24 February 2009

Cannot leave without commenting..

ON the third of December 2008, I received an email from a friend of mine. There was an attachment with the email. That email thread grew to have about 10-12 email conversations.

As there were other recipients and also because most of them were making enough mail-traffic with other attachments, I did not bother to respond for two weeks – and that response was just to express my disappointment about my lack of knowledge on contemporary things.

And then that email was forgotten….. until… this evening.

Today, half an hour back, I searched and found out the email. For the first time I opened the attachments – they were the songs from “Slumdog Millionaire”.

After the academy award happenings, it was imperative that I should have heard those songs (at least now). 

I am thoroughly disappointed. None of those songs/themes is good enough for such an award. (Lobbying?)

Even though I know quite a few songs which are a million times better than the millionaire, I am not listing them here. The very same music director himself has done much better songs in the past.

bgmThey could have even bent the rules a bit for giving the award for the very same person for some old songs. But this …. well, what to say!?

Perhaps 2008 was a bad year for music and perhaps these songs were the least bad of all the songs.

One thing for sure, these are not the kind of songs which would stay in your mind … for years.

They won’t come even once to my mind… let alone “Every night in my dreams”!

Signing off, Sands.

PS: A blog friend of mine says that there is no “too frequent” blogging. So, I am posting this right now – even though I had a cryptic post yesterday.

23 February 2009

A bit of curiosity and confusion

First of all, as usual, I smile at you. :) A little smile and a small flower for you --- just for you! :) 

In the past few days, I have been getting really charged, getting loads of energy, getting more focused. At the same time a bit confused too. Or may be that is curiosity to know the future. :) .. or it is both – the curiosity to know the future and the confusion as to – whether I should look into the future at all. {now the confused one is you, my dear reader ;) }

When I look forward, I see so many things to be done and also many options to choose from. I know very well that I have to direct all my energy to just two channels (don’t ask me which two) – to get things done the way I want. But I am getting a big distracted (yes, I did say that I am getting focused).

How can one be focused and distracted at the same time? I don’t know how; I know it is possible. Still I’ll make a stab at explaining that. :)

question-markIt is because of two different points of views. From my career point of view, I am more focused than I was ever before. But when it comes to personal life, there are some small questions which haven’t even been asked, let alone answered.

To make things interesting, I am aware of those questions – some crucial ones. If I am not very much mistaken, the month of March will see some of those questions being asked. I am looking forward to seeing the results. That is the curiosity part. 

The confusion part is that … should I even ask those questions? Shall I let them ripe more and more and reach that situation when I cannot avoid them? At present, I am unable to decide and unfortunately, I cannot share this burden with anyone! And that’s the fun part too! :)

Update : I found this article this morning. Decision Time. :)

Signing off, Sands.

16 February 2009

Do I have a hobby?

UPDATE/WARNING: After publishing the post, later I felt that I am simply blowing my own trumpet. It actually sounds so – the intention was not that though. (Is intention counted?)

To this question, I usually respond by naming one or two of reading, painting, photography, etc. Any of these, I do pretty much well, or so I believe. (perhaps not that good a photographer though).

I would have read about 30 books in 2008 – of which 20 fiction and the rest non-fiction. So, I may very well say that I am an above average reader (what is the average by the way?). May I not?

When it comes to painting, I would have done about 10-12 oil-paintings last year – of which about 6-8 were good. So, I may claim that too as a hobby of mine. May I not? My regular readers know about my amateur level! ;)

My photography skills are perhaps not that good. You may judge my skill here, where I have put some of the good ones ;). I have written the year during which the picture was taken. (clicking on the image shows it in better resolution)

Crackers for Sale! ;)

Olympic Hill (1972)
Up :  2004

Down: 2008
How to name it? Up: 2005

Down: 2009
Sunset in Garcing

Up : 2008

Owl in front of Computer Science Building


I can also add one more thing to the list – watching documentaries. I must have watched about 50 (40?) of them last year. This year I watch talks (mainly TED) or attend online lectures from Berkeley or MIT – which is not happening as frequently as I want to. :(

Even blogging could be added? (both posting and reading?)

But now the question is – can I really call any of them my hobby? Because I consider all of them really serious. Isn’t hobby a “leisure time pleasure” thing? – non-serious?

I should either consider everything I do as “Hobby” as I get pleasure from _everything_ I do Or since I make time for the above listed items, none of them should be considered hobby anymore.

In that case, is it even possible to have any hobbies? – because we (I) always have to make time for them (mainly because there is no spare time)! Confusion!! :( – So, do I have a hobby? or is life itself a hobby for me?

Signing off, Sands.

