Friday, March 26, 2010

Travel Blog

I wanted to write about my trips. Sometimes, only photos do not convey the experience. Most of my previous attempts to write about a trip sucked. Too long, too boring and no pictures. I wanted to keep this blog separate, focus on thoughts, non-travel experiences and such.

So, I started a new blog. Hopefully I'll write there often enough. I'll pepper it with pictures too. Somehow, I want to describe the photos taken in the blog posts without making it boring or obscure. Thanks to overabundance of technology, I can now actually geo-tag photos I take. And map walking routes. Let's see how it works out.

Oh, the link: Read, comment, share.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The odd man out AKA how to make life in France difficult

1: Refuse to learn French before coming to France. Insist on "winging it".

2: Change address multiple times. Not receive the social security documents at new place. 

3: Be clueless about stuff. Turn up for sailing lessons without gear.

4: Be the only guy while hiking or sailing who doesn't understand French.

5: Allow your US driving license to lapse. You reason that it was valid only for 1 year any way.

6: France allows foreign driving licenses for the first year. For students, the native license is valid without time limit. Use this reason to not get an International Driving Permit while in India.

7: 125cc and below motorbikes have a little more leeway. Insist on buying and wanting a bigger motorbike. Stare in disbelief at high insurance rates.

8: Indian driving license, no IDP, a 500 cc motorbike. Get refused by multiple insurance companies.

9: Not learn Linux earlier. Install it on laptop anyway. Stare at prospects of learning Linux for work, & for laptop. Sometimes, help files for linux at work are in French.

10: Be picky about meat. Avoid fish and beef. Beef strictly. Be unpredictable about when you want to eat fish. This makes every trip to the cafeteria or restaurant a "fun" quiz for others. "What meat does this contain?", "Can I get something vegetarian?"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's up?

I realise that I have subscribed to 32 feeds in my Google Reader. I'm also following 44 people. I have an active Facebook account, I've not switched off Buzz. And I frequent Cnn, Times of India (bad choice, I know), Cricinfo, Engadget, Cnet.

Oh, and I'm also supposed to be doing a PhD. I've re-discovered my addiction to reading. Though, along with books it includes all those above things. Which means that reading papers and work stuff is lagging behind. Shit! Hence, a recent curfew was put into place. Most forms of chat were switched off. I didn't go as ninja as this one suggests. But I have contemplated it.

So what has happenned in recent times? Trip to Venice. It's a great city. VISIT it. I would definitely want to go there again. I caught up on Tv Shows  - How I Met Your Mother and Californication. HIMYM is the simple-minded addicted sitcom thingy. Once you start a season, lack of anything better to do makes you want to finish it. I finished it. Californication is good. Though I would have been happy if they had stopped at Season 1. Now that Season 2 has ended in a way to set up Season 3, I will have to watch it.

As a way to be less online and more in the "real" world, I picked up sailing lessons. Catamarans! It's fun. Especially when 6 minutes into the sea, a gust of wind and inexperience causes the boat to flip. Not entirely, but you get thrown into icy cold water. But sailing requires you to be able to swim 50 metres unaided. I can swim, but not too far. So I need to go the pool and do them some laps. And doing them laps I am.

Went skiing the other day. I was told that since I can roller-blade and since I have tried ice-skating, skiing wouldn't be a problem. Big old overconfident me had a fun time trying to figure out how to stay standing on those skis. The repeated taste of snow+ice is not all that fun. But eventually I managed to move and stop when I wanted (almost). Success!

And finally, have been looking for motorcycles. And will be buying one in a week. In the process of doing the paperwork and insurance and stuff. So, next week a 500cc baby monster will roll in.