Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Here a BSOD, there a BSOD, everywhere a BSOD

Trek to Harishchandragad

Another quest to look upon the Indravajra that manifests itself to lucky eyes from the Kokankada ended last week. Pity I did not see that. You have to be very very lucky to watch it. It was supposed to be a night trek. We started off from Mumbai at eleven in the night. We had hired a small bus to take us there, and the loser of a driver refused to take the bus down the rough road fearing punctures. His logic was that if the tyres were to get punctured, then he would have to go a long way back to fix it. After a lot of coaxing, he came a little while down from Khulbi Phata, but then reversed and went back. So we had to walk down, which was not a bad thing, but the trek was delayed by an hour, and that sent the whole schedule haywire.
It was a night trek, so we stopped for chai, the sun was just about to rise when we started. A little way to the top, there was an introduction round, where the group of thirty or so people learnt each other’s names. It was a nice group of healthy trekkers, no rabble around that is normally seen. There was also a very young girl – around eight or so. We started off, and the trek quickly split into small groups. We were in the front of the pack, and a few people were ahead of us. We reached the top at around ten o clock. Some people showed up and had propped tents before us. They also had lugged a hookah all the way to the top, and one guy was playing trance on his mobile phone. We rested at the top for a while, and a group of us went out to look at the Shivling. Everyone else but me went down into the water, to take a dip away from the eyes of the rest of the group. The water was damn chilly, so I did not get in. A few local boys also showed up, and showed off their gun. It was a cheap air-gun, but the pellets they used was pretty strong. We had lunch after the rest of the group showed up, some of us took a short nap, and then in the evening we set out to Kokankada. This time around, there was no fog, therefore no Indravajra, but the view was clear for all to see. It was breathtaking to say the least. Another trip is due, have to see that rainbow.
We came back, me with a heavy heart, not knowing the next time I would go there. There was an aarti in the evening, and a good hard session of Antakshari around a campfire. Some of us slept.
The next morning was magical. Wake up, and start trekking within two minutes. That is what I want to do every day. I just got up, rolled up my carrymat, packed my bag, picked up my camera and around twelve of us from the group headed up to the Taramati peak while everyone else slept on. The leader said it would take us an hour to go up and an hour to come down. We were on the top in thirty minutes. It was still dark, there was a fog around the place, and a chill wind was blowing. Everyone else had gotten warm clothes, and were still shivering. I went with a thin, loose t-shirt. Four of us plopped ourselves down against a stone in a huddle, and one of us farted so hard that everyone could smell it despite the wind.
The sun rose in its own time, we planted a flag on the top, and posed for the camera. Going up there was magical. We came down too soon. Then we started the long trek back, and we were in the front of the group again. We went down singing many songs, and there are songs for such occasions that can be stretched for an infinitely long time. This was one of my favorites:

मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा शेकोटीला आला
(chorus)मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा शेकोटीला आला
मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी शेकोटीला आली
(chorus)मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी शेकोटीला आली
मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा शेकोटीला आला
(chorus)मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा शेकोटीला आला
मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा, पोरगचा कुत्र्या शेकोटीला आला
(chorus)मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा, पोरगचा कुत्र्या शेकोटीला आला
मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा, पोरगचा कुत्र्या, कुत्र्याचा शेपुट शेकोटीला आला
(chorus)मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा, पोरगचा कुत्र्या, कुत्र्याचा शेपुट शेकोटीला आला
मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा, पोरगचा कुत्र्या, कुत्र्याचा शेपुट, शेपुत्वर्ची माशी शेकोटीला आला
(chorus)मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा, पोरगचा कुत्र्या, कुत्र्याचा शेपुट, शेपुत्वर्ची माशी शेकोटीला आला
मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा, पोरगचा कुत्र्या, कुत्र्याचा शेपुट, शेपुत्वर्ची माशी, मशीचा पंख शेकोटीला आला
(chorus)मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा, पोरगचा कुत्र्या, कुत्र्याचा शेपुट, शेपुत्वर्ची माशी, मशीचा पंख शेकोटीला आला
मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा, पोरगचा कुत्र्या, कुत्र्याचा शेपुट, शेपुत्वर्ची माशी, मशीचा पंख, पंखावार्ची धुल शेकोटीला आला
(chorus)मान्खुर्द्चा म्हातारा, म्हाताराचा महतारी, महातारिचा पोरगा, पोरगचा कुत्र्या, कुत्र्याचा शेपुट, शेपुत्वर्ची माशी, मशीचा पंख, पंखावार्ची धुल शेकोटीला आला

