Monday, December 14, 2009

Somanathapura - A Short Trip


Geometry
Originally uploaded by Srinivasa S
I had made up my mind to get away from the city this weekend. I was thinking of Belur. But my mom suggested Somanahapura which has a similar temple like in Belur and is nearer to Bangalore.

Somanathapura is a small village situated 140KMs from Bangalore. (Route: Bangalore - Maddur - MalavaLLi - Bannur - Somanathapura).

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Weekend shoot [06/12/2009]


Splash
Originally uploaded by Srinivasa S
Manchinbele reservoir was the destination. Naren, Sac, VV and myself started off towards the place at 4pm and reached by 5pm. The sky was not as clear as I hoped it would be. Nonetheless, we were in time to view the setting sun.

Apart from the usual sunset landscapes, I got an idea while shooting the reflection of the sun in the water. I was just thinking that it would be much more interesting if there was a subject in the water - like a boat moving across the water. Since there was no such naturally available subject, thought why not create one of our own - a splash of water. Naren volunteered to throw pebbles into the water. Got some 3 decent shots in 10 attempts. One of them is seen along with this post.

When I sat down to process the photos, I realized that the splash shots should have been taken at a higher ISO. Well, next time perhaps...

Waiting for sleep

This is what I listen as I wait for sleep. The haunting keyboard notes do the job.

Standing by the window, eyes upon the moon
Hoping that the memory, will leave her spirit soon

She shuts the doors and lights
And lays her body on the bed
Where images and words are running deep
She has too much pride to pull the sheets above her head
So quietly she lays and waits for sleep

She stares at the ceiling and tries not to think
And pictures the chains she's been trying to link again
But the feeling is gone

And water can't cover her memories
Ashes can't answer her pain
God, give me the power to take breath from a breeze
And call life from a cold metal frame

In with the ashes
Or up with the smoke from the fire
With wings up in heaven
Or here, lying in bed
Palm of her hand to me head
Now and forever curled in my heart
And the heart of the world...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekend shoot [22/11/2009]


Laalbagh Glass-house
Originally uploaded by Srinivasa S
I was out of ideas this week. Me and my friend Raghu, made last minute plans to visit the KR park in Basavanagudi and Lalbagh. It doubled up as a nice morning walk and a decent photoshoot. For once, I stopped shooting in manual mode all the time. Yet to get a good hang of the camera metering modes. Hope to get fluent with them soon.

Here's one photo of the glass house in Lalbagh.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Laksha Deepotsava


Laksha Deepotsava
Originally uploaded by Srinivasa S
Yesterday was the last monday of the Kartika maasa. This is considered an auspicious day for the worship of lord Shiva. Temples usually arrange for people to bring as many oil lamps as possible and light them during the evening. This is called "Laksha Deepotsava".

I thought this would be a good opportunity to get some pictures in dark settings. I went to a temple fairly early - by 6:30pm. People were still gathering and I knew this was going to get busy here real soon, with lot more people pouring in. One disappointing thing was, the temple had bright halogen lamps everywhere! I had not expected this. I wanted to shoot with only the light from the hundreds of lamps around. This was a bit of a dampner. But, I managed to scout a couple of not-so-bright places and take some pictures. You can see one of those with the post here.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Weekend shoot [07/11/2009]


Chocolate Cake?
Originally uploaded by Srinivasa S
Went out to take some shots with friends from NCJ days, to Sankey tank. Plan was to catch sunrise and we did catch an oh-so-lovely sun that rose quietly behind a thick cloud cover :| Anyways, managed to take some shots and had to head back when it started to drizzle quite heavily.

Later in the evening, a rather unplanned drive along Kanakapura road took us to a really creepy location and also to the Art of Living ashram. This photo was taken there. I'm patting myself on my back here, for this, is a handheld shot @ ISO 800 :D Used Noiseware CE to get rid of some noise which, unfortunately, led to the loss of all EXIF data on the image.

Also, recovering from a bout of illness. All this roaming around surely wore me out rather quickly.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Hectic weekend


What flower is this?
Originally uploaded by Srinivasa S
Saturday was a day full of hectic roaming around. Had to walk all of the 2.4 KMs to get hold of my new lens - btw, bought the Nikon 55-200mm lens :) Naren chose to drive me around, otherwise, it'd have been even more stress for me :D Anyway, tried a few shots around my home, and I love the lens. Sadly, I could not go any place to shoot. Seen in this post is one of the pictures I took from my neighbour's little garden. I've no idea what this flower is called - anybody knows?

Sunday was mostly spent driving parents around for some functions and a temple visit. Naren had a small accident in the evening - wishing him a speedy recovery.

