Monday, November 29, 2010

Story #2 : Adding insult to injury

"Major Banks! It is merely out of courtesy that you are allowed to be in this room now.. Please abstain from abusing that privilege with your inane remarks!" - General Cassidy spoke tonelessly and softly, but Banks was reduced to a quivering mass at these words.

"Oh! ignore the young whippersnapper, Bill... Let's look at how we can get out of this dire situation" - General Walters, in a blustery voice through his thick mustache.

"It is dire, Sir! Four of our men were taken out as they attempted to cross over to the enemies side. They were all sacrificed, and for what? We're still surrounded and we have not an inch of leeway to move in any direction" - Colonel Carruthers looked more like a pharmacist than a military man, Balding and slim, with wire-rimmed glasses and a toothbrush mustache. He had a perpetual expression of worry on his face.

Cassidy, almost mournfully - "I see no hope at all. We have only one option."

The three of them looked at each other, and then across the table at Captain Sergeyev, who remained inscrutable. 

He had built up an immense reputation over the years, so much so, that much higher ranking officers looked up to him as a keen strategist. Perhaps it was about his Russian roots and accent.

"Gentlemen! You have decided? Surrender is the only option, you feel?" - Sergeyev, very gravely.

Carruthers leaned over and whispered into General Cassidy's ear. The generals expression turned into one of visible pain. Walters was massaging his forehead, he seemed to have developed a headache.

"Yes, Nicolai... " - It seemed like Carruthers perpetual worry was justified.

"So, gentlemen! That's the third game that you have resigned! That will be three hundred dollars!" - Nicolai, with a wide grin.

They paid up in silence and continued to stare at the board.
Nicolai started towards the door, and suddenly stopped,  and turned back, still grinning. He approached the table, and picked up a knight from the generals side and placed it down again.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Material guy

This week was about material stuff, sometimes it brings more joy than people, especially when it's about building something.

Something exciting about buying hardware - with the plan to do something nice with it. There's no feeling like that of going to a hardware store with a list, and getting exactly what you need! This time it was bunches of stainless steel bolts and nuts in myriad sizes to replace every fastener I can on my bike.
Goodbye rust! Goodbye seized bolts! Goodbye ugliness!

Then three days ago, I looked at an old silencer lying around and I was tempted... I cut it apart and patched it back together with odds and ends from the junk I have at home. In the end the result looks pretty cool and that's amplified a hundred times because it's made by my very own hands, the hard way. Gonna sound sweet and perform even sweeter.I like that whole old school way of working... call it hacking... If it's good enough for Burt Munro, it's good enough for me.

For some reason, to me, simple stuff like bits of metal or wood are so much more valuable than stuff like gadgets, gold, precious stones or whatever. Especially wood! How undervalued a material it is, and lots of folks take it for granted, as if it were made on an assembly line!

They say "Only God can make a tree", but hypothetically, even God can't make a 2 foot wide naturally grown oak in less than a century. The piece of wood that shows up on this blogs title, is a very rare piece of Himalayan yew. Very few living souls have even seen a tree that's thicker than 6 inches - this piece is part of a 14 inch thick tree that washed down the river in a flood. Money can't buy this stuff!

So to all the folks who disrespect wood and waste it, GTFO this planet!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Short story #1

"I'm at my wits end here! I'm at the point where giving up on him seems like the easiest option..." said Sarah.

"No!" exclaimed Molly with her characteristic squeal... "Don't say that!! After all you've told me about him, all those fancy moves he knows, how could the situation be so awful?? Besides, you're forgetting that I haven't met him yet!!"

"Well, you are right..." agreed Sarah. "You know, 'perfect' was an adjective I've used to describe him often, but...".

"You mean like physically?" Molly interjected, with a giggle.

"There is that... " said Sarah thoughtfully, "those strong ankles of his... that broad back... the heights he takes me to...". She seemed to drift off, dreamy-eyed, and suddenly snapped back "Never mind that! That's not the point!".

Molly was grinning...

Sarah went on - "Anyway perfect or not,  he just won't make that final leap that I want him to! I've cajoled, bribed, scolded, even thrown a tantrum, but he just won't budge after a point. Stubborn as a mule! I've always known that he's taken after his mother. It would mean so much for my career and future, and he knows that for sure, but he won't do it!!".
Molly, impatiently - "OK, All right, I've heard all this from you all day, let's go meet him already. I've never ever met a stud like him, if what you've told me about him is true!! You know, those big soulful eyes,  how effortlessly he carries you, strong yet gentle..."

