walk by the windows to catch a glimpse of these stunning sights.

Well, workwise I am right now working on a couple of projects and am starting to learn a couple software like MathCad and Cadstar. Its fine and I officially end on August 19, '05. I also just got my first pay check in earlier today, so its kinda exciting, as I have been used to paying more often than not everywhere! Its weekend once again and hence I am savoring it.

Chicago has been a great experience so far. My friend here (Hareesh) moved out early today morning (to California) and I have moved into his room and have been settling in. I also decided to goto Walmart here today, and after a few lookups on the web, figured how to go, and had to take a train and a bus. All was well till I got out of Walmart. Carrying about 6 kilos in each hand, I had the longest walk I could possibly imagine both ways and had the most toughest time. Even now my fingers are kinda numb in the aftermath of the evening and cannot seem to feel the keyboard too well (lol). Hard work it is, more so physical. Nightlife here kinda rocks and more so we get a first hand experience as the place I am staying in, is directly above a bar and there are 2 posh restaurants right opposite as well. So at nights we get the best 'views' if we ever looked out from the windows. Well, what we see, is not a concern, but amazing sights generally... (lol). Haven't got time (and maybe the money as well..) to be a part of the night life yet though, lets see...

Just got done making dinner and more importantly eating it. Made what, you ask? Well, generally I do not reveal my secret recipes, but anyways, I shall do so this one time. I put in some veggies which I had (peas, mixed-carrot, beans and peas, more peas and some hash browns, which I had bought from Walmart). Felt something was missing (not like this is some important dish) and just added a couple of eggs into it. (Yuck, u saying?!). Added spice and more spices, oil and some pickle and kept on simmer. I just had whatever I made (no idea so far, what to call it) and it tasted wonderful. You should try it sometime if ok with you. Rice was a little messed up today, but fine...all will be good, when there is nothing else.

I hope the snaps were good enough and you got to see NY from 10,000 miles away and enjoyed it as well. Hmm...I also finally got a chance to watch a a couple of movies I downloaded. We saw, The Ring Two, which kinda sucked we thought (what say?) and no where close to its predecessor, The Ring. We also saw another amazing movie, Matchstick Men and till about 90% of the movie seemed the worst and most ordinary movie ever, but the last 15 minutes basically kicked it so hard, it seriously has to be a great movie. Catch it sometime. I also started downloading All the President's Men, after the sensational Deep Throat revelation that has been all over TV, for the last few days.

Over with this I guess for this week and in all probability I shall write in again, sometime during next weekend, though you can write in anytime to me!