View of the outside world from inside a fishbowl

February 23, 2010

Where you are affects how you are …

Filed under: philosophy — coolantz @ 11:42 pm
Tags: , ,

I was a believer that where I am had no implications on how I am. I mean, I would say to my boss, that it doesn’t matter where you make me sit, as long as I have the internet connection and power sockets to connect all my gadgets, I would be as productive, if I were  say somewhere else.

For simplicity sake, let us assume that both the places are inside the office premises (Yea it would obviously matter, if I were to sit next to a loud mouth).

Today I realized, that many other things matter, even the view, people in vicinity, and the general atmosphere.

I had a change of seat, and my new desk is in a rather aloof and isolated place as compared to my earlier desk. Also, the new building, where I sit in, has a nice cafe, and lot of other eating options. I generally feel content here. The noise around me is considerably less.

So if I were to give any measures of how it affects me, today I finished most of the work (which was a handful) assigned to me, in a sort of record amount of time.

Also, it did not imply that I had to fore-go my other day-to-day activities, like checking mails, and writing mails, and going out for a walk around lunch time, and generally cribbing about my IT problems to the management. In other words a routine day.

Does it mean that I magically became more productive? If so, was it due the novelty factor of my new found place, or was it plain old lower burden of work. Only time will tell. As of now, I feel happy, and rearing to go, I’ll update this post as soon as I discover more.

I have three possible explanations for this.

  1. My work load today was less, and it only seemed huge.
  2. I was happy due to the new place I was made to shift to, and so it resulted in lots of work being finished.
  3. Since many of my needs were satisfied (hunger, tranquility), my mind was less distracted, and I was in a better off condition to do creative work.

If point number 3 holds out to be true, this might be a very important discovery as far as me and my body is concerned. I’ll keep this post updated.

In a weeks time then…

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February 21, 2010

So, that’s it . Haah .

Filed under: humor — coolantz @ 11:44 am

From quite some time now, I have pondered over this question, and till date, I could not come up with a satisfactory explanation for it. You see I’m one of those people who strongly believe in the saying “Everything happens for a reason”.

Continuing on the topic, I really wanted to know why people took to smoking, and what makes them be at it. Starting it can be one of the many reasons. I have seen people who can be placed in every (even more than one) category. This list certainly claims to be comprehensive in any way:

  • Peer Pressure : Yea this XYZ person smokes, and he is so cool, etc. This would be applicable to younger smokers, possibly kids and adolescents.
  • Smoking helps me stay slim : I’ve seen some women subscribe to this belief. The credibility of this one is yet to be verified. Well, nicotine is an appetite suppressant, but I’m never too much in favor of “control your diet to lay off weight” theory.
  • Smoking helps me stay focused : I have seen many people in engineering college say this. Some of them would smoke only around the exams. What crap … can someone explain this?

Well, so far all the reasons to start. But I suppose,  for 9 in 10 people, most of their beliefs would be shattered. Why do they stick to it then? I mean, none of that seems any good. Smells even worse, and yes , it burns a hole in their pocket.

It was not until very recently, I was talking to this very philosophical person, who really made it very simple for me to understand.

“For people who continue to smoke, despite not really liking it, in true sense, the attraction is the time they get out from it, for themselves.What I  mean is people subconsciously get to like those five minutes of breaks sprinkled in between a usually hectic day. That way, they do not feel any guilt or remorse, in missing out from the work, as they must “smoke”. Other people are usually guaranteed to respond in positive. As in, “if he/she smokes, let him/her”

You see, this pesky excuse to get time out for themselves is the driving force, for people to continue smoking, despite not being the greatest fans of the process. I’m mostly referring to people in corporate world, who live their life like a struggle to balance their personal and professional life. Makes real good sense. doesn’t it?

It all boils down to this philosophy :

It’s just a “me moment”. No one dare disturb!

February 12, 2010

Arrrrrggggghhhhh!!

Filed under: humor — coolantz @ 9:50 pm
What I need to do!

Kick Ass

Have you ever felt the urge to punch your Computer screen so hard that your hand pops out from across it (as shown in some cartoons).  I would usually not advocate violence to relieve the agony, but I make an exception here.