We were down in no time, not in a hurry to get down, but hunger drove us on. Hunger apparently drove the bus driver on too, and he got the bus in somehow. There was also a Volvo and an ST there, so FTW.
After that we played some weird game involving throwing up stones and picking up stones from the ground and catching the stone that was thrown up. We also played colour colour and musical poles. This despite the heavy trekking. Finally, we got into the bus, and it was time to go home.
But not yet, there was a temple on the way, we paused there, and posed with the shepherds and goats. We also checked out the temple. The sun set, and we were off, back to the city.

This is on our way back. This guy and I struck up a conversation with this shepherd. For some reason, he carried that sickle which he is holding. The goats were all about us, some very young, and the shepherd got thoroughly excited over seeing his own photo taken a few seconds ago.

On our way back, we strayed to this water body, that looks like a lake, but is a part of a vast river. They are standing at the edge of an area meant for fishing, we found dried prawns and the shells of enormous crabs here. One claw we found was about eight inches long, and of a purple and yellow colour.

On our way down, at the spot we call the Toll Naka. Great wind here at all times, this is just before the rock patch, the most difficult part of the trek.

This is the entire group. There were so many people clicking that no one got a shot of everyone looking at the camera.

So one guy goes to this spot, and poses. Then expects me to do the same thing. I was scared, so the nervousness - I guess it shows. Maybe a bit. Look for it.

This guy. Leader of the pack.

The local boy with the gun. Hilarious how he is holding it. He got shy when I asked him to put the finger on the trigger. Smoked a chota goldflake beside me. Himself is a chota.

The Shivling.

Drinking water like men were made to drink water. As long as there are insects and moss in the water, its safe to drink, as it sustains life. Piping has ruined the immunity of city folk. This water is actually purer than bottled water - maybe not to the eye, but definately to the stomach.

Is he shooting me or am I shooting him? This was one bullet neither of us dodged.

The view from Kokankada.

Monday, November 24, 2008

10 Conspiracy theories you have never heard about...

...because they don't want you to know the truth

10. Global Warming is the biggest hoax there is. They blame everything from farting cows in Australia to rice growing in India for global warming, but that's all a big lie. They just don't want you to use carbon. Carbon is one of the most versatile things around, and from diamonds to charcoal, they just don't want it to be cheap. For over a century, there have been engines and methods for generating energy from carbon derivatives and carbon based substances, but this has never allowed to reach the general population, because then the big industrialists would be penniless. The truth of the matter is that the Greenhouse effect is GOOD for vegetation growth. The climate has always been unpredictable throughout human history. Mother Nature is a bitch, get over it. Extinction is a way of life, get over that too. Carbon is your birthright.

09. There is an illusion that human history is 2000 years old. This is bullshit from the Church. We are much much older than that, more than 50,000 years actually. Things that have happened in this time are suppressed from common knowledge, records exist but are not open for everyone. We are a diminished civilisation, we were once a part of an inter-galactic civilisation, with many races living in harmony on the earth. The history you read in school was all FAKE.

08. The Apollo Moon landings were fake, but the Kommunists are far ahead, and will forever be. There is a whole colony of Russians on Mars, and they are keeping the whole affair secret so that humans cannot lay claim to their scientific prowess. They also mine gold from Mars, which makes them immune to any global financial crisis. If the world gets destroyed, or goes into Nuclear winter, the Russians will be the only people left alive. All hail the Russian Martians (or is it the Martian Russians).

07. There are no overdose deaths. The media cannot report authentic abductions. The aliens take all the good life to a better life on distant planets beneath skies with denser stars.

06. The Internet. Your homes, your vehicles, your money, your lives, everything that you are will be plugged into cyberspace. Then one day, BOOM. Everything goes black, and then, you will beg them to control you - that is the only way you can live. As slave rabble.

05. The New World order is coming about, around us. The apocalypse will be brought about by them, they will bring the world down to their knees, and reduce most of mankind to slavery. They control all the money in the world, therefore which governments come into power. They also control all the banks. They can control your minds with the human remote controls they have built in the satellites. YOu have heard of fear-based propoganda, but have you heard of beer-based propoganda? Yes, they have defiled that which is most sacred. I cannot write it, I cannot think of it... they know, you cannot guess it.

