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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Keyboard Trouble - Double Trouble

"Dop yopui iunderstand what thius liune ius saying top yopui?"

Confused about what language this is?

Well … this is English … but with a slight technological twist. My office laptop keyboard has developed a technical snag/glitch and a couple of its keys. They produce 2 characters instead of 1.  

When I press 'I' key, I get 'iu'

When I press 'u' key, I get 'iu'

When I press 'o' key, I get 'op'

When I press 'p' key, I get 'op'

When I press '-' key, I get ';-'

When I press ';' key, I get ';-'
and a few more cases like this ...
Typing has become a nightmare ever since this problem cropped up. I spend more time correcting the double-trouble than i spend in typing them in the first place. This is much worse than the simple 'y' and 'z' key interchange I had in Switzerland office PC keyboard.
Since the troubled keys have 3 vowels in there, the problem is much worse since they (vowels) are everywhere and only a few words in every sentence are without them. I am practically editing 80% of the words I am typing.

So … now that you know the 'code'; try to figure out what I wrote up there in my cryptic keyboard style. And the this one too ...

Thius ius a operfectly well iuntentiuopned sentence biut my laoptopop keybopad whiuch ius actiung fiunny has deciuded top mess iut iuop copmopletely beyond recopgniutiuopn. Thius ius technoplopgiucawlly iundiuced mental harassment.

-->  I just realized that since it is internally hitting I & U together, every time I try to italicize a sentence by hitting CTRL+I;- it takes it as CTRL+IU, it underlines it automatically. What fun.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kidnapped: A case of Mistaken Identity

I was kidnapped.

Well … not literally.

I was mistaken for another person and taken on a tour of a factory only for the folly to be realized before we entered the factory :)

Well … this is how it actually happened.

The project has just started and introductions had happened but people were still getting used to the new names and faces around them. One of our client team members Mr. M gestured to me at the end of the meeting and when I went to speak to him, he told me that he wanted to show me the factory and the manufacturing process.

I wasn't surprised since being a Org. Change Mgmt consultant, I need to interact with all team members and they try to tell me their people's perspective in different ways.

I kept asking him what he was going to show me and why had he picked me specifically for the guided tour of the factory. He kept avoiding the question and we talked about a variety of things while driving to the factory. We also had another colleague with us.

As we neared the factory, we were talking about life in Dubai and I mentioned that I had been here before on another project. The other colleague enquired if I was leading the PM track at that time also. Here, I clarified that I was leading the OCM track even then- like I was doing now.

At this point, the car stopped with a jolt.

The person who had 'kidnapped' me had hit the brakes. He turned around and looked incredulously at me. After what seemed like an awfully long 3-5 seconds, he said 'I am sorry, but I thought you were Ram'.

The mystery cleared and we all had a hearty laugh as all 3 of us realized that he wanted Ram to see the factory since he was leading the PM track. We returned back to office, picked up Ram and went back to the factory. Mr. M insisted I tag along and I did.

It was a nice experience being inside a factory after such a long time. I have been inside an Automobile factory, cable manufacturing factory, inside L&T different manufacturing divisions etc - all in my Engineering days way back in 1997-2000- almost 10 years ago. It was fun to be back inside.

So this is how I almost got kidnapped.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wicked Sense of Humor

Date: November 19, 2010

Time: 2130 Hours

 

Here I am, writing this post on my laptop in a word document, sitting in the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport for boarding to begin on my flight to Dubai. AND wondering about the wicked sense of humor our dear Lord has. And I think that because I am about 2.5 Hours away from my birthday and when the clock strikes 00:00 and my birth-day day begins; I would be in an airplane flying over the Arabian Sea, midway between Mumbai and Dubai (almost exactly midway).

 So, once again I will spend my birthday away from home, away from my near and dear ones. I will be spending my birthday this time with a group of complete strangers (well almost) with whom I am supposed to work for next 2 years. I know a couple of them but I don't really 'know' them.

Even my wife is not travelling with me this time so I would be truly alone on my birthday.

When I was told to travel on 19th, I had requested them for a ticket on 20th since that would not impact project work in any way. I was told by the coordinator as well as travel agency that the flights on 20th as well as 21st were all FULL and no seats were available. What a tragedy L
A Wicked Sense of Humor of our dear Lord above
(This post was written in the airport on 19th but posted later after several days after sorting connectivity issues and getting time to think about the blog and its posts)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Movie I saw in September ...

I joined Fujitsu Consulting in Pune and hence I was shuttling between Mumbai and Pune evey week. With all my weekdays in Pune and the travelling that went along with it, I would get only Sat-Sun at home and time to rest without rushing around. So, although going to watch a movie was definitely something I wanted to do, it was not really a priority.

We had our Jain festival Paryushan in this month which began on Saturday and ended on Saturday.  I usually watch movies on Saturdays with some exceptions of course, so lost 2 Saturdays of movie watching like this. Sunday was spent in visiting some key relatives to wish them on the festive occasion and take their blessings.  That left me with about 2 weekends to make up for lost time and I managed to catch the following movie this month. Yes, only one movie was what I could manage.

