April 28, 2005
Played golf after a long long time yesterday. I was substituting someone in the golf league at work. I scored 63. That is better than what Tiger Woods usually scores. The only minute little difference was that I played only 9 holes and he plays 18. ;) That makes my handicap 27. I was better at the short game but sucked with drives. Am planning to play more this season. Let's see where my handicap ends up by the end of the Summer.
April 26, 2005
What happens in Crawford, stays in Crawford.
Photo caption taken from yesterday's Jay Leno show.
April 25, 2005
Bruce, the Boss
Just came back from the opening show of Bruce Springsteen's concert tour. It was amazing. The name of the tour describes the performance: "solo acoustic". He was the one man music making machine on the stage with acoustic guitar, harmonica and a piano. He played for 2 and half hours straight without intermission. The show opened with Bruce singing a spooky version of 'reason to believe' form Nebraska. He was tapping his foot for rhythm and singing through harmonica mike which made it sound very interesting. That was followed by the title song of the new album, 'Devils & Dust'. He was promoting this new album that will be released tomorrow and he talked about most of the songs that he played from this new album. That personal conversation made it a better experience overall. If he is performing in your area, don't miss it if you like Bruce Springsteen. It was one of the best concerts we have ever been to.
April 24, 2005
- Bonny Doon Vineyards; Pacific Rim dry Riesling: Very smooth and refreshing. Perfect compliment for Indian or any spicy food. Bought for $9.99.
- Muscat grapes from Whole Foods. These are tiny little yellowish green colored grapes. Just filled with sugar. Sweetest grapes ever.
- Spanish Date and Walnut cake from Whole Foods. It is just dates and walnuts pressed together. Very yummy.
April 22, 2005
Make your own Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich
A few months ago, a 10-year old grilled cheese sandwich made big news. Virgin Mary appeared on that sandwich as it was made. The sandwich hasn't gone bad in all these years beacause of the power of blessing of Virgin Mary or it says something about the power of chemicals put in Wonder Bread and Kraft sliced cheese-like-substance. It was sold on eBay for thousands of dollars, bought by a gambling company called Goldenpalace.com. Now, here is an opportunity to buy the holy pan that made this sandwich.
Here is a hot tip... I am telling you all, just because you are my friends. If you know how to make grilled cheese sandwiches, this could change your life. It could be the greatest money-making opportunity ever. You can make a lot of Virgin Mary sandwiches and sell each of them for thousands of dollars. Do you get it? Isn't that great? Thank me after you make your first million.
April 20, 2005
Sunrise on April 19, 2005
April 19, 2005
On my fourth trip to the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's kingdom, I cheated. The technological advance let me take a shortcut on this pilgrimage. Instead of climbing the thousand+ steps over 2-3 hours, I sat in a cable car and was wisked to the top in less than 5 minutes. It was nice to be not tired upon arrival, but climbing up is fun, too.
Click on the link read more and see pictures...
Dilapidated remains of living quarters of Shivaji Maharaj, and his ministers' homes.
The location where the throne of Maratha kingdom stood and where Shivaji Maharaj was annointed as a king. The throne was made of gold and weighed about 1400 Kg. It was stolen by the British when they took Raigad in I think, 1818.
The Nagaarkhana is the entrance to the large courtyard where Shivaji Maharaj held court. This big courtyard is open now, but was completely covered with a roof in those days.
One of the two entrances to the fort. This is the main entrance, which I missed entering through because of the cable car ride. It is heavily fortified and has huge wooden doors. The natural defense of steep unscalable walls is visible in this view, too. The fort finally fell to the long range canons of the British. They targeted the warehouse that stored gun powder on the fort and the whole place was burning for days.
Shivaji Maharaj died on Raigad and was cremated here. This memorial was built on the cremation site.
Takmak tok is the part of the fort that jutts out from the main mountain. From this point, there is a straight fall of about 1000 meters. This is the place where people who committed treason were executed by a simple push over the edge.
This place has some protective railings which have thoroughly rotten due to rainy season. I would not try to get any support from them.
Finally, me standing at the end of Takmak tok enoying the view.
April 18, 2005
Save premature babies, II
Reposting this as the date of the walk comes closer. Sincere thanks to those who already made a donation. So far, I have collected $150 from friends & family and $85 in matching donations from their employers.
If you were planning to donate to this cause but, still haven't, please do so soon by visiting my webpage. I'll match every dollar you donate and my employer will match my donation. So, every dollar of your donation will turn into 3.
Thanks for your support.
Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death in the first month of life. It affects 1,305 babies a day in the United States. Those who survive may have lifelong health problems. And premature births are on the rise -- up to 27% since 1981.
