Friday, June 10, 2016

Intermittant proof of existence

Despite the very best efforts of Elon Musk, humans(a group that includes me) are currently only earth-bound except for those living in the International Space Station (note how I did not use the short form of the same fearing the typo would lead to a mention that I would not want to associate myself or my pristine blog with).

So I have no earthly reason to not write for so long other than the fact that I forgot my own blog (or that I used to blog). For formality purposes, I would like to register that since my last post I have not travelled or got any promotion at office. I did however attend a couple of interviews for a job offer but neither side was very interested (so you can guess how that panned out!)

I've been quite active on my Facebook account than anywhere else (non-official spaces) so that shows the extent of my dip into the bourgeois lifestyle. So very common, mediocre!
But I write today because I want to register the following thoughts
1. There is now 50% chance that there could be a Female POTUS. Maybe we can look forward to a more stable land of milk and honey.
2. Apparently drinking is more of an issue than anything you do after drinking and you don't have to apologize /acknowledge /repent or get punished for it. [Note You have to be White Male in America for this to happen]. Despite this women will stay strong [Hells yeah!]
3. I do want to register with Space X to go to Mars but the only issue I have with the plan is the "One-Way" aspect. I never like to go anywhere unless there is a return ticket.

Oooh, before I forget...we had a flood and we survived.
Also I read a lot of Devdutt Patnaik and despite the many many (did I mention very many) repetitions and overlaps in his books...I do understand his view of what these stories are supposed to mean to a Hindu.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I am 32 going on 33. Married 3 yrs now.
Between today and my last blogpost, I have seen hundreds of movies, read thousands of books, visited several countries in the world (respectable 2 digit number), gotten promoted once...
Not one of these profound life changing experiences made me want to write a post than Saloni's FB update that she had and my hurt ego that her blogroll had Ramya Kannan [once my co-named blog sister] and not me.

So here I am.
What am I most excited about today? House of Cards. Union Budget. Approaching weekend.
Not in any order of course...

Kevin Spacey is a damn fine actor. Really. Its a pity he is not well known among the people I go to lunch with in the new office I am working out of which is situated at the end of the world [homage H2G2].
I tried to get this otherwise very arty lunch friend of mine (he worked for a local theatre group in marketing and stage production while still moonlighting as a software engineer) to recall kevin spacey in any of his seminal movies - American Beauty, Se7en...each of these elicited no response.
God I am so old.
Kevin Spacey wears his age well, like a monogrammed kercheif gracefully folded into the pocket of his dapper suit. His character is wholly evil, knows it and lives life to serve himself without even the slighted compunction to cover all the greed & selfishness up with guilt- its exhilarating.
Robin Wright, who I havent loved in anything else except Princess Bride (I loved everyone in that...even Humperdinck) just breathes life into her character Claire Underwood. She doesnt care about picket fences and children ...she is happy and proud even to be in marriage with Francis who shares with total candor his infidelity with the young journo, his schemes to take over the world, all of it as long as she is kept moneyed and powerful enough to do her NGO projects.
I remember looking at that scene of both sitting near a window sharing a cigarette going - They have a really great marriage.
Different strokes for Different Folks.

I dont know who died and made me Agony aunt but at Quora, where I joined to read intellectually stimulating thoughts, I am increasingly being sought to answer questions related to relationships, engagements being broken, couples coming to terms with incompatibility.
I have no life experience with relationships like dating, living in or being engaged.
Right, technically I was engaged 2+ months during which I could cajole my then fiance to meet up for lunch once at an eatery 5 mins from his not your prototypical enagement, one would say.
And having successfully made it to middle age without ever having been wooed once, I have become the curator in the museum of broken relationships at Quora. Yaay! I relish now the drama I never went through...all the thrill, none of the pain.
Still I hope the trend changes, I would like to get back to learning about science, space, mythology and popular culture again.

