Tonight we'll have the fifth installment of the Sorry State of the Union address featuring W. Hopefully, he'll make more an ass of himself so that we can swing the Congress toward the correct direction.

I'm going to go watch it with an organization called Code Pink. It should be a blast. Everything I hear about them indicates that they are crazy so it should be fun.

Now should I bring the Bush Bingo, or the Nucular Drinking Cards... hmmm...


I the good girl

A friend of mine used to (and maybe still does) get very strange messages on her Friendster account from men from the middle east. Most were written in broken English and most involved solicitation of friendships and/or more!

A while back I signed up for a similar site, myspace, and really didn't put much effort into it. I think a friend of mine invited me and I half-heartedly signed up. This fact is very obvious if you happened across my profile. And yet, it seems the phishing for friends on this site is just as bad, if not more so, as that on Friendster.

For me it's been Russian women. This one arrived today and is one of my favorites:

Let me to be submitted. My name-Ludmila.
I loved your history and I wanted to get acquainted with you! To me of 28 years, I Russian.

I work as the seller in shop.
I love work, nevertheless I love jokes And I love laughter, I adore adventures.
I the good girl, but beauty not The most important in a life.

I estimate the person for his ideas and actions.

I Have correct and romantic character!

I believe in destiny and I like to Dream of the beautiful future with the person of my dream!

If you want to answer such person, I with pleasure Will apply a photo in my ambassador of the letter.

I wait your sincere letter.


My personal e-mail:ludmilka06@...


It's... It's... It's ALIVE!

Early this morning, the Vice President Dick went into the hospital for what they called shortness of breathe. With a pacemaker for his heart, a cane for walking due to his foot, the technology that gave Darth Vader his new body and Luke Skywalker his new hand is not coming soon enough. If the Emperor Rove will want to keep his sidekick Darth Dick alive he must empower the leader of the Imperial Forces Rumsfeld to accelerate the research.

Or maybe they have. DARPA has been tasked with accelerating research in replacement limb technology. This is cool and yet, scary at the same time.

In a related "OMG-They're-Recreating-Us-In-A-Lab" story, human transplants are taking on new meaning. Soon we'll be able to order spare parts like one orders at the drive thru. "Okay let's see, I'll take Tom Brady's hands and Brad Pitt's face. Hmmm... throw in a side order of Robin Williams toes... minus the hair!"

Slacker? Me? I don't know what you're talking about.

So a lots been happening over the last few, ahem, months since I last wrote. I'm going to pretend like it hasn't been since October since my last post and continue on ceteris paribus.


Calling in for directions

Yesterday, I was carless in Virginia. I had some minor work done on my car and had to go pick up the car after work. Getting from Reston down to Fairfax was not going to be easy. Using the WMATA website to get a suggested itinerary produced a route that involved getting on a bus, transferring to another, then to the Metro train, and back onto yet another bus.

Alternatively, I found a route which involved one bus, but a mile and half of walking on either end of the trip. Despite, sputtering rain, I chose this route.

Getting to the pickup was relatively easy. I am fairly familiar with the area, and despite misinterpreting the pickup location, I was able to, literally, flag down the bus and get on at a non-designated bus stop.

The trip got more interesting when I misjudged where to get off the bus. I got off way too early! Earlier, at work, I had used Google Maps to get a vague idea of how to get there from the bus stop at which I thought I was getting off. Now, I was nowhere near the stop and had to travel by memory. I could have asked someone, however, it was a) raining so there wouldn't be to many pedestrians, and b) the suburbs where no one walked anywhere anyway.

At this point, I had an idea. I called my brother and had him browse to Google Maps for me. After some explanation, I got him to find my location on the map/satellite hybrid feature. This, as it turns out was very useful. I had him find me a way that would not have been found by simply asking the website for directions. The engine that drives it is designed for cars. I had the ability to cut through woods, between building, etc. to make my journey shorter.

So while I had him on the phone, I had him searching for alternative routes, as I traveled. We cut through buildings, and around a construction site (that was a wooded area on the website).

In the end, I made it to my destination. I had my own Central Command Center. Anand's CentCom is located in Bridgewater, NJ!


Nearly a month after returning from my month long trip, I find myself still struggling to return to, what once was, my "normal" schedule. It doesn't help that works been unusually busy, there are major issues to deal with on both boards of directors that I'm a member, my body clock refuses to completely readjust (I still wake up every night at 1:00 and 4:00 am.)

It's no wonder that all the things I've wanted to do, like post to this blog and return to a regular gym schedule, have slipped. I think the gym thing is the root of it all, and that may be the first thing I try to correct. I truly apologize for still not posting about the rest of my trip. I have so many ideas and things I need to write about. You should begin to see me catch up over the next few weeks.

One thing I may do is hermitize for awhile so that I can deal with prioritizing some of these.


Disaster Follows

A quick post about the earthquake this morning near Islamabad. I just called home to get my mom to call our relatives. I have a cousin sister that lives relatively close to Pakistan and, as the earthquake was felt as far away as Delhi, I thought it'd be a good idea to check in on her. We don't expect bad news since she lives further south, but it's probably a good idea to check.

It seems that natural disaster has been striking just after I leave during my trip. Mostly monsoon rains hit towns a day or two after we leave. The monsoon season usually wraps up toward the end of September and sometimes (rarely) into October. This seems to be one of those years. The monsoon usually starting in the south and working its way north, will end in the same way.

The day after we left Porbandar, there were monsoon rains, winds, and even reports of a tornado touching down there. Days after we left Goa, a huge storm hit northern Goa and Gujarat. In Ahmedabad, my relatives said that 11 inches of rain fell in less than 10 hours. And now this earthquake has happened.