Now it was Molly getting all starry eyed. Sarah made a face at her - "Let's go!".

They walked across the grassy meadow, towards him. He was standing by a tree, quietly, as if lost in thought. At the sight of the two girls, he started a bit nervously and ambled towards them, with his brisk powerful gait.

"Well my mind is made up! It won't be him." said Sarah as he came up and stood beside them, "There's no way he's making first place this time, at the annual county equestrian show! He won't jump that final hurdle, and I can't make him. That's that!".

"Oh well there's always next year!" said Molly brightly, fishing out a large turnip from her bag, which he rapidly disposed off with his powerful bite.

"I suppose so..." conceded Sarah.

Who's right?

So person X, Y, Z and W have all given me mutually exclusive explanations for things. In their own way, each is quite acquainted with the problem domain in question. But the common factor is that none of them have anything to show for their apparent expertise - Never trust a poor fortune teller (or financial guru whose portfolio is different from what he suggests to you).

In the end seems like I have to simply pick one viewpoint and stick to it. So I'm picking mine, it's a nice one! If my nice little viewpoint is erroneous then the world sucks, and I shall initiate premature shutdown... so there!!!

Speaking of shutdown, I was reminded of a story by Hofstadter where a chappie discovers a theory that when processed by the brain, sets it into an infinite loop... Now if that could be induced by verbal communication, it would be a cool "evil-overlord" power to have.

In fact seems like the existing evil overlords do have some such power, enabling them to introduce powerful memes into the brains of hoi polloi.

Nuff said...

Of flutes and gear shifts

I have four flutes now, all different kinds :

  • Bansuri - traditional primitive bamboo flute that you blow through, seven finger holes.

  • Carnatic flute #1 - You blow sideways into it, it has seven finger holes.

  • German flute - A wooden one, blow straight, seven finger holes and one for the thumb.

  • Carnatic flute #2 - Sideways blown, six finger holes.

There are a few bikes I've ridden/ride with different gear shift and brake configurations:

  • My boisterous black beast - Right shift, First gear up, rest down.

  • My brothers - Left Shift, First down, rest up.

  • Jawa - Left shift, First up, rest down, clutch-less shifting.

The point is in both these cases, after a while the fingers and the feet start to "think" on their own and it doesn't matter which one I'm riding or playing, I can get comfy after a few KM / notes.

It wasn't easy in the beginning - For many months, I struggled to go from the Bansuri to the german flute, So too, for  many KM initially when I rode to Ladhak, on a bike with a different shift pattern from mine. Took many botched shifts and badly played tunes, before adapting to adaptation.

Now finally, I managed in the last few weeks, to adapt to one of the sideways flutes, and suddenly both are equally easy to play! Learn one, and get another learning free! Even though the same tune requires totally different finger movements to play on each one.

So it's all about delegating to the sub-conscious, as I feel I often do when solving programming stuff. Not always possible, but there are times, when I have solved things without a conscious process - I just knew the answer somehow.

Eventually, to be able to relegate most actions to the subconscious is my goal, whether it be martial arts, biking, "fluting" or even human interaction (thats the holy grail for me, I think some people have this gift).

Meanwhile, more confirmation today that my gut-feelings are accurate. Just need to point my gut in the right direction now, to find out what's what.Ha!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shakespeare reloaded etc.

The exercisers eternal question...

To do, or not to do – that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The stings and harrows of outrageous exertion,
Or to take arms against a sea of good intentions
And, by opposing, end them. To laze, to doze
No more!

Seriously, commitment isn't a joke. It's easy enough to commit to the simplest things in life - Bein' punctual, making that appointment, waking up with intent (where you wake up happily) and so on, but if you have trouble with that, don't write it off as "Oh! that's the way I am". It points to a dystrophy of the essential muscle called will.

Unless you can commit to the small things, you won't be able to hang on to your dreams - and trust me - Dreams take a long long time to come true. Don't expect to do pistol squats when Indian squats are hard! If you claim that the big dreams are more important, and to hell with the trivial, I question your humanity - Excellence at certain things is not an excuse for lack of fundamental good attributes.