PS: Till I get back to active writing, you'll mostly see pictures and mundane posts :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Have a wonderful week


Light Sieve
Originally uploaded by Srinivasa S
I know I've not been active here. I'll get back soon. Meanwhile, my pics would act like a filler :D

I've started this new thing recently - of going to various places in Bangalore very early in the morning and take some shots. Last week was the first week and the place was cubbon park and surroundings. Parked the vehicle at the cubbon park entrance near corporation circle and wandered inside the park, in front of Vidhana Soudha, then back, going towards Vittal Mallya road. Managed to get some decent pictures.

I play cricket too during weekends. So, this is going to be tough to make it to these photo shoots on the days we play cricket. Lets see how it goes. I'm yet to think of a destination for the next shoot.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The plant that I had bought over a year ago has now grown bigger.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Education

Forever holding dreams within my heart,
Through nature's inflexible grace,

I'm learning to live...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Turn it on, turn it on...
Let the feelings flow
Close your eyes...
See the ones you used to know

Open up, open up...
Don't struggle to relate
Lure it out...
Help the memory escape

Like reflections on the page... the world's what you create

~ Wither (Black Clouds and Silver Linings, 2009)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chikmagalur trip - Hunkal Woods

Chikmagalur trip

This is going to be a full fledged trip log. Noticing how my recent trip posts have been rather short, this time, I want to let the floodgates open :D

One among our gang was heading off to Australia for an MBA and so we thought we should do a weekend trip someplace before he leaves the country. The destination was basically chosen over a cup of coffee at Barista, thanks to an enlightened soul called Murali. No sooner than the words "Hunkal Woods" came out of his mouth, Girish was on his phone talking to the owners of the Hunkal Woods estate in Chikmagalur and inquiring/negotiating about the tarrifs. This was 6 days before to the planned start of the trip. Over the next 3 days, 6 people had confirmed and we had a booking confirmed, thanks to Naren, who made the payment. We decided we'll rent a mazda so that none of us will have the headache of driving, considering that the destination is 280kms away, and also everyone gets to travel together and have fun along the journey as well.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Dream...

Theater! DT, Prog Metal, Experimentation, Chaos, Melody, Extreme talent, Guitar/Keyboard harmonics

Well, that previous paragraph came out more like a tag cloud! Phew. So, I've begun a rediscovery of sorts, of this amazingly talented bunch of people that form what is popularly called Dream Theater. The things John Petrucci can do with a guitar, that Jordan Rudess can do on a keyboard are simply mind blowing, to say the least.

Even though its most unfair to judge a band with just one song, I think I can make an exception in this case. "Take the time" - this one song should encompass all that Dream Theater is and probably more. From a bird's eye overview, this song just sounds like a garbled mess with the music score distributed among 'n' different eccentric fellows, each of who wanted the song to go in an entirely different direction! I'm sure a lot of people turn themselves off to DT at this and move onto "greener" (?) pastures of pop (??).

But some brave people do dive in - there's chaos yet some semblance of order (I'm still talking about that one song). The rhythm does not stay the same for more than 30 seconds or so. No sooner than you become accustomed to a head banging pattern, you've got to stop and change gears (oh - beware of neck sprains!). Do let the competing guitar and keyboard solos completely sink in - calmness amidst chaos! For most part of the 8 minutes and 21 seconds, you'll feel like you're on a roller coaster ride that's running on a crazily varying electricity supply. Its an experience of life - so many things happening at once that its very easy to feel overwhelmed. But it does land you in a soft cushion of assuredness of a steady chapter at the end.

The timing could not have been better for their new album to come out - Black Clouds and Silver Linings. Cannot wait to explore that.

# One of their albums is aptly named Systematic Chaos

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shivagange Trek


This is a stony hill near Dobbaspet, Tumkur and is about 60KM from Bangalore. Its an ideal place for a day's trek.

We started at 4:45am from Bangalore. After wading through the really hopeless stretch of NH-4 till Nelamangala, it was a breeze driving on the toll stretch of the highway. We reached the small village at the foot hills at 6am and started climbing at 6:15am. This was a really good time to start climbing, as the sun was still mild and it was cool. We reached hill top by 8am, in spite of taking a lot of breaks for photos, water, refreshments, etc. The last 20% of the climb is the steepest and there are railings for support. Beware, though, as the steps are very narrow and of uneven heights.

Monday, June 01, 2009

HuthriDurga trek


Huthri Durga
Originally uploaded by
thisismetallica
HuthriDurga is a hillock near Magadi. It is about 80km from Bangalore.

