/* */ vita graphein/-: August 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Back to School...

I am back from Chicago and so from my internship as well. It doesn't feel all that great to get out of the Corporate culture and the city life I had been used to in the last 3 months, but feels great to get out of the shithole of a house I had been and come back to way more comfortable Dekalb. When most needed I lived in a place without an air conditioner (in Chicago) when temperatures were soaring. Now amazingly there has been like a 8-10 degree drop temperature during the daytime and almost a 15 degree drop during evenings and nights. It is great, but the problem it keeps getting cooler and cooler to a point you can take it no more and then hell freezes over. Well now, I am enjoying it as long its good.

I got out of Chicago on Saturday and had a friend drive me over to Dekalb as I had lot of stuff to move. I got back and all of the last weekend, I had so much stuff to take care of like moving back in and shit. Also there was someone staying temp at our place and at one point there were like 5 of us staying in a 2 bedroom with stuff at every step and navigating around the house was impossible. Well, he moved out and I had to get settled back into school mode as well and it seems to have gone decent so far. I haven't got a chance to tell you, but I have managed to get a funding from the school for the next year, a 2 part assistance. One of which is a Math tutorship (under the Dean) for the
School of Engineering and the other is for the School of Nursing and I am working for the course Mental Health and Nursing. Its not that bad, I mean working 20 hours, as I know how to work the system very well now! ;)

I have also been catching up on a lot of racquetball these days at the Univ rec and have had a great time. In the midst of all this, I have also kinda begun to start some groundwork for my thesis, whose topic, at this point, I am unsure to disclose.

I could not write last weekend as I normally do, as I had been real busy moving in and out and all the work with school. Just updated now and also to let you know, I will be around in Bangalore around the 11th day of December.

Monday, August 15, 2005

weekend to remember

Well, I am at office now and while I am on one of my breaks, I am ranting here! This also happens to be my last week at work and I have to get back to school the following Monday. Which also means I leave Chicago and the life out here and also not to forget the pay compared to the pittance I get with on campus jobs.

This (last) weekend I decided to explore a little, and went to the Chicago Historical Society and actually had a pretty nice time. More than half of the museum was actually closed for renovation as they are nearing their 150th anniversary(!!), but whatever was still open was pretty striking and pretty impressive. There was a special exhibition too, called Without Sanctuary, which was a very graphic display of America's dirty past, and all injustice done to African Americans by whites. There were all 'original' postcards which people over the years had kept as souvenirs and actually posed in front of the dead bodies. It primarily showcases lynching (definitely see this link) and how some 5000 odd people were lynched to death due to racial hatred. It reminds us all of the brutality and inhumaneness of man and most of the images are horrific to say the least, and extremely graphic. In fact these postcards were like an 'in thing' back then as I gather and people took pride in getting photographed with the burnt/hung body. So this was a business too for the photographers as they charged for these photos and you could like buy them. There was also a display of a (Kodak) Brownie camera which was a popular one for the shoots. They also had a very detailed section of the murder of Emmett Till (wiki link) and his case was coincidentally reopened in 2004. It was interesting to learn so much about American history. I also got a detailed account of the Great Chicago Fire (1871) and was really amazed to see the entire history associated with it and more so of how the city restarted from scratch and came to be what it is today. There were a couple of other photographic exhibits and were very impressive as well.

(Continuing after some 3 hours...)
Then (I had already planned) I went to the Sears Tower Skydeck (on the 103rd floor, that's 17 more floors than what I was at the Empire State, NY). It was breathtaking and luckily it was a clear day as well, else clouds tend to block your view below! It is said, on clear days you can see upto 50 miles out and also can see 4 states (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan). I could see as far out into the horizon and was a stunning experience literally. I stayed for a while on top and saw every building I could ever recognize from up there. Trains, cars, humans, all seemingly like toys and you were (literally) on top of the world. An interesting stat is that the elevator you ride in to the top travels at like 1600 feet per minute, so which means I reached the the Skydeck (about 1350 feet) in about 40-45 seconds!! That too straight up..now that's something.

I have just finished following the 3rd Ashes test and boy, what a match. Still laughing off at the Indian cricket scenario now, and its become more and more ridiculous and inexplicable even as a friend vented his feelings in quite a satirical way..

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Gotta take some gambles...

It had been a pretty active week, this last one which went by and was great too. I was taken to the manufacturing plant which services for Philips and saw a lot of assembly line manufacturing processes being carried out and how stuff is actually done. I mean, we always see products at the end or the halfway stage, but to see them start out from scratch was pretty enlightening. Well, they even bought us lunch (lol). My manager and me were out there pretty much the entire day, and we actually drove on I-90 (Interstate highway) which is directly the last path before the planes hit the runway (at O'Hare Intl airport). So, it was almost as if the planes were landing directly on the Interstate and boy, sure is so scary to see the belly of these planes like a few hundred feet above when you driving at 80-100 miles an hour. Its a stunning feeling though and we got (lucky) close to a couple of these birds when we went driving to the plant. I simply just almost begged for more..

Then after that, midweek, there was the intern outing about which I had written a couple of posts back (I think). We (all interns and some managers) went to Arlington racetrack (horse racing) and I had some awesome fun and thoroughly enjoyed myself. We all were given food coupons for some $15 and the entire place itself was pretty impressive. Guess what, we were also allowed to bet! Yes, and the cheapest bet you could place was like $2. I learnt a lot of these wagering terms and sure have become a little knowledgeable in that. Anyways, I started betting of course very conservatively, and also very stupidly, just going for the horses with the best odds and nothing else. Of course, for 4 straight races, which I bet on, I lost. Then I begin to understand the nuances, like the odds keep changing till the last 3 minutes. Then again, the history of the horse and the jockey, the current form, the track they running on (turf or dirt), number of them racing in that race, the mood of the horse (eh?!!)..and of course your instinct.. so there's a lot more than the odds just stacked on it. So, I began to play my cards safe, and started concentrating on the trends and was doing my calculations (lol). I did well to pick a race and horse I wanted and there are different kinds of bets also, so, I put my money on a horse and though I lost again, I was atleast doing something correctly (instinct told me). Whatever, stricken by losses, I used one of our food coupons to bet and also put a little more on a horse and put some 3 times more than what I had been putting so far, and this was my last bet whatever the result. Of course, I lived to see another day, and the bet paid off double as I had worked out and of course, it finally came right! It was a great day to be out and finally got back home as usual and had to get back to normal life again..

Also, sometime last week, I had been to the Marshall Fields here in Chicago and boy! This is the place for the brands, whether its Dooney Burke, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein...etc, etc. Stunning store and sure was impressive, but then again, for regular shoppers its no big deal, but for me (NOT a shopper) it sure was overwhelming. Then we also went to H&M and checked out some stuff as well. Great place if you have the money going.... well, I got to get going now