I have successfully filed my tax returns for a year that saw the record highest tax ever paid by moi.
Seems I have reached some hallowed slab meant for rich people by fluke and was punished severely for it.
With my dismal ratings this year at work, I am sure I can plan to claim the usual slab for next years tax - the one meant for the middle class. NaMo's govt has announced the Union Budget today which has been tagged #SuperBudget by some fawning news channels (and I use the term loosely)..they have given 1.5 Lakh limit for 80C. Since I actually know that will help with my taxation being a bit lower next year, I am happy.
Since this govt has no opposition, congress and left parties are doing the due diligence by calling the #SuperBudget as disasterous and not for the common man respectively.
I think the truth lies somewhere between Super and disaster.

This has been a long week owing to 3-4 days of sickness starting last weekend.
Hope to have a good relaxing time to recuperate in another day and some hours to go.

Weekend wont you come soon,
(older/more corpuscular/All the more combative)

Saturday, September 04, 2010


I recently overheard a girl saying something to the effect of the person on the other end (a girl I presume) is being too available and it would help if she wouldn't notice him for a while.
Then having been fed on many many stereotypical sitcoms and rom-coms, the following resulted:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wanna Voice?

"Hey, it's on that this is a pool of. So with you regarding the place cos so whenever you get a chance, please give me a call about all I would take a look at it next often, although maybe water, so give me a call back at 2(wrongly transcribed phonenumber with more than usual number of digits). Thank you"
This probably doesn't make sense to you. It doesn't make sense to me either and this was the output from my Google Voice account (by invite only, if you must know)- the transcribed voice mail. Oh where oh where do I begin to explain how very wrong this above message is in comparison to the actual voicemail? The transcription (though valiantly attempted) was less than 10% correct to the actual message. What is 'on that'? There is no 'pool of', no 'the place' regarding which I could expect a message, 'next often' is never seen together and what exactly is 'maybe water'?

Text-to-speech is a feature I have used in my eBook reader software for the purposes of laughing at toneless renderings of very high action or emotional passages in books, that provided me brief hours of merriment until my vacillating nature took over and I wanted other sources of irreverent humor for my personal amusement.
What passages, you ask? The proposal scene from Gone with the Wind was fun and the bombing chapters of Patriot Games (Jack Ryan rocks!). In fact I urge you to try anything at all as long as its in .lit eBook version. Oooh wait. Exception - the text to speech feature literally hara-kiried itself over The Fellowship of the Ring. That was not fun and in hind sight I should not have attempted to have elvish read out to me. L
Ah...Microsoft Sam, you are so cold and alien that you're forever associated in my nightmare visions of Skynet like rise of the machines...they could have just called you a 'Dalek' and not taken the pains to name you.
[irrelevant train of thought: Anyone else loved the Doctor Who scene where the Daleks face off with the Cybermen, shouting 'Exterminate' to their chants of 'Delete'? Common programming language syntaxes, get it? No? Never mind. A shout out to the TARDIS, the most funky looking space/time ship ever! Wooo hooo! J]
Anyone would prefer a homicidally logic driven yet human sounding HAL...or is it just me? Also...seems to me that ship's AIs that have female voices rarely try to kill of the human crew. If I am wrong, please feel free to quote the example. Say I am right (yaay me), then the philosophical question arises (ala sound made by a tree that falls with no witnesses in uninhabited forest) - Is it the gender of the voice of the hypothetical AI that determine its penchant for extermination of the humans?

Not only can’t systems speak like us, they don’t get our speech. Anyone who has struggled with a voice activated dialing in a supposedly hands free mobile or user of automated voice service in any customer service dept of telephone provider, bank etc (random institution/corporation) knows how frustrating and steadfastly unhelpful it is to deal with an entity that needs coding to 'listen & understand' your speech.
Familiar scenario - commands of 'Call Mom' [fervently repeated] results in 'Dialing Ron' (aka your boss who thinks you're hospitalized for the last week largely due to the email you had sent to him earlier) and ends in raged epithets that further urges the phone to Dial Tuck, Fitch and Lestrade. Or consider this - how very often do you come across people walking with their bluetooth headsets on screaming ' NO!' when a calm voice on the other side says 'You've selected to check-in 8 pieces of luggage. Please confirm by saying Yes or No' when all that the customer person wanted to do, was track schedule of the flight they were to take?

