upcoming posts

This is a whet-your-appetite combined with a reminder-for-me note alerting the both of our parties about the upcoming posts coming up on my blog. I’m putting it down in concrete form so that if I don’t forget what happened, I can recount my experiences in word form, and if I do (forget) then you (and I) at least have a brief idea of what happened.

  • Sohum eats mangoes
  • Sohum watches 99 with his mom
  • Sohum learns to cook Indian-style chicken curry
  • Sohum watches Aa Dekhen Zara on DVD
  • Sohum gets batteries and a film-roll for an old-school Canon EOS 3000QD
  • Sohum thinks about the ICC World Twenty20 event a bit more

So that’s what’s coming up. I may just have to wake up early tomorrow and get all this done as if it were some sort of paper. Naah….

enjoying the hot heat

It has been a while since I updated this blog, but that does not mean I have not been eating mangoes in plentiful proportions (not that there is any direct connection between those two events). The last few days have been quite “busy” where business contains large expanses of time where I’m lazing around doing nothing in front of the television.

First and foremost, I want to give a shout out to the gym here at my parent’s new apartment. It is quite possibly better than the gym at Rice, though probably containing a fewer number of equipment. This is probably because the gym just opened and hence all the equipment is in mint condition! Anyhow, what this means is that I’m working out pretty much 4-5 days a week (the gym is closed on Mondays). What this also means is that I’m waking up at an unreasonable hour for a vacation (between 8.30am and 9.30am). Oops. Need to work on that and maybe workout in the evening.

I also played basketball at school last Tuesday, and am planning to go tomorrow, as well. ASB has changed a hell of a lot, but my performance in the MPH was torrid as usual. I don’t think I scoerd a single point on offense, although I did have the most number of layup opportunities (and I missed all of them). My jump shooting was poor. I’m hoping it’ll have improved by tomorrow! Not only was I playing basketball after a couple of weeks, but the conditions were alien as well (shut up, Shulmith!). Hopefully I’ll cab it tomorrow so I can stay later.

Another thing I have been doing the last few days is trying to get a decent grounding on the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). One of those summer-projects of mine is a cricket simulator for an online cricket community I’m a part of, and I’m trying to work the UI through WPF instead of WinForms, since I have limited knowledge of both. It has been a steep learning curve, especially compared to the fun world of web UI programming. I’ve managed to find a few solid resources, though, so hopefully I should have a first version of the UI up later this week.

Our family went through the 2 dozen mangoes we purchased in little under a week, and we then purchased something like 2-3 dozen more. So there are a plethora of mangoes available for efficient consumption from the fridge. I’ve taken a few photos, but the camera and all the supportive cabling is too far away so that’ll have to wait for another day. Meanwhile, you can just trust me for telling you that the mangoes are, indeed, deliciously tasty.

Oh, I also watched a lot of the Indian Premier League (IPL) including the semifinals and finals. I didn’t really support any team after the Mumbai Indians crashed out, but I didn’t mind the Deccan Chargers, the eventual winners of the tournament. The thing that concerned me, though, is the fact that throughout the finals weekend, it was evident that the teams/players haven’t adjusted to playing after losing early wickets, yet. In all three games, the team batting first lost a few early wickets and then went into their shell and set substandard targets. In the semis, Deccan and Bangalore made short work of the targets set by their superior opponents, but in the final, Deccan managed to defend a small target thanks to a bit of luck. In the second semifinal, MS Dhoni was the key culprit after slowing down the scoring in the middle overs and being unable to accelerate towards the end. The man will have to do some thinking before going into the Twenty20 World Cup in a couple of weeks.

Also, a note on the NBA Playoffs–what the hell is going on? The commisioner must be in a frenzy as his Kobe-LeBron championship appears to be in jeopardy at the moment as the Magic have stepped it up. Although the Cavs still have homecourt advantage, the Magic look pretty good. Of course, the NBA Eastern Conference finals are not important enough to be screened on ESPN/Star here. The Western Conference games are shown… live. Go figure? Sure the Eastern Conference is usually boring thanks to teams like Detroit (=P) but still… Kobe and the Lakers have wrested back homecourt advantage after the Nuggets stole one in L.A. Game 4 is tomorrow and I’m contemplating waking up at 7AM to watch it.

