Enlightened ones

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rage against the Machine

Warning: This blog is not for the feeble or weak of heart!

A couple of days ago, (feels like weeks!) my harddrive seemed slow and my machine seemed to be dragging. What is the first thing you do? Defragment it, of course. So I just Defrag-ed my harddrive but the thing still took forever to run my most frequently used programs which have already been moved to the QuickLaunch. Hmmm...What if I partitioned the harddrive? And make lots of FOLDER heirarchies in an attempt to organize my work? Cool idea, lets do it. But how?....Aha! Partition Magic 7.0!!!! Ok so let's break my 80GB HD into smaller 20GB chunks. One for the OS...one for the installations so I don't have to look for them everytime....One for the Software that I install after much deliberation...10 GB for the documents/pdfs/emails I will eventually accumulate over the years...8 GB for misc stuff(read installed games/game patches and trial games)..and 2 GB for the Virtual memory - just to speed things up. After making many diagrams on paper and redesigning the partitions numerous times, I go with the initial idea of 20GB partitions. PM 7.0 is installed and I configured my partitions. Lets reboot and let PM do it's magic!...Hmmm...it says 24 Operations left and Operation No.1 is going to take about 2 hrs....No prob. It' time for me to go home anyway. When I come in the morning, I'll have a 206 Mustang in place of this 1970's VW...Or so I thought!!!

The next day.....
Arrived at work a little late coz my Mustang was going to be meaner and faster and I (thought I) could accomplish a day's work in half a day! Smugly, I moved the mouse to "wake-up" the machine. The orange light on the monitor turned to a healthy green...PM 7.0 was asking the user (that I persumed to be me, coz no one else was around!) to "Hit any key to reboot"...Just minutes from experiencing my 24 Valve V8 Thundering engine...The machine is rebooting...Shows the Windows XP loading screen with the animated blue bar at the bottom...Oh Joy! A little skipping dance is in order....In mid-dance, the screen goes blank and the machine is rebooting again...Hmmm...No matter. Let her reboot again. I continued dansing. The machine showed Windows XP Loading Screen and rebitted gaian...uh huh! Did I take a backup of my data before attempting to rearrange my data? Er...no...and why not? Coz it never did this on all my previous successful partitionings. And I call that a valid reason?...Ok, it's rebooted five times already...clearly something is wrong? How about reinstalling windows....That will save the data...right? Hah! No such luck. The only way out is to format the HD and reinstall Windows.....NOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo.........

So, my avid reader, the next time you think you know what you are doing ask yourself to backup or shutup!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

In the End (Linkin Park)

Saw the trailer for SpiderMan 3. Check it out on www.quicktime.com. I guess, we'll get a dose of Venom this time. One of the best trailers I have. Enough to whet the appetite but not to spoil the feast.

SpiderMan 3

I particularly like the poster. Man, I wish I could by a life size glossy print of it somewhere. Its' jsut so....fantastic. How the pose captures the exhaustion at the end of a battle...or in the middle of it!

I wanna end my blog with a saying that has me thinking since I read it. It's from the movie Black Hawk Down.

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."- Plato

Monday, June 26, 2006

Red Son Rising

Uploading pictures of my daughter, I became aware that my son's were missing. So here's a gallery dedicated to my son. He's every bit as special and handsome as my daughter. The credit goes to my wife, though. She's moulded his personality and the looks are entirely hers too!

Smile. It makes people wonder what you are up to!

Can I hold IT?

That's done. What's for dessert, ma?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sweet child o' mine

Children. They have a way to melt your hearts. I have been away from mine for over a month now and I miss them like Hell. I left a small, month old doll, who would hardly do anything other than crying, when I came here. Now look at her...

Fight pollution. Take a bath!

I think, therefore I must be.

Time's fun, when you're havig flies!

See? Now if that ain't beauty, I don't know what is!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Be here now

Finally arrived in Qatar. It's been a hectic trip with delays and all but I am finally here and so far I think it's been worth it, al hamd o lillah. So its new reponsibilities, new projects, new job, new office, new organization, new people, new culture, new city and a new country. :)

I like my new job just fine. But I get the distinct feeling they are expecting me to work...at least for some part of the day!

The days are truly whizing by. It's already been a week since I joined. They work from Sun-Thu and have two days off which is excellent. The working hours are to die for...7.00 - 2.30 and are flexible too. Just have to be in by 8.30. I, myslef, prefer the 7.30 - 3.00 slot.

