September 4 2006, 10:39 am
Well, not really it wasn't that bad, but it makes for a great title
After almost 1 year of blogging silence i finally have time to report some stuff.
Ok onto the good stuff; I went whitewater rafting yesterday in West Virginia. But before i start my obviously exaggerated near death experience, i must tell you that there was a storm (named Ernesto) over the weekend around the east coast of US (namely Virginia/DC). Now, how does that make a difference? Well it converted the easy 2.5 rapid to approx. level 4.
So i was there with my friend and his wife; btw, these guys were more experienced than i was but i rated myself the best as i believed myself to be a pretty good swimmer and given a situation this skill would help me or so i thought! Now before we started, the rafting guys teamed up people into groups with a guide assigned to them. This guide would be the one to command everyone on what they need to do, e.g. paddle forward, backward or shift one side, etc. They put 7 of us on one raft with this "guide" who probably wasn't older than 21.
Now, I really don't care who was on the raft but these 4 guys who joined us were just there for the ride. None of them knew how to swim, and just refused to do anything the guide told them to. Onto the guide, the guy was pretty chill, and probably more than he should have been. I mean he as a guide needs to tell people what exactly needs to be done, but instead he probably felt he could handle the raft by himself.
Yea that didn't happen!
Now i am not saying that the guy didn't know what he was doing, i am sure he grew up around the area and probably is pretty darn good himself but he sure wasn't a great Guide
. But to his credit this stuff happens so i got no problems.
Alright continuing the story; i have been told (and I can be completely wrong here) that when you hit a high rise rapid you should always go in with the boat's front end towards it (oh btw, me and my friend volunteered to sit right in the front
) Anyways, we went through couple of easy rapids having fun (although a fat guy kept falling on my friend's wife). But even during all this easy stuff, i wasn't too sure that we were being steered properly, because we were constantly hitting tree branches, dead roots and big rocks, while the other rafts were doing just fine.
A little while later, our guide told us that we were progressing towards this big surge of water which lead into the "rocky steps" as they call it in WA, and asked us to paddle forward hard. Now let me tell you something about myself, when i am in these adventure sport type "things", i give my best to it, i mean i was paddling like there was no tomorrow. But ofcourse the 4 mama's boys were busy splashing the water rather than putting some muscle in. And guess what because of that the week paddle power Vs the boat weight, we weren't balanced on both sides and our raft turned sideways right before the surge and in a microsecond we were all lifted off the raft and thrown in the middle of the rocky area. While in mid air my biggest fear was that i might get stuck beneath the raft, but fortunately i was thrown pretty far from it.
I suddenly remembered my awesome swimming skills and tried to swim upstream (yea thought i could), but soon realized i was going no where and wouldn't be able to reach the raft. Meanwhile my friend held onto the flipped raft by the side rope trying to stay afloat. A few moments later when i looked up i saw another guide trying to flip the raft over. My friend was on the other side of the raft so he didn't see him, and let me tell you if it wasn't for me screaming at him like I ever have, the guide would have flipped the raft onto a already badly injured person, pushing him onto the rocks underwater. His wife though was smart and just let go of everything and started floating on her life jacket (or she was pure lazy
). So after saving one life and accounting for another, i thought i should save my own, so i started trying to swim towards the other rafts and duckies (one man kayak sort of tube boat).
One of the guides threw a rope towards my friend, who missed it so i thought i should try and catch it. But instead the guide felt like i could save myself (which i did) and pulled the rope back for another try at my friend. Anyways after almost 15-20 minutes in there, I had taken in a lot of water and had failed to reach any of the rafts (primarily because with the life vest on you can't really swim). So i decided that i needed a plan B.
Right up front I saw a dead root approaching pretty fast and decided to go for it. But i almost missed it while trying to avoid a head on collision with it. Luckily though i grabbed onto one of the extended branches and tried to pull myself up. Now it can't be that easy, so while i was trying to pull myself up, there was this huge tarantula sitting next on the same branch I was holding onto. But I wasn't gonna let go!, but i didn't wanna die to spider sting either.
So ... ? Well nothing i just pulled myself up onto the other side of the root, at the same time trying really hard not to agitate the multi-legged creature. Man, let me tell you that feeling to be able to sit and breathe, priceless
From there on i jumped onto another raft that was passing by and started rowing upstream towards my friend who was stuck on one of the rocks and was pretty banged up. That rowing effort was pretty tough but all the guys in this raft were just amazing. Even after we managed to get right next to him, he refused to move as his leg was hurting real bad. Eventually one of the guides jumped in the water and pulled him along and then onto my newly found raft.
Now for those who think this ain't a big deal and it happens while rafting, i must tell you it was a really high surge and we all fell on the rocks directly, any wrong landing could have had disastrous results (yea, i am exaggerating a bit but it could have happened
We all pulled over to the side, took a breather in and then went back to our raft to complete the ride. Now i was hurt badly around both my knees and i knew it was gonna be even worse the next morning (it is right now) but i wasn't gonna stop, because frankly it was fun and a cool experience.