I did try to catch another movie (Anjaana Anjaani) but they postponed the release date and we had to return from the theatres, disappointed. There was no other decent option in the theatre that day that I could watch.

1.      Dabangg

 The promos had raised the expectation levels. Not with regard to the movie itself but Salman's portrayal of the character. True to the hype, Salman indeed played the role well. He got into the character and never left it for one bit. You see Chulbul Pande throughout the movie and not even a glimpse of Salman anywhere. The movie was an out and out a Chulbul Pande movie with all other actors just playing fillers and supporting cast.

Even Sonakshi was overshadowed. Though she played her part well … that of looking pretty ... (reminded me of Deepika Padukone in Om Shanti Om … she had little to do in the movie except look drop dead gorgeous). Sonakshi reminded me so much of Reena Roy that I made a post about it after I saw the movie. Comments made on the Buzz channel and a subsequent google search with string "Sonakshi Sinha Reena Roy" made me realize that the comparison was already hot on the web and several sites/articles/forums had already discussed and written about it.

There is not much to talk about the movie per se in terms of story line, music or direction or other aspects. All of them were decent and good. The only outstanding thing was Salman as Chulbul Pande. I personally feel this is one of Salman's best performances.

There were other movies I wanted to see this month .. like Anjaana Anjaani ... but their release was delayed and now they will flow into next month. September is now a month with just one movie ...
October - November will see many releases; i read somewhere that Bollywood has some 30+ releases lined up in Oct-Nov-Dec period. Quite a few of them will be worth watching too. Lets see how many I am able to catch since I am slated to travel and dunno what will happen first, movie releases or travel to foreign land. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Books I read in September ...

Well ... I had to pick up a Cecelia book this month. Since Jan, I have read at least 1 book by Matthew Reilly, Cecelia Ahern or PC Cast every month. I did not have another Matthew with me and it looks like I am going to run out of them soon. (Writer's can't really write as fast as we read stuff) … I think there are only 2/3 Matthew that I haven't read. The Partholon series by PC Cast is consumed and I don't read of it anymore. Of Course, I have read little of Cecelia but she will also not last long enough so then I have Sophie Kinsella. These 4 have been the most read authors for me this year(till now). And I have kinda liked and loved all of them. By the end of the year, another author or two might enter this list of most read this year list.

 

This month; besides Cecelia, I read 3 new authors. Picked up a Ruskin Bond, a Dean Koontz novel and finally picked up Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (this one had long been a pending item on my list waiting in my cabinet to be picked up)

 

1. A Place called Here by Cecelia Ahern

 

A Place called Here is about a place called Here. Interesting! Isn't it J Well, the interesting thing is that 'Here' is a place where all those thing go, which get lost in the real world. The story is about a girl who takes up the job/career of finding missing people … until one day she herself goes Missing and finds herself in the place called here. A very interesting perspective and premise for a book. It is not the usual Cecelia book I am used to (Yes, I am referring to the tears in my eyes while reading her books) but it is an interesting read nevertheless.
 
I did not like this on much but that does not deter me from reading more of Cecelia. I have already 3 out of her 7 novels and will pick up another one next month.
 

2. A Handful of Nuts by Ruskin Bond

 

A short book with an autobiographical kind of quality about Ruskin when he was 21. My friend likes/loves Ruskin Bon books, but I am not inclined towards it. She loves to go to the mountains. She is drawn to them and somewhere Ruskin's writings have an element of the mountains and their weather in them. I am not really a person who would be interested in nature being described I a book and hence I feel I might never like Ruskin writings. I will read another 1 or 2 books before discarding this author all together.

 

3. The Good Guy by Dean Koontz  

 

I read a Dean Koontz novel way back in 2005 (don't even remember the name now)... but at that time I was biased and gripped by Ludlum and was reading whatever Ludlum I could get my hands on ... so maybe ignored Koontz. 'The Good Guy' is an interesting read. Nothing much in terms of plot or story. It's a simple premise of a hitman trying to kill a girl and a good guy who gets in the way and then takes it on himself to save the girl from the hitman. The whole novel is about running, chasing, escaping and all. The book itself is not very gripping or outstanding or action packed … but one thing was really good.

 

What I really found interesting about this novel is the character development of the 'villain', the hitman  ... his character and personality has been gradually revealed all through the book ... unlike the other characters. Koontz has indeed defined a very complex but interesting character. A hitman who thinks he is superior to the rest of the human ways and loves cleanliness and is extremely particular about his brands and preferences. He has a very clean and calm composed way about him. He almost sounded like the calm and cool Pierce Brosnan kind of James Bond. I would say this singular aspect of the novel made it readable and made me read page on page to discover more of the hitman character and what he would do next and how would he react to the different situations. It was good reading this one and I am encouraged to read more of koontz along with Ludlum.

 

4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

 

This one was a very interesting novel. Now I can see the movie. I did not want to see the movie before reading the book. Movies are pretty disappointing in adapting novels (most of the times) and I might have lost the appetite to read this novel if I saw the movie first. 