I am going to open a bank account today. Let's see what kind of customer service they have here...but after dealing with Saudi banks for 5 years, I think I am going to like it!

Well, that's about it from Doha, Qatar. Wish me well in my new job. Take care dear readers and from now on you can just call me....the "Web Master".(Don't forget the quotes!)

Monday, April 17, 2006


Last night at around 11:55 pm, The Almighty blessed us with a small 3.3 kg bundle of joy. She's tiny. She's cute. She's cuddly. And she is beautiful. May Allah make her a joy for her family and an asset to the muslim ummah.

With loads of duas(prayers) from all around, my daughter starts her journey in this world from a tiny nursery wrapped in luminescent white. Holding her for the first time in my arms reminded me of when my first born, Usama, was born. Small and fragile bundle with a lion's roar to cry with. Hence, appropriatley named Usama. We have decided to name her Umama after a sahabiya. The meaning of the name is still being sought but it's enough that a sahabiya was named as such.

I went to see her today in the nursery. How can something so beautiful be awarded to a sinner like me is truly a monument to the Rehmat of The Rehmaan. Glorified be Allah, The Creator, The Omnipotent.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Just Older (by Jon Bon Jovi)

(This is a song by Bon Jovi which I liked a lot because of it's lyrics.)

Hey, man, it’s been a while,
Do you remember me?
When I hit the streets I was 17,
A little wild, a little green,
I’ve been up and down and in between,
After all these years,
Can you believe I’m still chasing that dream,
But I ain’t looking over my shoulder

I like the bed I’m sleeping in,
It’s just like me, it’s broken in,
It’s not old -- just older.
Like a favorite pair of torn blue jeans,
This skin I’m in it’s alright with me,
It’s not old -- just older.

It’s good to see your face,
You ain’t no worse for wear,
Breathing that California air,
When we took on the world,
When we were young and brave,
We got secrets that we’ll take to the grave,
And we’re standing here shoulder to shoulder.

I like the bed I’m sleeping in,
It’s just like me, it’s broken in,
It’s not old -- just older.
Like a favorite pair of torn blue jeans,
This skin I’m in it’s alright with me,
It’s not old -- just older.

I’m not old enough to sing the blues,
But I wore the holes in the soles of these shoes,
You can roll the dice ’til they call your bluff,
But you can’t win until you’re not afraid to lose.

Well, I look in the mirrorI don’t hate what I see,
There’s a few more lines staring back at me,
The nights have grown a little colder.

Hey man, I gotta run,
Now you take careIf you see coach T. tell him I cut my hair,
It’s been all these years,
Can you believe I’m still chasing dreams,
But I ain’t looking over my shoulder.

I like the bed I’m sleeping in,
It’s just like me, it’s broken in,
It’s not old -- just older.
Like a favorite pair of torn blue jeans,
This skin I’m in it’s alright with me,
It’ s not old -- just older.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Drops of Jupiter

My son, Usama, just graduated from KG-II to class-1 with flying colors. He has done a really excellent job..getting 100% in EVERYTHING, which is 40% more than the highest marks I every got! His teacher's love him and he is the light of my life and the apple of my wife's eye. One might expect the first born in every family to be this evil, cunning, brat but, al hamd o lillah, he's turned out well and the credit goes to my wife.

I had promised my son that I'd get him any toy he likes if he comes first...provided the toy was below a certian monetary value. And somehow, and I think this he gets from my wife, I ended up making a deal with him that I'd get him three toys of his choice if he came first, two choice of his choice if he came second and one toy of his choice plus a toy of my choice if he came third. How I can end up with such a deal and be smug about my negotiating skills is beyond me!
I am vividly reminded of how what happened the last time (yeah, it's been a while!) since I bought my wife a piece of jewelry. We roamed all the shops on our street (and there are quite a few!!) until she, being a true Venusian(only in her case, I think she really IS from Venus!), could finally decide on what to buy which was from the first shop we visited and the item happened to be the first item that had caught her fancy!

So ayways, we went to TOYS R US ("'Coz that's where the really GOOD toys are!", says Usama) last night. After we roamed the aisles for a good part of two hours, Usama was still undecided about what to buy. He picks up a toy brings it to where we are and says,"I want this one also!" and puts it on the small pile that he has recently started gathering in a corner. Soon there are many mini-piles all over the store, of toys of every nature -- ranging from figurines of super heros and robots to car models and remote controlled helicopters. As I begin to loose my patience and the strength in my legs, my fatherly instinct kicks in and I pick two toys from the most recent pile he has been gathering and ask him if he would lke me to buy both of them for him. Five minutes later, we are out of the shop. Later, my son confides in me that he liked a few other toys which I can get him the next time we visit the shop!

