Thursday, July 31, 2008

Iqbal

Yeah I know I am late to this party..by a few years may be. :-) But I just unearthed the dvd from my stash and realized I had never seen the movie. So I finally got around to watching it today. Couldn't have been better timed. While the big obvious message..follow your dreams..definitely hit home, there were other aspects of it that invoked the warm fuzzies and made me smile. The two women threatening the coach not ot dash Iqbal's dreams..the chatty bespectacled kid sister quietly weeping at the fence watching her brother play...how the dad finally relents and they go to see his match, only they can't afford tickets..Iqbal's untiring pursuit with the drunk coach..the teacher-student relationship between them.. all of these were so well done. I don't watch too many desi movies so the rare one I see also ends up making me miss random things about home..like autorickshaws, and the desi kambals. No comforter-shumforter can provide the warmth and cosiness of a kambal.

Another thing about the movie was that it served as a refresher on the kind of ties our parents have with us. Over the years I have become slightly impatient..distanced, "Americanized"; I daresay, as far as my parents go. I can't deal with their (sometimes, to me) overbearing worry and concern about me. But in Iqbal, the mother's blind faith in her son's success, the father's obstinate stand that he knew what would be best for his son..the complicated web of hopes/dreams/reality and how he deals with it on a daily basis..was beautiful. It's hard to explain the kind of message I got out of all that..but I'll just say it reminded me to be bit more patient with my parents next time I am beginning to get irritated by their concern.

Nice, feel good movie. I should go sleep now.

W.o.m.m. 26

I just found out about two of my classmates from grad school who have landed tenure track positions at big big name universities. These were people from my session..they did graduate a year or so before me, but even then..that means just a 2 year post-doc period!

It leaves me feeling many things..am really happy for them..they were both really nice people, very smart too, always willing to answer my questions when I had doubts etc. Granted that in their sub-field which is so much more theoretical, publications move faster and the short post-doc is not all that surprising. I have pretty much kissed good-bye the dream I ever had of getting into the tenure track rut. It has very little appeal for me now. But a small part of me is going to feel sad every time I see someone else go up and do it, and wonder what if..(And then I immediately recoil and remind myself of the reasons I made my decision).

Ah well. I am supposed to be inspired by this news. I'll try. :p

--------

The key to letting go is to really, truly let go. Not let go superficially but comfort yourself secretly that you may get it back some day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cool!

Snap out of it!

I have been terribly unmotivated at work past few weeks. I know some of it is because of the bloody paper from my ph.d work that hasn't gone out yet. It's sticking like a thorn in my side and yet I can't seem to push it past the finishing line. So close, yet so far. It's getting exponentially harder each day.

My current work is also not reaping any interesting results. I have procrastinated on some experiments so much that sometimes I feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start with them. I have two projects, both super cool and interesting and do-able but both slow. Painfully slow. Frustrating. And currently, both failing miserably and hence off-putting.

All of this makes me a generally unhappy person. I've taken time off, I've done fun stuff, I've gone out and met friends..but there's an underlying sadness because work is not going the way I'd like it to. I've realised that my work pretty much defines me as a person, that is not going to change however much I fight it or ignore it. So I just need to go with it. I also realised recently I have it so much better than a lot of people. I have so much to be happy about, excited about and be proud about, professionally and personally. I need to stop dwelling on the mistakes, the "impossible tasks" and the lofty goals. I need to start small, start, chug along and I know I'll get there. Stop beating myself up, stop magnifying small mistakes into huge crimes. Trying to constantly aim for the stars while refusing to get out of the trenches hasn't ever worked, has it? I should know.

The goal for today is just to get through my very do-able to do list. Nothing grand. Small routine tasks to take my experiments forth. Best of luck to me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

random cravings of a sick mind

sick as in ill, ok?

rasam rice

bombay

home

drive in movie (do you realise how these are near extinct these days? i love the concept- its one of my top favourite date things to do )

sleep

cable tv

Monday, July 28, 2008

I am

tired
happy
sleep deprived
puzzled
angry
disappointed
thankful

all of above. all at once.

yes, Pri. thank you for your moral support and words of encouragement. I made it to NY and back, 4 trains and 3.5 hours each way and no (mis)adventure. Are you proud of me or what?

and since we're doing acknowledgments thanks to Shripriya for eating tips in NY and confused for for train tips.

