Sunday, December 31, 2006


I quit making New Year's Resolutions long ago. Before then, I would make resolutions, convince myself that I would keep them, and then break every damned one, usually before the end of January.That usually was a waste of time and a blow to my self-esteem. So I figured out that I was better off NOT making any resolutions. But, I have changed my mind this year. Here are my resolutions for 2007:
1) I will stop going to ice cream socials and lunch and learn sessions at work.
2) I will stop buying technical books in 2007. I have more of those than I need or read already.
3) I will continue to blog.
4) I'm gonna plant more hibiscus and make sure they all root and grow and bloom well. I will take lots of pictures of it too. I threw that one in there just to take the pressure off of keeping ALL my resolutions.
5) I'm going back to New York and live with my buddies from school, at least twice in 2007. Those 4 days I spend with them were my best in 06.
Those should be no problem to keep.

Happy new year to all of you.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I believe that a tip is a reward for a job well done. Usually I tip generously at restaurants, barber shops etc. These guys work hard and they depend on tips to make both ends meet. Some of them are paid below the federal minimum wage. So if they treat ME well, I treat THEM well.

My usual rule is 15 to 20%. The highest I have gone is once in Chennai, I tipped a taxi driver Rs5000. He was with me for 2 full days and I was well taken care of. The guy was so nice that he even refused to accept the tip. But I gave it to him anyway. Before you think that I am benevolent, I must tell you that I got that promptly reimbursed by my company.

Sometimes I use ‘offensive tips’ to insult people who deserve it. If I have a snarling, rude, inattentive waiter, I purposely leave a few pennies on a $30 tab. I don’t shove them, but I must let them know what I thought of their PMS behavior.

That is exactly what happened to a taxi driver in Las Vegas. He was rude, and acted like a drunken asshole. The mean bastid was using cuss words in the traffic – remember I was with my wife and kid. And since traffic was heavy, he dropped us off two blocks away from our destination and wanted us to walk to our hotel.

The meter showed $7.20, and I gave him that . While I was about to walk, the junkie got out of the cab and asked “Where is my teep”? I checked my pocket and gave him 3 cents. You should have seen the expression on his face. That was 3 cents of insult well spend.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Viva Las Vegas

Notes from Vegas.
  • Wow, I’m finally here. And it only took me twelve hours to get from San Jose to Las Vegas. And no, I’m not bitter, not at all. I thought when I agreed with Travelocity to take a U.S.Airways flight, I’d be getting a decent airline.
  • The limo ride from the airport to hotel was fun. Although the bastid cheated me the ride was cool. The funny Iranian driver who "loves Indeeyan people", "loves Indeeyan food - curry, dal, nan", "love Indeeyan music - I have a collection, I just can't find it now" - even gave us a little guided tour of the city. We could have taken a taxi and paid 10 bucks, but the extra 25 was for the limousine experience. Or I would like to comfort myself that way.


  • The only thing in Las Vegas that gave me the real kicks was the 'tomb of King Tut' at Lexor. I have seen that National Geographic documentary a dozen times in which Howard Carter leads you through the narrow hole with nothing but a candle and discovers "wonderful things!” If you ever go to Vegas, don’t miss this one, and make sure you take the time to listen to the complete audio.
  • Almost everybody I talked to suggested that we eat a buffet in Vegas. Although I try to stay away from big meals, my wife insisted that we try one. So I did. The food was exquisite. The fried beans and baby back ribs was delicious. It was so delectable that my stomach started puffing up as if I was suddenly becoming pregnant. Soon I started having hot flashes and broke out in a sweat. Fancy fire works began exactly at 11 PM and lasted the whole night - I don’t want to go into the gory details of what happened next, because it is a story I prefer not to tell. I am never going to eat a buffet ever again.
  • I saw an advertisement for a $6K bath. It goes something like this. Beautiful nekkid wimmen will anoint you with scented oils. Then they will bathe you in rose water and rub you with rose petals and sandal wood paste, all done in a candle lit shrine with soothing music and Vedic hymns. The ad also features Pamela Anderson, who will bathe a lucky few on New Year’s Eve. I don’t know why someone would throw away money on such foolish pursuits.