My son -- a true amlagamation of Martian negotiation skills and Venusian scrutinizing abilities. My son, the Jupitarian!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Do you know what I mean?

My wife complains that don't listen to her. She says that she will go on and on and I'll stare at her very intently but not understand a thing. I don't blame her, but it's really not my fault! Women in general have a tendency to go on and on. They go through an event in a breadth-first fashion meaning they will tie up all the loose ends and clear everything up as they go along. For example, this is a typical answer to when I ask how her day was...

So I reached school and I met Mrs.Xyz at the door. Mrs.Xyz is the neighbour
of Mrs.Abc. She was also there at that function last week where I met Mrs.NMO.
Mrs.NMO's leg is much better but her daughter just had an operation and her son
is flying off to America today. She is really depressed. Her son got a job in a
new dotCOM company. He is hired as a computer programmer and will be working on
.NET. He studied from NED in Karachi in 1998. That was before al the riots in
NED. Now NEd is among the top colleges of Pakistan. Since the information
Do you see the way it goes? Do you see my predicament? By the time we tie all the loose ends and come back to her meeting Mrs.Xyz at the door, I am lost. And on top of that, meeting Mrs.Xyz at the door is the begining of her day. She's not even in yet!!!!! Information overload, man! Total System Failure even!

The reason is not that I not a good listener its' the simple fact that the Almighty created men differently. Men and women are like Apple and Intel. Mac and Windows. Pen and pencil. Have nearly the same parts which work entirely differently. Men like their information in a different fashion. Finish what you started off to say and if something needs clarifying I'll ask you. the same conversation between two men would go somethig like this...

My day was fine. You know, the usual. Oh, by the way, I met Mr.Xyz,

Use this response with a woman and she'll stick you with 'You don't love me anymore!' Even Sherlock Holmes can't get this from what I said?! But women and language intrepertation is another topic for another day.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Drew Very-More

I love to draw. In fact, if I spent the same amount of time working, I'd be a millionaire a couple of times over by now! As the title suggests, I have loads and loads of my drawings just sitting around waiting for something exciting to happen to them.

The problem is the end result of an hour of concentrated sketching and frequent rubber use, doesn't end up with very interesting results...not all of the time the,though. There are those rare few occassions that keep me coming back to the drawing board when I can stand back, look at my drawing and think, "Who drew that?"

Here's one
A friend of mine said that I am so corny that if I get any cornier aliens will try and make their wierd-ass shape-signs on me!!

Anyways, I was thinking how cool it would be if I could put up my drawings on the Net and some Steven Speilberg comes along and gets inspired and offers to dedicate his next movie to my drawing (or better still, pay me for my drawing! ;)) So I finally went ahead and used a BLOG where I could upload my drawings for the world to laugh at!

You can check it out. It's the first link in my sidebar under the LINKS section. Don't worry...if you get scared to death, you can always come back here and get bored to death!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Women and Shopping

We have a gorcery store about a block's distance from our place across the road. It's a small store, nothing fancy. Just your usual odds, bits and ends. We(or more precisely, I) do our gap-fill shopping here. We call it gap-fill because we do the main shopping from one of the big stores. This store helps us tide over from one main shopping to another by providing the small bits and pieces that have skipped our mind or we just happen to run out of in the middle of two main shopping trips.

My wife hates going down to this store. According to her, it's too far off. In fact, in her words "It's too far off from waaaaaay over there!" It's this phrase that baffles me the most. I have tried to analyze thngs from all possible angles but it still eludes me. Let me explain and then you can tell me if you can do any better.

We go main grocery shopping atleast twice a week. That's how long fresh vegetables last in our refrigerator, according to my wife so we have to restock lest we run out of health food(huh?). We roam all the aisles and go over some aisles twice because we forgot the shopping list at home and buy as things come to mind. At this point, I like to point out that the store is a fairly big one and it takes better part of two hours to do our crazy zig-zag dance and finally decide we have bought enough of the list(the one we forgot at home!)We have just walked three football fields end to end but my wife is not tired. If it were upto her she'd do the same thing again..a couple of times over! It's impossible to think that this is the same woman who refuses to walk the 30 meteres to the store and back! So what is it with Women and Shopping?!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


My wife: "I want to buy this dress."
Me: "But you already have a brown dress!"
My wife: "I have a Sienna dress not a brown one. And this isn't brown, it's Earth Brown."
All I can manage is "!!!"

