A few firsts

A couple of firsts in my life today: I wonder if there’ll be more to come. It’s only half the day done. Both were very hard to do, but after the first, the second came much easier.

Party Time

The party yesterday was good. Dan had a good time, and the rain held off. Although, I’m stuck with extra cans of Bud Light. No one seems to want them. And it does taste too watery.

I’m at a little bit of a loss as to what to do with myself these days. There seems to be nothing to work towards any more. And funnily, I’m not looking forward to the new term of classes. Usually I’m very enthusiatic about classes. And this being the first term with grad classes, its worrying me even more. Hopefully once it starts I’ll settle down into the routine. Also I have to move twice in the space of a month. I’m definitley not looking forward to that.

The website needs more content, so that is something to work towards.

Carly Patterson

Carly Patterson, 5 feet tall, 97 pounds, all of 16 years old. I wonder if she realises the enormity of what she’s achieved. It is almost unbelievabel that someone so young could be the best in the world at soemthing like gymnastics. It was amazing to watch her rip apart the competition, almost like there was no doubt that she was better than all of them. I’ve got nothing but tremendous respect for her.

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I’m sure she’d kick my ass, judging from the muscle strength one would need to do this things that she did.

A Paintball Beating

I had my first experience with Paintball this weekend. And I’ve got a few bruises and scrapes to prove it. For the uninitiated, paintball is grownup (not really) men (and a few women) bringing their video-game shoot-em-out fantasies to life. The guns are compressed-air powered and shoot marble sized balls of oil based paint at speeds of upto 280 feet per second, upto a distance of 100-125 feet. Games take on various scenarios, with the most popular being a capture-the-flag kind of games. Fields can be upto a couple of acres in size, with all kinds of natural and man-made obstacles that help (or hinder) in taking out the opponent.

The game is certainly not as easy as I imagined it being. I certainly took a beating, but I think I got a few confirmed kills too. I was rather pleased with one of them, which I think was in my third game. After exiting the first two games early, I made up my mind just to stay in the game, whatever it took. So after a lot of early hiding and crawling through the wet mud (courtesy of Hurricane Charley) I found myself behind two trees that had an ideal gap in-between them, through which I could see two opponents. Level, aim, fire, kill! Get killed!

It takes a while to understand the nuances of the game. And each field is unique in the way it plays. After 10 games and 6 hours of paintballing, I was tired enough to not want to talk. I certainly want to keep at the game, but it’s got a cost that is prohibitive enough to keep me away. Plus it’s going to require me to be a lot more fit than I am now.

http://www.splatusa.com -> The field I played at
http://www.paintball.com -> Tons of good info for newbies

Thanks Josh and Travis for introducing me to the game!

Superstitions

Paraskevidekatriaphobia, or fear of Friday the 13th is one of the most wide-spread superstitions in the English speaking world.

The Devils Dozen
It is said that if 13 people sit down to dinner together, all will die within the year. Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings (including ones that I’ve lived in) don’t have a 13th floor. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck (Jack the Ripper.) There are 13 witches in a coven. A little close to home, some (Australian) cricketers consider it unlucky to be on 87* or 187* since they are 13 away from a landmark century or a double.

Why this fascination and fear with a number? Looking at it from a historical context, apparently some ancient civilizations considered this number lucky. Infact, the fear of 13 people gathering at a place or feasting is said to have originated in Hinduism. Vikings also felt the same way. The Bible tells us there were exactly 13 present at the Last Supper.

Good or Bad Friday
Continuing on with the Bible, crucification took place on a Friday. Ever hear the story of HMS Friday? The British government commissioned a ship named “H.M.S. Friday.” They laid her keel on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday, and was never seen or heard from again. Supposedly, Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit on a Friday. In the middle ages in Britain, Friday was Hangman’s day. Strangely though, a lot of other cultures, considered Friday very lucky.

How and why these two separate superstitions converged, no one knows. I’d really feel bad for someone who, on Friday the 13th, walks under a ladder, inside a house, while holding an umbrella open, breaks a mirror and has a black cat cross his path. I wonder if it statistically possible to compute the likelihood of that happening. I would think not.

I’m not generally superstitious. But while playing cards I hate for anyone else to lay fingers on my cards, before I choose to pick them up. Some times, I open the cards in a particular order only. Its not surprising though that my only superstition is associated with gambling. Strangely, I’m a believer in fate and luck. But I also believe that through action (or inaction) it is possible to modify your fate or luck. Is this a conflict of logic?

Satisfaction

Pronunciation: “sa-t&s-‘fak-sh&n
Function: noun
1a: the payment through penance of the temporal punishment incurred by a sin b: reparation for sin that meets the demands of divine justice
2a: fulfillment of a need or want b: the quality or state of being satisfied : CONTENTMENT c: a source or means of enjoyment : GRATIFICATION

When is one satisfied?

I’m constantly reminded of the Rolling Stones classic Satisfaction. I’d like to think that never being satisfied with a task is a sign of a perfectionist. But there is such a thing as being overly obsessed with perfection. How can one decide when to step back, take a look at a job and say to oneself, “Well done!” ?

I can’t get no satisfaction,
I can’t get no satisfaction.
’cause I try and I try and I try and I try.
I can’t get no, I can’t get no.

That is the chorus, as sung by Mick Jagger. The complete lyrics can be found here. In the old days, I could’ve posted a link to the mp3 itself.

Updates

The last 2 weeks I’ve been mostly making cosmetic changes to the website and blog. It is still not what I’d like it to be, but I guess it never will be. I guess it will always be a work in progress. But this post is just to test the new format and see how the archives look.

I’m going to attempt to add more content.