I think that’s all for now. I’m just going to go back to my WPF self-training. Cheerios.

food

This post is dedicated to food, which is not surprising considering I’m in India, which can be considered the land of (good) food. Since coming back I have been treated to a delicious ensemble of several Indian dishes, including my favourite mutton curry, chicken curry as well as several vegetarian delights (nutri-nugget curry, dal, several different bhajis). Additionally, I also made tiramisu with my mother following a blend of the recipe provided by my Chef Roger cookbook and the one available on the Food Network website.

So here we go with photos…. several photos of that delicious mutton curry. I can still smell and taste it as I sit here sipping my nimbu paani. πŸ™‚

Mutton Curry in a Bowl

Mutton Curry and Rice

Mmm…. guess I have to wait till next Sunday to try that again. πŸ™‚ Actually, probably more, but what the hell, let me pretend to make myself happier. One of the days around then, we bought ingredients for tiramisu and made it. Unfortunately, I don’t remember exactly what day…oops. Here are the ingredients we used:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 1 pkg of fake ladyfingers (couldn’t find the real stuff)
  • 1 tablespoon Old Monk dark rum
  • 3 egg yolks
  • cocoa powder for garnishing

I think that’s it. I think I now know the recipe for tiramisu by heart. πŸ™‚ The basic way you make tiramisu is that you make the sabayon (the creamy thing) which is made of the egg yolks, sugar, and mascarpone (which is Italian cream cheese). The other component is the coffee mixture, which is used to soak the ladyfingers. We have yet been unable to find real ladyfingers in the two times I’ve made tiramisu. The first time we used soft lady fingers, and this time we used Italian puff pastry things. These were really well “varnished” apparently since they didn’t soak the coffee mixture until we crumbled their outer layer by crushing them with our fingers.

Anyways, enough technical stuff… here are some photos!

Tiramisu Final

Tiramisu Closeup

Tiramisu Closeup 2

Mmm… there’s still one piece left in the fridge, but supposedly it’s being saved for one of my cousins. I’m fast running out of patience…

Finally, I have a couple of photos of my favourite ‘biscuits’ in the world. And these are real biscuits, not the crazy baked stuff that you American/British call biscuits. You guys call them cookies… but cookies are supposed to be large, round and have chocolate chips in them, in my opinion. These biscuits are pure magic, and that is incidentally their name. I have one more package left in the pantry which I may go ravage as soon as I am done with this post!

Pure Magic Package

Pure Magic Biscuits

So that’s it. Now I’m a bit hungry even though I ate breakfast about half an hour back. I am still working on photos of the king of fruits… aka mangoes. They’re coming soon…

back in mangoland

A lot has happened since my last post. In particular, I’ve graduated. Wheeeee. But let me go through all the events in approximate order.

Graduation

It has been exactly one week since I graduated (except if you are anal enough to look at time differences, in which case I’m probably about 11.5 hours short). Graduation was fun. Although I discovered new sweat glands in my body thanks to the beautiful Houston heat and humidity, it was worth it. The speaker was quite interesting although the choice of topic was kind of questionable given the event that the was going on. I’m all for gender equality, but I’m not sure how it was the most relevant topic to be giving at a commencement, where there are people of both sexes graduating. Additionally, given the current world climate economically, politically and environmentally, I feel like a much more appropriate speaker could have been chosen. Anyways, I’m not one to sulk abotu who spoke at my graduation so that’s that.

After graduation I participated minorly in the photo-taking dealio and then had to rush back to my room to pack. I pretty much had to pack all the clothes I was going to be bringing back to Bombay as well as all the little remaining things that hadn’t been packed (such as toiletries, etc.). Once packing was done, my uncle drove me to my storage room and I put everything in there. Finally I dropped off my guitar at Alice’s apartment and said bye for the first time (haha).

Post-Graduation Festivities

Post-graduation dinner was had with Tweety’s family at a Thai restaurant near the hotel my family was staying at. The food and wine was pretty good and it was a fun dinner as we recounted not only our days at Rice, but our parents’ days at college together. After dinner we went our separate ways and I fell asleep around 11:00pm out of pure exhaustion of the days activities! Also we were going to wake up the next day to leave for Canyon Lake at 8am, so we needed to go to sleep early.

The drive out to Canyon Lake took about 3 and a half hours. The four “kids” ended up housing up at the Holiday Lodge, which was about a 3-minute incline walk away from where my parents and uncle and Aunt were staying, at a treehouse of some sort. The first day, after all the driving, did not feature any non-lazy activities as everyone pretty much crashed and napped. We did go out to dinner to a BBQ restaurant called Cooper’s Old-Time BBQ, which was about 25 minutes away from our lodging. The food was delicious, but I think I preferred the Rudy’s we had when we went tubing a couple of weeks back. The rest of that Sunday was pretty nondescript.

