• Eyes on Fire - Blue Foundation
  • Rooster - Alice in Chains
  • Jigsaw Falling into Place - Radiohead
  • Quien Fuera - Silvio Rodriguez
  • La Tortura - Shakira

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Seetaphal in Bogota?

I had been pressuring my Colombian coworkers to make sure they arranged for my favorite fruit - Sapota or Chikkoo in India also known as Zapote in Colombia - by the time I got here. Unfortunately, Bogota doesn't quite have the tropical heat required for the fruit so it wasn't available when I did get here.

However, Bogota has MORE than it's share of amazing fruits that I've been devouring in the form of milk shakes. Of particular note is the Guanabana - the local name for Seetaphal. The creamy texture of this fruit lends itself to a milk shake. Another new fruit I encountered is called Copo Azul - an amazonian fruit that has a similarly creamy white pulp.

Without exceptions, EVERY meal I've had at Bogota has been a revelation. You won't believe the variety of vegetarian options you get in most restaurants here. They range from delicately spiced lentil soups to delicious crepes (Crepes and Waffles), pastas (Di Lucca) and get this - Sushi rolls. 'The Wok' had 6 vegetarian rolls that were absolutely mind-blowing. It says something when I haven't had to order a salad here so far.

Even well known fast food chains like 'Crepes and Waffles' have a great variety of cheap but unbelievably tasty vegetarian options. They had one crepe called the "The Gandhi" .. with curried tofu. I resisted my patriotic impulses and instead got the portobello/goat cheese/arugula crepe - I was blown away.

If you ever get to go down to Bogota - check out these restaurants. You won't be disappointed.

Colombian Coffee ..

.. takes on a whole new meaning when you are IN Colombia. I'm by no means an ardent coffee lover - that would be someone like Manju. However, I do possess taste buds that are qualified enough to identify that the coffee at work really sucks and coffee that's not free is only marginally better. In 8 years in the US, I've barely spent $10 on caffeinated beverages.

So, when I was headed down to Colombia for a business trip, I was curious to test my Colombian co-workers assertions about the quality of Colombian coffee. After four days, I can honestly say that even the worst coffee I had here tastes better than the best coffee I had in the states. More often than not, I'm surprised by the flavor of the coffee - I always have it with milk.

Over the last few days I tasted gourmet coffee in restaurants with a reputation, from coffee machines at work and even the free breakfast lounge in the hotel I stay at. They have all been great. I'll be taking back some coffee. Not sure if I can replicate the magic back home.

Let's see ..

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mouthwatering Pictures

I was scouring the web for some decent pictures of Andhra food (don't ask me why .. that's another story I hope to tell soon) and I finally stumbled across this one here. This (presumably a) lady seems to have an eye to match the amazing dishes she's making. Yumm!!!! I'm a fan.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


God, am I in love with my iphone or what?

So, here is the story. We (Aparna and I) own ONE laptop - a macbook which I bought her for business school. I use my office laptop (dell) for pretty much everything else. I was a big fan of Skype - my mom uses it to call me from India (still does) and I used it often to call Aparna from Chile while I was traveling. I also used it for work related calls in the US to save on my cell phone plan minutes. It kept costs down and was convenient.

Recently, the nut-jobs in the IT department at work forced me to uninstall Skype as it is a known security risk. A week after I did that, I realized today that I went 600 minutes over my regular plan minutes and was basically living off my rollover minutes - and I had VERY few left.

Then I start to dig on the web to see if there is any software that will let me make VoIP calls from my only other computing device - the iphone. I found just the right application - truphone. This brilliant piece of software allows me to make VoIP calls over the internet thus saving my minutes. I also realized that it will be even more useful when I travel abroad. I can make VoIP calls from my cell phone to america without paying those ridiculous overseas call tariffs.

The truphone app itself is *pretty* cool right from installation, activation to the actual usage. It ties in with the iphone contact info and lets you call from your regular contacts. The call clarity was great.

Now, if I had an iPhone 3G and AT&T 3G network *actually* worked, you needn't even be connected to a wi-fi hub. Make VoIP calls at truphone rates wherever you are - assuming you have good 3G coverage. For now, I'm pretty happy with what I can do with this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thank God I'm a tightwad

A few weeks back, I was pretty close to upgrading my old 1st generation iPhone when I found out that one could make close to $300 bucks. Call it laziness and I somehow didn't act on it. I couldn't have been happier. Now, with the 2.0 software upgrade I'm able to get office email on my phone - which is great. In any case, I had always been pretty happy with the earthly speeds offered by the EDGE network.

Of late, I've been witness to a flurry of complaints with the 3G from friends who were among the very early adopters - from reception to performance and other bugs. I think it pays to NOT be a beta tester for anything - even if it is made by Apple. I bought the iPhone (or rather Aparna bought it for me) a good 3-4 months after it was released. I got it for $200 less than what it cost initially. I hardly ever had any issues.