My current source of mirth is the speech to text or Automatic Transcribe feature and going by Voice, I would say it’s not very successful. Speech is very individual (like finger, toe and nose prints). That is why de-individualized people are often shown robot like in speech (not going to loop back to sci-fi references, I promise. Mainly because there are far too many for my exploding brain to rationally pick from). You can have a bunch of people that speak similarly but never exactly the same. Intonations, Accents and physical irregularities of the speaker can cause the same words to sound different. It would be very unsettling to have uniform speech because that would intend standardization of tone, verbiage and other parameters like speed, pitch and pauses which usually give us the depth/meaning to the actual content as harbingers of the non-verbal part of the communication. But I digress, the point central here is that current system cannot even correctly identify the verbiage of what is being said, let alone comprehend the meaning or information in the words.

This probably is why voice activated security systems are limited to very few words because any more and the speaker cannot render them the same way every time. Imagine being locked out of your own secure place by a system that doesn’t think your current repeat of Mark Anthony’s 'I've not come to praise Caesar' speech from Julius Caesar matches with the recording you made when you set up the security lock in the first place. Conversely, mimics can definitely say a few words to match a voice printed this means of security is not good enough (yet).

One could argue that writing is as individual as well but it adapts better to the world dominated by the internet because it doesn't involve translation by a soulless entity (not talking about non-english languages here because that warrants a entire post) and increasingly more so because written language is shrinking rapidly due to the unchallenged invasion of pre-pubescents/teens on the internet and in mobile communications. They hate long drawn out sentences, grammar and any semblance to actual spelling. After all they are so very busy that it’s not reasonable for them to not brutally mutate the English language. BTW (and not withstanding acronyms) the youth have yet to corrupt the spoken language nearly as much. A teenaged relative may have her fbk status as 'waz siked bffs cud cum 2 da party!' but on the phone she verbalizes the content with the same sounds associated with the words - 'was','psyched', 'the', 'could', 'to' and 'come' [soft sigh of relief].

Let’s switch back from teens to machines because I would rather deal with Cylons any day than the erratic, hormone powered roller coasters, spawned by humans, in their intermediate growth states. Associative memory helps to interpret speech correct when we are just talking about words here (thus taking away non content parameters from current scenario or simplifying the scenario) in humans, so the best way to build the system to work that way would be neural networks with artificial intelligence programming constructs that 'learns' each word from all possible variations of how that word can be spoken. This database will be nearly infinite and will add to its rosters on a daily basis but the system itself will have to 'grow' to be able to transcribe and will still be susceptible to breaks.

You cant make a machine version of the human ear+audio processing of brain+memories/learning...but you can strive to make something close and the current stages of this feature are below even the most basic, infantile standards that can be set by the world's kindest judge (which I am not even close to by a infinitely long shot).

Piece of gyan related to non-human systems & human voices - Don't argue with the GPS Lady when you are driving-1. she is programmed to always be right & 2. You look like (and probably are) a crazy person.

We speak therefore we exist,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Disconnecting starts now...

Things I'll miss about living away from America:
1. Smug Jewish Comedians giving me the daily/weekly dosage of irony, sarcasm and intentionaly poorly veiled double entendre. Or in 2 words - Jon Stewart.
2. Icecream and Chocolate cake for breakfast with a side of seasoned fries.
3. My dream library - whatever books and dvds I want that can be picked up at the place and time convenient to me. For free. [Long live NYPL]
4. Black Coffee. The more the merrier.
5. Seasons- Fall, Spring, Winter.
6. Having a night life without unintentionally screaming- "I am an unmarried adult woman out after sundown. I'm asking for it! Do your very worst."
7. I am a clothes size small petite here.
8. Living my life entirely online. Watching my TV there.
9. Maggi being the staple food of the NRI. Add the soy sauce.
10. No one accuses you of being a "Peter" or a "Mary" when you are most fluent in english.
11. Comic Book stores with washed Aquaman Tees.
Aquaman being the lamest super hero in the entire known set of multiple universes.
12. Washing literally dirty linen in a public laundromat in full view of all strangers who choose to look your way. Yes, that is my underwear.
13. Celebrities cycle into you randomly when you are just trying to cross the street on the way to office. Or sit in the table next to your when you are out having lunch. FYI. I always meet celebrities in the airports on my India trips. 100% successful track record.
14. Usage of double negetives -"You ain't got nothin' " and double positives - "Yeah right!" in everyday talk.
...more to come...