The blogworld is such a supportive place. What would I do without y'all?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Please

Nothing is black and white. If i say I hated papayas earlier, and really enjoy them today, I shouldn't have to feel the need to hand out disclaimers each time. Likes and dislikes need not be an issue of principle or responsibility every time.

sigh. And its just a freakin papaya, for crying out loud- not my stand on abortion i'm changing.

/rant

"Can you please call now?"

How would you react if you got a text msg like that from your dad? My dad has this MOST ANNOYING habit of sending a one liner like that. Or "please call when you get time". It used to alarm me in the beginning and I would hurriedly call back only for him to tell me something totally mundane and nothing urgent. I then realised he was just using some preset saved message and just sent it whenever he felt like talking to me, or was just too lazy to type a more descriptive message. I wish he would include some context, or take out the "please". I have told him a few times, but of course it hasn't changed. Having realised these messages are not meant to cause panic, I have stopped panicking over them. On good days, I laugh it off as one of my dad's quirks and on bad days I grit my teeth nd mutter under my breath when I get a message like that out of the blue. Today I finally ranted it out here and feel much better...

But I always call him right away. :-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

On missed buses

I think back to the opportunities I let go..and while I may not necessarily want to get them back now (not that there is any way I can), I want to make sure I don't miss another that might, after all, take me where I want to get.

I have eaten my words on several occasions, mostly after having to suffer the consequences. This time I willing to do some pre-emptive eating of my words. :p

W.o.m.m #25

QOTD: Nothing will work unless you do.

I want to start spending less time online. To start with, not sign into GTalk while at work. Even if I only chat very rarely between experiments and stuff..its eating into my time now and there are better things I can do. When I was in grad school, I had mostly stuck to my "no IM at work" policy, and it worked out really well for me. Now that I use my own personal laptop in the lab I feel tempted to sign in. But it's going to stop from today. So lets see how that goes.

Question for y'all: When you surf and find interesting articles, blog posts you want to read etc. but can't get through them and would like to come back later just to read how do you save the links? I am not talking about marking unread in a feeder, because some of these are not blogs/feeds I have on my reader to start with, just stumbled upon by chance or blog hopping. I wouldn't want to sit and bookmark all of them either. So all you netizens, tell me what you do?

One of my lab mates is the most careless when it comes to working with radioactive stuff. It has been bothering me for a few days now. Yesterday I told him he needed to follow some rules, he was being inconsiderate towards others. My Ph.d advisor was crazy-anal when it came to using radioactivity in the lab and i can't understand how someone can be so inconsiderate and careless. He leaves soon, and just for the fact that he is an overall bad lab citizen even though a nice guy, I'm not too sorry to see him go.

Two post docs I know lost their jobs because their P.I's grants didn't get renewed. One prof on our floor has greatly downsized for the same reason. It's scary.

Some links

On the important skill of multi-tasking in your post-doc. A very timely post for me, so I thought I'd share.

I certainly spent postdoctoral time writing papers from my Ph.D. research, but I also worked on my new research projects and I enjoyed doing both. This fondness for having simultaneous projects at different stages of 'completion' has been a characteristic of my career, but I first discovered this during my postdoc.


And this one where the author Zuska blogs about her D & C procedure. I almost passed out half-way through the post while reading it, but decided to steel myself, drink some water and made it through the post.

I will actually quote her sidenote with which she ends the post, the post itself has all the gory and not so gory details of the D&C.

A side note on women and gynecological procedures:

Many women are survivors of sexual abuse or sexual assault. For them, even routine gynecological exams can be a traumatic experience. A procedure like a D&C, which places one in an even more vulnerable state, can be even more difficult to undergo. It's important to be able to communicate openly with your health care provider about your history. A good gynecologist will talk with you about your fears and explore ways to reduce anxiety. These can include simple techniques like making sure that the health care provider tells you explicitly everything that he or she will do at each step before proceeding, and checking in with you periodically to see how you are doing. If you find it difficult to advocate for yourself in this way, you may want to take a trusted friend with you to your exam. Most gynecologists these days are aware that sexual abuse and sexual assault are all-too-common experiences for women, and that they can affect a woman's ability to tolerate exams and procedures. But if you run into someone who is not sympathetic, don't just put up with it, or worse, avoid taking care of your health because of it. Find a new doctor.