My daughter as well as I were born prematurely. Thankfully, both of us are doing well but, there are many who are not so fortunate.
I am asking you to support me in March of Dimes WalkAmerica, because premature birth can happen to any pregnant woman. In nearly half the cases, the causes are unknown. The March of Dimes is supporting research into the causes of premature birth. I'm joining the walk in Ann Arbor, MI on May 1st, and so can you!
Your support helps fund:
-Research into stress and other factors that may trigger preterm labor.
-Programs to educate pregnant women to recognize the warning signs of preterm labor.
-Tools to help health care providers find better ways to detect women who may be at risk for preterm labor.
Please visit my webpage and sponsor me in the Walk that saves babies!
If you wish to participate in the walk visit Walk America website and find a walk in your area.
April 17, 2005
I was feeling so powerful today....
We decided to clear out some area in the woods. We don't want to touch the big trees, but, need to remove some really thorny bushes and young trees to make the wooded area accessible to walks and such. Those thorny bushes are really nasty. They easily rip your clothes and can even take your eye out. I didn't want to deal with them wih my hands. So, I went to The Home Depot, and bought the ultimate power tool... a chainsaw. It was my first experience with a chainsaw and I felt so powerful. Nothing could stand in my way. Even after getting scratched and bloodied by the thorns, I was chopping up bushes and small trees with much ease and without any care. I almost felt what pioneer Americans must have felt. Clearing wild woods for my own use.
Gathering all the cut pieces together was a much tougher job than cutting it all. Wish I could get someone to do that for me. It is going to take a lot of work to complete the clearing job. But, I am excited to get my hands on the chainsaw again tomorrow.
April 15, 2005
Last night was not too windy and clear. Although, I froze my fingers by the end of the 2 hour session, I was able to take some photos of the Moon and Saturn. Here they are...
The prominant crater towards the left is 'Theophilus' and the flat area to left of it, near the edge of the photo is the "Sea of Tranquility". Apollo 11 landing site is somewhere in that flat region.
April 14, 2005
April 13, 2005
Lovebirds at the funeral
Even highschool teens know not to do this at a funeral. These lovebirds were caught smooching while attending the Pope's funeral in Vatican along with hundreds of World leaders.
No. This is not doctored. It appeared in Newsweek. Check the link above.
April 12, 2005
Bob Dylan concert
Just came back from the Bob Dylan Show as they called it. It was OK. Less than what I had expected. I wasn't disappointed but, I wasn't wowed either. I had a hard time recognising many of the songs. Some of them were new and the old ones were totally revamped rock and roll style. Here is tonight's playset.
On another note...... some people are just insane and I feel like smacking some sense into them. They are not fit to be parents and should be neutered. Yesterday, there was a couple at the concert, who had brought their children along. The older one was 5-6 years old and the younger was not even an year old. The music was so loud and the drum beats were sending these vibrations through our bodies. How the hell did they decide that it was OK for a small child like that. It is not just bad physically for the developing ear, but, loud noise is probably bad for the mental health of the child too. And this was not just a few seconds of noise, they were there for 3 hours.
Now, if (s)he grows up with some hearing loss, what are these parents going to do? Of course, sue the concert organisers for creating dangerous environment for their child. Supid morons...
April 11, 2005
Saturday was such a busy day. It started with Ashwini's swimming class in the morning. Did our usual grocery run in the evening followed by a lot of yardwork. Ashwini was very helpful in picking up leaves and cleaning up our flower bed.
In the afternoon, we went for a plane ride. My boss is a pilot and he took us out and up for a spin. Flew over Ann Arbor and then did a flyby over our house. Here are some pictures...
University of Michigan football stadium and part of the campus.
A closeup of the Big House, the largest college football stadium in US. It seats 112,000 people.
The house in the middle here is our home.
The Fountainhead, contd.
I am still listening to "The Fountainhead". I found the descriptions of interactions between Howard Roark and Dominique Francone quite idiotic. Actully, as idiotic as the romance in most hindi movies.
More music this year...
Just bought tickets on ebay for Bruce Springsteen's tour-opening show in Detroit on April, 25th. Yaay!!! It is so exciting. First time to see Bruce live. This show was officially sold out in 1 minute after the sale of tickets opened. I am sure every ticket was bought by a scalper.
Also, bought tickets for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Detroit on July 20th.
We go to see Bob Dylan tomorrow night.
Oh yeah, and U2 in October.
This year is shaping up pretty well in terms of music concerts.
John R. Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, ran out of his hair dye.
