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Shruti Bhandari's blog. Like, totally. Wed, 30 Jul 2008 08:00:35 +0000 en Feature request for mobile phones Wed, 30 Jul 2008 08:00:35 +0000 Shr You look at the caller id and then decide to ignore the call and never answer it or return it back.
Its boring, I think its killingly boring and extremely passé.

I want to be able to slam the phone down, downright slam it in the middle of conversation or even after a “Hi”. The whole dynamics (and kinetics) of slamming down the phone gives an entire different kind of satisfaction.

Hmm… its a good research question too.

P.S. Not ignoring anyone’s call, just reflecting upon the world in general.
It also ties back nicely to some research I did a while back! Eureka!
Eureka, Eureka :)

Guess who Fri, 25 Jul 2008 06:46:53 +0000 Shr Guess who did I share my bus ride with from Seattle to Redmond last sunday?
Grand daughter of Hafeez Jalendhary, poet of national anthem of Pakistan!

T for Trouble, no victors here Thu, 24 Jul 2008 05:00:25 +0000 Shr Currently, I am living in one of the good housing complexes in Redmond, WA. Any maintenance problem within the apartment is taken care of pronto. I am really happy and have no complaints about the management. (at least till now, I just made it home 2 weeks back) I had a water leakage problem this Sunday and decided to call them to get it repaired. And my call was transferred to some central place and a woman unknown to me answered my call.

And that’s when the story begins.

She asks me for my first name. I give her the answer I have given to a million customer service representatives before. I give her the answer I have given to cashiers behind counters. I give her the answer I have given to bank tellers. I give her the answer everyone understands. “S… H… R… U… T as in Texas… I”. She wants to confirm it with me so goes into “S as in Sarah… H as in Harry” routine. Just a slight problem though. She says “V as in Victor” in place of T. So, I politely tell her that she has got my name right mostly except for 2nd last letter which is not V as in Victor but T as in Texas. “Oh!”, she exclaims, “B as in Boy”. I am sure my expression at that moment must have been priceless. “No, T as in Texas, as in ummmm… teapot”, I say in an unamused voice. “You mean V as in Victor”, she says a bit irritatedly. I lose my cool here. I ask her sternly if she is even paying attention to me, if she is listening to what I am saying. She informs me (equally irritated) some letters are hard to tell apart, esp. on phone. Of course, I could have said many things to her, but decided against it. I give it one more try, “T as in Texas, the state where Dallas is”. She cuts in “Oh! you mean T as in Texas” before I can tell her Austin is also a part of Texas. “Yeah, perfect, thats it”, I say in a staccato manner. What I have been saying all this while is what I think though.

She asks me for my last name and I spell out each letter for her. She does not reconfirm it. (thankfully for both of us) She then asks for my apartment number, “J… for Joker”, I say. Of course, The Dark Knight impression has cut deep in me.

But, yeah I am not amused. This conversation was neither pretty nor expected.

Give me some change Wed, 02 Jul 2008 07:36:11 +0000 Shr I have changed houses, cities, states, and even time zones, yet the neighbors upstairs continue to rock my world. My house still shakes, the roof still threatens to cave in, the loud thumping noises still persist, I can still hear people walking around, banging doors, smashing furniture.

Whats with the upstairs neighbors all around the country?

Hunger management Mon, 19 May 2008 06:38:14 +0000 Shr It all began in Italy. The mantra with which life was lived said, “Gelato every night”. True to the mantra, scoops of Gelato went missing every night from the shops of Italy. Multiply that by 12, and “N” amount of scoops were never seen again where N is a very large number. Gnocchi, pizza and pasta were attacked with the same passion. So, was the Italian version Coke. Mozzarella was wolfed down as if it was an international criminal. Back home from Italy, more (domestic) flying ensued and rich food was consumed again. Once at home, more silly food choices were made.

All the food has left blog owner way fatter than she left for Italy. The easy food (i.e. food that is served and not cooked by self/eater) also made her somewhat of sloth. Last 7 days have been tough on her. To avoid cooking she has been alternating between Maggi Instant noodles and Popcorn every SINGLE night for meal. And 2 times on weekends. Her palate is not able to come to the terms with the sudden change in fortune. Her friends think she is out of food. And out of money (which might be true, but then she spends $10 on coffee every 4th day and considers produce an expense to be avoided). Her friends decided to help her. They offered her food. She is grateful to her friends and moved by their generosity. Very very much (which makes her sad, as school is nearing end). She is also very embarrassed. She finally got some tomatoes and carrots and paneer and onion and ricotta cheese and sweetened condensed milk and fruit juice and milk to salvage her reputation. Hopefully, she makes good use of today’s shopping.

QuickList in YouTube, WordPress 2.5.1, and Twitter Fri, 16 May 2008 06:46:47 +0000 Shr 3 things currently on mind:

A) Why can’t I drag and drop the stuff to shuffle my playlist in YouTube’s QuickList?
I am no technowhiz but with all that AJAX stuff out there, it should not be that difficult.

