Personal


First, he appears on The O’Reilly Show and never breaks character.

Then he has Bill O’Reilly himself appear on his show and mocks him openly. Priceless!

From the Qutub Minar

To the Straits of Malabar

We remain similar

And remain singular

-Midival Punditz

I’m watching DMB Live at Red Rocks on PBS as I type this. Man, do these guys rock live! I had always heard that they were much better live than recorded, especially this performance.

You have to see this concert (its available on DVD) if you’re a fan.

Yesterday I went to the Warriors season opener game against the Lakers. It was fun to watch an NBA game live and soak in the atmosphere after a long time (my last visit being to the raucous Arco Arena with the Kings), although the game was completely uneventful. As expected the Warriors lost handily even though Kobe wasn’t playing. Is there a franchise with less-enthused fan base. These guys are the Arizona Cardinals of the NBA. It was so bad the crowd was booing the home team when they missed free throws in the 4th quarter and trailing by 14 points.

We left early to beat the crowds on BART. As we were walking out of the stadium, we were greeted with ads for anti-spyware and Oracle products. Only in Silicon Valley can you expect something like this to happen and people don’t even bat an eyelid.

Managed to get in my now regular once-in-3-weeks round of 9-hole golf recently. The misery of the entire round (I scored +17 over the par 31 course) was made up by a single shot on the 3rd hole, a par 4. After two badly flubbed shots of the tee I found myself 90 yards away from the green on the right side first cut of rough. The green on this particular hole has an extremely narrow front that slopes towards the fairway away from the pin and it also faces the left side of the fairway which is the correct way to approach it. To add to the degree of difficulty, its also surrounded liberally with bunkers. One of these lay directly between me and the pin.

Anyways, I took out my trusted 9 iron (these days the only club I can hit consistently) and swung at the ball, not really hoping for much. The resulting shot was one golf players dream about – clean contact with the ball, a nice high arc, a soft landing on the green close to the pin and a very satisfying roll into the cup. Yes, I holed out from the fairway rough to make a birdie!

That single shot made my day. Now I can die in peace. And yes, I’m a geek for comparing golf to a tease.



My last attempt to climb Half Dome was doomed to our bad planning, and I had written that I would go back to the top. Well, I got that chance this last weekend and we did manage to make it all the way to the top.

The trip didn’t start out very well. My friend was flying in from San Diego Friday night and his flight was delayed by 3 hours. We ended up leaving the Bay Area at 11.30 pm. Yes, we were determined to make it work this time. After a quick nap and shower in Mariposa, we were off on the hike just as the sun was rising. Yosemite valley is breathtaking any time of the day or year; but the beauty at dawn is at yet another level. I wish I could have captured on camera the splendor of El Capitan at that time of the day.

Anyways, it was much easier this time – we made good time, stopping for water and nourishment. This was a marked improvement over the huffing and puffing of last time. I guess the recent Lassen hikes and cycling has improved my fitness in minuscule amounts.

As is well documented, the Half Dome hike is interesting and challenging from the valley floor to Nevada Falls up the Mist Trail. This 2.5 mile stretch is fairly steep, narrow and very close to the falls. Its infinitely better than the longer, easier and soporific John Muir trail. From Nevada falls though, I found it very frustrating as it is full of endless switchbacks through monotonous jungle and shrubbery. The trail climbs consistently and relentlessly without any view of the dome. This is the part that really tests your motivation and stamina, since it also usually coincides with noon when the sun is beating down upon you.

As a final gift from Nature, you have to navigate this really steep, almost vertical rock face to reach the face dome. I dubbed it the “Elevator”, although its not as bad as it looks since there a few rocks and steps to help you ascend. After going through all of this, when all the muscles in your body are aching, and you have discovered pain in places you did not know existed, you reach the base of the dome. In summer, this place is like Cancun in spring break – just as crowded but without the parties. The cables look intimidating but again aren’t as bad as they look. The worst part is dealing with the crowds and the wait for people ahead of you. The final two sections (along with the Nevada and Vernal falls sections) are definitely not for those with acrophobia.

The views from the top are amazing, and the entire hike is totally worth it in-spite of the strenuousness. Do it if you can.

Wired has this article noting that a US Senate Committe has approved a bill that not only authorizes but extends warrentless wiretapping. No accountability. No oversight. No definition of ‘terrorist.’ No record of who voted for what.

My thoughts on this are best explained via Douglas Adams in “So long and Thanks for all the Fish”:

[A spaceship landed on Earth, and a 100 foot tall robot walked out.]“I come in peace,” it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, “take me to your Lizard.”

“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”

“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”

“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”

“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”

“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”

“What?”

“I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”

“I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.”

Ford shrugged again.

“Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them,” he said. “They’re completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.”

“But that’s terrible,” said Arthur.

“Listen, bud,” said Ford, “If I had one Altarian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say “That’s terrible” I wouldn’t be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin. But I haven’t and I am.”

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