iPod Touch. tap…tap…tap

Alright, I caved. I bought a new iPod touch. Now I’m sitting next to my laptop (but I’m not on my laptop), tethered by a stylish white USB cable, and tapping away at a 2 inch keyboard with my right index figure and writing a post. I imagine I most look something like Sloth from the Goonies over here, straining over this tiny dainty device, trying with marginal sucess at limiting my large simian, awkward fingers, from not mashing more than one key at once. It may take me 8 minutes or so to tap-out a complete sentence, but I will have to admit, I feel rather suave and 2.0 doing it. I just need a pair of black frame glasses, a cup of starbucks nonfat soy milk latte, and a black ribbed crew shirt to make the transformation official.

More literally speaking, I actually did purchase the 2.0 software upgrade which enables the installing of little 3rd party apps. I got the WordPress one (which is one of the few free ones) and so far it’s working great!

Well, Sloth is starting to get a little ancy doing all this finger taping, so I’m just going to turn in, for now.

Je m’ennuie

I need a new hobby. I don’t think I’ve ever been so bored in my life.

In the last few months I’ve been trying to pinpoint the source sucking all my cheer. It’s not my job. I love my job (they pay me to say that). Class is okay; it keeps me somewhat busy and it’s nice to have around. And truly ‘class‘ is by far the best excuse to get out of anything. In fact when coupled with the right body-language, it’s almost effortless to use:

“What’s that? Elizabeth’s getting baptized next Friday? ow, um… ‘class’.” (feign regret)

“Stay late today? Sure! Oh wait, I can’t … ‘class’” (feign bad memory)

Potent little word—it’s like casting a spell.

Anyway, back to my topic, my nice, depressing topic.

I’ve tried exercise, particularly running. Which, I’ll have you know, I’m still doing. However, it’s now become something I do out of habit rather than something I actually want to do. Like today, it was unseasonably warm out, so when someone mentioned the weather, I involuntarily add, “this would be a great day to go jogging”.

I tried video games for a while, but that’s ultimately a lavish waste of time. Some role-playing games actually keep a running clock of your playing time. When I beat Paper Mario a few months ago, the game told me I’ve been playing for 40 hours. And I really have nothing to show for it—aside from some perfected finger movements. And when you beat a game, although you think you’ve accomplished something, you really haven’t—like it’s something you can brag to your friends about. But uh, yeah, no one cares.

Well, I’m going to keep thinking. I’ll come up with something. No need to plan the intervention just yet!

Ah, Breathe

Finnally things are settling down. Semester is at a close (or “closed” rather). Just finished my final exam–two essays in two days. What a relief. You know, it’s such a great feeling: completing something; whether it be a long novel, a long video game, a long semester, it always just feels really good.

Technology is Making Me Stupid

I went online the other day to read my blog (somebody has to) and began reading the posting below this one, “Muffled Chinese Blogs”. And while reading it, I replaced the word “disparaging” with “criticizing”–it just seemed to sound better. So I began typing the change directly into the edit form, a form without a spell checker mind you:

c-r-i-t-i-z-i-n-g …

c-r-i-t-z-i-e-i-n-g …

No.. that doesn’t look write either. Alrighty, let’s sound this out:

‘CRIT’ -er- SIZE


(Hmm, still looks wrong)

Eventually I ended up double clicking on the MS Word Icon on my desktop and had Clipy correctly spell it for me.

Then it hit me.

Ever since I started to use spell checking within word processors, my own spelling skills have turned into nothing short of a complete embarrassment. If, and god forbid, spell checking was completely taken away from me, URI would probably knock on my door and ask me for their degree back.

The same goes with math.

In college, I had to take Calculus I, II, III, worked with all that derivative nonsense, and integral that, the masocistic “let’s neatly align a dozen numbers into a square and try to do complicated meaningless things to it”. Yeah, I’ve done it all, and passed. Not because I know how to do any of it. Because I don’t! I passed because of a little invention called the TI-89, the graphing calculator to end all graphing calculators.

Because of the TI-89, I can’t do math by hand.

Oh, and lest I forget, “French”. I took 5 years of French in high School. Yes that’s correct, 5! However, I can barely compose a complete sentence. There was this one time, my friend Rai and I were given an assignment in French class. We had to write a story ( a short story) completely in French. Rai and I were on an equal footing with our French skills, and so for our French story we decided to split the work up. Rai was to write the story, and I was to translate it. This was right around the time I discovered babelfish, the handy little online translator.

So Rai wrote this elaborate story in english, with all types of strange and superfluous words. I remember quite specifically that he used the word “plumes” when describing snow. Plumes! And when I got the story, I read about a quarter of it, and then copied and pasted the entire thing into babelfish to make the automatic translation. Of course these online translators are never 100% in their translation, but I don’t think I cared at the time. Anyway, to make a long story short, Rai and I, two students who often evoke a chuckle or two in class by are “Frenglish” pronunciation (where we go out of our way to make French sound like English) and are obvious indifference with doing well in this class, the two of us got a bright and shiny ‘A’ on the project!

Later on the teacher discovered our chicanery after noticing that some of the tenses we used in our story weren’t taught yet in class, and she later gave us a little admonishment for our little prank, but let us keep the ‘A’ since she never explicitly said we couldn’t use a translation program. You’ve got to love technicalities!

I wonder how many people out there are like me. Who’d rather spend 3 hours finding a shortcut to something, than spending 3 hours actually doing it. On a seesaw, as one end goes up, the other comes crashing down. Maybe as computers get smarter and technology gets better, maybe we’re getting dumber?