On Saturday it was decided to sleep in late and then head out tubing on the Comal River. Luckily I had done this with my friends a couple of weeks back, since without my “expertise” we would have been quite lost. We rented the tubes out from Corner Tubes again and then went on the river. It took most people quite a lot of time to figure out how to maneuvre the tubes. I think my mom still doesn’t know how to do it. =P Once we finally got a hang of it, we went down the first chute. That is where the first problems began. My cousin went down the chute without his tube because he fell out of it just before going there. Luckily he was not (too) injured from that, and someone had held on to his tube at the other end. I got stuck in that current again and had to climb out and walk myself past the current which kept pulling me back.

The next issue was the second chute (the one near the dam). My mom ended up going over the dam instead of through the chute, just as the guy at Corner Tubes had told us not to do. So she fell out of her tube and waded her way to the side, while someone managed to recover her tube. Meanwhile, a bunch of the others were around the side waiting before entering that second chute because the first one had been so aggressive. I quelled those fears and we finally went through the second chute, although my cousin ended up ramming his foot into the poorly placed rock in the middle of that chute. Thankfully it wasn’t anything really bad.

The current was a lot faster than it had been last time I was there, so our group ended up becoming quite split up. My mom and uncle ended up taking the lead without wanting to. There were a few sour feelings there, but they managed to hang on to a few trees and wait for us. After the third chute, and waiting for Sunil to catch up with us, we finally floated the last 45-odd minutes of the river together. That was most relaxing and as my aunt said, it would have been nice if the whole river had been like that. Hope you’re taking notes, Mother Nature! πŸ˜›

The next, and possibly worst, issue was at the end. The current was pretty fast and the designers of the floating system were probably not using their heads when they decided to put the last public exit in one of the deeper sections of the river. What ends up happening is people need to hope to float to the left to take the exit, and if they miss it, they are at the mercy of the river, since they can’t walk back given that the river is so deep at that point. Only 4 of our group of 8 managed to hit the actual exit. I had to swim after Sunil and push him to the side and then do the same thing with my cousin. My uncle, meanwhile, had meandered off to the other side of the river and his tube had overturned. I swam across the river and against the current to get to him, at which point he had recovered his tube and I was nearly out of breath. We then waited for our shuttle driver to swing in to business. He swam against the current and recovered the people who had over-floated to the left and he then swam across the river and pushed my uncle’s tube (with him in it) to the other side. I swam across, having swum a lot more than I have this whole year! I guess the important thing to remember is that we all survived. πŸ™‚ It was kind of an adventurous trip in the end, and we have the battle scars to show for it (mine are in the form of sunburns :().

We decided to then drive down to the closest winery since it was almost time for them to close. The winery we selected was the Dry Comal Creek Winery and Vineyard, and it was tended to by a sweet, old woman. Unfortunately winery tours were only held on the weekend (we were there on a Monday) so instead we decided to do a wine tasting. My dad and I tasted all 12 of their wines and their sangria whereas other members of our party tasted subsets of those. We ended up buying a bottle of their Unoaked Cabernet Sauvignon, which has made its way back to India because of full stomachs!

Dinner that night was home-made pork burgers courtesy of my uncle and aunt (and garden burgers for the vegetarians courtesy of the supermarket that prepared them). My uncle grilled the burgers and we ended up eating indoors in the treehouse because the mosquitoes scared us away. After dinner we talked and finally the four “kids” headed down to the Lodge for the night. My sister and her husband finished their packing (they were driving to San Antonio to fly out early next morning).

On Tuesday, we drove to San Marcos to complete the shopping portion of the trip. I didn’t buy much so I don’t have much to say. But my cousin and mother went a little bit crazy, since my cousin was buying stuff for his wife’s family and had to make a good impression. πŸ™‚ I hung out with my uncle and dad, who ended up window-shopping in some of the more expensive stores, hence the lack of wallet-opening. After San Marcos we drove back to Houston and had a very delicious dinner at Pappadeaux. I then watched parts of the Rockets being blown out by the Lakers (we ended up losing by 40 points) and trying to make plans with my friends for the next day.

