Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Semester Endings and Blogical Distractions

Just so that I stay clear of accusations of 'internalizing' content, the word 'Blogical' was spotted by me in the excellent Blogical Conclusion movie review blog by Baradwaj Rangan. You are welcome to hop over and run through his archives. Anyway, now that it's out of my system let me move on to the exciting things happening on the personal front.

As mentioned earlier, academically speaking, I am now passing through one of those weeks that can get exceedingly draining, which also explains the slowdown in posting frequency. Or atleast that's what appears to me. Graduate life, especially that of a Masters' program in any branch of engineering in the US, goes through an almost sinusoidal pattern as far as work is concerned. You will see times when there is almost no work, when you might have exhausted your last watchable quota of TV shows for the week, and the last readable blog for the week. Those are times when you wish for your professors to give you some assignments. Make no mistake, the profs do have work lined up for you, but the deadlines are a week away. So like true desis, who'd want to maintain their cultural identity, of which procrastination plays a more than significant role, one would be seen either lazing about in his sleeping bag (spring mattress for the financially better endowed) or aimlessly searching for 'hot' videos on Youtube (I am generalizing here; the lazing about is true of me though). Of course, the endless voice chat conversations with folks back home, come in handy. I have actually managed to drag conversations with my mom, even after she had said "ok I guess we'll call it a day" four times over during a twenty minute period! The ruse of not being able to afford a web cam hasn't lasted long, since January, due to unexpected showering of wealth in the form of assistantships. So it has now come to the, "I don't like web cam, hence I wont buy web cam" phase. This statement was usually followed by a reassuring "I will upload and send you my latest pics in cool poses (carefully edited in Picasa for desired brightness and facial color, and extra hair to make up for poor resolution of a less than 1 MPixel MotoRazr V3)" Fact remains, to this day I haven't really sent any photographs home, what with all the hair loss issues and occasional starvation. Until other things happened.

Despite my well documented rants against some aspects of social networking, I haven't been paranoid about having my siblings around on Orkut, unlike some friends of mine, who have fought tooth and nail to maintain a chaste image at home. Well of course, I would put it down to good sense that, of late, I had begun deleting my scraps after reading and replying to them. (Yes, I have truly gotten over that phase of seeing my scrapbook count swell over 2500) It also gets rid of unwanted baggage that aflicts a person's scrapbook: Portuguese language scraps, too many 'ssup dood! wassup at your end?' (which I think is a product of boredom arising out of having surfed all the damn sites within a person's mental radar, several times over, in a period of ten minutes) and those seasonally unavoidable scraps from unknown people asking about admits and scholarship chances in US Universities. Not that I am averse to helping people, but then, I have already digressed a lot today. The thing is, my sister pointed out my Orkut display pic to my mom; the pic for which I had already received death threats from friends (and even fleetingly from my bro!). Not that I looked particularly ugly, which I tend to look in 99% of most photographs that I pose for, but the pic could be best described as a poor impersonation of Colbert. I wasn't sure of my parents' reaction, so I quickly reassured them that I had intentionally, umm... intended that facial configuration and my face in the said pic was not disfigured permanently. Well things went well, and they were as happy about my glowing facial color as most desi parents would be, when their sons are well into their twenties. In all the happiness and joy that ensued, the small matter of Picasa facial/color enhancements was conveniently ignored. During the conversation, I also briefly glanced through my profile, looking up my interests and testimonials to see if there was anything remotely scandalous. Felt happy though. Thankfully they are not on Orkut! (Or are they?)

Back to the present however, the culmination of semesters lead to frantic activities unheard of during earlier times in one's life. Exams get step motherly treatment while profs totally adore project submissions (and more specifically the reports). And as a Computer Science student, one would know how much of coding that would require, and trust me, the projects are generally huge. Think in terms of amount of work done honestly during final year projects in undergrad multiplied three times; for we have one such project for each course. But we keep soldiering on for that carrot that dangles at the end of the tunnel, (or is it light at the end of the tunnel?) with promises that abound of plans for getting out of Texas and exploring the world around.

Although, I am not sure about the exploration bit for I wouldn't really move as much as a muscle for it. Official excuse would be, work, as a requirement for maintaining my assistantship (and of course, the extra dough that it brings in). Close friends and observers however, would point to my predilection to generally stay put, in line with Newton's law of inertia (of rest, that is).

PS: Loyal and regular readers of my blog who have been thirsting for some personal rants from The Piker's side might have been pleased at the end of this post. (I believe) I'm sure some of them might have bemused (or rather worried) by the increasingly techno-geeky nature of some recent posts. There will be some variety, however, it will remain a mostly personal blog, hopefully.

[Update: Desperate Social Networking move of the day: (courtesy Hi5 - got it in my inbox)
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