Route: Bangalore -> Magadi -> Continue towards Kunigal (some distance after Magadi, there's a Y fork where you should keep towards right) -> After this right fork, proceed 5 km and then start asking the villagers for HosapaLya at which you have to take a left (this left turn is VERY easy to miss!) -> After the lest, continue for 5 more km to reach a village -> Another left here (this is easy to spot if you remember to look for a really small road that goes in the direction of the visible hillock) -> After the left turn, its 2 km of winding uphill drive to another village/settlement. Park your car someplace and start walking!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Psycho

That's the name of a 2008 Kannada movie. The songs are excellent. A welcome change from the usual stuff being doled out nowadays. Film debut for Raghu Dixit as a music director and the freshness is there to see. The movie itself is also commendable.

"Mahadeshwara" and "Ee tanavu ninnade" are best numbers on the album!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Math or Common Sense?

This is an offshoot of an interesting debate (albeit one that ended without conclusion). We've been encountering quite a few out-of-memory conditions leading to crashes. We had not seen them before, but from last one week, we've seen it at least half-a-dozen times. I'd always been surprised that most places in code just assumed that a dynamic allocation works... all the time. I was always told that the system has been sized so that it would never run into out of memory conditions. I thought it would just be a matter of time. I guess I may have been right. I say that I may have been right because there may always be memory leaks that is leading to this situation. Fixing ALL leaks may just ensure that we do not run out of memory... not ever, but perhaps for now.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Trek - biLikal beTTa

Well, aren't we a crazy bunch of people to try trekking in summer?! We, most certainly, are! The destination was just about 50km from Bangalore. Plan was made such that we would not have to bear the brunt of the harsh sun - leave at 5AM, reach at around 6:30AM (buffer time to enquire around, if we get lost, etc). 5 people - me, Naren, Girish, Vinay (aka Dumma) and Praveen (Girish's friend) set out in 2 cars (to avoid having 5 sweaty people stuffed in one single car on the return leg!). 

The route seemed simple enough on paper

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Unity in diversity

I just realized that I'm kinda singled out among my friends in certain fields of mutual interest: 

1. Soccer clubs - I root for Liverpool FC whereas most of my friends support Manchester United (Thankfully no one likes Chelsea!) 
2. Music bands - Iron Maiden for me (Up the irons!) whereas most of of friends prefer Metallica over Maiden as first choice (Thankfully no one likes crapass boy/girl bands... anymore!) 
3. Ahem! Let me not get into "political" differences - especially during election time :D 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Catalog



These are the ones which I have original CD/DVDs for. I have a lot of others on my computer :D 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hosa padaarthagaLu (New stuff)

After my south India trip, my interest in photography was renewed and since then I'd been thinking about buying a good camera - no, not the ones which have insane megapixel number and an atrocious optical zoom number - what was on my mind was a DSLR.  

After consulting with photo-geek friends, doing quite an amount of research myself, I went ahead and bought a Nikon D40. I'm sure there will be some photography buffs out there who would not think that this was the best camera - but I like it and I love the pictures it produces! There's still a lot to learn, lot to experiment and lot of photos to click. 

Wishing for an enjoyable time doing all of the above :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Walk through the garden...

A weekend when parents are out of town leads to me diving head on into over indulgence, which in turn leads to me getting a fever on the morning of monday. On arrival of parents, I try to receive the "I told you so!" narrations as gracefully as I can and start working from home. It turns out to be a calm day at office and I manage to finish up by 5 in the evening. Feeling much better than in the morning, I set out for a walk. I could call this walk a peek into the past, almost like a time travel. 

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Trip Log

Clarification - this is not a log! 

Ah the trip - a week long vacation - covering Alleppey, Kovalam, Kanyakumari and Pondicherry. The whole trip can be summarized in one line - "Living on India's edge" (courtesy Murali). 

The warm sand, the vast stretches of bluish green waters, the dripping heat, beach football sessions, experiments with my old DSC-P73 4MP camera, pebbles of wisdom from swami PerumaLaananda, walking long stretches on a really hot day in Pondicherry on empty stomach only to find the most wonderful Poori Masala and Pongal I've ever eaten, experiencing the greatest relief on a Chennai footpath, debates with Mr. Counter Strike - this trip had it all. In one word it was "paramaananda" :D 

Here are some experiments with Girish's camera and my old camera

Monday, February 16, 2009

Iron Maiden, Bangalore + Aero India = Exhiliration!

Thinking back about the weekend - Aero India 2009 on saturday and Iron Maiden concert on sunday seems just about a perfect weekend! And it was worth each ounce of energy spent over the last 2 days!! 

