Thu, 31st Jan '08, 8:05 am::

I woke up this morning and my entire house smelled like an Indian buffet. Last night I bought a new Crock-Pot Slow Cooker and filled it with fresh veggies and lots of Indian spices. Late at night I turned it on at the lowest setting so by dinner time tonight, it would be ready to eat. I think from now on I'll turn it on at medium level in the morning. I haven't ever used a slow cooker but all my friends have and they love it so I'm kinda excited to see how it'll turn out. From what I hear, the vegetables soak up every bit of flavor and are thoroughly delicious. I love fruits but I love my veggies more. I put broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, red/yellow/orange peppers, onions, garlic, and lots of herbs and spices. Yum!

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Sat, 26th Jan '08, 12:15 pm::

The next James Bond movie is titled "Quantum of Solace." The name is derived from a short story titled the same. This is the excerpt:

    The Governor paused and looked reflectively over at Bond. He said: "You're not married, but I think it's the same with all relationships between a man and a woman. They can survive anything so long as some kind of basic humanity exists between the two people. When all kindness has gone, when one person obviously and sincerely doesn't care if the other is alive or dead, then it's just no good. That particular insult to the ego - worse, to the instinct of self-preservation - can never be forgiven. I've noticed this in hundreds of marriages. I've seen flagrant infidelities patched up, I've seen crimes and even murder forgiven by the other party, let alone bankruptcy and every other form of social crime. Incurable disease, blindness, disaster - all these can be overcome. But never the death of common humanity in one of the partners. I've thought about this and I've invented a rather high-sounding title for this basic factor in human relations. I have called it the Law of the Quantum of Solace."

    Bond said: "That's a splendid name for it. It's certainly impressive enough. And of course I see what you mean. I should say you're absolutely right. Quantum of Solace - the amount of comfort. Yes, I suppose you could say that all love and friendship is based in the end on that. Human beings are very insecure. When the other person not only makes you feel insecure but actually seems to want to destroy you, it's obviously the end. The Quantum of Solace stands at zero. You've got to get away to save yourself.

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Mon, 21st Jan '08, 8:25 pm::

I often get emails from people from all over the world that go something like, "Hi Chirag! What do you eat that makes you look so hot and gorgeous? Can you please tell me how to be as awesome as you?" Ok, so I don't get emails like that often or rather ever. However, I did cook myself a nice dinner tonight. I steamed carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers. Meanwhile I sauteed onions to a crisp golden color with some spicy Tandoori Masala and a generous amount of garlic. Then added okra, tomatoes, and finally two whole cans of chickpeas. After a few minutes I added the steamed veggies to this mix and within five minutes, dinner was served.

I ate two-thirds and put the rest in the fridge for tomorrow. Oh yeah, it was yummy. No, you can't have it. Not yours!

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Tue, 15th Jan '08, 9:55 pm::

I just paid my $300 registration fees to University of Tampa for the Masters of Science in Innovation Management program - Fall 2008. Classes start in late August. I'm pretty certain I'll have at least two classes, Mondays/Tuesdays 6-9pm, and probably more. It will be a part-time graduate study lasting about two years and shouldn't interfere with my day job.

Before school starts I have two vacation plans. First one is coming up soon and I'm very excited. March 7-16 in Austin, TX at South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film, and interactive festival with Tay and other cool peeps. We already have a hotel and week long passes. I need to buy my plane tickets and hopefully a decent digital camera as my six year old relic is now broken beyond repair.

Sometime around late summer, a few weeks before school starts I want to resign from my carefree life with one final act of defiant recklessness. I want to go camping, kayaking, hiking, rock-climbing, back-packing, and what-not in the North-West for at least two weeks. My heart truly aches for unspoilt wilderness.

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Fri, 11th Jan '08, 8:05 am::

I have so many random little things I want to write about. I don't want to sit on my computer for hours editing and pontificating so here's a summary of what could have been a series of 'blog entries.

I don't multitask. I have a one-track mind and find it way more efficient and productive to do one thing at one time. Multitasking is important for people who manage schedules, projects, and other people. For people that create something new that wasn't before, multitasking hampers concentration.