Well, it was a regular day at work. (Actually far from it ) Most offices had a day off, but my employer decided not to give us commoners the option. So, I suppose that is the point frustration started to build up for me. I had decided, that I’d leave office sooner than usual, and chill out at home, or catch a movie or have a game.

Work it seems, has a mind of its own. Throw computer into the mixture, and you have a heady mix. What was I even thinking? I was checking out the tasks assigned to me for the day, and thought to myself, I’ll cover them in 4 hours, and then I could check out the latest sites and just while away the time.

Now people familiar with Murphy’s laws would agree unanimously, that the “real” problem I ran into would be right at the end. Smirk away all you want … you mean devil.

It turned out to be a smooth sailing . Till lunch, I had all but one bug squashed. And I said to myself, I’ll peek into thin one, after an hour of whiling during the lunch time. It’s jut one more to the many I had done since morning. So, I started at it.

Something about it made me feel uneasy. I’ll try to be more explicit : It felt like I had already done this once. Like bad “déjà vu”.

Anyways, I double checked. My program was not working as expected. So I saw the history of what people had done to it, (for technical people :  I checked the SVN log). I had made it in the past, but it seems somewhere down the line, things had been muddled with, but not by me. Now, since there had been some design changes, I could not simply revert back to the old file. I decided to rewrite it , instead of wasting my time merging and testing.

so I rewrote a part of it, and gave it a customary twirl, when it was still a half baked cake. It seemed to be nicely on track.

But the uneasy feeling would just not go away.

Well, the previous blooper I described, was only the tip of what I was about to unearth :).

Browsing around for some information, I hit another file in my program’s source code, that gave me the goosebumps. It was much the same code I had rewritten (what a waste!). And I decided to check that.

I was convinced, that my day was jinxed, so I (very unhurriedly) decided to drop what ever I had written since lunch (around 2 hours of solid coding effort), and reuse whatever was available.

Morally, I had received an upper jab, and how was I to know that knock out punch was just around the corner. (Yep, there is more).

Well, so I had to do what I started. Now, I started working with some speed as well as efficiency. But speed is not necessary your best friend when you’re up for a programming job (speed does kill).

Well, the other file did not have a particular transaction with the database, so I wrote that with the rest of the code. When I ran it, however because of a misplaced bracket, my part of the program totally modified all the values in the database. I was floored. I decided, that maybe, I should just leave it.

Baaah… I give up 😦

February 11, 2010

Autohotkey …. nice!

Filed under: utilities — coolantz @ 7:18 pm

I have searched for this kind of utility, since I started working in windows. For the record, I do work on MS windows, contrary to the popular belief of many a people, that I only use Linux :). Now I have found it, for those who’d like to take it for a spin :  autohotkey

Seriously, WOW.

Well, anyways, not to digress from the topic of this post, this is awesome utility, that has a basic scripting language. It can be used to perform nifty tricks linked to specific key press combination. Quite a time saver, as far as my automation preferences are concerned.

I’ll soon follow-up with some of my scripts to automate some routine tasks. If you like it, do share how you use it?

February 4, 2010

Deal or no deal ?

Filed under: humor — coolantz @ 7:42 am

He looked very apprehensive, as though he had the weight of the world on his entire shoulders.
His eyes spoke volumes, he’d been negotiating and he had compromised. They were misty.
He was very carefully observing the surroundings, he had to be sure.
He had clutched, a new red colored car in one hand, and a box of chocolates in the other.

So he walked in, with baby steps, to this salon where I was getting served, ever so nicely and he chose a seat not too far away from me. He must have been not more than 3 years in age, and was one of those toddlers, you often get to bump into when you visit a barber shop. I’m pretty sure, the instruments in the room must have scared him. He looked uneasy.

I remembered, when I was young, I had to be tricked, bribed or simply forced against my wishes to get a haircut. I also remember, that it would either be my mother, or my grandmother that would go with me. I so hated the place. Although the feelings I had for the place were strong, they were probably (I’m not so sure) due to an incident that must have happened when I was younger. I must have gotten a nick from that huge thing of a razor the barber shop has.

