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“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”

Nuff said.

Olympic National Park–the ferry crossing

Dawn broke slowly. It started off as a wafer thin stripe of yellow sandwiched between the Cascades and the morning twilight sky. The wind battered their jackets in fury  asking them why they dared cross the narrow strait. His open overcoat offered scant protection, billowing furiously, wanting to take him away. He grabbed on in desperation, turning his back to the wind and away from the spectacle unfolding. Minutes passed. The yellow tinge spread further. A seagull, stationary atop the ferry took flight with a squawk. His friend turned the camera a moment too late; another missed opportunity; and cursed silently. The jacket was buttoned up now, under control. He turned to see sun peek out shyly over the horizon. The first morning rays left a golden hue as they reflected off the water. The wind paused for a moment.



Photo credits: Jay


rendering poems – II

Today’s poem has no title. It is rendered in the form of a rebus.

A brush, a shave

It’s time to be brave

I said to the gloom,

“Get Out! Leave the room”


Sweeny Todd


Sweeny Todd, a tale of madness, murder and meat-pies told is enacted with some aplomb by the Microsoft Theater Troupe. It is two hours of non-stop musical goodness that will help end your day on an enchanting high. You will walk out with a smile on your face, a spring in your stride and humming either, “Sweeeeeny, Sweeeeny” or

Attend the tale of Sweeny Todd,

He served a dark and vengeful God

The play opens with Stephen Fry walking on stage. Literally, the gentleman in the ensemble bears such a resemblance that for a moment I thought it was Stephen Fry. The make up is brilliant – especially Mrs. Lovetts hair and that of Sweeny Todd. His eyes sparkle with a kind of enthusiasm, the contrast of which is magnified by the paleness of his face.

Everyone’s performance is amazing. There are some pieces that are really well executed. Tobias Ragg in the scene where Sweeny is in the marketplace challenging Pirelli (infact Tobias was brilliant throughout). I shall also admit that for the whole scene I did think that Adolfo Pirelli was played by a guy – I was shocked to find out it wasn’t so – and this is going to be the cause of much pulling of my leg in the near future.

The scene where Anthony and Sweeny’s daughter (who looked stunningly stunningly magnificent btw – the kind of pretty that would serve as an excellent definition for the phrase “head-turner”) were planning to elope was also beautifully done. Anthony in that scene played the part of someone who wants something quite badly very well.

The piece that took the cake was the one where Mrs. Lovett and Sweeny finally decide to mass-produce pies of murdered men. The song (ballad?) is well written, full of delightful wordplay. There’s something about priests and Sunday and Sargent’s and their privates. (I do apologize for painfully ruining this but I don’t remember the lyrics – I wish I did).

The play picks up pace after that. It will have you on the edge of the seats even though you can guess what’s happening next. Infact, the quality of the execution can be measured by the number of ladies gasping at any point of time, and let me tell you there were quite a few of them all through the second Act.

The music is spectacular. It feels so right all of the time. It hits the right notes, the correct highs and lows. The set is very cool, especially for a Microsoft cafeteria – it is remarkable. The scene with the mental asylum was well (yes, I’m running out of adjectives) enacted and so was the whole of Mrs. Lovetts shop.

The list of what all I liked is really long. It will take a while if I sit down to finish it. Infact, it will take so long that I will probably miss a 11AM meeting tomorrow (it is 1AM as I write this).

So, dear readers, if you happen to be around Seattle, please go over and have a look. It runs on the 4th, 5th, 6th and then the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th though I believe the shows on the 11th and the 12th are sold out. Plus, all proceeds from ticket sales go to charity.

DISCLAIMER: The author of this has no experience what-so-ever in reviewing theatre. Infact, the number of theatrical productions (if you do not count tantrums thrown by certain people I know which also fall into the “theatrical productions” category) the author has seen are probably countable on the author’s fingers. Please do not let either that or my English distract you from going and watching this show.