B) And I am loving WordPress 2.5.1! Very nice and clean interface (on the inside). Its a party in here once you log in. However, as always I am still facing some technical problems with the blog.

C) Twitter has been partially useful to me in the past and have been annoying to me sometimes but yesterday I realized the power and importance of easy access it provides to your social community. {More later, (maybe)} All I can say is that yesterday I was thankful to be on Twitter and more than that being a part of my wonderful school.

Living in darkness Mon, 17 Mar 2008 03:34:50 +0000 Shr My expenditure on light bulbs far exceeds grocery and rent included.

Here is why.

Rough but accurate timeline of bulbs that (lived &) died in my room

Bulb#1 – when a friend visited. I was moving stuff around the room and knocked the lamp over. The bulb could not withhold the fall and crash
Bulb#2 – when I switched the lamp off and on really fast really early one morning
Bulb#3 – early evening, I came back from classes, switch on the bulb, decide to take a nap, switch it off, that was the end of it
Bulb#4 – suddenly bulb fuses
Bulb#5 – I was living temporarily somewhere for a couple of months, 3 weeks before I left for home, the light bulb fused
Bulb#6 – another bulb went kaput in the above mentioned house 2 days before I left it
Bulb#7 – I have a pretty paper lantern inside my office, poor thing is the only source of life and warmth in otherwise cold, scary but cool! office. The bulb fused one evening
Bulb#8 – I swear there was a 5 second delay between switch off and on, RIP again bedroom light

8 light bulbs. Quite a record in 2 years

Stuffed peppers, potaotes, food and non food Mon, 18 Feb 2008 03:02:52 +0000 Shr After an entire week of eating nothing but PB&J sandwich for lunch and dinner, I knew looking at the Smuckers bottle would not be a pleasant sight. It was half finished. Obviously, of course it had to. Peanut butter unlike Amul butter can be had in copious amounts as far as my taste buds and foolish lipo-recognizers are concerned. Result – half bottle of butter-jam finished. In one week. Ideally, do not butter, jams adorn the sides of doors of fridges for months till end, at least one month? I do not know why I was expecting Smuckers to surpass me by my lifetime, but the jolt was enough to get me to kitchen to cook for something real.

I am one of those – reluctant cooks, the people who do not get heard much on internet. At least, I for one fail to hear their noise umm.. voice. All I hear is sizzles of food blogs. I used to proudly declare in school, “I don’t know how to cook.” I would have still be proud of the same and reared the rebel in me more but when I look around myself, my generation suddenly seems to be born with spatula and olive oil. Making me more doubtful of myself. Am I lagging behind or am I years ahead of them?

Anyways, that distraction apart, I focussed on what could be cooked. It is important to know what could be cooked, if you are in my situation. You cook for yourself, there are no flat-mates taking turns at cooking, and you are a sloth when it comes to cooking. So, you buy vegetables in puny amounts and just two or three of them. So, of course my fridge is not as stocked as it used to be last semester. I had bought green peppers/capsicum on this trip becuase potato-peppers would be nice change and I had bought zucchinis because I am suddenly in love with them. And of course bag of potatoes followed me home, it is the most loyal food-item you could work with besides rice. So, peppers, zucchini, potatoes and an intention to cook. What could be made out of this. Of course the plain old peppers-potato for which peppers were bought in the first place but voice in the heart said Naaaaah!

I was then reminded of Sunday Cook-a-thon by my friend Arnab who has just recovered from his milestone birthday on Ze Valentine’s Day! How Special! Happy Birthday Arnab. So, with his help and special tip and very timely response to my SOS calls, I succeeded in making myself a real meal.

Of course, now that I was making a big deal of it, I decided to photographically evidence it. I do not know how or why this idea came into my mind, but I did! So, my very firsht food blog entry. :D Kavi would be so proud. She is one of the people who could teach me how to actually do stuff in kitchen.

So, without further delay, here they are, my thoughts in order of cooking (i.e. when I was cooking and not when thoughts were getting cooked)
(Photos are not great, but they are not the point either. I am the point, and I am great)

  1. Enter into kitchen. Wow! There already is a spread. Seems like my flat-mate is also planning to cook in a big way.
    Flatmate too has big plans!
    I had almost fifth of mind to snag some of her stuff. I did not. Good sense prevailed. Oh! but I did snag the knife she had used to cut her stuff, but well then technically the knife belongs to “the house”. So, I have clean conscience so far. I would towards the end pluck and use 4 leaves of cilantro, BUT I WAS offered to do that. So, we can rest in peace, I did not have to resort to theft to fill up my belly.