PS:  Well, how I reached this topic is pretty nice. I was planning to write about a TED talk I watched today – which very well matched with the topic of the book I am reading and then I was thinking of the time crunch I am facing lately – which lead me to think about my free time pleasures – landing up in hobbies! :)

Mind is damn complicated! :)

10 February 2009

Just daily life (and lots of socks)

Two days back, I was given the question paper for the coming examination for “Theoretical Computer Science”. There are about 300-400 students who would be writing the exam. I was given the question paper and was asked to solve it and time myself.

Well, it’s been quite some time since I have done anything with real theoretical computer science - Chomsky languages and stuff like that. Since I was supposed to really see the time it would take to solve the sheet, I couldn’t look at the problems and then go refresh my memory – which would spoil the purpose. So, I just did it all from my memory! And hoped that my answers would be right. math problems

It took me about 60-70 minutes to solve the whole paper. After my report, my colleague who set the paper made the time limit to two hours! :) (He must be thinking that I have double the speed of a student!)

Now, I had this fear that some of my answers would be wrong and my colleague would have a bad impression of me. To make things worse, it was all in German! Grr….!!

But luck favoured me (at least in the beginning). In the very first page he opened, I had written down a solution which actually impressed him. (I guess, that my answer was more elegant that expected! ;) ) Well.., it didn’t last long as I stumbled on a problem which was.. well.. kind of easy! :(

But anyway, I am happy that my memory was not really much corrupted.

-- x -- x -- x --  topic change  -- x -- x -- x --

Men_s_Combed_SocksLast night, I had done my laundry. After taking the clothes from the dryer, I had kept them in the basket itself – thinking of keeping them in the shelf later. This morning, I was taking socks from the basket – to wear before going out.

I took one randomly – the white Adidas sock; Next one – the grey Nike.. … .. next one, next one, next one… all of them were different. I had to take the 9th sock before I got the first pair. (Well, let me state that I have about 8-10 pairs of socks)

See how improbable a thing it it. Sock after sock eight of them were from different pairs. The odds are less than one in a million (at least thousands of)  for such a thing!

But it did happen this morning and I started to curse all the socks in the whole universe for playing hide and seek with me when I had to hurry and catch the train.

People who are mathematically inclined could calculate the probability of such an event.

Signing off, Sands.

PS: In a real hurry. Hence the unstructured post with abrupt ending. :)

3 February 2009

Perfect… Almost…. :)

I am excited. But I don’t think that my excitement is going to be well expressed here – as I am a bit feverish now. Perhaps because the room temperature was a little less than what it should have been. Being a sunny day, I had kept the window open and let all the cold air come inside – without considering the idea of warm clothing! :(

I am a bit absent minded too. For eg. I am wearing two different socks right now. :)

Back to excitement – I would be giving a course next semester. It is not fully confirmed yet, but there is a very high chance. Imagining about it itself gives me goose bumps. As far as I think/plan, it is going to be a basics-of-computer-science course, which would let students get their hands dirty with some simple programming language (eg. python).

Well, I don’t care if people think that I am boasting. But my experience says that I am pretty good at teaching. I am good at explaining things with enough analogies. I am a good computer-scientist/programmer too. And my students have really liked me too.

So I guess, that the course would be good. After all, I am going to put my efforts to make it a memorable experience to the students.

Would there be any best teacher of the semester award? ;) (Am I asking for too much even before the decision is made?). I will need to burn the midnight oil. :(

Another thing is that I would be giving a talk, in March, for a couple of *important people*. :) I have to make that too a good one – so that, the name of my institute should be popular among them. In fact, that is my real duty there - in return to the opportunity given to me. :)

There is one more small thing to be excited about – but since I am not quite sure if it is excitement or  a bit negative, I don’t mention it here. I’ll wait till it becomes more clear to me.

DreamsWhen some dreams come true, many other dreams are mushrooming, budding. :)

I was talking to a friend of mine and she agrees with me - that, many of our dreams are considered to be results of arrogance. I have experienced it. Why would people bother with others’ dreams?

So, I go with what my mom says - why would I be just a king in the dream when I can be the emperor himself? So while dreaming, I don’t care if others care. I just have learned to tell only to a few selected people.

So, there are dreams in which I am the emperor himself. If time proves me right to have had such dreams, I shall tell you. :)

In fact, dreams don’t come true. We make them happen. And making them happen is sometimes not that easy! :)

Signing off, Sands.

PS: Regarding the title – yesterday, I was walking fast to the main hall of the department, when professor and a colleague came against me. The colleague exclaimed - “Hey, you walk perfect”. I smiled and said, “almost” and we all laughed. So, yes, I walk again .. almost perfect. (except for climbing down stairs) :) [Isn’t it another reason to be excited?] :)

PPS: Fever is on its way. In the past 30 minutes things’ve gotten worse! :(