PS: I lost my copy of the program so I do not have the real names of the players at hand.

PPS: Kudos folks, well done indeed. Take a bow!


DISCLAIMER: This post is poorly illustrated. The quality of the stick figures is abysmal enough that Randall Monroe (whose name I have just butchered – my apologies Mr. Munroe) would probably be coming over to shoot me sometime soon. 

Alternate titles for this post:

  • the geeks guide; to jiving in a nightclub
  • dancing like a pro when you don’t drink

The bouncer had a constipated look. The security guard was lonely. The line was small. Maurice stepped in. Scanning the crowd, he spotted Wilma, sitting at a barstool, one leg swinging idly, a turquoise drink with umbrella in her hand. She waved, he sauntered over.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s get this party started. This post talks about what to do if you are in a nightclub (or any social situation where you are asked to dance).

It is incredibly simple.

It is actually unbelievable, how incredibly simple this is.

It is one of those few conundrums in life which actually has a one step solution.


The dance will come to you.

That is all. The End.

Now, the problem comes when alcohol is not your thing.

  1. Step out onto the dance floor
  2. Find some open space
  3. If you cannot find open space then it just sucks for everyone else
  4. Close one eye
  5. Extend one leg at a 45 degree angle from the thigh
  6. Bend knee at 90 degree angle
  7. Stretch arms parallel to the ground
  8. Point hands upwards – bend elbow 90 degrees
  9. This is your original position
  10. Now, this is what happens next:
    1. your eyes – alternate closing one and then the other
    2. your legs – unbend the knee. bring leg down to a zero degree angle. extend other leg. bend other knee
    3. your hands – left hand points down. swap hand locations. make both hands parallel to the ground
  11. Go back to original position
  12. Repeat this in sync with the music

Voila! You will now be the center of attention. Everyone will be staring and pointing. There will be high-pitched cries of “OMG OMG OMG” from women who want to, in Quagmire speak, “do the gigggity gigggity” with you right there. People will be filming you on cell phone cameras. You’ll be the focus of many “Remember that night in that night club when that dude …” conversations.

Or, to avoid all this, just start drinking … if you do anything related to computer science, its probably a good idea anyway


how to jive – for those who do not drink and do not want to follow the 12 simple steps I’ve outlined above

which is worse for the liver – beer or vodka?

One fine Saturday night, a friend of mine and I, sitting at Zeeks pizza, having consumed a little quantity of alcohol wondered – “which is worse for the liver – beer or vodka”. The question arose thus:

me: why do you drink that shit?

friend: why do you drink THAT shit?

me: vodka does the job a lot better.

friend: dumbass. beer is better for the liver. 

It was about this time that a commercial with a rather attractive lady came on the television. Both of us were fully committed to continuing our discussion until the director of the commercial panned to a shot showing generous amounts of cleavage. The conversation segued into other topics.

Anyway, dear reader, I present to you, the most comprehensive attempt to answer this question based entirely on a selection of authoritative sources from the internet. I will highlight that the fact that this is the most comprehensive attempt to answer this question does not say anything about objectivity or scientificness or quality.

Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha when asked this question answers like a scientist. It provides information, no judgements or conclusion. I shall attempt to interpret that data for you:

  • Vodka is better for you if you are weight conscious – 65 calories instead 120
  • Beer is better for you if you are bulking up – it contains upto 1gram of protein – 150 glasses of beer is the amount you are looking for
  • Neither beer nor vodka contain any vitamins or minerals – so the argument “I’m using it as a substitute for my multi-vitamins” holds no water.


On yahoo answers, questioner YoYo asks “Are spirits worse for you unit for unit than beer or wine? The sane answer by “Mayor Adam West” highlights:

When used in moderation, alcohol is fine for your liver… Your liver is the most resilliant organ in your body. When abused, much like anything else in this world, it will cause damage.

The more zen answer by MasterPython (clearly written when he was enlightened):

Alcohol is alcohol.