  2. So, I am using boiled potatoes, corn, zucchini (of course, no?) onion. And aah! Pepper :)
    Veggies I used!

  3. Onions are fried in olive oil, corn cob is thawed in boiling water.
    Step 2

  4. Zucchinis are thrown in and green chillies too follow with ginger and garlic. I have noticed these days, I am replacing red chilli powder with thin slices of green chillies.
    Of course, the photo is staged to get the pair of scissors in to tell you all about my brilliance. I use them to cut chillies as I use peeler to get thin layers of ginger.
    Step 3

  5. And tomatoes, and corn!
    I tried to keep the amount of stuffing low. Per habit, I end up making more of everything. I can’t help it. So, I consciously decided to cook only small amount of vegetable stuffing.
    Step 4

  6. And mashed potatoes go in. I am excited. I even put in some cheese. I intentionally did not photograph the cheese. It was simple Kraft cheese not some fancy one. You would have realized some of these photos have been carefully crafted, like this one to get the Seasoning Salt, and pepper and oregano in. Ooh! that was not done to tell ya they were used while cooking but I think I am growing vain. Well so, we can say these photos ARE serving dual purpose. Also, it was here, that I realized the stuffing would fall short of what is needed. Oh well.
    Step 5

  7. So, I massage the inside and outside of hollow seeded pepper with olive oil as per Arnab’s advice. The stuffing goes in, the top of pepper goes back on top of it. And the whole package goes in an oven preheated to 350F.
    Step 6

  8. Now, that I was getting so fancy, there was simply no stopping me. I cut slices of boiled potato spread some oil on them and sprayed some salt. This idea was given to me yesterday by another ex flat-mate, Jasleen who too should be acknowledged as one of the people who could teach me about stuff in kitchen. This potato had to had some of my touch. So, I threw some oregano and minced garlic on it. Now, this guy totally hates me for buying frozen vegetables and minced garlic. He somewhat understands convenience and cheapness of frozen vegetables for a grad student but he denies to understand need of bottled minced garlic. Well, just to let you know Ed, minced garlic bottles also have this watery garlicy thing which came in very handy while casually dropping some garlic and garlic-water over potatoes. Anyways, Ed also tends to be high-maintenance when it comes to cooking.
    Step 7

  9. Things come out of the oven, looking mmm mmm and yum yum. I had kept them in oven as long as they needed to be in there. Kept checking “if they were there yet”. I guess it took pepper some 30 minutes and potatoes some 15 minutes.
    Step 8
    Oh! Oh! Pepper was also sprinkled with cheese on top of it before it went into the oven. The molten cheese looked awesome.
    Step 9

    And peoplefolk! the aroma was totally awesome. It was a successful meal.

But during the whole procedure, I got a few questions in my mind. So, people who actually take photograph of their food at every step, how do they do it. Sometimes, hands are wet, sometimes they are oily, sometimes they have mashed potatoey stuff sticking on to them. Washing and drying hands before every camera click almost tired me.
And of course, you also run in a chance of having your camera smell like an onion, or garam masala or worse, cauliflower. How do you guys do it? Do you have separate camera – one for food related photos, other for rest of the stuff/life. Even though I can’t answer that question, I am extremely thankful that you do it, whatever is the motivation. People like me benefit a lot. We the ones, who are adept at ruining something simple (yet profound) like tea. Well, who am I to say “we”, I have never heard rest of us. So, me. Me is confused but still thankful. And full of goodness too.

This meal was followed by Klondike’s dark chocolate ice cream.

Recursion and Black Hole Tue, 29 Jan 2008 19:48:11 +0000 Shr Fall 2007 folder or Spring 2008 folder or should I be able to somehow magically tag them. Tagging tends to be disorganized, and somehow tags like Fall 2007 and Fall 07 get created. No; tagging will be too much work, besides it cant be done [...]]]> Aargh! My two semester capstone project… Where should I store it—> Fall 2007 folder or Spring 2008 folder or should I be able to somehow magically tag them.
Tagging tends to be disorganized, and somehow tags like Fall 2007 and Fall 07 get created. No; tagging will be too much work, besides it cant be done (right now).
So, do I break up my capstone in two different places. I am not sure how I think about it, as one long piece of work, or this is where I got till Fall and here I begin in Spring. Well, I did have deliverable which concluded my work in Fall. So, I can break it into two. But what about Literature and Research, that is certainly not possible to break in two folders. Additionally, I will be hopping up and down directory structure to find certain something. Document Organization and Management always seem to take a toll on me, and generally raises its head in Spring Sessions (though the numbers are small to support this assumption) as does extreme lethargy and want-to-but-can’t-care attitude. Maybe the snow and rain is to be blamed.

Hebrew or Hindi? Sat, 26 Jan 2008 01:12:59 +0000 Shr A particular set of my friends often indulge in the phenomenon of chain mails. Chain mails, where people Reply to All (the sender and receivers) and carry out a full conservation. These chain mails are between a set of friends and often full of inside jokes, lots of leg pulling, the general conversation of friends (not the obnoxious, ultra foolish kind which sometimes happen at universities).

So, in one of the chain mails with my friends which I am recently embroiled into is all about one oneupmanship in mastery of Hebrew. Two of my friends are arguing over the use of certain (and very basic) Hebrew words, and their usage. A lot of accusing each other to be using French and calling it Hebrew is also going on. So, ze ( ;) ) thing is, the two of them are now trying to apprise each other of the pronunciation of the said words. And Hindi is being employed to clear out the dark pronunciation cloud.

All this happening over Gmail, and my sponsored links are in … Hindi. For all the fist fighting going on, Hebrew links would have been more informative, really.