My aunt and uncle and parents left the next day. For dinner I met up with a few friends at Two Rows in the Rice Village. We took advantage of the $1 beers and I had a scrumptious grilled tilapia for dinner. Afterwards we drove to Amy’s Ice Cream for dessert and finally I was dropped off to my hotel near the airport by Tweety. It was nice seeing my close friends before leaving, one last time.

Traveling

Thursday was travel day for me. I, surprisingly, managed to wake up just in time for the free breakfast and helped myself to some cereal and juice. After that I went back to my room and showered and completed all final packing. At 11 am I checked out of the hotel and took the shuttle to the airport. There, I checked in and got past security relatively quickly and camped out at my gate for about 2 and a half hours. I spent the time listening to music and watching Pyar Ke Side Effects on my iPod since I had forgotten how the movie went. The flight was about 15-20 minutes late because of “maintenance” but it took off eventually and reached just a bit behind schedule in Paris. The Houston-Paris flight was pretty packed and did not feature a video-on-demand system. I ended up watching 3 episodes of House and The Tale of Desperaux during my flight. Apart from that I napped and listened to music.

We then reached Paris and I was exposed for the first time to the confusion that is the Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport. After seeing the mess of organization that is somewhat characteristically French (:P), I realized why it is that while flying through Paris my bags always get lost (sample size = 1). There are something like 7 terminals and they are named as follows: 1, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F. I don’t know why terminal 1 got shafted as such. Must be a French thing. The only way to travel between terminals is by a shuttle bus that does not seem to operate on any specific schedule or order. You would think that if you got on the bus at Terminal 2A, it would circuit through the airport in order (2B, 2C, …). Instead, this bus went to 2C, then 2F, then skipped 2D and went to 2E, then to 2B and finally to 2C. I only assume that it visited 2D after.

Once we finally reached the terminal, the airport was pretty busy and messy. I didn’t have that much time to spend at the gate, luckily, since the shuttle bus took so long to operate. By the time I used the bathroom and came back out, the flight had “boarded”. Boarding involved stuffing everyone on the flight into one more of the shuttle buses, this time commissioned to take us to our flight. They stuffed and stuffed and stuffed the bus until we were packed so tightly like sardines that even if the bus braked abruptly, no one would fall. As it happened, the bus did brake abruptly on the trip and the theory checked out okay. What was even more ludicrous is that the ground staff realized, finally, that 2 buses would be needed. The second bus brought something like 10 people.

The bus then proceeded to drive to our flight, which seemed to be parked outside the airport or something. It took a good 20 minutes to reach it. I think it was parked near what would be the soon-to-cause-even-more-confusion Terminal 2G. Or maybe they would create a Terminal 3 or something. Who knows how these French people make decisions?!

I complain a lot but once we finally got on the plane (it was a really old Airbus A320) things improved. The flight was at something like 30% capacity, probably because the rest of the world realizes CDG isn’t the best airport to transit through and because of Air France’s poor reputation. I didn’t complain, though, and thought the service was actually a LOT better than airlines such as Continental and Air India. We actually got a menu card asking us to choose what we wanted to eat! We were served complimentary beverages, including wine, beer and even champagne. Take notes, Continental! Although I suppose that is why Air France is probably going out of business…

I took the liberty to occupy one of the middle rows of 4 seats since they were empty and hence was able to stretch out quite a bit. While eating dinner I watched Dostana on the video-on-demand system and then started reading the book I bought, Persuader by Lee Child. Still haven’t finished that up so I will discuss it in a separate entry. After that I slept for about 6 hours straight and woke up just in time to eat “breakfast”. The flight landed about 30 minutes behind schedule at about 12:15am. I breezed through swine flu checkup, immigration and customs since the airport wasn’t busy yet and also because my parents had flown with my checked baggage so I was traveling with just a backpack. By the time I got home it was about 1:15am and the TV wasn’t working so I entertained myself online by checking email and Facebook and the like. I finally fell asleep around 2:30 or 3:00am and slept lightly till about 8:30am. Let’s see how I tackle the jetlag today!