Searching for this on Bing leads to several yahoo answer pages. The logical answer by halsca is:

The vodka will give you a worse hangover on account it’ll dehydrate you more than beer which is mostly water. In moderation there’s fewer calories and carbohydrates vodka won’t make you get fat like beer will.

He/she seems to be hedging his bets though.

However, it seems that the ladyfolk seem to prefer vodka. Commentator “Natalie C” answers:

I’m all about the shots baby!!!!
beer sucks!

Sienna O, a level 2, with a rather fetching picture

image shots of straigh vodka!!


A search amongst the blogosphere on this did not yield anything concrete. It did lead me to this – the key points of what alcohol does:

  • increases the risk of gouty arithritits
  • increases the risk of cancer in the liver, pancreas, rectum, breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus (pretty much everywhere)
  • causes behavioural and physical abnormalities in the fetus
  • raises blood pressure but lowers the risk of heart disease in light to moderate drinkers
  • enlarges kidneys (another case of bigger is not definitely better)
  • causes fatty liver
  • causes dementia
  • increases energy intake but not a primary cuase of obesity
  • causes depression, anxiety and insomnia

The post concludes with:

Moderate use of alcohol can be an enjoyable, safe experience if used with caution. If you do choose to drink, sip each drink slowly, and always consume alcohol with food. Spaces drinks out to no more than one drink per hour, and consume plenty of water in between drinks. Never drink while pregnant and never drive when intoxicated.

I felt that this was rather biased against alcohol in general. It did not address specifically the issue at hand – the goodness/badness of vodka for the liver vis-à-vis beer. One reason for this could be that the blog is titled “quitdrinkingsmoking”.


The best link came from Google. The website medkb has a thread on its forums started by Kannan Nair:

One beer bottle in india contains about 6% alcohol so drinking a full
bottle infuses about 60 ml of hard liquor to brain. If one person drinks
3 bottle of beer then gets 180 ml of alcohol. How it compares with a
person drinks directly 180 ml of alcohol diluted with water. Which will
cause more damage to liver? Is drinking beer better or worse?

While not exactly what I was researching it was pretty close. The answer by Robert E Lewis however was the most scientific I found. Excerpts below, the emphasis is all mine.

I’ve always heard this, and it makes sense; and it’s what I was taught in
drug/alcohol awareness class in school as a teen. But I long felt my
experience differed from this, and years ago when I found myself with a long string of Friday nights with nothing better to do, I conducted a little semi-scientific experiment:

On Friday evening at the same time each week I would have the same frozen dinner, so I had the same thing on my stomach. Then I would begin drinking one selected type of alcoholic drink each week – beer one Friday, wine the next, vodka the week after that, and so on.
I used a bartender’s guide for mixed drinks and measured carefully, sizing each drink so I got the same amount of alcohol per drink. I had a friend once who insisted he could safely drink one beer per half-hour without getting drunk, and my aim was to become intoxicated, so I timed myself to have one drink per twenty minutes, drinking it over the twenty minute period, and then starting the next.

After each drink, I sat down at my computer and played a couple of simple computer games. One was a ‘Concentration’ type game, to measure my ability to focus and remember things. The other measured my response time in thousandths of a second – it flashed a light and I hit a key, and it told me how long it took me to respond. I also wrote down generally how I was feeling.

The overall results were similar for most drinks – my scores on the games went up for about the first three drinks each evening, usually, I assume because the alcohol was relaxing me, but perhaps the alcohol wasn’t having much effect and I was just getting into the rhythm of the games. After six drinks, my scores plummeted (and six drinks, in my experience, is the point at which I begin to have a hangover the next morning, whatever I’m drinking).

