Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Please save the Chimpanzee

It is perhaps a defeatist cause to be writing something like this on a blog that is hardly read. But I have nothing to lose.
See this.
I'm not being all emotional here about the cuteness of the animal or something. We are wiping off several species everyday anyways, and I shut up and mind my business. But the chimpanzee is our closest relative, and a critical element in understanding our own evolution, and our nature. We just cannot afford to wipe off such a species! Too much information is lost in the process. Of course we can clone them or breed them like we do chickens and preserve them. But that alters behavioral patterns tremendously from when they are in the wild. So while it may help with structural and genetic studies, it destroys considerable behavioral information I think. So I mechanically signed here. I'm feeling kinda desperate right now, so I won't even urge you. Its just some rant.

I also sometimes imagine a world without animals. But I suppose I'll never live to see that day. So its all good.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Because I'm stranded

My advisor has left for home and is on a two week vacation starting yesterday. That kills all incentive to work because things were already pretty relaxed at work and I was under no deadline pressures. I am reading a book which I enthusiastically took to lab this morning thinking I'd read it there. But we made other plans, and the book is in lab, and I'm at home now. Its too late and too cold for me to go all the way to lab and get it. So I have nothing to do. Hence I'm going to try one of those ramble posts.

I had finished the work for some paper a little ahead of the thanksgiving deadline that my professor had assigned. So that tuesday I was totally idle, and my labmate and friend was bored. The advisor had left for some conference out of campus and would be heading home. He was in the thanksgiving mood already it seemed. So friend and I decided to catch a matinee by slipping out of lab. At the ticket counter, I flashed my asu id in the hope of getting the usual student discount. The issuer replied, "Sir, the matinee tickets are already at the discounted rates so we don't offer any further discount." Embarassed, I slipped my id back in and bought the tickets. As we stepped in, I realised why they were already discounted: There was not a single person in the entire multiplex which had almost 14 screens! That was a little eerie. My friend and I were laughing at ourselves and our vettiness for having come to a matinee movie on a tuesday! Anyhow, we had bought tickets for this movie called Madagascar, which turned out to be a movie which even Miss teen south carolina would find dumb. We were 15 minutes ahead of time and when we took a peak inside the theatre, there was no one! Naturally. So we idled away the time by looking at the various new movies to be released on all the 14 screens in the next month or so. About 5 minutes prior to the movie we entered the theatre again, and to our mortification saw three young blonde kids, and their parents staring at us two young men in disbelief! I literally ran out of the room at top speed because I had burst out laughing at our awkward situation! After uncontrolled riotous laughter for almost 10 minutes, my friend and I decided that it would be best if we kept our faces down and quickly moved to the last row of seats and slid down on our seats and stayed that way till the end of the movie. As we walked in, I burst out laughing again and walked in only after another 5 mintues, while my friend managed to make it successfully.

Today was another such day. No advisor, no work. Labmate/friend and I decided to go hiking on a mountain range in the phoenix area. We took friend's roommate along too. He's this stupid, impulsive and hence hilarious character. Friend and I were going to look for directions on google maps when be butts in declaring he's been to the starting point before and hence knows the directions! We ask him for reassurance at least 10 times and are still skeptical. He's one of those show off types. Anyways, we didn't want to offend him, because he's also one of those short-tempered types. So we decided to take him on faith and hit the streets. We decided to lunch before starting the trek as we were hungry. So I had taken a gallon of water from my home because I drink a lot of water in general and the last thing I want is to fall short of water on a trek. My friend knew about it but his roommate didn't. So we are sitting there and lunching and his roommate declares, "We forgot to get water for the trek." Before I could let him know that I'd brought a gallon he impulsively blurts: "But that's ok. We can asked for a sealed cup of water at the counter." Happily, I ROFLed inside my head at this precious gem! I was imagining us carrying sealed coffee cups filled with water in one hand and trying to do a trek which is rated as strenous! See:
Summit Trail. ( Echo Canyon)
Trail ascends through spectacular sandstone rock formations and unparalled views from the summit into Greater Phoenix.

