Thursday, December 25, 2008

Malaysia: A Tropical Paradise

It is a lush green wonderland. Not far away from the cities, dark green wooded hills pattern the landscape like clumps of broccoli tops! Not a speck of dust on any leaf thanks to the daily dose of convectional rain. With its staggering biodiversity, every corner of Malaysia seems to be teeming with life. It was here that I had a close brush with a deadly viper out in the wild, held a fabulous stick insect on my arm, and acquired my personal pet insect-hogging pitcher plant! Without further ado, let me share some highlights from this trip. The complete collection of captioned photos are available here

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Ordeal

Damn those dark circles,
You're such a horrible sight!
But it makes your nose look extra pointy!
Isn't that a delight?

Home's dull and lonely
'Cause your roommate's away.
But it makes you stay in lab
And make use of your day.
So when going gets tough,
Don't ever start whining,

'Cause every dark cloud
Has a silver lining.

Your code runs forever
And gives bad results in the end.
But it's okay 'cause while you were waiting for it
A poem you have penned.
But what about the ordeal
Of reading stupid poems on a blog?
When you look for an upside,
Your mind just seems to clog.

Look again, you might find something,
And then you'll be opining,
That every dark cloud
Has a silver lining.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Some More Pride, Some More Prejudice

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a seemingly impertinent young gentleman with a large fortune who battles against his own prejudice as he falls in love with a girl of lower social standing. Elizabeth Bennet is a cheerful, level-headed, and forthright young lady from a middle-class family who is held back by her pride. Around them is spun Jane Austen's timeless classic which I dearly love. And today I saw it all come to life in form of a brilliant theatrical performance from the USC School of Theatre.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yet Another Temporal Paradox!

Sunday morning. There I was all huddled up underneath my blanket like a turtle inside its shell. I cursorily peeked outside to have a glimpse of the clock before I stuck my head back in again. The hands of the clock met close to 8:45 and continued on their relentless ticking journey. Relieved to know it was still not 9, I was sinking back into a delightful continuum of slumber when I was stirred out it by my roommate's shriek.
"It's 10! We've slept till 10!!!"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

France Encore!

I continue living the dream as I made my deuxième voyage to France just months after my first. My destination this time was Nice, a touristic Shangri-La. I did manage to find some time outside the conference schedule to tour the city and regale my appetite with bountiful servings of seafood. After the conference, I decided to say hello to good old Paris and acquaint myself with Versailles, its august neighbor. Below are some photographic highlights from this pleasant trip. The full collection of photos is here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Word of the Day: Megalopinakophobia

It gives me utter delight to share with you my finding of the day. Never before did I come across a word as apt to describe what I have always felt during the long hours of Matlab simulations (occasionally culminating in intense despair thanks to crashes.) So here it goes:

Megalopinakophobia (měg'ə-lō-pēn'ə-kō-fō'bē-ə) n.

1. Fear of large matrices.
2. Abnormality characterized by excessive fondness for Fourier methods.
3. Fear of large paintings.
[Gk. megas, great + pinakas, matrix or painting + phobos, fear]

And, as a gesture of gratitude, I would like to cite the sources:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ode to the Cookie Jar*

Of all the coveted froggies in the market,
I craved most for thee.
In spite of what it did to my pocket,
I ordered thee eventually.
Restlessly for the parcel I wait.

But, as I open the box, my ecstasy fades,

For I find thee shattered into shards.
Woebegone, I contemplate
On thy round bulging eyes, thy radiant shades,

And, unparalleled cuteness that inspires today's bards.

*Based on a true story about Toby-the-Toad-Cookie-Jar, who died a tragic premature death.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nicholas the Charming

He is a little boy - one of the littlest ones in class. He gets into trouble often. His Dad gifts him a bike for coming in the top ten in a math test, although his Dad didn't know it was because "all the rest of the class was away with colds, and the eleventh was Mathew who always comes last anyway, but it didn't matter for him because he's got a bike already." When somebody is nice to him, he think he/she is "OK." He likes cowboy books and playing cowboys. He thinks girls are sappy and always crying. And to quote him on that: "Well, I suppose I sometimes cry myself, but only for something serious like when the living room vase got broken and Dad told me off and it wasn't fair because I didn't do it on purpose and anyway it was an ugly vase and I know Dad doesn't like me to play soccer in the house but it was raining outside." That's Nicholas!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Un Voyage Extraordinaire

The green meadows of the French countryside dotted with grazing cattle and golden rolls of hay looked like a delightfully serene painting. The deep blue waters of the Gulf of Morbihan stirred gently in playful contemplation as a solitary jellyfish drifted past a stretch of oyster farms. Close by, a charming old mansion stood tall on its own private little island. It was an island so tiny that you could walk around it in less than an hour. And, rather peculiarly, it would cease to be an island, when the tide fell, for a meandering road would surface restoring its connectivity to the mainland. Somewhere inside the mansion a lecture on medical imaging was in progress. And there I was seated in the lecture hall scribbling notes after being jolted out of my jet lag by one too many shots of French espresso!
It was all part of a two-week summer school program on medical imaging under the IEEE EMBS. We were housed on the the little island called Île  de Berder, fed lavish servings of fresh seafood, and instructed by some of the smartest minds in medical imaging. Sounds like stuff that dreams are made of, doesn't it?

The Grass Wasn't Green on Either Side...

In fact there wasn’t any grass anywhere. Oh no, I’m not talking about my recent trip to France. France (especially the French countryside) was very green and simply breathtaking. But, during my return trip, I had an experience—a rare one, and that is what I’m here to share today… I saw Greenland!