But the ‘curve’ of my response to different types of alcohol was different. I’ve long since lost the actual data I recorded, but IIRC, with vodka (and tonic), and rum (with caffeine-free Coca-Cola), my ‘improvement’ in the reaction scores to the games increased the most, stayed steady through drink four and had a moderate drop for drinks five and six; I was also less aware of ‘feeling drunk’ even when I was, with vodka. Beer had less effect through the first three or four, but a more noticeable drop from five and six; beer also made me sleepy. Wine had a very gentle curve (as befits a genteel beverage, I suppose!) – not much change for the first few drinks and a more gradual decline after six glasses.

The last alcoholic beverage of my experiment was tequila. I followed the bartending guide for frozen margaritas, calculated a ‘one-dose of alcohol’ serving size, mixed them up and found them to strong for my liking, so I diluted them a bit and recalculated… than I had about a drink and a half and curled up on the sofa and slept it off.

I wasn’t up to drinking straight vodka, whiskey or rum, and I don’t know what effects other components of the drinks have – sugar in the vodka and rum drinks might effect the body along with the alcohol; caffeine (I avoided for the sake of my experiment in my Rum-&-Coke) might speed up metabolism of the alcohol; I’ve heard it’s the carbohydrates in beer that make one sleepy, but that doesn’t sound right to me. I seldom drink hard liquor anymore, and never more than one or two drinks in an evening, and wine I most often drink with meals, influencing its effects. But I still notice a different effects from different kinds of alcoholic beverages.

This is more balanced and scientific. It clearly suggests that drinking vodka or rum is better for you if you plan to play computer games after.

Thank you for reading so far. A further discussion is encouraged in the comments.


The mounted police ensured that the multitude dispersed orderly. The Irishman, two Indians and the Malay walked up a noisy street. A liquor store and the group heeded the Irishman’s wisdom. Andrew Jackson was traded for a bottle of Jack Daniels. The faster step silently acknowledged the urgency. “23rd floor”, came the indifferent announcement on a long journey up the hotel elevator. The television’s nonsense was muted while generous measures of whiskey were added to Coca-Cola. The group played along with the game show, unaware.

More drinks.

The television was tuned to cartoons.

A gunshot.


the 5000th mile

It was a gloomy Saturday afternoon. It had been raining on and off like it usually did. The motorway was crowded with people going from A to B and B to C and C to D. Traffic ameliorated the differences between the trucks, the minivans, the suvs and the sedans. An advertisement explaining why People’s Bank was the best bet for your new home loan came on. 4999. A minute passed. 5000 announced the tachometer with no ceremony. The world did not miss a heartbeat. No one held their collective breath.

I thought this’d go somewhere but …

tl;dr – hit 5000 miles between 4th street and 6th street on the Interstate 405.



the advantage of de-activating netflix is that you end up sleeping at 12AM instead of 2AM.

this enables you to not reach work at a most un-godly hour.

you can then get more work done in the morning.

hmm …

i need to reactivate netflix 😛

PS: Regular service resumes day-after … perhaps a post on driving in England is in order :P. Another titled “Conversations with Pink Floyd” …

drawing poems – I

There isn’t much to this post. There was a poem that needed rendering … Poem below. Rendered far below.

A nasty night
cold and clear
gloomy and raw
filled with fear

the sunflower ensconed
in its petals like a bun
it yearned and longed
for the morning sun

a whiff before dawn
the sparrow awoke
hungry hungry hungry
like a ravenous bloke

as the warmth spread
from shoot to root
a smile unfurled in yellow
dawn rendered dark moot

he flew in a baritone
that was a note too mellow
he flew far across the brown fields
till he saw a spot of yellow

he swooped down
and slowed to a glide
behind his weathered eyes
a happy smile did hide

the nectar he suckled
was warm indeed
to a feather did stick
a plucky seed

he flew again; glad
a gust of wind
the seed dislodged
and found itself on the nose of vlad

vlad walked home
in a gallop and a trot
stopping for a quick leak
next to the flower pot

weeks passed
and a stalk emerged bold
the non-being vanished
lo, behold!

somehow, unknown to us
some unchanging constant
always completes
that degenerate ellipse of life