The mama's boys, were petrified to death, and couldn't understand what had happened to them. Btw, they were screaming at top of their lungs while in water. Now you would think going through all this, these guys would want this not to happen again, atleast for the rest of the day. But instead trying to put some effort, this time they stopped doing anything at all. Well, I just dove off because I was tired after the swimming (well the trying to swim) for a long time and the upstream rowing effort, hence i wanted these guys to pull their weight. But sadly even after telling them aggressively to put a muscle in, they just didn't do anything more than the usual splashing. We almost fell again, twice! Either way the guide, me and my friend pulled hard to get us through and without any more adventures.
As soon as we touched the shore all four of these guys just started jumping off, my friend had to ask them to chill and get off one by one else they would topple us over again. Man they were some really big *#$#@#&.
Anyways, all in all it was fun. I enjoyed it.
I got my money worth, and tomorrow at work this will make a great topic for discussion
September 3 2006, 7:59 pm
For past 4-5 months this blog and my contact form has been a target for spammers. From sites selling cheap Viagra to finding adult partners, i have been hit by all. Well, I was being lazy and didn't really fix problem but instead added these "keywords" to the banned list, but that didn't stop these guys! They just added a whitespace or misspelled the word, and were still able to spam there way through. Eventually today i went in added the ever famous image verification to the forms.
Now I know this isn't a silver bullet and it is possible to write a small image recognition program that can read these values and today's spammers getting pretty smart coz there is a lot of money in question. But i think to get this done it involves some cost (time and effort wise) and i believe that may not be woth it.
So on that note, Fingers crossed!!!
June 23 2005, 11:05 pm
US Grand Prix 2005, not the best of the races but then again I have never been to any of the previous ones so whatever ... I enjoyed the experience
I along with a friend drove down from Chicago to Indianapolis, a 200 mile stretch. Near the race track every house had turned their yard into instant profit making parking-lots where prices ranged from $10 to $30 depending on the distance to the track. Next on profit-making genre were the mobile merchandise shops, which had plain black polo shirts for $60 (and people were buying them), Ferrari logo hats for 40 bucks, kids Ferrari jacket for 100 bucks; it was just a big money making show. Ah well, i also bought one hat so whatever
Once we were inside the stadium, two things were obvious, 90% of the people seemed to be Ferrari fans; I used "seemed" because they were holding flags, to hats, to Schumi's dolls, more or less i felt people hardly knew much about the teams and they were just following who so ever was on top (atleast earlier seasons), either way the fans were just all out for them. The other were the Indian fans, supporting the first ever F1 Driver from India driving the Jordan-Toyota, Narain Karthikeyan, who came in fourth and took his first points of the season and most likely the last. How did that happen? Well just read any news site about this years US Grand Prix.
The funniest part was when all 20 cars came out and went for a practice lap, everyone cheered as all the cars blasted off together creating tremendous roar, and then simply one by one 14 cars pulled in the Pit lane, leaving the Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi to race. The conclusion of the race was obvious right then and there. Jordan and Minardi's were no match for Ferrari.
But I have to say Schumacher and Barrichello didn't take it easy and raced hard, even at one point Barrichello was forced out of the track by Schumacher when they mis-coordinated the Pit lane exit.
Ofcourse no one was pleased and major booing and cursing was on, the whole time even during the customary podium awarding. There was so much happening outside the track, people writing nasty things on posters and posing for cameramen, booing, cursing, it was much more interesting than the race. I took some great shots including the Pit girls and the crowd, which i complied into a Video Collage
It was nice experience, even though including me everyone there felt cheated, but I think I still might go back next year because if it was fun when only 6 cars raced, I wonder how would it be with 20 of them blasting together ...
May 27 2005, 1:09 pm
That's right I am learning the moves to Salsa.
Currently I am doing the Advanced Salsa course, which includes 5 classes for people who know the basic moves. Once done I will be trying out my skills at the Common Grounds (an open dancing floor in Ithaca, with Salsa night every Tuesday) and at the famous Olivias Latin Dance night.
wish me luck!
May 24 2005, 11:22 am
I thought I should post about this cool song that I heard during a live concert last fall, its from an Acappella group named Cayuga's Waiters
and the name of the song is We didn't goto Harvard
. The song details the Ivy league battle between Harvard and Cornell and is a complete description of what goes into the lives of most Cornellians, its just too good. A must download!
May 24 2005, 4:33 am
After a loooong time I finally have some time to blog! That's because I will be graduating (hopefully) this semester from Cornell University
with my Masters in Computer Science.
As I look back, I would say I made some real good friends and had a blast of a time (though the endless all-nighters didn't help
). It was a mixed experience, initially I took some time to settle down to the new education system the GPA format, but once I was all in, it was a great experience (not grades wise
). I would never forget the all-nighters with some great CS people in the group, putting together some weird system for straight 48 - 72 hours before taking any break. I feel mostly I landed in some of best of the group's..., people wise, otherwise completing work during the usual horrid times would have been a pain.