Colors. It's a woman thing. Aside from the primary colors most men can manage brown, grey, black, white and orange. With a college degree he can also manage, off-white, cream, olive, turquoise and silver. With a PhD some men manage apple green, mustard, blood red and rose red. Married men can differentiate between gold and silver too but that's just because the HAVE TO! But that's the extent of it. Women on the other have a pallette having in excess of the 16 million shades that a computer monitor manages. An average Jane can name more shades of red than an average Joe's list of ALL colors...twice over! I mean, she can find shades of white in a blank paper!

Anyways, thanx for tuning in folks. I'd better go and hep my wife look for her Fuschia dress. (Whatever color THAT is!)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A muslim's thoughts

I am a muslim. Not as avid as I'd like to be but I do try my best, Al Hamd O Lillah. I believe that if you have the urge, Allah will guide you. Allah does not guide you as a shepherd. That is not His Sunnah (preferred way of doing something) Guiding as a shepherd was the Sunnah or Sifat (property) of the Messengers of Allah. And their time has long passed.

The big events impact our lives and force us to think but it's the small events that shape our lives. To recognize Allah, we need only to look into ourselves. At ourselves. We are a super-complex Multi-celled organism. Our brain is the epitome of multi-tasking. Our reflex actions and concious motions together form the most complex of movements. Walking, for instance, is a form of controlled falling. Speaking involves a huge array of muscles with nano-second precision. Our hearts beat constantly for ALL our lives. Never a moments rest. Can man even create a single cell? Or anything even remotely close to it? From scratch!?!

Islam(religion of the muslims) is a religion of peace. In fact the word itself is derived from Salaam which means peace. Peace with friends, peace with neighbours, peace with onself and peace with one's enemies. A muslims response to a personal attack should be a peaceful prayer in favour of the attacker. That is the Sunnah of our Prophet Mohammed (Salalaho Alaihe Wassalam).

Prophet Mohammed (Salalaho Alaihe Wassalam) is held in the highest respect after Allah Himself. He was the most beloved of all Allah's creation. Allah has talked to Musa (Alaihe Salaam) and invited Issa (Alaihe Salaam) to spend time with Him until the time nears the end of the world. But Allah loves Mohammed (Salalaho Alaihe Wassalam) the most. To ridicule Mohammed (Salalaho Alaihe Wassalam) is a transgression. I don't know if this warrants a Call To Jihad or not. Probably not. But it does warrant voicing anger, resentment and repulsion to the act and that is what most Muslims are trying to do/show around the world. At the same time I have tried to explain why it is a cause of so much resentment and anger on part of the muslims.

May Allah guide us all to the right Path. Ameen.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Whereever I may roam

"So I take a left then?", I ask my wife. And she says,"No right. The left will take us to..". When I drive, I need a navigator. And more often than not, my wife is my navigator.

My wife is great with directions. It's like she just knows, you knwo? You take her to one of her friend's house where she's never been before and she can sleep walk to it the next time. Explain her directions to your place and she'll end up drawing a small map and proving that she knows a shorter way between your home and where you work than road you have been taking home from work....or the past 25 years! I mean, if it was still open to discussion, she'd prove that the shortest line between two points is NOT a straight line!!!

Me, I am the guy who can loose his way to the bathroom. If you hand me a train, I'd try to take a right where the tracks go left! I am really not good with giving or taking directions. After seven years(has it really been that long!!) of married life, my wife has developed navigation as a second nature. She will automatically change all my RIGHTs to my LEFTs to make sure we reach our destination. Without her, I'd truly be lost.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What's the story, morning glory?

I am not a morning person. I know people who love to get up bright and early. They love to hear the birds chirping, the cool breeze on their faces, the utter simplicity and calmness of the morning and the breathtaking sunrise that marks each new day. They love the smell of unadulterated, pollution-free (compared to the rest of the day) air and how the colors of nature seem so vivid and alive in the early hours of the day. Me, I'd rather stay in bed for 5 more minutes.

I am the last one to get up. My wife and son are ready by the time I am done brushing my teeth. My son is almost six now and has quite a vocabulary, Al Hamd O Lillah. Most of the words he learnt are from the many storybooks he loves reading...to me. (Yes, in my house, it's the other way round. My son reads to me at bedtime...but I still tuck him in! :) ) At this point he's saying, "Abu, don't make me late today. I don't like standing in the late line. I want to stand in my own class' line." And I am like "Don't worry...I'll get you to school on time, insha Allah." "But you said that yesterday too and we were late!", he insists. You just can't win with kids!