Today my mom and I went and ordered a pair of glasses (since she lost my old pair in the packing and moving confusion). We also stopped by at a grocery store on the way back and bought MANGOES! I am happy and am looking forward to sinking my teeth into that tasty deliciousness. We also bought ingredients for tiramisu. Well, kind of. We couldn’t locate ladyfingers so we substituted it with an Italian Puff Pastry biscuit thing of some sort. If it doesn’t work we may attempt to make ladyfingers from scratch. But at some point I’ll be making tiramisu again. Hopefully it’ll go well! (I’ll take photos for you, Alice. :))

That’s all for now. I think I’m about to inherit two used cameras (one digital and one really old Canon) from my parents so I’m going to go play with them now. And proceed to take photos of my mangoes. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

power to drive

Today, I finally achieved my New Year’s goal of obtaining a Texas Driver’s License, approximately 2-3 months after I had originally planned to. Oh well, I will not gripe about the delay as I have finally got it! The ZipCar has stood by as a good friend (although a somewhat expensive one). I was able to pass my road test this morning but had to come back later in the day to complete the license process since the computers at the DPS were down. However, I made it back at around 4pm courtesy of Johanna and the process took only about 10-15 minutes. I was actually surprised by the speed and friendliness of the staff.

The rest of the day was kind of stretched out because of traffic on both the road as well as the KFC where I had dinner. Ended up watching the newest episode of Lost at J&J’s place. I felt kind of meh about it. It seems to be dragging on the story very slowly and the whole time travel past-future nonsense is seriously making my head hurt a bit.

To ease the pain I focused in on the Rockets-Lakers game. Kobe came out fired up and shooting the lights out. The Lakers hit almost 40 points in the first quarter itself but only managed 18 in the second and at half-time the score was tied up at 57-57. Then the second-half blues hit the Rockets (again) and Kobe kept it going in a dirty, rough game with ample help from Gasol’s uncontested shots and Odom’s rebounding. Our defense in the paint has left a bit to be desired, although I suppose that comes from having to defend several long players (Gasol, Bynum, Odom) concurrently. The Rockets ended up losing but they still have the home-court advantage at the moment.

I spent the evening concurrently packing my belongings. I have managed to pack all my old textbooks away (hopefully the first step in the process of selling them off on eBay or Amazon). I also packed up my printer, so hopefully I won’t need anything from that soon… It appears that I do not have that much to pack. Packing clothes will take a long time, obviously, but I cannot really do that immediately. I hope to wake up tomorrow at around 10am and pack the rest of my non-cloth belongings away into my boxes. I have booked the ZipCar at a bit after noon tomorrow (since we have a Baker seniors lunch) and hope to sign up for my room and transfer a fair few boxes, then. It will also be my first time driving alone!

That’s all for now. Going to continue packing (or at least mentally organizing the packing).

inefficient dizzle

I had great hopes that today would be a very productive day for me. I woke up at around 6.15am to get ready for my driving test, which I was hoping to take pretty early after getting to the DPS at around 7.30am. I was at the Zipcar by 7am and drove along with TGJ to the DPS only to find a pretty decent line outside already. Luckily we only had to chill for about 15 minutes and then were let in. I stood in the main line, not realizing that since I have my instruction permit, I don’t need to apply again for a driving license (apparently–this may still change, of course, because of the way bureaucracy works). After standing in that main line for about 15 more minutes I went up to the counter and was told I had to go to station 10 to schedule my road test and I did not actually have to apply for a DL.

So I went to that station and of course there were no spots available today. So I scheduled an appointment for tomorrow at 9am. On the way back there was a lot of traffic on main so I suppose in retrospect the result was good because I didn’t have to pay a late fee. Now I have one more day to worry about my road test! Humph. Came back today and could have started packing and stuff but instead I just bummed around on the internet, checking results from last night’s game (the Rockets won!!). By around lunch time I started feeling sick and coughing regularly. I hope I didn’t catch something at the DPS. πŸ™ I was already a little sickly with coughs over the last couple of days. I decided to take a 30-minute nap after lunch to sleep it off but that ended up becoming more like a 90 minute nap. And I didn’t feel much better when I woke up either. So I popped another Alerid Cold (I had one in the morning) and decided to take off work and nap again.

Now I feel a bit better but still not 100%. I’m thinking of going and working out so that I don’t feel completely sedated. I may even catch a bit of the baseball game after that. Let’s see…

So something else interesting happened today. At around 11am there were huge roars of helicopters going around. I didn’t think much of it but then Paul came in and told me that apparently a shooting had happened on the Outer Loop (the jogging track that surrounds the Rice campus). At that point news was bare but it is a little clearer now. You can read up on various articles on Google News. The gist of it was that some guy with a knife attacked a woman at the Light Rail station across from Rice and that officers followed this man. They then attempted to taser him without much success and as he approached them with a knife, they started shooting at him. He was dead on the spot, but apparently a bullet went through/ricocheted off of him and hit a bystander. There is no news about the status of the other guys.