I loved the iphone so much, I bought the macbook for Aparna now that she's back to school. It runs vista on bootcamp - vista actually runs pretty well on it.

So, in summary - the stingy gene in me does do me favors every now and then :-).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

RAW and DxO - Before/After

I'm not sure if I did a lot better with DxO as compared to picasa for the edits below. At this point, I don't understand enough technically about RAW processors like DxO to foresee the changes to the original. Still, I think I wouldn't have been able to recover these images if I shot in jpeg mode. As Ken Rockwell pointed out, the downside to working on RAW images is you end up working on each photo for a while - you have to pore over each photo. On the other hand, you have more control on the final look.

Update: I think I'm starting to really like DxO. Hopefully, I won't shell out money to buy it - but boy I'm thrilled with this. I was able to lower the exposure on a specific PART of the image - as opposed to a global change. As you can see, I wanted to lower the high values on the boy's face but not affect the values on the girl's face. I also added some lens based sharpening to really crank up the highlights in the boys eyes.



Thursday, July 17, 2008


It had been a week since our move to Durham, NC. Aparna is starting her MBA at Duke this fall. I finally made good on my promise to take her on a beach vacation. The water was a little colder than I thought .. but boy did I have fun.

India Trip

Need I say more? My motto was 'exercise to eat!'.

This was a typical after meal routine. I was hoping I would tire of it - but I couldn't get enough of tropical fruits.

That's aparna eying a juicy rosogolla from Kolkota.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

blame it on sydney

Sydney is to blame for Sydney - so says JRod.

"The test series was fine, then Sydney came along, Australia started claiming one hand one bouncers, Bucknor found out Roy was his long lost son, Anil Kumble lost his frame of reference, Bhaji and Roy danced orally and Ishant Sharma “accidentally” got his gloves confused."

The funniest cricket blog ever!!!

Over the past few days, I've gotten addicted to cricket and I'm struggling thru the withdrawal symptoms now that the australian tour is over. While I was trying to fight off my hangover, I ran into this blog though and it is the funniest thing I've come across on the web.

The jokes are very cricket specific and very few are not obscene/objectionable or about cricket.

Here are some gems:

This guy is a big Dave Hussey fan. You should sign this petition to show your gratitude for this.

"Hussey has been humping at the selectors legs like a horny Labrador for years now."

About Gilly's neverending farewell tour.

about James Hopes:
"Its not Jimmy does, or Jimmy tries, its Jimmy Hopes, and as we all know they spring eternal."
"And yet you grace life with a fore head so low your eyebrows get nervous."

about sehwag:
"Virender Sehwag – bats like a dude who will fu©k anything. Doesn’t matter if he hits or misses, just likes to get laid a lot."

about mike hussey:
"is a robot sent from the future to destroy us."

about Kallis:
"has the rare ability to suck the fun out of cricket to such a degree, you wonder how hard it would be to use a sniper rifle."

about gillespie:
"The amount of effort that went into every ball, some times at delivery it looked like he was giving birth to twins."

about mark nicholas @ a CA presentation ceremony:
"Amazing that Mark Nicholas can still stand and talk, all the blood is rushing to his trousers at the moment."

about lisa sthalekar:
"Lisa Sthalekar got female player of the year award for the second year running. Heard her speak recently, she speaks very very well, much better than pretty much any male player. Also I feel she is rather attractive. Wonder if she is gay or taken."

about nathan bracken:
"He looks like the transvestite off Silence of the Lambs, and the deteriorating nature of his campness is the over-riding impression. Note how Harbidjan has never dared pat him on the botty."

about johnson:
"How Johnson keeps bowling the most overs in a day is amazing, he must have soft hands in the change room."

about the adelaide pitch:
"Mind you this is a extremely flat track, even flatter than Keira Knightely, more like that dude from hedwig and the angry inch."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I must be smokin' a pipe and dreamin'

I love reading articles related to cricket on this site. Two of these are excellent - quite unlike any that I've read (and I do read a lot).

Nathan Bracken's article gives great insights into what goes on in the field from a bowler's POV.

This one about motivation is as applicable to life as it is to sport.

Let me tell you, if you want something but you don't know how to get there, it's not really a goal - it's a pipedream.

If achieving these things is so important to me, am I doing my work today with the necessary commitment, desire, discipline and enthusiasm of someone who is going to be successful in achieving these goals? Do I love what I do? Are my goals achievable and are they really important to me?

Sydney Morning Herald

I love reading articles related to cricket on this site. Two of these are excellent - quite unlike any that I've read (and I do read a lot).

Nathan Bracken's article gives great insights into what goes on in the field from a bowler's POV.

This one about motivation is as applicable to life as it is to sport.

Thursday, January 24, 2008