Conversely, if you can deal with these simple things easily, it's not quite enough... you need to increase the load on your will, just like you do on your muscles. Give it bigger challenges, for bigger gains.

Eventually though, it boils down to whether you are content with yourself, and refuse to want to grow - It's a mixture of the pathetic sloth and lowering of self standards. And don't gimme any of that "I am content with myself!" crap. Animals are content, even to die on the chopping block.

Not wanting to know - That is the last frontier - The Last Frontier, Alistair MacLean


Saturday, November 20, 2010


Everything I done, written, said or thought may be totally wrong!!

Just sayin...


  • 2 minutes 48 seconds into a 3 minute plank.
  • The last 20 meters of a 10 km run.
  • The 34th push up.

You know the feeling - when it's almost done but not quite and the will aches more than the body.I'm no stranger to dealing with it! But there's another feeling, like when there's a stone in your shoe... You know it's simplest to take off the shoe, but sometimes the shoe is on another (persons) foot - mixing metaphors here - make of it what you can.

Sometimes things seem crystal clear and obvious, but only to me... And yet will be seen as trivial if described, until others discover them on their own. It's true - Everything is trivial in hindsight, and I carry that air of "This is trivial" into foresight too. A dangerous way to think perhaps, but hey, don't knock it till you've tried it. But some trivial things still seem hard in any "sight".

Complexity is my fetish, In my own way I believe I have simplified the way I am, but as if to compensate, I seek out complicated thoughts and situations. Life on Earth has a lot of artificial complexity, I want to discard the preconceived complexities and install my own. Whatever mess there is, it's my own mess inside my own head.

I realized I've always had Plan B (and C thru Z sometimes)! Consciously not often, but Plan A and B go parallely somehow and when A drops out, it's as if B were the main plan anyway. Gives the illusion that everything is going according to plan!

Meanwhile, we all know that faith can be the most strongest motivator, but also (obviously) - that it's the strength of faith, and not quite the "faithed" object, that makes things seem to happen. I'm "faithin'" away like nuts, but is the happening "thered" yet? (Verbing cools language...)

What's this thing about vision? I saw an ad on a hoarding (for eye donations):
  • I can hear what you hear..
  • I can feel what you feel...
  • I can taste what you taste....
  • I can smell what you smell.....
  • But I can't see what you see!

Funny innit? Vision needs a very finely oriented context in space, and not so easy to get anothers "viewpoint" so easily. That's why viewpoints are called that, very few share them!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Syaad Vaada and stuff

Here is a curious philosophy of the Jain philosophers which actually seems a bit Godelian...

They call it Syaad-Vaada ( "Perhaps - Exposition" literally )

The sevenfold predication goes as follows :

All affirmations are -

  • true in some sense

  • false in some sense

  • meaningless in some sense

  • true and false in some sense

  • true and meaningless in some sense

  • false and meaningless in some sense

  • true and false and meaningless in some sense

Interesting that someone from millennia ago thought of this. But this all possible combos of truth, false and meaningfulness is a bit tricky. Let's take an example statement and see if we can come up with senses for all the combinations

Lets say ..uh.. "India is a great country"

  • Definitely true in some sense - say culturally, but ignoring everything else

  • Definitely false in the sense of - quality of life, but ignoring everything else

  • Meaningless - perhaps after 100 years when the nation-state is an obsolete concept

  • True and false - nothing new here, everyone believes this

The other three viewpoints can be generated by choosing different meanings of "great" like "Ideal place to hunt vampires", or "The next hotbed of vice" or "Places where the speed limit is < 100 mph".

So there you have it... Truth and falsehood are very hazy terms bound by time and space.

There is a peculiar phenomenon in formal logic where if a statement and its negation are both proved true, then any statement is true within that system - thusly :

  • This chair is brown

  • This chair is not brown

  • Therefore, the moon is made of green cheese

Similar things happen if an irresistible force meets an immovable object or you connect the input and output of a perfect NOT gate!

What about when an irresistible object meets an immovable force? Uh... Well I'm trying to deal with that, I shall post the results soon...


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The spirit in the machine

I was talking to someone the other day - a right-brained individual - and she didn't quite accept my idea that inanimate objects like tools or machines are alive in a sense. "They're man-made!" she claimed...

When you use them long enough though, you realize that eventually they form an extension of your body and senses... and are as alive as a limb of yours.