Yesterday, I had a pretty awesome day, as well. I woke up around 10.30am and bummed around till lunch. I then worked from 1-4pm and worked out afterwards till about 5.30pm. Then, Alice and I went to dark room at the Rice Gallery since I was interested in seeing how the process of developing photos is. It’s pretty intense. And dark. There was a glow-in-the-dark clock in the room that developers are supposed to use to count the time in the various different liquids. After about 5 minutes of staring at the clock, the numbers start disappearing… But it was a cool insight into how exactly that process works.

After that we had dinner at South Servery and then we went over to her place to celebrate our shared love for tiramisu. Yup, we tried to make it. I don’t know yet how it turned out since it had to be chilled, but it was definitely not the 25-minute preparation time that was speculated by the recipe off of Food Network! You live and you learn, I suppose, and I guess the next time either of us have to make tiramisu we will have learned something (don’t know what yet, though, haha). I then came back on campus and managed to catch the last quarter of the Rockets-Lakers game.

Everyone and their grandmom has written off the Rockets in this series but Houston played great basketball yesterday (with a brave game from Yao Ming) to “upset” the Lakers and wrest away homecourt advantage. Kobe drilled in 32 points but he took some very bad shots and was not at all in rhythm (at least in the fourth quarter). Let’s hope him and Gasol stay in that groove!

That’s all for now.

activate cheap mode

Oops… I did it again. I spent too much money. I am realizing the issues my wallet has with senior dead days. When there’s nothing to do, you have to do something. And doing something usually involves opening the wallet up. My last two paychecks are going to be quite delayed given that I forgot to turn the last week’s one in and the one for this week will end next week (when I’ll be long gone from Houston) and it will take one more week to process. So basically I’m looking at no money from there for about 3 weeks. That’s a damn long time.

Hence, I am going to counter this by activating cheap mode. Unfortunately there will be a slight hitch in the plans since I will have to pay for (a) storage this month and (b) various graduation things (such as a Baker stole). So that’s more money going out. πŸ™ Boooooo…. Let’s see how it goes. Luckily one of my credit cards has a low APR so I can actually use my credit line a bit. Hopefully I should get my moving bonus from NI soon as well, although my last few emails to my HR rep and manager have yet to be answered. I guess times are pretty busy.

Oh, I did do something cool today, which was that I drove on the highway for the first time. JesΓΊs was the accomplice and despite my suggestions to write a will before he volunteered, he did come and it was not bad at all. In fact, it was a lot better than driving on roads! I see now why people like highways so much.

Apart from that I’m pretty much ready to graduate. Woot. Anyways, I guess that’s all for now. I just wanted to gripe a bit. πŸ˜› Now I am going to get some dinner and then I should definitely start packing. Yeah… still haven’t started that. Oops.

the weekend before the weekend

These last few days had an inordinate number of activities stuffed into a tiny amount of time. Figuring that it would be good to have a place to live when I began work in Austin, my future roommates, a couple of other friends and I decided to road-trip to that funky town and get that process started. We had narrowed our choices down to 1, but that was not as “all-the-eggs-in-one-basket” as it sounds. I’ll get to that in a bit.

We left Rice at around 5pm on Thursday and managed to skip a lot of the rush hour traffic thanks to the HOV lane. Austin was reached at about 8pm, where we settled down and had dinner at Pluckers, the wing place. We also ended up watching Game 6 of the Rockets-Blazers series, which was a must-win game for the Blazers. Thankfully, they lost and the Rockets set a Western Conference semifinal date with the Lakers. That should be a pretty intense series, although I expect Kobe and company to be a little too difficult for us to handle. But you never know…

After that I dropped my stuff off at my ex-roommate’s (from last summer’s Austin extravaganza) place and we then proceeded to E-Bus it down to 6th Street. At this point we only had about an hour to spend, but in retrospect that was probably a very good outcome for my wallet, which was going to take a beating over the next 24 hours.