My dad gave me 2 passes for the Aero India show which was given to him at his office. A lot of my friends were also enthu about going to the show - but some of them backed off and the others could not buy tickets in time.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Scary incident

This happened on saturday, while I was on my way to office (Yes, nowadays I work on weekends too sometimes! Sad). I was driving my car and had stopped at the Kormangala sony world junction (Just before the Oasis mall). The traffic waiting at the signal had backed up quite a bit and I was towards the very end of this pile. It was exactly noon. I usually switch off the engine at longish signals and this was one of those. While waiting at this signal, I noticed 3 different people lurking around the waiting cars suspiciously - they definitely seemed to stand out of the normal crowd as they were just making repeated rounds around the cars, eyeing the cars from the corner of their eyes, etc. I don't know if anyone else in the crowd observer this too.

When the signal became green, and just as I started to move, one of those guys came from the left side and started banging on the passenger side window - all the doors were locked and windows were up - he was motioning to the effect that I had run over his feet! I was sure that I did not run over anything and suspected a scam as I had seen this guy acting suspiciously just moments ago. Within no time, the rest of the 2 guys also surrounded my car - one guy in front of my car, not allowing me to move ahead and one from the driver side door. All of them were motioning violentely that I should stop the car and open the door. The guys at the 2 sides were even trying to open the respective doors from the outside!

Luckily, my brains were working enough to tell me not to budge and stay inside - by this time the cars behind me started to honk loudly as my car was holding up the traffic - since this was quite some way away from the traffic signal, the traffic cops had no visibility of all this. I too started to honk loudly and eventually after sometime, they decided to give up and scamper.

I reported this incident to the police just so that someone else does not fall prey to such atrocious acts in broad daylight! I don't know if they indeed took some action to try and find those people, but I did my part by reporting it.

So guys, please - always lock your car doors even when you switch off your car at traffic signals.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

What a month!

February, this time, is the month I'm really looking forward to. There are a lot of things in the queue. Lets see what have we got here: 
  1. Iron Maiden's concert on Feb 15th - yippie! 
  2. Aero India from Feb 11 to Feb 15th - All of the last 3 times, when my dad had got passes to the show, I never went. Lately I've developed a great interest in aerospace - so, this time I do not want to miss out! Oh, but no passes this time - nevermind - I'll go anyway! 
  3. Lot of birthdays too this month and a couple of marriages
  4. Week long trip in south India towards the end of this month
  5. And oh! I do have metadata corruption issues to fix at office! :| 
So, looks like if I cannot get my work done in time, some or many of these "activities" may be jeopardized! Shit - gotta glue to my chair and WORK! 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pain in the ....!

This was my first winter at Bangalore after 3 years. Strange? Even more strange is that this had not really occurred to me till now! From 2005 to 2007, my abroad trips have exactly fallen during winter time! And these were the more severe of the winters I've ever had - Boise and Sunnyvale definitely beat Bangalore in the low-temperature contest, hands down! But somehow I did not feel any different this time around too - why?

Perhaps the reason lies in the lots of common things that usually happen to me during winter time. Of those lots of common things, there is one particular thing that haunts me the most - something that keeps me down for 7-10 days at a stretch, something that makes me think about all those wrong things I've done in my life, makes me wonder if I'm being punished for those sins, me realize how frail this little embodiment of our earthly soul really is! NECK SPRAIN!!

Yes, that's right - somehow, I've managed to get a bad neck sprain during winter, 4 years in a row! Is this a record of some sort?! Now I recollect all those past incidents leading up to this.
  1. Ouch - that heavy snowball - I never saw that coming from my left!
  2. Should not have tried a head-stand in the freezing weather, alone!
  3. Should have learnt by now that mobility of neck is proportional to the temperature!
  4. Some verbally sophisticated dude once said that there's nothing coincidental, only consequential. I'd agree in most cases, but this time, I'd say "Never trust amateurs, especially in a gym!"
One of the effects of the sprain, the head being tilted right sideways, sometimes, can offer a different perspective towards life - one can now see an angle not seen often. Also, there was an enhanced sense of intuitiveness during this time - I think it was the extra blood that would now circulate through my right brain! There may not be any substantiation for this - but my instinct tells me I'm right.

So, you see, its not that bad afterall - you get all the attention at home, get to slack off at home during working days even though you are "working from home" + you get time to study more important things like the good effects of green tea, lateralization of brain functions, etc while "working from home".

Boy, I cannot wait till the next winter!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tip to speed up your broadband

Standard Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, take responsibility for any sort of mishaps that could happen by following the tips I give on this subject. I have tried it and it worked for me. Does not necessarily mean that it would work the same for everyone. You've been forewarned!

UPDATE! Post has been updated - see end of post for changes.