Want to help me by adding to this?

disengaging slowly,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Magical Realism

Dionysia Circle, 28, died in a freak accident while performing practicals of Apparation Course as she reappeared on to the path of a runaway thestral, 2 feet away from the emergence area.

Ms.Circle who moved to London to study magic after 6 years of IT service industry work was remembered as a enthusiastic student who was older than most teachers at Hogwarts Magical Education of the Elderly program.

She is known to have frequently remarked that learning to apparate would reduce the onsite-offshore resourcing charges not to mention any travel related per diems leading to competitive quotes that translate to more projects thus increasing profitability margins in the third quarter results of the IT company. "Classic Di", remarked one of her apparating class friends," so funny with her irreverent jokes that no body got except that they were absurd and made up words!".

Her apparation ed teacher Mr. Silverfield commented on the unfortunate circumstances of her death. "Quite senseless it was", he grumbled from disgust, "there it was galloping away, minding its own business when she apparated right in front of it, scaring the beejeezs out of the poor thing". He went on to mention that if she had reappeared within the marked circle, the exercise on completion of which she would've gotten her license, the needless Thestral Trauma could have been avoided. "All she needed to do was be less of a cretin but noooo". This is the first recorded case of magical death from being a cretin.

The statistics of trampling accidents involving invisible creatures is growing and so are drunk/underage/unskilled apparating related accidents. Since Ms.Circle's sad demise fits on the union of 2 such large sets, it stands to reason that it would be all the more likely.

The thestral involved, Inviorse, has been admitted for intensive therapy to examine why its feelings of unadequacy about its appearance (wanting to look more like a unicorn), a bane from the media images beamed into every home, lead to its running indiscriminately into a field marked for apparation practice. "Tell me about your mother", we overheard its therapist asking of Invi, as its known to friends. Dr.Fried was addressing the blank space on the opposite corner of the thestral and had to be physically turned around, by our news team, to face his invisible patient.

The IT service company has issued a statement saying "BCP will be implemented and We are happy to announce the Cathbert HR plan to reanimate Ms.Circle's corpse so that she may track to schedule on her allotted tasks after the short rejuvinating vacation provided by the Thestral incident".

Friday, March 12, 2010

My so called names

Having just read a fluff piece in Telegraph UK about having a drab forgettable name which people tend to substitute with another drab name when in conversation; I suddenly recalled a couple of times when I was named on the go.
These were two most worth remembering among the countless other times that I have been called other names (most often by my sister's name).

First incident was when I was talking to a friend who I was supposed to meet at church for the midnight mass (first time), that we were going to as a group, more than a year ago.
When I expressed concern at being the first to arrive, not knowing if I would be let in, being hindu and also not a parishioner of that church, he said "If someone asks, introduce yourself as Lilly"
I was transfixed by this and questioned, albeit inanely "Why Lilly?" to which he replied "Well, you seem like a Lilly."
A short time after that, while still basking in the glow of understanding that I had been compared to a serene flower, I found out that Lilly is usually the short form of Lilith who happens to be Adam's first wife who left him because she refused to let even God dictate that he was better than her in anyway and (or perhaps therefore called) a demoness to boot.
Additionally, she is known to be a succubus and a very prolific mother. Now I really liked that I seem like a Lilly. Pretty sure P (my feckless friend and Lilly Namer) had no inkling of all this but I like to think I naturally inspire people to acknowledge my independence and female power.