On Friday, Hubert and I put ourselves on the waiting list for a 2 bedroom-2 bath affair at the Riata. The Riata is a huge, and by huge I mean massive, apartment complex community in Austin, about 5 minutes from NI. There are more residents at the Riata than there are undergraduates at Rice. Yep. Huge. They have an 11,000 square foot athletic center, which was probably one of the major selling points. Oh, and did I mention there are 9 swimming pools there as well? Truly ginormous. And the best part is that rent is extremely affordable–we booked a special that means that we will be paying a maximum of $500 a month plus utilities. That price may come down even more depending on how the market is when we decide our apartment sometime in June.

After taking care of that business, we decided to stop by at Kona Grill in The Domain for lunch. Thanks to a discount coupon that Neal had, we got one meal off. So it was definitely affordable and worth it. We then drove back to West campus and picked up a couple of Rohan’s and Hubert’s high school friends and then drove to New Braunfels to go tubing. We are planning to do that again next week when my family is here, but it was nice to get a taste of what exactly it is–extremely relaxing although very likely to cause sunburn (which it did in my case).

We then had dinner at Rudy’s, which was almost adjacent to the river. Finally, we began the long and tiresome drive back to Houston. We reached Rice at around 10.30pm on Friday night. The weekend had just begun, although I suppose everyday is a Saturday if you are a graduating senior. I’m going to go take the Target shuttle and buy some stuff for Alice’s pool party now. The rest of the day will probably be spent beginning that arduous task of packing. I did reserve a 5 foot x 5 foot room at the nearest Public Storage for $50 a month. I’ll have to watch my finances these last few days because I’ve began spending money that I literally don’t have.

senior gala-ing

Well it’s that time of year. Finals week has officially ended and now we have about a week and a half to do… nothing, really. Tonight is the annual Senior Gala, which is essentially a dress-up event held at a swanky venue. This year the party will take place at Hotel Derek, and the budget is supposedly $22,000. That’s more than a semester’s tuition at Rice, so let’s see if it can live up to expectations.

Beer Bus yesterday was quite a lot of fun. We went first to the Stag’s Head where we had Baker alumnis pick up our tab. The next location was the Marquis II where I played a couple of rounds of pool with those who were willing to challenge me (and sponsor a game). I was able to get away with an unbeaten run in about 3 games. Finally, we headed to the Boondocks and ended the night of bar-hopping. However, we did stop by at Whataburger on the way back and grabbed some chicken biscuits for the road. It was quite a delicious night.

Today, I enjoyed the freedom of not having an ounce of work to do by sleeping in till about 12pm. I then had lunch and spent the rest of the day staring at the television. There is a pretty nifty show on called The Phone on MTV which actually seems interesting and is not entirely (or even at all) trashy. The show is kind of a combination of Who Dares Wins and the Amazing Race. Contestants communicate with the host (complete with some British accent) with their cellphones and receive instructions as to what to do. Pretty intense show and one I may be following for the next week that I am here and maybe even online if my internet connection in India is good enough.

Anyways, that’s all for now. Time to grab some sushi and get my Gala on.

ready, set and go (again)

I have finally gone ahead and restarted my blog–this time using actual blog software (also known as WordPress). Being done with classes (all that shiznazz will be covered momentarily) is what actually allowed me to achieve this since I could dedicate something like a day to developing my custom WP theme, testing it and installing it, instead of doing all sorts of other things that I probably should been doing. Oh wells, I’m not one to complain especially since at the end of it all I can now blog again.

Unfortunately… there isn’t a lot to say. My career as a Rice student is now officially over as far as coursework is concerned. All the fun stuff (graduation, senior parties and the like) do remain; if only college was all that it was without courses! Maybe some day someone will come up with a way to address this dissatisfaction. I must add, as well, that this web-based WYSIWYG editor that WP provides is miles better than using a phpMyAdmin screen.

Anyhow, I have a few things to do tomorrow, namely go do my drug test for National Instruments and go to work. In the evening we have our final edition of Baker Beer Bus, wherein members of Baker College hop on a chartered bus and visit a few bars around Houston. It’s one of the few events that brings together all the different seniors at Baker together. I’m definitely looking forward to that.

In other news, I finally purchased my cap and gown from the bookstore. So I will be graduating in non-shirt-and-t-shirt attire (hopefully… depending on how I ended up doing in Comp 421). Other remaining things to do range from backing up all my stuff on Rice storage (including email and Owlnet files) to doing my driving test. Since I’m practicing driving in about 8 hours, this is probably a good time to end this entry and get some rest. Let’s see how v5 (or maybe v6) of this blogging affair progresses.