I’ve been afraid of that razor ever since. As a matter of fact, till last year, when ever I would go and get a hair cut, I’d tell the person “please do not use the razor, use the trimming machine instead” . Now, somehow I have convinced myself that razor is not so bad, and in fact, it is pretty much essential for cleaning up nicely.

So this toddler reminded me so much of my self, that I could not help but smile at him. Although I do not know why, but that seemed to have a more of unsettling effect on him. Well, come to think of it, it figures. Here he is, in this hostile environment, and I’m grinning at him. What was I thinking?

Soon enough, his father and his mother marched right in, and stood next to him, and started to distract him by telling him nice stories. The routine I was so familiar with.

“We will chat up the kid, while you graze his hair off” . My mom/grand mom did this all the time.

But something happened in that room, which struck the deal off.  I was reminiscing about my barber shop tendencies, and getting comfortable at the place, the attendant was giving me a head massage, and the kid staring at the entire process (yep, his life pretty much depended on it).

But there was this maneuver that the attendant did in his routine. It involved him holding me by neck, and giving it some violent twists which I guess  make you feel relaxed and fuzzy. He did those to perfection, I must add … I felt really relaxed.

But the toddler got scared. He had decided now. And his face was now of resolve and determination. In fact, he started wailing. He let go of his car and chocolates, and looked helplessly at his mom, till she swooped him off the chair, and carried him out of the shop. His dad had desperately tried to pacify him by making funny sounds, and strange faces, but to no avail.

That was the last I saw of him.

February 1, 2010

Why do people play?

Filed under: humor,philosophy,rants — coolantz @ 12:34 am

The Game

Means to a freedom

Curiously, people around me give me the puzzled look, when I say I like playing a game. Folks around (especially in India) still assume that playing something is an activity that can only be associated with kids. “Even looked down upon!”.

How often, I have seen people raise their brows when I tell them I like to play badminton. Frankly, I’ve even lost count. Or gotten so used to this sequence that I reply mechanically, along these lines.

Them: So, what do you do on weekends.

Me: Well, there are many things, but one thing is certain … I play badminton in the morning.

Them: ugh… (pausing to digest what I said)… So, do you like play professionally, like state level or something.

Me: No, I’m not so good (or dedicated) at it. I just shoot some with friends. Like passing of time. No professional training 🙂

Them: Ah…. (and the topic shifts to more elderly stuff). So have you tried this new Beer.

Anyways, the beer seems like a great conversation starter. For me, however, all beer are the same so I go like “naah … I do not like beer”. And it pretty much slaughters the conversation (and stomps on its carcass). I guess I get branded as an immature imbecile.

So, anyways, back the point. What makes me get up, grab that racquet and knock a few. Well, I could think of a few.

  • It is great physical activity. As it is, my daily activities don’t leave much room for me to exercise the muscles, so I give my entire body, a chance to loosen up, and feel alive. I mean, I agree to “I think, therefore I am”, but I also believe in “I move, therefore I am happy.”
  • It requires me to be spontaneous. Ever finished something just in the nick of time? That is a very relaxing feeling. Now, playing (successfully) a return to a killer smash, or a far fetched shot.Very relaxing indeed.
  • It teaches me to be patient. (Wow, ain’t that like opposite of what I just said). There are some skills, that just don’t develop overnight. Like developing a nice serve. It’s through the process of trial and error, and a lot of reflective thinking. Nothing short of a well calculated scientific experiment.Well, inching closer to a player look up to is a very satisfying feeling. But it doesn’t happen in a day. May take months, or years (yeah, there’s a chance it might not happen at all 🙂 ).
  • It’s  therapeutic, like meditation. Allow me to explain. All the time during the day, I use my head to decide, contemplate and plan, for most of the things which are tangible or even hypothetical. Even when I’m not working. I mean, who doesn’t think, worry at times, and get stressed out. But, for those 15 minutes or so, Every thing ceases to be. As clichéd as this may sound, but for that span of time, I stop being an ideal worker, great son, nice brother, good friend. All I become is this machine, and out to decimate my opponents (or yea, save my ass from being blown away 🙂 )

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