22 April 2010

Yahooooooooooooooo! and Pony Tail.

Last Saturday, in the morning, I received an email from a bachelor student – asking whether I am offering the course I did last summer. I didn’t reply immediately.

In the afternoon, an email from another student. And I started wondering!

On Sunday morning, I had an email from Professor, asking whether I wanted to offer the course. It seems he also received a few emails requesting my course.

Sunday being a busy day for me, I couldn’t do anything about it. I just said, I would LOVE to… for I love teaching.

We did the paperwork to get the course approved – on Monday; and published the details on the webpage – on Tuesday.

Now a word about it. The course is “Python for fine Programmers”, a simplistic course. An elective course. No one needs to take it, and it won’t fill anyone’s credit requirements.

And still, I have 12 students… and only two of them are there for credits. The rest came because they want to learn, they heard about me.  (And it is going to be some work.)

  • Preparing the lecture (material + presentation)
  • Finding out reasonable problems. I want a new set of them… no reusing of last years problems
  • Solving and coding them before I give them to students
  • Evaluating the code they all submit. (12 evaluations could take quite some time)

I went to professor to report and he told me “Sandeep, you’ve become famous. Students are asking specifically for your course”.

Isn’t it great? What more can I ask for?

And another dream is coming true as well – I’ve always taught Algorithms/Programming kind of courses. This semester, I am tutoring Theoretical Computer Science – the core thing. Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

Hailing from a small normal village in Kerala, I am offering a course in one of the BEST universities in Germany (Europe). I feel good, very good indeed. :) :)

As the icing of the cake, now, I may even look like a solid geeky, useless, crazy, academic, for I have a little pony tail – very short indeed.

Now, to add the rough edge to it, I am going to get something next week. And something else the week after that.

I’m all excited! Yahooooooooooooo! Juhuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Signing off, Sands.

PS: And pony tail reminds me of Tony. He’s getting married in less than 2 weeks from now! Happy for him. :)

16 April 2010

Some little nothings

  • To explain the principle of relativity – that, time is subjective –  a friend gave this example. Relativity can be explained by the way two people perceive time – two people standing on both the sides of a toilet door – one waiting for the toilet, one using the toilet.  [thanks to Vivek]
    (When I was very young, my mom had told me that time flies when you speak to a lovely person, and time drags when the conversation is boring – and that is the crux of the thing. And I seem to like the toilet example now) 
  • If I were a chemistry teacher at high school, I would teach “irreversible process” with an example of toothpaste. Once you squeeze it out, there is no way to get it back – that is an (almost) irreversible process. Right?
  • If I am were math/computer-science teacher, I’d use the same example to explain One-way functions which are easy to do one side, the other way around is not so easy! :)
  • I recently read a small passage in a (malayalam) blog where the author says he envies some groups of people. So do I, envy such people …
    • who can sleep when mosquitoes are attacking
    • who can talk while watching TV
    • who can work[@computer] while listening to songs
    • who can read while having lunch/dinner/food
    • who can telephone while driving
  • The Easter/Vishu celebration is on this Sunday and as usual I’ve invited 4 friends – Jo, GrübMäd, Lud and a MuggleGirl. But this time I’ll be busy compering and I hope they’ll take care of themselves. I’ve always wanted to take RG for this function, but never could make it. Anyway, I am looking forward to Sunday.
  • My apartment mate from Greece: I like that chap. He’s intelligent, knowledgeable, arrogant and aggressive. If I look at him and say “if you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the right place”, he’d easily say - “oh yes, I am looking for trouble”. Nice confident chap… but I cannot help foreseeing the chances of we having clash of titans. :)

Well, that’s all for now. And I’ll get back to my work.

You all have a wonderful time, a great weekend.

Signing off, Sands.

12 April 2010

A disappointing post.

This is a post which I had been wanting to write with all the time it takes. It’s a book-review post – of three books I finished recently and which I very much liked.

But in these times of time-crunch, I am not sure whether I can do enough justice to the books, not sure whether I can give due respect to them. (Having not enough time guarantees that I won’t be satisfied with the post, and hence the title).

  • Pygmalion: George Bernard Shaw.
  • The lady of the Camellias: Alexandre Dumas, Fils (Junior).

PYGMALION: About a phonetic expert in London (1910s) and how he changes the life of a girl and his own. I shall not reveal the plot, for I hope – at least one of my loyal readers would read the book.

A wonderful play – witty and thought provoking. How can you not like a book which this in the preface?

The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it. They spell it so abominably that no man can teach himself what it sounds like. It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.

While reading it, I found myself, during breaks, taking the book and going to Johannes to read some dialogues to him. (I hope, he wasn’t much bored ).

The heroine’s dad gives some of the funny and thought provoking ideas. He does question the status of the society. On asking why he (the dad) doesn’t marry his missus, he goes:

DOOLITTLE: Tell her [missus] so, tell her so. I’m willing. It’s me that suffers by it. I’ve no hold on her. I got to be agreeable to her. I got to give her presents. I got to buy her clothes something sinful. I’m a slave to that woman, Governor, just because I’m not her lawful husband. And she knows it too. Catch her marrying me! Take my advice, marry Eliza while she’s young and don’t know no better. If you don’t, you’ll be sorry for it after. If you do, she’ll be sorry for it after; but better you than her, because you’re a man, and she’s only a woman and don’t know how to be happy anyhow.

Doesn’t it so well show the ‘hardships’ of a man before, and of women after, the marriage? ;)

I can go on and quote more. But I better get to the next book. I humbly request you to read this book. It’s a short one and won’t take more than 3 hours.