 

Right in the beginning of the novel, the house is described to be full of books. It was a delight to read about this house and actually dream of having one like it. Have a house full of books and more important, have the time to read it all.

 

Moving further in the story, yet another house (a huge mansion actually, which belongs to Elinor) is presented which is literally FULL of books. A house where the floor–to-ceiling book shelves form majority of the furniture and the owner has no guest rooms to offer since all of them are FULL of books, stacked around in all possible places. No … I wasn't thinking or dreaming about anything here. My dear best friend Shraddha is the one likely to compete with Elinor. They both share a similar 'passion' for books !!

 

Inkheart has been a very enjoyable read and I look forward to reading the other books in the trilogy; InkSpell and Inkdeath.

 

BTW … I have got my hands on yet another Matthew Reilly novel (Scarerow) so that's what I gonna begin my next month with. I have also found his novella (Hell Island) but I would rather keep it for November reading J I allow myself Only one book per month by an author UNLESS the second book is a sequel (with the story leading from one to another) or it is a collection of stories by the author (which would be short stories anyway)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Movies I saw in August ...

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai

 

A decent movie. Not really an entertainer but a well made movie. Ajay is time and again proving his mettle in both serious as well as comic roles (Golmaal, All the Best etc) … Serial Kisser also came as a surprise. He has his fate written in some golden hour. He manages to get the most romantic of all songs choreographed on himself. Another interesting thing was that I saw this movie with my wife on Friendship Day. I know, I know, that is a really weird combination. The Movie, the Day and the Company J

 

Inception

 

A pretty complicated plot which can simply be stated in one line but needs quite an effort to understand. Not really too high on special effects as I had expected but a nice movie nevertheless. A complex concept to grasp which further gets complicated while you watch the movie and the turn of events leaves you confused. I wont say I have understood the movie. I might as well read up a bit about the movie and watch it again sometime in future to fully understand what 'eggzactly' happened.

 

This reminded me of movies like Memento and Butterfly Effect … I had to see those movie twice to understand what happened. On the contrary, I had surprised myself by understanding the Matrix pretty well in one single viewing, although the subsequent episodes (part 2 & 3) were a bit of a bouncer during the first time viewing.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Books I read in August ...

 

1. Divine by Blood (Partholon 3) by P C Cast

  

The third in the series of Partholon. The earlier two were much better. The 3rd one has not motivated me enough to actually begin the 4th one. The first 2 books are a conflict between 2 characters as well as the characters themselves discovering themselves. This one is more about a single one. Confusing at times and the story stagnates. Does not really move. It comes to an end very suddenly (like all pieces of a jigsaw being tossed and all fall in place automatically). 

 

2. DORK - The Increadible Adventures of Robin Einstein Varghese by Sidin Vadukut

 

An incredible book. Loved it. Being an Engineer-MBA-Consultant myself, it was absolutely fun to read this laughter roller coaster where the Engineer-MBA-Consultant protagonist keeps messing up things in complete oblivion of the trail of disaster he leaves behind. And it all ends well with some sort of an incident which seems kind of inspired by Jerry Maguire beginning where he vents out his feelings and they turn around his life.

 

The use of the so-called Consultant jargon which we Consultants ourselves joke about is hilarious. The cover says it is the first of a trilogy. I am eagerly waiting for the sequels to pop up at the bookstores. I hope I don't get disappointed by the sequels. The first of the trilogy has definitely set the humour quotient standards high.

 

3. Alexander Cipher by Will Adams

 

Did not have another action-thriller by Mathew Reilly in hand and wasn't in a mood to begin an emotional roller coaster by Cecelia; so began this one which seemed interesting going by the title and the cover  

 

It did turn out to be an interesting but not something that would inspire me to pick up something else by the same author. It was nice to read but not thrilling enough or adventurous enough. As my best friend says; Matthew Reilly has really spoiled the genre. His absolutely lightning paced adventure thrillers make the others books seem like adventurous books written in slow motion. In short, MR has rendered the other books of his genre … 'boring. 

 

4. The Genesis Code by Tom Knox

 

This turned out to be yet another dud after Alexander Cipher. The book again had a very interesting name and cover so I picked it up.

 

It begins with the 'Da Vinci Code' formula. An old man killed, lying naked in a pool of blood with inscription carved on his chest. An unsuspecting guy (in this case a reporter/journalist instead of the symbologist Langdon) gets involved and goes deep into it along with a female lead directly connected to the centre of the mystery. Of course, archeology and ancient history of the world serves as a backdrop. The premise of the book and questions raised were pretty interesting; but it fell apart in building the story and creating the sense of 'edge of the seat' thriller. It actually turned boring and predictable soon enough and I had to push myself hard to read through till the end rather than discard it mid-way and start reading my next one.

 

The book answered the questions it raised but the mystery was not interesting enough. The end of the story was not convincing enough nor the kind of end; one would expect or want. There was a distinct feeling of disappointment when the book got completed. And a relief too, that finally it got completed. I really hate to leave books incomplete.

 

This book did not complete in August entirely … but overflowed into the first 2 days of September. Just saying.