04. Doctors. The doctors don't cure you. They have stopped doing that a long time ago. They just treat you. This means that they can leech you throughout your life on the pretext of one disease or another. When things seem to go bleak, they manufacture diseases, or just invent them. All patients are given the illusion that they are sicker than they actually are. Pharmaceutical companies make the most money in the world.

03. In the good old times, man used to venture into the wild, and learn greater, deeper things, things beyond his understanding and knowledge through the agency of herbs and substances in nature. The origin of language, of mathematics and music, is via Shamans and sages who indulged in what is now called "substance abuse". They don't want you to free your mind, which is why drugs are illegal.

02. Free Tibet is all reverse psychology. China does not control Tibet, Monks from Tibet control the minds of the Chinese Government. The Tibetan Monks are earning huge portions of money, and running the world's largest slave organisation - China. The Dalai Lama is actually an alien from Sirius, and they posess technology that will make the CIA pee in their pants if they ever find out.

01. This is beyond the most secret thing around. You have been hearing about a certain secret society, but it is a cloak around a far more secretive organization. You have heard of the Illuminati, but have you heard of the Illuminazi?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lorem Ipsum run through the gauntlet of spellcheck

There are so many who love pain for the sake of pain itself. Don't know why this is amusing to me, but here is the lorem ipsum text after spellcheck in word. It is a placeholder text used in many places, particularly in dummy layouts to check out how the final text is going to be used. This is a version that won't show up with too many errors in a word document. The text in bold has no suggested alternatives. The text in italics is something that is accepted in English despite being used in old Latin. Everything else has been changed according to spell check.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Going on a trek to Harishchandragad (again)

One of my favorite trekking places in Maharashtra, along with Lohgad (which is just a great place, not a great trek) and Rajmachi. The view from Kokankada is breathtaking, and sleeping in the caves with a bunch of other people who are singing songs is a great expirience. Trekking in the night this time around, and have charged the battery of my Canon D400, so I can come back with some photos this time around. The last time, the battery died in the begenning of the trek, and it was raining heavily.
October was a good month to catch one of the rarest sights in Maharashtra. There is a guy who has gone on this trek more than fifty times just to look at this sight, and hasn't seen it. It is called the Indravajra, and can be seen only from Harishchandragad and Kalsubai as far as I know. This picture of the phenomenon (it is a circular rainbow) was taken by a friend called Prathamesh, who was lucky enough to see it. If it is cloudy tomorrow, then I might just be able to snap it myself. That is if the rainbow manifests. If not, then there is always the breathtaking view.

Pictures and other details on Monday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deshdrohi banned in Maharashtra

In other news Kamal Hassan blows a ton of money on a film called deshdrohi which tackles the immigrant issue in India, specifically, the issue of North Indian immigrants into the state of Maharashtra, and the Maharashtra government, to play safe, goes ahead and bans it in the state.

This brought about a conflicting set of reactions from me. To start with, it is a horrible and stifling measure, so much for the whole freedom of speech idea. On the other hand, if the trailers are anything to judge by, it seems to be a crappy film with horrible acting and everything with more than the usual hyperbole in Indian cinema. The government is probably doing everyone a favor by banning it. Unfortunately, the ban lasts for only sixty days. What I don’t like in such kinds of films is the way they appear to be all nice and kindhearted, with a goody goody preachy approach on how to improve society, yet being a head on commercial exploitation of confused feelings. Indian Cinema is full of fakes.

Did your mommy tell you that your hero, Neo is a kommunist?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama is president! (of the USA stupid)

The America that voted for Bush was America. The America that voted for Obama, was not America at all, and that is a great thing for world peace. Now the Kashmir issue will be solved, children will not die of hunger anywhere in the world, the Chinese will stop being communist, the Japanese will stop selling schoolgirl's underwear in vending machines, the Russians will discover christianity, and Kenya will the the fifty second state in America. The good old america, the deep south, where the Mississippi winds, voted for McCain.
I used to hate America. Obama's victory has taken that away from me. Now there is nothing to hate... dammit. This is the part where a great civilisation becomes decadent, stops growing, and starts to rot from the inside. Ah well.
Not that I care. Oh look at this wound===> nice one eh? You need a leg, and a nice hot exhaust of a bike to achieve this. Not me, a friend.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The definative pictorial guide to cool shit in q3a maps

Q3A is totally made up of cool shit. Singling out particular objects or fixtures in maps is a difficult thing to do. A single bleeding head, or a chained zombie body, or a large organ of some primordial alien creature is handing around at unlikely places. I looked everywhere in the 26 default maps that comes with q3a. I even looked deep into the lava pools, became a spectator and went to those unlikely places, and here is a list of everything I found apart from the run of the mill skull torches and 8-layered moving light fixtures.