Trail Length: 1.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,264 feet
Summit: 2,704 feet
Difficulty: Strenuous

It turned out we had to use both hands at several places as there were some really steep climbs. Let alone that we ended up needing a lot more than just one sealed coffee cup of water!
Anyways, so we finished lunch and headed of towards the mountains following this chap's directions. As we approached the mountains, he got confused. I said, we should call someone up and ask for directions to the parking. He said, "No dude. That's not necessary. We can see the mountains right. Let's just head towards it and we should be there." Ahem, a mountain range extends over several miles and all roads in phoenix probably lead to the mountain range ultimately. He then started pointing to random houses and saying they looked familiar and he had a strong gut feeling we were on the right track. So friend and I humoured him and we continued on. Eventually we realised we took a road that was actually climbing up the hill! Not exactly our idea of trekking. So after going about a quarter of the way to convince him that his familiar houses were perhaps deceiving him, we took a u-turn and headed back down. Eventually, I got off the car and trespassed into some private mansion, where a dog charged at me and was stopped only by the owner closing the gate just in time, and took directions on how to get there. It sucked that we couldn't all go up together. The friend's roommate gave up at 1/3rd of the way. Friend gave up at half way and asked me to go ahead. I was determined to finish for having taken all this trouble to get here. So I marched on and got to the top. It wasn't all that bad. Friend meanwhile managed to gather some determination and made it 3/4ths of the way. So I met him on the way down and at least down part we did together. It started raining on our way down and the rocks became a little slippery, so that made it somewhat tricky to climb down these steep rocks. Turns out even a monolayer of water is sufficient to make palpable difference to friction coefficient. Friend twisted ankle on one of those slippery rocks. That's not good.

I saw moonam pakkam over the weekend. Thilakan was brilliant as always. I realised that Jagathy can act as more than just a goofy idiot. He was impressive in the movie. I also realised what happens if one creates a movie/story where the main character is killed mid-way. It started off realistic and interesting. Everything upto the killing of the main character was nice. Tragedy in movies is rare, and hence appealing to me. But when the rest one hour was spent in different people taking turns crying it taxed me emotionally, and when they took turns staring at the sea in the hope of spotting a dead body, it taxed me intellectually. Its like having a one hour cookery show and completing the preparation of the dish in half an hour. The rest half hour being spent on showing different people chewing on the food.

Good, so I've killed time and can now go to sleep and pick up that book tomorrow. That reminds me, library has been giving me hell. About a month back I got a notice to return a book called 'Digest of catholic mission history'! I went to them and said, I'd never issued such a book. I also hinted that they could take a look at the other books I'd had issued to rest any doubts they might have on my claims. They agreed to do three searches in their library to see if they can spot it(don't ask me why three!). They've done that and not found the book. So now i've got a notice to pay up for a book I never took!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Evolution isn't evolved!

Stupid evolution! Why the hell did nature lose wings along the way?! Couldn't there have been some random mutations to permit growth of hands on top of the wings? And all creatures subsequent to birds retained those wings? You know where I'm headed? Yes, I could've been flying now, damn it!!

On second thoughts, if that did happen, would there have been too many flying creatures then making me feel so damn bored of flying about with all those other stupid creatures?

Who knows!

Monday, December 08, 2008

2 minute crash course in cooking

I'd bought a can of condensed mushroom soup this weekend. Having returned home late from lab I wasn't in the mood for a full fledged dinner. Thought I'd make the soup. Here's how I did it:

1) Place a large empty vessel on the stove and turn the flame to maximum so that the soup will be ready in 2 minutes to eat!

2)Then, get down to washing a ladle with which to stir the soup, and a spoon with which to empty the condensed can of soup into the vessel.

3) Read the instructions on the back of the can. All this while the pan is still on maximum with nothing in it.

4) Read the following instruction: Heat soup + 1 can of milk. Also read that it serves 4 people.

5) Wonder if I should really be emptying a one gallon can of milk into just 10 ounce of condensed soup.

6) Decide wisely against it but pour 5 cups anyways so that it can be had twice.

7) Dig around in the fridge for some veggies to make the soup tasty.

8) Find a huge bag of cole slaw veggies lying around and discover with considerable shock that it is one whole day past expiry.

9) Decide to get creative and quickly empty the whole bag into the soup only to realise there's so much cabbage it rises to twice the height of the soup which already has 5 cups of milk in it.

10) Decide there's just way too much milk already and wisely avoid adding any more water.

11) Go sit in front of TV while milk reaches a boil and ask roommate whether one should really be adding a one gallon can of milk to just 10 ounce of consensed soup??

13) Get the following response: One can milk implies fill the empty soup can with milk and pour once!

14) Lavish praise on roommate's intellgence.

15) Comment on the stench that always arises from cabbage.

16) Realise that its not the stench of cabbage but a strong burning smell.

17) Run hastily to switch off gas.

18) Empty half the unnameable unsightly uninhalable mess into a bowl and attempt to taste it.

19) Burn tongue.

20) Wait a minute and taste again.

21) Retch.

22) Make realisations:

Realise that it is the milk that burns if flame is on maximum. Cabbage doesn't.

Realise that cabbage too burns given enough time.

Realise that a pound of cabbage in half a gallon of burnt milk+condensed mushroom soup is not quite creativity.

23) Take consolation in the fact that it was all done in 2 minutes at any rate! :)