I can never forget the Meng and 5150 Lab's
... I don't know how many days and nights I have spent there. There were times when I went inside, the weather outside was Sunny and but when came out (God knows after how many hours) it was all blizzardy in the air. I am sure none of my batchmates can ever forget the dear old Upson Hall Basement (I hope they change its wall color) and its super geeky inhabitants, who to my estimation do not take a bath more than once a week
The adjoining, shining new Duffield Hall, where all our group design plans were meticulously made (later to be completely changed), the good old Rhodes Hall where I never saw more than 10 people per floor
. The closeby Collegetown, with College Town Bagels, Peace, Pizzera, Pita Pit, Subway (our mid night munching spots), Ruloffs, Stellas (getting drunk spots), Bear Necessities (gift stop for all cheap Cornell merchandise) and well TOPS the grocery Store, a real life saver. How can I forget the cool looking Statler Hall (la chicas are hot there) where I took the Wine Tasting course (it was some course), Maplewood community center where I have played endless hours of Pool and Ping Pong (Benni, Biz, Chandra, Venkat, Amer, guyz it was just too much fun), the highland apartment D something (where I always found some great free Indian food by master chef Mr. Chandra, assisted by mundu Shaan
), Pyramid and P&C Mall's (well basically for every need), all night open State Dinner, etc, etc ... Ah, well it was all just too cool.
Also, along the way, I met some great people from different parts of the world and made some really great friends and some not so great. I can't imagine having gone through Cornell without these people, they were just awesome. Thanks you guyz!
Well all great things must come to an end, so will my experience at Cornell on the 29th of May, the commencement day. As I have basically nothing to do this summer, I will blog more about Cornell and about all great things I found and did.
July 17 2004, 10:17 pm
Well, its been a long week, I was busy handing over the lead developer post and the copyright's to Albinator Group (the new development team). Manny (Manmeet Arora) will be taking over as the new the Lead Developer of Albinator
. Albinator came into existence in 2001 when my elder sister asked me to build something for her to manage her travel photos via an Album based system. Since then it has grown to be one of the most known scripts in its category.
So does it mean I won't be working on Albinator anymore? Well yes, programming or profit-wise, in any way I won't be able to take part anymore. It's been hard time to let go but I simply wouldn't have time for development in the coming months. Though I will try and keep in touch via the support forums and would try and reply few queries, if and when i get some time. I have had some great moments working on the script but i guess its time to say goodbye, all good things come to an end, well my role has reached its terminal. I will surely miss Albinator but i am sure Manny will prove to be a great leader. Best of luck to team.
June 2 2004, 3:54 am
The Big Red, Cornell, an Ivy League school founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell, and Andrew Dickson White, has always been ranked among the Top 5 schools for Computer Science and Engineering programs; I am very excited to have the opportunity to graduate and earn my Masters from one of the top institutions in the world. I will be attending Cornell starting in Fall 2004 for my Masters in Engineering of Computer Science
Cornell needs no introduction but to name a few amazing facts; Faculty at Cornell are surely in a league of their own, Ivy! 27 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Cornell as faculty members or students. Also, the current Faculty members includes several Nobel, Pulitzer, Presidential, MacArthur, NSF, Wolf, Crawford, Legion of Honor, etc Award winners.
The Alumni includes, Pearl S. Buck (novelist and winner Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize for literature), Jeff Hawkins (inventor of the Palm Pilot and founder of Palm Inc), Lee Teng-hui (President of the Republic of China, on Taiwan), Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush), Bill Nye (the Science Guy), Jim McLamore (co-founder of the famous Burger King restaurant chain), David Duffield (founder of PeopleSoft Inc.), Thomas Midgley (inventor of Freon and tetra-ethyl lead), Wilson Greatbatch (inventor of the cardiac pacemaker), Allen Funt (created of the first reality tv show, Candid Camera), Chirstopher Reeve (the famous actor from Superman) are some among the many famous graduates from Cornell.
Cornell University Library is one of the twelve largest academic research libraries in the United States, and a national leader in the use of digital technologies and electronic resources.
I hope i can be a proud Cornellian Graduate soon ...
May 29 2004, 3:54 am
I had the privilege of being the Coach of the winning entry Team of Sars, an open scar
. The entry won the Best of the Medicine and of Best of Under 19 Category. The team consists of members from 4 different continents (North America, Africa, Europe and Asia). The team has been invited by Oracle to San Francisco for an all-expense paid trip to Oracle ThinkQuest Live 2004 event at Oracle World. The team also won the top honors at the Cable & Wireless Childnet Awards
held earlier this year in London. The website focuses on the recent global epidemic of Sars, and serves as a vast knowledge base on the topic.
The complete list of winners is available on the Oracle ThinkQuest