THE LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS: A tragic story of a courtesan (and her liaison with a young bloke) set in mid 19th century Paris. If you have watched “Moulin Rouge”, then you have seen a VERY loosely related version of the original. n3320831

The book surpasses the movie by all means. I would recommend the book at least all my male readers.

Have you ever written a letter to your beloved and regretted for having (or not having) written something?  (I have)

Have you ever refused to accept that some of her actions hurt you? just because your ego won’t let you admit that you, the super-human, were hurt?  (I have)

And a thousand similar things happen while you are in love. Many a time I felt that the author had seen my mind when I’ve been through the pains of love.

Have you been “possessive”? (I haven’t)

He: "You are right," I said, letting my head sink on her knees ; "but I love you madly."
She: "Well, my friend, you must either love me a little less or understand me a little better."

I went “wow” for the reply. If you don’t get the feel when it is out of context, I am sorry! :(

It’s a beautiful book. It won’t change your life or anything. But there are some profound thoughts here and there. I think, it is more about the style and speed of narration which makes it nicer.

Life is pleasant, my dear fellow; it all depends on the colour of the glass through which one sees it.

Even though I insist my male readers to read the book, female readers would definitely like it too. Won’t you want to know why we men are sometimes so stupid (especially when in love? ;) )

Third book : JANE EYRE – this would (could/should) take a whole post. Being too late, I shall go to bed, postponing Jane Eyre.

The loyal readers who reached here, who cared to read the non-proof-read, non-structured post, are special to me. :)

Signing off, Sands.

8 April 2010

A fine film; Cults (of non-normal people)

Disclaimer: Late night post – no proof reading – read at your own risk ;)

After a wonderful day, I reached home with a decision that I’ll finish some work before sleeping. Without even touching any work, I cooked (and ate) a wonderful dinner - “Penne Arabiata, with loads of cheese”. And watched a film – a fine film after a long time from Malayalam film world.

I had read the novel a few months ago and was waiting for the film to be available. A historical-detective story, narrated in a very different way. The actors have done a good job. Some bit of initial days of communism in Kerala, the socio-communal situation, power of feudal lords etc. are captured quite well.

We all dreamed of changes in the society. We changed, the society didn’t. The dreams remained always as dreams, without ever being materialised.

So said one of the communist-characters in the film. I don’t know whether it was meant for a message to the viewer about communism or not. In any case, my views are in sync with the message.

Hats off to the makers of the film.


Holmes, QI, Blackadder, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Hitch Hiker’s Guide, etc. are some (non-tech) stuff I am so passionate about. I was avoiding Blackadder, for I knew it had all the potential to get me addicted but I did watch all the episodes over the weekend and my fears came true!

Am I falling prey for these cults? And when I look around, no normal person is following these things with such passion. RG and MG are the only ones who are into all (or a subset) of these and neither of them is the so called normal person.  (Not counting the two Tamil Girls who are HP + LOTR fans)

Whether I am falling prey or not, I thoroughly enjoy each and every one of these great stuff. It’s time to re-read HHGG again. I recommend these to my readers as well.

I like people with passion.. Passion gives energy to do things, passion makes one patient enough to get things done, passion gives one enough tenacity. And the passion in one thing will reflect in other stuff as well, and would make life better. (if you look closely, they are geek-characteristics)

Anyway, I didn’t keep the word I gave myself – about the work. I’ll go to bed and get up early and cycle to uni. in the fresh morning air.

Good night and signing off, Sands.

PS: I didn’t tell you about my ‘lady of camellias’, did I? I will, very soon.

PPS: Two days ago, I found spelling and grammatical errors in BBC in a row of two days! Totally unacceptable! :(

1 April 2010

Simple reasoning (and again pictures?)

An excerpt from Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’ (which I am reading now and enjoying very well):

PICKERING: Have you no morals, man?
DOOLITTLE [unabashed]: Can’t afford them, Governor. Neither could you if you was as poor as me. Not that I mean any harm, you know. But if Liza is going to have a bit out of this, why not me too?

Of course, moral codes and empty-stomachs cannot co-exist.

But the well educated and well doing, rich enough people? Shouldn’t they be at least honest? I am not talking about white lies – but serious hiding of things.

And it hurts when it is someone who’s close to me. Even when the dishonesty is not towards me. The idol breaks!

Would people do wrong, if they knew for sure that they won’t be exposed? I guess, many would. But isn’t there a conscience to which one is answerable?

‘Economy of life’ itself is a good reason to be honest. To lie – book keeping of who knows the truth, who knows which version etc. – is expensive.

Trustworthiness, integrity, credibility – one can never exaggerate their importance. Who am I to demand that others should be honest and trustworthy? I could only suggest, but the choice is ultimately theirs.

With a quote from Bernard Shaw himself, I shall wind up my write up.

The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.

Anyway, here are some pictures from my Weinheim/Heidelberg/Heppenheim trip – some towns in the south-west Germany.

Weinheim 2010-03-28 016Windows to heaven

Marita Weinheim 2010-03-28 041House-couple at the hillside

Marita Heppenheim 2010-03-30 001My tall-hostess and her parents

Marita Heppenheim 2010-03-30 003Towers of the fourth castle I visited in 3 days

Marita Heppenheim 2010-03-30 048The so typical and beautiful ‘fachwerk’ houses (townhall).

Marita Heppenheim 2010-03-30 050First flowers of the year.. we are still waiting for the spring here in Munich.

Marita Heppenheim 2010-03-30 062A little boy to keep the windows open :o

Marita Heppenheim 2010-03-30 064Every street-lamp has a story painted on it and a detailed account of the story at the bottom.

Signing off, Sands.