I drop them off at school, still rubbing sleep out of my eyes. Driving at a leisurly pace, I pick up a few of my collegues on my way to work. While the rest of my car is alive with conversation, I am busy figuring out the road network so I don't miss the office exit like yesterday. Finally we arrive at the office. We just made it from being late. The rest of my collegues head off to their respective offices and begin their days. I head on to the coffee machine. The caffine jolts me back to life. I can actually hear my mental machinery shift to a higher gear with each sip. Finally, I can begin my work.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I hate Saturdays

I hate Saturdays. While people on the other side of the Pacific sleep in late and enjoy the break, we here in Saudi Arabia drag ourselves to work. From warm beds to cold offices. From sweet dreams to harsh reality. From comfort to near hysteria. From peaceful silence to utter chaos. From peace of mind to mind-numbing problems of everyday life.

For me, Saturday starts of with being 15 minutes late for everything. Dropping of my wife and son at school(He studies. She teaches. Sometimes, I believe it's the other way around.), picking a few collegues on my way to work and actually arriving at work. I spend then next 20 mintues figuring out where I was on Wednesday and where to begin. It takes me another 10 minutes to figure out where I left my brain. I then proceed to massage my brain to start the thoughts flowing. At this point a whole hour has gone by. With much failure and no results, I deduce the best way to jump-start my brain is by a hot cup of undiluted Java. A cup of Coffee usually results in a good half hour of "water-cooler conference". On Saturdays, it takes a good 45 minutes coz everyone has to take the groginess out of their systems. Back to my desk with a cold slush of what's left of my hot Java. I hate this bitter slush.

I log in to my computer, and stare at the screen for a good 10 mintues, thinking about what he guys at the water cooler said. This is the point were I get most of the jokes made at the water-cooler. My brain is THAT slow on Saturdays! At this point, my manager walks in and wants a weekly-report of all the team's activities for the last week. this task falls to the Team Lead. So I take my manager's message and look for the Team Lead. After 5 minutes of looking everywhere for him, I realize that I am the Team Lead!! So I sit down again and begin typing a vague report of what the team did last week. I consult with the team members and the vague report keeps getting vaguer and vaguer untill it's almost totally incomprehensible and if you DO happen to deduce the meanings of most vague terms sums up to "nothing". I hate weekly reports.

That's takes me upto lunch time. y this time my manager has asked for the report 3 times. He's already left for lunch so I can send him the report anytime from now to after lunch hour. I choose the latter and head on out for lunch. Lunch is some mulch the cook puts together. It tastes like socks. Damp socks. Damp with sweat. But that's all there is on the menu. I hate the Saturday's menu.

Back in to work. I quickly send off the report to my manager. He comes into my office 10 minutes later and complains about the spelling mistakes I made in the report and how vague it sounds. He further complains that according to the report, my team is not doing any real work. I try and calm him down. I say I'll do the report again and try and use terms which will convey the actual work done. He returns to his office grumbling. I hate managers.

I redo the report. It still doesn't make sense but looks better. I have blindly replaced most words with their Theasaurus counterparts. MS Word marks them in green. I have to redo most of the report with the old words so it makes sense to MS word. I hate the Theasaurus.

I resubmit the report. this time my manager doesn't come in with all guns blazing. This means he's happy with the report. One of my collegues walks in with a problem he needs help with. Uninvited he sits next to me and brings up his computer screen on my computer. He then proceeds to explain why he thinks the error is occuring and what exactly he needs done. We both stare at the screen for a good 10 minutes. I then tll him I have no idea why the error is occuring. He breaks down is problem into sub problems and asks me a solution to one of the smaller parts. After another 20 minutes of moving the mouse over his code and clicking random windows, we finally arrive to a solution...accidently. He praises me for my help(eh?) and knowledge (....eh?) and leaves the room satisfied. I hate collegues.

It's 4 o' clock. No sense in starting work now. Maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow. Before hading out home, I check to make sure the servers under my responsibility are up and running. One of the blasted servers is down. I look at the logs to see if I can find a quick fix to it. No such luck. I reboot the server. It takes a good 20 minutes to start up. I hate servers.

It's 5. I am the last to leave the office. My car is parked faaaar away from the building coz I came in late and late comers don't get choice parking spaces. I hate Saturdays.