Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Two cups of coffee

"If [each rich person] gave the equivalent of two cups of coffee, we would cover all the needs for these 31 million people in a desperate situation."

The bicycle diaries

No, not mine.

As for myself, finally I got a pair of "blinkies" for my bike. It gets dark a little too soon nowadays.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

freeganism etc.

I had made a posting on "vanity." Someone pointed out to me the dictionary meaning of the word:

1 : something that is vain, empty, or valueless
2 : the quality or fact of being vain
3 : inflated pride in oneself or one's appearance : CONCEIT
4 : a fashionable trifle or knicknack

So I must clarify. I was talking about vanity in the first/second sense: something valueless (in some sense) that one ends up going for. Something one could have easily done without: the car, the camera, the large apartment. So maybe I should have used the word luxury. Or consumerism, perhaps.

As I said, it's a slippery slope. Just watching myself. Blogging it helps :-)

Meanwhile happened to catch two reports on BBC Worldservice, one about freegans and one on "Buy Nothing Christmas." Not quite up to the mark for the former, but the latter is all right.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

office photos


still playing with my camera. took it to my office yesterday.

Monday, November 21, 2005

malayalam parallel cinema resources?

Of late I have been wondering, how does one get hold of Malayalam "parallel" movies in the US? Any pointers will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

(And for those wondering what Malayalam parallel cinema is, here you go.)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

hate call? :-)

I got back home today evening and found this amusing message (in Hindi) in my answering machine:

"Manoj Prabhakar aa gaya hai. Sale ko India ke team se nikaal diya, America jaa ke [couldn't catch the words]"

Meanwhile, got my PhD certificate from Princeton. Sariel made me pose with it.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

vanity, and a cold shower

i have been accused of vanity. and unfortunately it's quite true. well, first it was the big apartment, then the laptop and the display, and now this camera. all this is quite expensive. or they used to be. unfortunately now they look fairly priced, quite affordable. and what more, my new friends and colleagues -- who are paid not much more than i am -- consider even more expensive things very affordable. and then there are those things that come with your job -- a secretary, funds for travel and such, etc. etc. it's a slippery slope, this getting used to vanity... (of course, i have been a little too vain with my charity too. the last few months have seen me donate probably more than what i had donated all my life.)

now about the cold shower. i don't have a car. and i have no immediate plans to get one. now, if i get a car, that would be vanity! (somehow no one seems to believe so.) anyway. i don't have a car. but i have a bike, which despite being old, and despite its partly broken gear system which can get stuck if i try to change the front gears, has kept me good company. i have been regularly using it ever since i moved to champaign (and will be, until the snow forces me to use the public transportation system here, excellent as it is).

and today, i went to this party. (vanity vanity!) i went by my bike, and so it was only prudent to ride it back home instead of leaving it there and hitchhiking back. or so i thought. but hardly had i set off on my bike when the skies cracked open -- complete with thunder, lightning, whistling winds and what not -- and poured buckets of ice cold water on me...

i just got back, safe but drenched. just now as i warm myself over a cup of hot tea, it doesn't seem too bad -- the ride in the rain -- when you have a cosy room (with good heating) and dry clothes waiting back home. i guess i don't need a car yet...

more photos


it rained in the morning, and the winds brought all the fall colours out and down on the ground. it was not very sunny, but the pictures seem to have turned out ok.

Friday, November 04, 2005

and now it's a camera...

I just bought a camera, and now I have to share my photos. Photos, like any art, is depressing when unexposed (not sure if I intended the pun). Especially when your camera is expensive.

Well, I haven't really started taking photos with it. It has so far been confined to the many walls of my apartment. Nevertheless it did have a chance to train its lens on those walls. But before I lead you to those photos, or even to the prelude of apologies for the not so great photographic quality, just wanted to say that things at home are not as depressing as the photos might suggest. Yes, I stay alone in a large house, and cook and eat alone. But these photos -- the yellowish ones with the flash turned off -- seem to suggest an exaggerated tint of pathos. I like them for that, as they seem to give some artistic value to my mediocre attempts: especially this one with the empty chairs and a larger than life projection of the lamp-shade (or see the large sepia version).

Now the mandatory apologies: I'm a complete newbie. This is my first digital camera and first SLR (and my second camera, if you were wondering). I did little or no post-processing on these photos (except to shrink them to a web-like size, with the good side effect of making some of the chromatic noise less apparent (especially in those flash-free photos, taken at ISO-800). I got a tripod too, but often I was too lazy to tighten the screws and such, with the result that a good number of photos in low-light suffered from shakes as I pressed the button, and were discarded. There are a whole lot more confessions to make, but since I don't understand a lot of the stuff, I will hold off, and simply give you the link to the photos from my dinner yesterday.

And while at it, here is a photo of a screen-saver featuring a scanned photo from my old (film) camera.