Lately I'd been experiencing rather slow browsing speeds on my home broadband connection. Initially I thought that it was due to that Mediterranean cable problem that was prevalent at that time. But my problems seemed to continue past the point when that under sea cable problem was sorted out. So, I decided do dig into this a bit deeper.

The settings and results on my ADSL modem's page were fine. Nothing out of sorts, no high noise on the line. Then, I called up BSNL to have my phone line checked. Amazingly they were very prompt and came to my home, just 2 days after I'd submitted a request - they gave my phone like a clean chit too - no problems there. Then I kinda gave up on this for a few days. Browsing speed was still slow but I sort of got used to it. Then, this past saturday, my friends had come over to my place and they complained that my broadband was extremely slow and that it was significantly faster at their places. Now, this was the last straw - I had to solve this problem.

So, I sat down yesterday evening - I did all the usual checks - still no luck. One thing caught my eye during browsing - the initial DNS lookup seemed to be taking quite a while. Browser seemed to sit waiting at "Resolving host ..." for unusually long times. I checked my DNS settings - I was using 61.1.96.69 (primary DNS) and 61.1.96.71 (secondary DNS). I discovered that both these servers are dead as they did not respond to ping. Then how were the DNS lookups getting thru? Turned out that my ADSL modem itself was fetching the DNS resolves - confirmed this by nslookup (host or dig on *nix). I searched on the (still slow) internet for latest BSNL DNS servers and found 218.248.240.208 (primary DNS) and 218.248.240.135(secondary DNS). These 2 servers were not dead - they were responding for pings. I updated my DNS settings. Now the speeds seemed to be better than before. I still continued to research whether I can improve on this further. Some people on broadband forums suggested that opendns servers were better performing that our BSNL servers. I tried them out, but I could not find much difference between the two. Then, it struck me that a local DNS would be much much faster than contacting any of the external DNS servers. I wasted no further time and setup local DNS (bind or pdnsd under linux and treewalk DNS under windows) and set my DNS to be 127.0.0.1. Lo and behold, after some initial 5 minutes of browsing, speeds increased significantly!

Hence, I would recommend using of a local caching DNS server for improved broadband speeds. It takes very minimal of CPU and disk resources and its worth the effort to set it up. Treewalk DNS is just a straightforward install on windows. For bind under unix, see this for help in setting it up.

Now, let me get back and enjoy a better and more responsive online multiplayer FPS gameplay :D

## Update - Under linux, bind has been found to be rather resource hungry and a tad vulnerable to exploits. You may overcome some of these risks by running bind-chroot. But I found pdnsd to be a better substitute to bind. Its lightweight and the DNS cache works like a charm!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Beast is coming back!

Iron Maiden are returning to Bangalore for a gig - this is their second time in the city after 17th March 2007. After my experience at that concert, and also after I missed the Mar 2008 concert in Mumbai, I cannot rest until I get my hands on the tickets!

Unlike last time, tickets are available only through the DNA networks site. Its both good and bad. Also, not that I'm not willing to spend an exorbitant amount (1600 INR) of money for the concert ticket, I'm still waiting to see if any of my sources can get to an inside man(/woman) and land me a free ticket like last time! :D But this waiting game is going to be short, for I cannot risk even the slightest possibility of wasting too much time and tickets being sold out by then. But from past experiences I've seen that DNA usually sells more tickets than the actual capacity of the venue - like, take for example the 2007 gig. The officially advertised head count at the concert was 12000. But, there were reports of close to 16000 people being there on that day! So, this should also allow me a (small) extra buffer period.

Of all the bands I follow - this one's different man - I mean, which other band on the face of this earth, is so loyal to the fans that they spend almost 4 months of a year touring around the world?! Which other band has a custom built Boeing 757-200 aircraft to fly the band, the entire stage crew and all the cargo to all their gigs?! Which other band has their frontman actually flying that aircraft?! And which other band, actually fly fans to the concert venue on their own aircraft?! I cannot decide what is cooler among all of the above stuff about them! Nothing would beat this - making great music for the last 25 years and still being so down to earth!



Well, I think I should start building up stamina for some non-stop screaming on the concert day! If you're a maidenhead reading this, see you at the gig mate!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New domain name

If you are seeing this page, you can see from your address bar that the blog address now reads http://blog.srinivas.co.in - that's right! I just bought my own domain. For now, its just the domain name and no hosting. This blog is still hosted at blogger. I see this as a first step. Time and will permitting, I should get some more new things onto srinivas.co.in. 

Now, those occasional readers who drop by here, please update your bookmarks/blogrolls to http://blog.srinivas.co.in. Thanks