April 07, 2005
Get lost, you a$$hole
Update: OK. I made a mistake with the timelines. Kargil happened before Musharraf visited Agra. That still doesn't change the fact that he engineered Kargil. Also, shame on Indian politicians for inviting him to Agra when they knew that he was responsible for Kargil. Nothing realised from the Agra visit, so, why try the same thing again? It will be useless and unfruitful again. Indians should wait till Pakistani people are mature enough to democratically elect a leader and not talk with a dictator like Musharraf.
April 06, 2005
People are left homeless when their 'illegal' homes were demolished. Why do they feel entitled to their shanties? What right do they have to live on land that is not their own? What right do they have to drain and strain resources that are paid for by the legal inhabitants of the city?
Just because they came from where ever they came from and squatted on a piece of land that is owned by someone else or the government doesn't give them any ownership to that place. When the rightful owners want to throw them out, there should be no problem. The slum dwellers should be thankful for getting to use the land for free. What is wrong in having an open space or a garden? Why are they even discussing structures existed before 2000 or 1995. If they don't have proper documents of ownership, demolish them all.
The slimy politicians want to keep their vote banks and support such sprawl. It is just disgusting.
April 05, 2005
I already don't like Howard Roark. He seems like an arrogant bastard. Let's see if the rest of the book changes this first impression of the main character of the novel.
Long wait to see Pope
I don't see the reason why people are doing this. There are many who are flying from US to spend hours in travel, then hours in the line to get in St. Peter's and then 5 seconds with the Pope's remains. Sure, I'll go and pay respects to my relatives in same situation but, I can't imagine doing this for anyone else. Maybe, I am missing something huge, please enlighten me.
April 04, 2005
Free pepsi song -- part II
I bought one more pepsi drink... diet mountain dew this time. It had a free song too. So, I am 3 out of 3. I am pretty sure that I have used up all the good luck by now. The only regret is that I should have used it to buy a winning lottery ticket to get millions of dollars and not to win a 99 cent song.
A living will
Robert Friedman of St. Petersburg Times writes a detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues.
- In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.
- I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.
- I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.
- I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.
- I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.
- I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.
- I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.
- I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.
- I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.
- I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.
- Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want Congress - especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe in "less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of doctors, judges and other experts who actually know something about my case. And I want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate that gives them another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national security and the economy.
- In particular, I want House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to use my case as an opportunity to divert the country's attention from the mounting political and legal troubles stemming from his slimy misbehavior.
- And I want Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to make a mockery of his Harvard medical degree by misrepresenting the details of my case in ways that might give a boost to his 2008 presidential campaign.
- I want Frist and the rest of the world to judge my medical condition on the basis of a snippet of dated and demeaning videotape that should have remained private.
- Because I think I would retain my sense of humor even in a persistent vegetative state, I'd want President Bush -- the same guy who publicly mocked Karla Faye Tucker when signing off on her death warrant as governor of Texas -- to claim he was intervening in my case because it is always best "to err on the side of life."
- I want the state Department of Children and Families to step in at the last moment to take responsibility for my well-being, because nothing bad could ever happen to anyone under DCF's care.
- And because Gov. Jeb Bush is the smartest and most righteous human being on the face of the Earth, I want any and all of the aforementioned directives to be disregarded if the governor happens to disagree with them. If he says he knows what's best for me, I won't be in any position to argue.
April 01, 2005
Gmail 1 year old today
Check out the home page for Gmail. The email storage space for every user just keeps on growing and growing and growing.....
Water on Mars
The latest news about Mars:
Traveling transcription factors
I always thought that transcription factors stay in the cells where they are expressed and control transcription of their target genes. A recent report in Genes Development talks about a transcription factor in plant cells that goes from cell to cell. Quite interesting.
KN1 is a transcription factor that moves from cell to cell in order to regulate, among other things, stem cell identity in the shoot apical meristem of maize. Another transcription factor, GL1, prefers to stay in its home cell, where it regulates the formation of tiny hairs (trichomes) in the leaf epidermis of Arabidopsis. Whether intercellular transport of KN1 is regulated is addressed by Kim et al. By making a chimeric construct of KN1 with GL1, the authors determined which portions of KN1 could drive intercellular transport of misexpressed GL1 and thus rescue trichome formation. A GL1-KN1 fusion using only the C-terminal portion of KN1 supported rescue through intercellular transport, whereas the fusion using the N-terminal portion of KN1 did not. The homeodomain included in that C-terminal portion of KN1 turned out to be critical. Both the mRNA and the KN1 homeodomain protein seem to be required for intercellular trafficking. Thus, the KN1 homeodomain is required to transport both itself and its mRNA through plasmodesmatal channels.
Genes Dev. 10.1101/gad.332805 (2005).