  • I am going to gamble tonight..


  • I had so much fun losing money in the casino last night that I reloaded from an ATM and wasted MORE before I finally gave up. I take comfort in the fact that I was playing with four other idiots at the table and they all got screwed, too.
  • After loosing all that money, I am sorta feeling home sick. So I´m leaving tomorrow. I need to go home and heal up for a while before I come back again. And I WILL be back. This is a beautiful place.


  • I made it back home in one piece last night. The plane trip was a fitting finale to the adventure. It was one bumpy ride that will put the roads in Trivandrum to shame. Luckily everything arrived intact. I went straight to bed and slept for 11 hours last night.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Earlier this year the terrorist organization Hamas scored a stunning victory in the first ever democratic elections in Palestine. Now, less than a year later president Mahmud Abbas has decided to call for new elections under pressure from with the backing of the United States. United States, with the noble intention of spread democracy in the Middle East, likes to see their men elected in Palestine. Ladies and gentleman, now that’s what I call democracy!

Back in the US, things are getting warmed up for the 2008 elections. While Mrs.Clinton is lining up her supporters and donors, Barak Obama is clearly emerging as Clinton alternative #1. I don’t think Mrs.Clinton is going to win even the primary and I believe Obama has all the potential to become the Colin Powell for Democrats. But the true presidential material for the democrats is Sen. Joseph Biden. I hope he will run.

Talking about elections, Time magazine elected ‘You’ as the Person of the year. That was a cheesy decision. Their finalists were not impressive to begin with. I suspect they chose the founders of YouTube, and then they decided that their success was largely the result of the millions of users out there.

But anyways, congratulations to all you YouTubers, bloggers and citizen journalists out there. We are now in the league of JFK, MLK, Einstein and Gandhi.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I have always liked Karunakaran. I believe he was a real politician and not a huckster like his nemesis Mr.Antony and so many others in this line of business. He also makes me want to read Malayalam news papers daily. The genius in him constantly provides fodder to our wonderful journalists to keep things exiting.

But I think it is time for him to hang up his robe and retire. He has been slowly loosing his senses since he lost his chair in ‘95. I don’t know what his grand plan is. What ever it be, he is turning himself to nothing but a petty, spiteful, vindictive old fart. Of late he has started exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia and is badly in need of professional care.

It's time for the old man to sit down and shut up while he still have some respect.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Last Week

Last week was a good week, bad week.

The week started off bad …
1. I got screwed by the virus from hell. Cold. I still haven’t recovered fully.

2. I almost killed my new hibiscus plants too. They were flowering prolifically the week I brought them home. After a week in my custody, they suddenly stopped producing. I gave them a week, and then took matters into my own hands. I tilled the two pots, doused them with a spoonful of chemical fertilizer, and soaked the stubborn plants with water. The next morning I woke up and saw the small plant dead, and the big other one frail, dried up and ready to give up.

Then slowly turned hopeful…

1. After three days of intense soil change, watering and resuscitation and the big plant survived. Today morning I saw a small sprout in the baby plant. I think he will survive too.

And ended on a good note ….

1. I saw the movie ‘Class mates’, a malayalam movie worth watching in a long- long while.

2. Read ‘The old man and the sea’. I think it is a piece of Hemmingway’s finest work. I am left wondering what it must be like to catch a big marlin.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Crown Victoria

I have nothing better to do right now, sitting here in this meeting, except to sit here and enjoy the Crown Victoria parked outside.

The damn thing looks like a police car! I think people like driving it around because everybody thinks it's a police car and they get that respect. Ford should have named it differently – Like Hulk Hogan or Sakthiman or Abdullah– something masculine.

Parked next to him is a Volkswagen beetle. I don’t think an yellow bug coming down the street will strike the same fear. She doesn’t earn the same respect. But she sure looks cute. Hulk Hogan likes her.

Now if you will excuse me I have to get back to the meeting.