Motel in Kissimmee Florida

My Uncle Tom is one of the few–if not the only–entrepreneur in our family. And, I guess it’s only fitting that this same uncle is not even “technically” related, but when it comes to Sri Lankans, it’s a blurred line that separates the friends from the family.

So, my Uncle Tom a year ago, packed his family (and his things) and headed over to Kissimmee Florida to run his own motel business, and from what I hear, it’s going well.

He came to visit the other weekend and asked me if I could give him a hand setting up a website for him to reel in more visitors. I was delighted.

--- Begin Shameless Plug ---

I’d like to introduce: http://www.sunrisemotelfl.com

Of course the links on the left don’t quite work yet ( it’s me doing it remember).

So for your next trip to Disney world (which is like 15 minutes from there) stay at my Uncle’s Motel. It’s in Kissimmee Florida, and the prices are really good and he runs a very nice facility. Mention his website and get a little discount.

Post-College Rut

Sustaining a blog can be so difficult sometimes, and even more so when your life is as dull as mine– even my meals haven’t differentiated much. Every morning (since I wake up with little to no time to spare) I toss some Raisin Bran in a bowl, splash a little 1% on top of it, and head out to my car. I’ve perfected cereal eating while driving, bowl, spoon, and everything, it’s really quite an art. By the time I reach work every morning, I’ve finished my serving of cereal, and then off to work I go. Oh, I forgot to mention, during my morning hustle I toss a few bags of tea in my pocket on the way out, Earl Grey, from Twinings.

After arriving into the office, I have a mug of tea, no sugar, with the tea bag steeped for 3 minutes exactly. Then the rest of my day is spent programming, and doing a load of work related minutia, which since I am a programmer, involves a lot of QT with my computer–we have quite a relationship. This computer I use is itself quite a mystery. It’s a 433 Mhz processor (archaic I know), with less that 400MB of ram and about 8GB of Harddrive space, yet however, It somehow performs better than any PC I have ever had, that includes my 2.5 Ghz laptop at home. I guess it’s one of those cases where it’s NOT what is inside that counts, but instead what kind of strange supernatural spiritual being has possessed your computer, because really, this is not natural.

Lunch time is Subways– always Subways. They know us there.

The afternoon commute from Warwick to Rumford is the only divergent item in my routine. Sometimes it will take an hour home, sometimes 15 minutes, it’s as unpredictable as the weather.

At home, I have a new treadmill, that my parent’s bought me for graduation. And now, I am an absolute fiend at running. My average distance now is 6 miles, which– mind you– is after an enormous sedentary, and inactive lifestyle prior. I absolutely love that feeling after a long run. It’s quite a high. In fact I read somewhere that it technically is a “high”: your neurons release betaendorphins into the brain, which act as a natural pain suppressant, and creates a mild euphoric sensation in your brain. They say this can be addicting–and who said addiction was a vice?

So after the run, comes the reading. Right now I’m in the middle of Anna Karenina, which I thought at first was going to be another eponymous “chick-book” like Jane Eyre, but I have been surprisingly wrong. It’s not what I expected, and really quite engaging. Tolstoy is the man.

And then the cycle repeats.

The post-college-quarter-life crisis. The time when school is over, as well as those clearly defined goals, and you carry on a routine until you find a real full time job. Then it all changes, but only for a little while.

Graduated Finally

I can’t believe I’ve finally graduated. In fact, the thought never really hits me until someone else mentions it, and that is usually followed by a lifted glass towards my direction–and plenty of smiles.

The last five years have been quite an experience, to say the least. But I suppose five years of anything can be considered “quite an experience.”

There was my brief episode of being an English major, fomented mostly by the physics and math classes that I was never too good at. It’s a fact; I can’t do simple math; I can’t do complicated math either. It’s really quite embarrassing.

But I ended up switching my major again, back to computers. And then some how or another I muscled through it. So here I am. Another green computer scientist, fatted up with 5 years of schooling like a prized hog, and now ready for the workforce.

Tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d !

A Sparkling New Hoop

God I love spring.

I finally replaced the old rusty basketball hoop in my yard with a new one. The old one served me well for over 10 years and I have so many fond memories of that hoop. I remember the whole process of putting it together. My cousin was living at our house at the time, and as just a callow little boy, I didn’t play a huge part in the assembly process. The breaking of the existing blacktop, the 2 feet deep hole we dug up to bury a portion of the pole , the 2 days-which felt like weeks- of waiting for the cement to harden, I was just an impatient observer of its construction. But when it was finally put together, I spent so much time in my yard shooting hoops, meeting new friends in my neighborhood–who all seemed to gravitate to my new hoop; so many great memories.

But time doesn’t discriminate–even for basketball hoops. After a decade of attrition, piece-by-piece of my hoop started to come apart. First the mechanism that raised and lowered the hoop, started to malfunction, and then broke off. Then the rim started to bend so that it was no longer parallel to the ground. And then, the rim broke off completely :'(. Now it was just a backboard. A sad sight.

Then came the Winter of Despair. This last winter, during a night of a frightfully powerful storm, the wind came and tore down the backboard of my hoop. Now it was just a pole–a rusty, despondent, semi-black pole.

But last weekend, I replaced the whole thing. This time I did most of the assembly, although my cousin (a different cousin) helped a bit.

The first shot I took on my new hoop: a brick! The ball bounced off the rim and landed back into my hands, as though the hoop completely rejected my attempt.

So although the new hoop is brand new and glossy black, I’m still a little rusty. And maybe I am getting a wee-bit maudlin about something as material as a basketball hoop. But it’s sure nice to look out through the window and see a brand new hoop again.