The second anecdote is from last fall when I was exploring the cramped, confusing stair cases in the USS Intrepid very close to lock up time when a guy from a separate group asked me to not go away alone to places that seem deserted.
In his defence it was days to Halloween and he seemed high as a kite - potent combination for paranoia.
"Because if we were the last to see you", he explained, "and they would say", then assuming what I think was his idea of a cop voice he continued with, " what did you see..."
He reverted abruptly to his normal voice with the inquiry of, "what is your name?".
Then just as suddenly, without a pause, he replied to his own question with an utterance"..Isabella ".
I had not said anything at all and to this day I wonder how and why he pulled 'Isabella' from what appeared to be thin air.
Going back the story, the guy proceeded unimpeded by anyone present,"So cops would ask -what did you last see Isabella do and we would say she was climbing down some creepy stairs to a dark room, all alone...we told her but noooo...Isabella just smiled".
That unceremonious end of the sentence was our clue that some slasher movie bimbo blonde's fate befalls this Isabella girl who dared to walk down to an exhibit of the first officers room on a New York landmark at 6 PM in the evening of a busy weekend.
I laughed merrily with all of them and the group moved away with their parting wishes of "Bye, Isabella!", "Isabella, Take Care now" and "don't go anywhere I wouldn't go, Iz" [which I guess means I can go anywhere else except where I was currently headed]

It is really interesting to me that an average melatonin challenged american group would find me to be a 'Isabella'. Surely that seems so very classic italian or spanish?
Very often people speak to me in spanish, mistaking me for a fellow Mexican, near the Mexican embassy, which is on my walking route to work. But that the extent of my international look.
Did those people think I was mexican, one called 'Isabella'? The likelihood they would've called me 'Maria' is more. Sad but true. All of us stereotype.
Where they so sloshed off their minds that I looked like a white Isabella to them? Possibly but only if they had spent quite a lot of time and effort getting to a physically ambulatory yet mentally LSD-ized state.
Did I remind that guy of someone he knew named Isabella? Far more likely. And it even seemed like the whole group knew this Isabella and were okay with her. even friendly.

I wonder what you (that is basically anyone) would call me if you didn't already know my name.
This would give a huge insight into what the namer thinks of the namee. If you thought someone was a Jane or Jim you probably think they are boring or conventional while someone you think is distinguished and interesting looking you would pick Portia or Adrian.
I should probably trademark this idea for a psychological profile or test. Anyway, I hereby state that I (not Lilly, not Isabella) came up with this idea right here and you read it in my blog first so if anyone uses this idea better find me and buy the idea from me or face my wrath.
A sample set of strangers are flashed on screen, the photo of the subject and asked to associate a name with that. they will additionally be asked on what factors did they think the subject qualified to that name like - cultural context, personal association, stereotype, stoned (therefore no f*king idea why)
As a control to those findings, a group of equal number of acquaintances (not too close) should be repeating the same activity with the subject's photo.
There should also be multiple subjects in each session so that any extreme variances in the findings can be compared to the readings of the non-main subjects.

The interpretation of the results will be a separate project in itself to ensure that each picked name is taken in consideration with all factors concerning the name picker and the country/ethnic background.
For example, I wouldn't pick Priya or Divya to be very exotic but everyone in this country (not of east asian descent) would look at a mysterious beauty (without any Anglo Saxon features) and associate her with that option.
Who knows? It may even have applications in understanding race relations in mixed demographics that our world is increasingly becoming.

inventor of WhatNameCanPeopleSpeculateYouHave(a mere placeholder for future cool name) psych profile,

Future Gen-e-us ?

Ever since I read about the life cycle of the stars I imagine this scenario in my mind a lot.
The idea of using genome to separate the grain from the chaff, which is the leading moral question about genetics lends itself to such a future situation...

if this is the present, I would like to return it please!

What the Frac (tal)

I have recently begun reading a column about maths in the NY Times.
Considering my love of physics and space and the contradictory dislike of maths...I realize I am softening my stand on the number side of things with this advancing in age!

Strange but true,