23 August 2007

Birthday II

By a happy quirk of fate, my birthdays this year are on consecutive days, 23rd and 24th. So I have a 48 hour long birthday. Of course some people get jealous when they find out that I have 2 birthdays a year and refuse to acknowledge one of them - to those people I say, "Tchaaah." Well, actually I say, "Some years I have 3 birthdays, like last year." Unfortunately, my efforts at making them feel happy about this usually fail. They should actually feel lucky, I don't absolutely insist on 2 birthday presents a year. They can be happy about once every 17 years as I only have 1 birthday then. So my jealous friends, be patient, your time will come.

So anyway there's a tradition on this blog (started by Lova aka the Malagasy dwarf hippo and GingaBoo) that visitors should wish me happy birthday in the language of their choice as a comment on this post. So please, feel free to click here and add some more colourful language to the mix. So far we have English, Doggish, French, Creole from La Reunion, Malagasy, Filipino, Malay, Tamil, Malayalam, German, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Marathi, Mallu-Warrier, !hosa.

There's another tradition on the blog for my birthday, which is that I should allow everyone to laugh their heads off at me. Last year I posted a suitable picture for the purpose, and, well, will do the same thing this year too. The first photo is from about 1996, after I got a haircut:


This second picture is from 1998 after a further reduction:


Go ahead, laugh away. But remember, I still have the hair for juju (black magic) purposes so don't laugh too hard.

Update - here's the cake my lovely friends made for me... somehow I think that they have the upper hand even though it was my birthday:

Birthday candles

22 August 2007

I just had to post this picture

Looking at the spider

I know self-promotion not so good but I love this photo I took yesterday, dedicated to my sister for her birthday. I've kept her in a bad mood for a couple of weeks now (sorry to the brother-in-law for that as well).

20 August 2007

A bird in hand...

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
How would this translate into various ideologies?

Bushism – God spoke to me and told me that the three birds constitute an axis of evil. We want the birds dead or alive. Yes I know the CIA trained the birds.

Blairism – Same as Bushism, just on a different continent and with a posh-er accent.

Musharraf-ism – Hey, Bush, pay me a few million and I'll get the birds for you. If you don't I'll give the birds nukes. Hey, birds, give up one of your own to me and I'll pay you to make more birds.

Osama-ism – India, America and Israel have a soft spot for the birds. We'll infiltrate a trained bird of our own to blow itself and the other birds up. This will contribute to the greater glory of me... err I mean God.

– The bird in the hand should do double the work for half the money or we'll outsource the job to the birds in the bush.

Communism – Cut up the bird in hand and distribute its parts to the birds in the bush.

Non-aligned movement-ism – We protest the overworking of the bird and the cutting up of the bird. Now treat us like we are important. No, we don't have any solutions.

Greenpeace-ism – The bird's poop should be protected. Do not remove it.

Science prof-ism – how is the bird in hand different from the birds in the bush? i want 200,000 for 2 years, 1 postdoc and a graduate student to work on this most important problem. The answers will solve HIV, cancer, and get us to Mars (but maybe not in my lifetime).

Ph.D. student-ism – How can I leverage this situation to help me graduate sometime before the decade ends and/or get free pizza/beer?

Philosopher – Just what is a bird anyway? Is it an extension of man's desire to fly?

Freudism – The stories you heard about the birds and the bees has probably caused this interest in birds. This explains your depression right now.

Religious person – God wanted the bird to come to you. Thank Him for this precious gift and He, if he wants, will gift you the other two birds.

Atheism – The bird was attracted by the scent of your breakfast on your hand. The birds in the bush have better survival instincts.

(OK, this post was subconsciously affected by the brilliant article – You have two cows. Here's a link to another post that was inspired by the two cows.)

10 August 2007

The second day from hell

Well I've had an exceptional run of good luck for a few weeks without anything bad happening but today seems to be the day from hell. Thus far it's been going well, the camera is awesome, the new lens is super-awesome, job search is going well, India is in a good position to thump England 2-0 in the test series.

So of course today had to happen to remind me that it doesn't pay to be too happy. I woke up pretty early in the morning because I heard the cat scratching around somewhere. Turns out she was scratching my computer keyboard, which is now missing 3 keys. Missing, as in I have no idea where they are. There's about a 1m radius where the keys should be, but they are not there. Turning on the red light and subjecting the cat to interrogation yielded no results other than a couple of scratches. She pretended to know nothing.

Well, following the interrogation the cat decided to perform her morning rituals. Now I don't have the world's greatest nose, but the stench from the litterbox almost brought tears to my eyes and banished any semblance of sleep. So in the interests of my continued existance on the planet I cleaned out the litterbox.

During this litterbox cleaning, when I was bent over the offending offal, my back suddenly protested. I think I heard a shriek coming from it. So I dropped to the bed and lay down, crawled my way to the computer with the missing keys, and googled "back pain can't stand". Dr. Google informed me that the most likely explanation for my condition is a lumbar sprain or strain, aka whenever i try to do anything my back hurts... a lot. The treatment? Well... rest. And 2 painkillers.

So this is about the worst time for me to rest in bed for a few days. And this is because the usual support staff are not present. They are either camping or gallavanting off to New York for a lot of fun. In New Yorker's defense, he came back from his way to the airport to get me painkillers and walk the dogs and feed the cat. And yet I am complaining, that is the human condition. Originally this was supposed to be a wonderful weekend, with me in charge of the animals and showing them lots of discipline and getting all their bad habits sorted out. (That's the official word from me to the others - the reality is that I was going to spoil them rotten so that BooBoo and the cat's affections switch to me.... drat, foiled, like my other plans of being a millionaire by the time I'm 30.) For people who worry about titles of blog posts that do not make sense, here's a link to the post about the first day from hell. Hey, the cat finally noticed that something is wrong and she came over, lay down next to me, touching my arm and is licking it while purring. Awww, sweet cat. If only she didn't like to destroy keyboards and doggies so much!

Now I'm going to continue to lay down, get to work on the manuscripts, and see when I can get to lab in one piece. In the meantime, have a look at some insects I got yesterday while walking the doggies:



Butterfly heaven


03 August 2007



She's far away from home,
she's still carrying her burden.
Is she waiting for someone who
can help to share the load?

Thanks to Ali for helping with post-processing of the picture.