Which motorbike rider does not "feel" the loss of traction when you overcook it on a bend? Which sawyer does not flinch when the saw teeth hit a nail embedded in a log? (and it's exactly the same jarring feeling that you get when you crunch down on a stone with your teeth). Valentino Rossi talks to his bike before a race... perhaps that's why his Yamaha overhauls Hondas which are much more powerful. Wacky, but true. Let he who can out-race Rossi question this!

Musicians should be in touch with this feeling often, as their instruments become directly wired to their mind as it were with the fingers just an intermediary.

Dawkins explains in "The extended phenotype" that the distinction of what a living organisms body is, is quite vague and blurred, shows examples of creatures whose body and environment are overlapped.

The feeling of embodied-ness because of direct physical connection by tissue is just one of the channels of sense. The other senses too do connect us to the world at different ranges and intensities. Is a network any less of a network because it's wireless? Mirror neurons produce in our brain the states of the those things we see in the world. An especially empathetic person will flinch even when shown cartoonish violence.

How far can this go?

If you attune your senses with practice, eventually you can no longer be hit by someone than you can punch your own face. I believe the most expert of martial artistes build this level of awareness - as if they are connected to the world they perceive.

V S Ramachandran describes a body-awareness experiment where a persons nose can be made to seem elongated a la Pinnocchio, and another where a person reacts neurologically as if s/he were actually struck by a hammer when it was just a table that was struck.

Perhaps an ultimate extension of this is what the Buddhist meant when he said to the hot-dog vendor : "Make me one with everything!"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I've usually written for others to read, but this one is going to be obscure and vague.

So it's paid off this eve, and what they said was wasn't true - It ain't rocket science! How on earth could I have ever thought it was?

I ought to start realizin' that things are as easy as pie for me when I actually try it. All that scaremongering is for the breakfast flock. They can't fly high or dive deep into anything, so they believe everything's non-trivial.... Almost had me convinced of it! Oh the humanity!

Anyway now that I know I am master of all I attempt, I'll attempt masterfully - Gonna get do'n all that gotta get done. Long list, but ticking off like crazy.

I'm going to remind me of those times (and how many there are) when I said "I told you so" metaphorically to the world. I'm like Ric Flair when it comes to the battle against life and if I can't win by submission, a thumb in the eye will do nicely. Woooooo!

So by the power of grayskull ( or any other skull ) I DO have the power.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So here I am

Many a time I intended to blog, but never did it consistently - Shame, because I've a lot to say and what I've said is scattered all over in obscure unseen corners of the web.

In some ways my user name reflects who I am - "rep movsd" is a mnemonic representing an instruction that tells a microprocessor to shift a chunk of data from one place in memory to another. So that's kind of what I do, I (try to) shift information and knowledge and ideas across myself and people...

Now on to rambling and mumbling...

It's something strange that this year seemed to fly away really really fast. The past three months have been excruciatingly drawn out (I know why) , but the time before that seems to have flown. Time's a tricky thing, especially psychological time.

Convention! My pet peeve!

Yesterday, me and my bro were talking about some stuff related to vehicle top speeds and over the course of the discussion we realized that certain oft-repeated theories are actually totally wrong. It's just that they've been repeated so often by certain individuals of good standing that they have turned into gospel and no one questions them. For goodness sake though, it's not rocket science - Just simple physics. Question, I say! Question!

Debate and discussion is something I do a lot...
"The point is - " said Powell, with the patience of one explaining electronics to an idiot child... - Catch that Rabbit, Asimov

Often one needs to have "Powellian" patience to debate, but despite that some folks will debate like a toddler playing chess - At some point they ignore the rules and demand to be able to move the pieces any which way they want!
Give me a big enough syllogism, and I will prove the Earth! - Archimedes(remixed)

So it's a losing battle and I'm thinking maybe it's easier to debate on Facebook notes, where people will be articulate before they post, and the host of people reading that will pounce on any illogical viewpoint like a

Mumbling on...

Haven't worked out in a while - Since classes started, my "Convict conditioning" workouts have become quite infrequent, and there's been a lot of roamin' around, messing with the bike and stuff. Got to get back on the horse ASAP!

Anything that don't kill me makes me stronger - ergo something that makes me stronger makes me not die?

Affirming the consequent - ERROR!

More later...