Thursday, March 30, 2006

18th April at 12:00 pm

One of the things you can not just evade in graduate school. The much dreaded "quals". And this little snippet from phdcomics says it all.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blogging is fun: No more!

After looking at them disdainfully initially - I now kind of like them. The little, occasionally interesting web clips appearing just above my google mailbox. And clicking on one of those, I came across this rather disturbing article - which basically says people in positions who can influence your career might be reading your blog and judging you by that.

This is not entirely surprising - only last week I was reading about how kids are being warned not too put anything non-conforming in their facebook profiles by schools. We all love to see abundance of information online. Sometime googling a persons name turns out more information (s)he can imagine or may even like to have available. However it definitely assumes another dimension when these information can be against them. It can be as simple as an online stalker finding your mail address or phone number or as they mention in that article - your current employer seeing you whining about your job. And this second aspect actually worries me. A while back one of my friends here wrote something in his blog about the unfair pay structure in our department and he was kind of reprimanded for doing that. Since he hosted his blog on departmental webspace - so that was kind of a grey area and can not really fault the department for being unhappy. But most of us use third party sites like blogspot or livejournal - and would love to believe we can get away with anything as long it "solely expresses the opinion of the author". Apparently not so and if the personal opinions end up messing up our personal life - that certainly does not sound like fun. Should that be happening? I would say no. But is there is not much we can do - I would want to express my politically incorrect opinions here - that's what a blog is for - and keep my fingers crossed!

P.S - Birthday wishes for Soumita (24th March), Rajarshi ( 25th March).

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Damn!

Its over just like that. This is the first time I did not travel anywhere in my spring break (impending qualifiers and all that) and thought I would have a full week of time to do the stuff I hate do normally. Like cleaning up my apartment or doing laundry. But with a hectic next month staring at my face after the break is all but over - I realised my house is as messy as before and I am barely left with any wear-able clothes for the week. *Sigh*

I have not really written this post to wash my dirty linen in public though. I am more worried about a lot of other things - one of them is the assembly elections in West Bengal. I am slightly more politically aware than a lot of other people would expect - and I am disappointed to see the two Congress factions bickering among themselves - which would result in left parties sweeping the elections once again. I did a bit of "research" after the last general elections and here are the results. They clearly show how the CPI(M) could have been given a run for their money even in the past scenario - when the opposition had insignificant presence in rural areas resulting in CPI(M) polling almost hundred percent ( or more!) votes. Now the voter lists apparently have been cleaned up a bit and the observation would be stricter. A fragmented opposition would lose their best chance in years to do any damage the ruling combine just by squabbling among themselves and not looking at the bigger picture.

P.S - If someone has the email address of Mamata Bannerjee - please forward her this post!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

"March"ing Ahead

For a change Florida won their second round game convincingly - that's the first time since the magical 2000 season we have survived the first weekend. Go Gators!

Attempting resurrection

Trust me folks - this was in my mind throughout - just that hundreds of other distractions kept me away from this wonderful blog world. And immediately I see its changed. Arnab has moved to his own site - and I find his layout kind of repulsive for no obvious reasons. Some of the people whose blogs I used to read has become somewhat erratic and I found myself reading some other "new" blogs ( not always for their writing though!) occasionally. And I am sure I have lost whatever invisible readership I had!

So looking back I found I wrote my last meaningful post a month or half back - which is not exactly an eternity. However its not that nothing of note has happened since.On the contray I could have written at least one post trashing Valentines day (and the associated hassles of "growing" up), may be one on our young basketball team coming within a jumpshot of being the number one in the country riding on an amazing undefeated run to open the season (but its all forgotten now - all comes down to tomorrow's game against Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the "March Madness") or even about how I am ( finally!) getting bogged down by work.

But let me rather talk about my first experience of driving in the snow. I have been driving around for a quite a while now and one of the advantages of driving in Florida is you get used to rain. But as I figured out almost in the hard way - snow is a different animal altogether. I was up there in Fermilab a couple of weeks back - and was spending the weekend in Chicago. I have been to that city so many times that we decided to try out something new - so we landed up in Chinatown. Which was pretty nice by the way - but as it started snowing kind of heavily (at least for me that is!) - we abandoned any plans of exploring the neighborhood - rather settled for a roasted duck and fried Pomfret inside one of the numerous restaurants dotting the area. The real fun began on our way back - not only it was snowing but also there was a thick layer of snow on the roads. First we got mildly bumped from behind while waiting at a light - with almost no damages to ourselves or the car. Even before the the "snow settled " on that - taking a sharp left turn - I skidded , completely lost control and came inches within ramming into a parked car. Somehow I managed not to panic and steer it to safety without braking. That was close! And that told me the vital difference between rain and snow. While driving in rain - you are aware that its raining - so in a sense you are alert. But even when the snowfall stops - there are those layers of ice on the road - which makes the roads dangerous - and me being a total stranger to those conditions - almost ended up with an out of control car.