It is going to be interesting to see the reaction on both sides of the border since the area largely effected is Kashmir. The Kashmir region is the major reason for the sixty year conflict between India and Pakistan.


So much to say...

Well fans, I've been struggling with all the things I need to blog about. You see we only have a modem (pronounced mo-dem) connection here. (Some of you might have heard of this ancient device which allows you to type and see your text mere seconds later. Ah Technology. Thanks Al Gore for inventing the Internet, although according to Mr. Bush he only invented one of them.)

Don't worry, I'm using what they call pen and paper which, when combined, allow you to record thoughts and store them for later. What will they think of next?!

Anyhoo, we're finally going tomorrow to start our adventures in Goa and Kerala. (Thank God, because I am getting quite bored of sitting around doing nothing. To think, my Pareshbhai does this everyday. I'd have to kill myself!) I will continue to use these devices, these pen and paper, to record thoughts which I will produce exciting blog posts upon my return or when I find the other Internet.


Throwing the hand-brake

After an eight hour flight, and constantly asking what time, day, and date it was, we arrived in Ahmedabad at 2:30 a.m. local time (I think.) It was about 4:00 before we arrived at my kaka (uncle on one's dad's side.)

We sat around and chatted for a while. I held my month old cousin sister. Yes, there is now a girl on my father's side! Everyone always thought that I would have the first girl in countless generations of Trivedi men to have a daughter. Instead, my kaka had the first. Granted it took him four wives to finally get it!

Also note, that I will be referring to my cousins as brothers and sisters (or bhais and bhens or didhis) and their children as my nieces and nephews because traditional Indian families extend to, well, extended families. Traditionally, it is the mama (one's mother's brother), not the father, who gives away a bride at a wedding.

Anyway, my nanhi-bhen (little sister) was so precious. She was asleep as I held her so there wasn't a lot of interaction.

After a brief nap, which was much needed, we headed over to Suchit-bhai's home. They have a flat on a busy street across town. This is where I am now. The flat is actually two flats. Suchit-bhai's and the one next door which they use as a guest house. It's actually owned by another family that lives in Mumbai. When they are away, they allow our family to use it as a guest flat.

Since arriving, we've been doing a whole lot of nothing. This is quite the welcome break from all the running around my brother and I have been doing over the past week. I took several naps yesterday. I also read a lot and sat chatting with my family. We briefly went out to a jewelry shop, which was actually just a room in the proprietor's mansion. Mom bought a few pieces and we also put in a few pieces for alteration. One of which is the ring I've been wearing that has been cutting into my finger. We're having it reset.

I got to meet the newest addition to my mother's side. Jesh is a two year old boy who's cute with his head shaved like mine. He's also very naught as all two year old boys should be!

My family is also still teasing me about finding a wife. Paresh-bhai said that if we placed an ad saying that I was a U.S. citizen there would be a line out the door tomorrow. Tempting as it may be to have women lining up for me, I think I want a woman that wants me for me and not my citizenship!

That's pretty much been my stay in Ahmedabad so far. Today's we're heading out for a little more shopping. That's the total of the day's plan. Tomorrow we head out for a brief trip to Porbandar. Among other things, Porbandar is a quaint sea town on the Arabian Sea. It is also the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi. There is a museum and the original house.

We begin our trip south a few days after we return.

More on Amsterdam

The last day we walked. That's an understatement! We walked so far that we ended up off the map! We were a good kilometer or so off the map. It took me about a half hour to find a landmark (a windmill that I'd been looking for in the first place) that would get us back on track.

We first walked to KNSN, an island off to the east of Centraal Station. KNSN was recommended as a trendy new Amsterdam. Not to be New York which was once New Amsterdam or Istanbul which was once...

It was definitely trendy and new and modern. There were great bike paths through red brick apartment buildings and pretty gardens all around.

It was upon leaving KNSN that we found we were lost. In hindsight, I think we ended up taking the third bridge instead of the second.

After rebearing ourselves we headed to the zoo. It was on the way back to the center of town. It soon became obvious that this was not a typical tourist destination. My first clue was there was only Dutch text on the signs. I learned a few words for different animals. Gestreept means zebra. Leeuw is the word for the king of the jungle.

I also learned the word for woman the hard way. Damas means women as the little girl explained. Afterwards, she and her friends ran away giggling! Although, in my defence, a big "D" on an open door isn't really a great way to signify the sex of a toilet.

Once we left the zoo, which was actully a zoo, aquarium, plantarium, insectarium, and planetarium, we needed to head to the airport. We needed to grab a taxi. We passed on the shiny black BMW 745. The silver Mercedes-Benz S-class was just too much. We opted for the nice early 90's E-class.

That's right. The taxi cabs in Amsterdam were mostly high end luxury cars. At least that is what they are in the States. These are cars that I cannot afford that are driving around as taxicabs!

Anyway, we got on the uneventful flight to Paris. I've decided that we can't really say that we went to Paris when, technically, we never left the airport. Our hotel, despite being a half hour shuttle ride, was still technically on airport grounds. Charles de Gaulle airport is massive.

The next morning we had to get in a bus from the gate to get to our plane. The plane wasn't at the gate; rather it was on the tarmac some ways away. Quite literally twenty minutes, and probably three kilometers later we arrived at the plane!

One side note, having no knowledge of French, I successfully impressed our shuttle driver when I asked if he spoke English (in French.) He said that I said "Parlez-vous anglais?" in a very French way.