I don't have writers' block. Even if nothing is happening in my life, I can always find something that interests me enough to write about. Often I organize the thoughts in my head and just as I'm about to start writing, I close the window and go do something else. I don't lack motivation to write but sometimes I can't justify my time being spent sitting on a computer instead of playing with my spiffy new mini toy-helicopter (thanks Tay).

My showers used to take about four minutes. Thanks to Sandra's wonderful Christmas gift pack, now instead of using Head & Shoulders as shampoo/conditioner/body wash, I have three separate bottles from American Crew that do the same independently. It takes about 14 minutes to shower now. Also news to me was the capacity of my hot water heater - 7 minutes when shower is turned on full.

The ERP system at work has been in operation for well over a week now and everything is moving along as smoothly as I could have imagined. I still have lots of work to do but hopefully no more crazy hours.

I'm eating much better lately now that I don't come home at 11pm. I've started cooking every night and hope to do so from now on. I don't eat any meals other than dinner and yes, while that is very unhealthy for most people, it has always worked for me (and my mom). I understand how eating a big meal before you go to sleep doesn't burn all the calories efficiently and blah blah, but I don't care. This whole eating-once-a-day thing works for me well. I feel lazy and tired if I eat 2-3 meals a day.

The way I see it, eating multiple meals a day is a relatively modern norm just like the myth about drinking 8 glasses of water a day. I drink water when I'm thirsty. I drink enough to quench my thirst. Don't make this process any more complex. Early humans ate once a day or at most twice a day. I eat just as many calories, vitamins, and different food groups as I'm supposed to eat - I just eat all of it in one meal. I guess I have my own diet style because I'm pretty sure I have an eating disorder. I know it seems hard to believe but I can almost never tell when I'm hungry or when I'm full. So if I eat 3 meals a day, I usually end up overeating at each meal. Then I'll get busy with something and forget to eat for two days straight. I have actually asked my friends when we went out for dinner because that was the last time I ate. Relying on my stomach to gurgle and burp is not healthy. Now I eat once a day. So far so good.

I'm going to Tay's for the weekend. It's been a while since I had some social time. I'm excited.

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Sat, 5th Jan '08, 4:00 pm::

I just saw a surprisingly wonderful movie "The Perfect You" a.k.a. Crazy Little Thing (2002). The storyline is a bit like When Harry Met Sally but without the stereotypical men-vs-women generalizations. I like watching movies without any sort of prior expectations or ideas on how the story is about to develop. That's also a reason I've nearly stopped watching movie trailers or discussing movies before I actually see them. I just want to know that a movie X is good and interesting. I don't want to know the storyline, the cast, the reviews, or that the cinematography is unique and refreshing. Just tell me it's good enough to watch and then I'll let the movie do the storytelling.

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Wed, 2nd Jan '08, 7:05 pm::

It's 2008. My big database system at work went live today and I have never been more overworked in my life - and yes this includes four years of honors college with three jobs , two majors and a Math minor. The fact that every single person was able to use the new system to do their jobs without any major problems is sign enough that my non-traditional, over-ambitious strategy of "doing-everything-myself-and-my-way" worked. As with any large system, there will be issues to deal with on a regular basis but from all I can see, the system works exactly as I had planned. There is a lot more to be done in the coming months.

My entire family (including uncle, aunt, and cousins from New Jersey) is in India right now, touring the temples and palaces in the state of Rajasthan. My dad asked me to explain what exactly I was accomplishing in life living 10,000 miles away from everyone who loves me, spending Christmas and New-Years alone at work. I tried to sound cheerful and optimistic but it wasn't easy. Launching this system successfully was a personal goal, not a mere to-do-list for work. Now that I've done it and moreover, now that I know I can do it, the challenge is gone. It's exciting to climb Everest but I wouldn't want to shovel it after every snow-storm.

With not much left to motivate me now, it was hard to argue with dad. I could be making the same amount of money doing much less work in India and with the dollar continuously declining, probably even more there comparatively. So what am I doing here? I don't know. But know I'm ready to get back on my kayak soon with 21 vacation days for 2008.

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