In q3dm15 (Demon Keep), down by the lava pool and going back to the main area via the passageway below the BFG, there is this head all alone in the corner. This has to be some programmer. The pool of blood is animated, and the eyes fade between having pupils and not having pupils.

This is just a light fixture from q3tourney1...

...gets a little more interesting from her point of view

This is a weird body chained to the wall on one side of q3tourney3. The intenstines are static and probably rotten, but the rest of the blood in the body is actually flowing through it! You have to stand on a ledge and zoom in to get a good view.

This is from q3tourney4, a part of the structure has a skull and a ribcage floating around in the goo.

Right at the bottom of the water pool in q3dm8, there is this skeleton lying around, to remind players not to stay submersed too long. Spend a little time in the water, and you will notice how the view warps inside water.

What in fucking hell is this thing? Found in two maps, this is from q3dm9.

This one is really cool. You end up here, and you get a message like "you have entered a secret area." I think this is the only place in the game where this happens. This is in q3dm11. You get a 50 health in here (shhh!!!) and dopefish! (ssshhh!!!!).

This is one of the two gigantic creatures whose mouths have been torn off and attached to the arena. This is from q3dm13. Notice how the metal rods are used to keep the mouth open. Stare at it, and you can see it undulating. They should have added some saliva.

The entire q3dm14 map has a eerie flesh beneath the metal/concrete thing going on. All the spawn points for weapons are like that. There are also these reptilian claws/gargantuan plant spikes jutting out over the lava, like it has broken through the wall.

q3dm5 is a really good map for playing with 3-4 people. Not surprisingly, it is called the forgotten place, and it really is, even if you are a regular player, start this map up and you'll know why. The barrels here are pretty cool.

They inflict damage if you stand on them.

q3dm7, aka temple of retribution aka temple of redistribution for those who could not pronounce retribution has a bunch of really cool dead bodies lying around. Near the lava, there are these skulls on sticks to start off...

Then lying around in a godforsaken corner is this poor ex-arena player's skeleton - or maybe its just kept there for kicks...

...and everyone's favorite, this zombie body near the red armour place.

Dont tell me who this is, but its half a larger than life statue embedded in a gothic wall... that's some art ideas for real life - disembodied larger than life statues would be soooo cool on MY cieling.

And in a tiny place on The arena of remorse, there is a friggin mirror on the top... why? to make sure your hair is alright?

The other animal mouth in q3a, this one is in q3dm1 and everyone must know about this because this level was in the demo. Look at how the tongue has actually smashed through the floor and hit on the lava. Those are the kind of touches that makes quake a great game.

In q3dm2 (notice the wharf-like quality of the map?) under the floorboords of where you get the plasma gun, are a whole bunch of cast away skeletons. You will have to crouch to look though - and no time for that when some fragging is going on.

To finish, these are trunks of what appear to be enourmous boas digesting some heavy duty meat. Stare at them in q3dm4, and you will see them undulating exactly like food was travelling down them. You can't miss them, but you probably will miss the movement.

I hope I have not overlooked something...

cities blah

In the list of the 25 most populous cities in India, 6 cities are from Maharashtra. These are Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Thane, Pimpri and Nashik; in decreasing order of population. This would make Maharashtra the most urbanised state in the country. The next highest in terms of number of number of cities in the list, and not the total population living in the urban areas is Gujrat with 4 (Ahmedabad. Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot) and Uttar Pradesh, also with 4 (Kanpur, Lucknow, Agra and Ghaziabad). Aftar that it is Madhya Pradesh with 2 (Indore and Bhopal), and the rest of the cities are lone entries from their states. More than one fourth of people living in large cities in India live in a city in Maharashtra. Bihar has just one poor city contributing to the list. Donno why I noticed this or am blogging it. Just food for nought.

In a global list of the 20 largest cities, India has three cities to contribute, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi. China has also has three (Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai). Surprisingly, America has two (NY and LA), and the relatively low population of Japan also manages to throw up two high density cities into the list (Tokyo and Kyoto).