FYI, A D&C (Dilation and Curettage) is a procedure that involves expanding or enlarging the entrance of a woman's uterus so that a thin, sharp instrument can scrape or suction away the lining of the uterus and take tissue samples. This is usually done as an adjunct procedure ie, other procedures follow the D & C. (see this for details)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On relationships

I like

Being able to take liberties
Long cosy conversations
The TLC
Exclusivity
Feeling special
Letting go

I don't like

The ensuing fear of involvement, possibility of hurt, disappointment
Being responsible for another's feelings
Being answerable to another
The emotional investment
Having to let go
All of this makes it feel like a "jhanjhat" I can do without.

Unfortunately there are no guarantees in life. Some risks are worth taking, and some hurt is worth living through.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

For the last time

Dear TGFI,

Gate number is different from seat number. Mixing them up will get you nowhere. At least not on a flight.

I am getting tired of your nonsense, really. Also mixing up the name of your destination with the name of the airport you are flying out of will do no good. Except make you look like one big fool, screaming at the kiosk machine for not processing your request while you insist on wanting to fly to the airport the machine (and you) are currently standing in.

Yeah, seriously.

On second thoughts, an intelligent machine will not have that option, no? They need to upgrade in airports.

Sorry for 2 am rambling. I just got home when I should've arrived at 11:30 am because, of course, remember that am flight i booked at pm instead? sigh

Friday, July 18, 2008

W.O.M.M #24

To someone in particular, yes, I miss you every now and then. But that last phone call reminded me why I am glad to just miss you in a fond way, and not have to deal with you on a daily basis.

To someone else in particular, I had one of those 3 am awakenings again last night. Allergies, bad dreams, fighting with the air-conditioner. And yeah, I realised then that I missed having the liberty of calling you. But then, thats what friends in different time zones are for. :)

The bicycle has been christened Chameli! Thank you, aequo animo. :)

Oh yeah. My latest gripe. A colleague F and I went to visit one of our friends G who recently had a baby. G's parents were in town and we were treated to a wonderful home-cooked south indian meal, thanks to G's mom. As we were getting ready to leave, F gets asked if he'd like to take home some food, but I am not even asked! (And to top it all, F refuses, like a fool!). Why? Because F is a guy and is not expected to cook for himself, while I'm a girl and should be able to cook for myself and less deserving of getting some leftovers to take home?? Damn stereotypes.

As I remarked to F about it on our way back in the car, F, who happens to be an excellent cook - expert dosa maker and what not said "I don't know why you are so worked up, I am the one who should be offended, if any.". :)
sigh.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Reminders because I need them

1) Sometimes you have to tell it like it is. No matter how much you care for the person or how it might affect them

2) Having done that, stand by it, don't wallow in guilt

3) Sometimes, many times, most times, you've got to put yourself first.

4) Sometimes a giggles-filled phone call with a friend can do a lot in lieu of a real life hug.

5) Sometimes you've got to let go. Stop dwelling on shit. really!

6) The one person who is always capable of making you feel better about yourself..is yourself!

7) If you think you're beaten, you are. If you think you can, you can!

Cliched, but true.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Best friends

How many best friends do you have? I don't see why one can't have more than one. I've a best friend from my childhood days, a set of best friends from school days and two from my grad school days. How they got that title? Mostly, by just being there.

Close friend sounds more appropriate than best friend, perhaps, but i like the ring the sound of "Best friend" has to it. "she's my best friend!"
:)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Assorted rants


Top on my list of what I hate about living in the US is how hard they make it for one to be able to see a doctor. Anywhere between 3 - 6 weeks waiting for an appointment with a GP. What a joke. It almost seems like I should just block a few dates every few months and hope that if in case I need to see one, it be around then. And there's no in between. Either its that or the E.R.! And when I finally get to see the doc, it will be a few minutes, brusque, rushed conversations and this whole meherbaani attitude, both from the doctors and the staff. I hate this current doctor I have and that whole office in general. Any surprises then that I put off seeing the doctor as much as I can? I am trying to switch now and hope I find another one close by.


Just found out that I screwed up an experiment. Added the wrong reagent. 8 plates of cells and 4 days of work down the drain. Genius TGFI.

Also just found out that I screwed up a reservation. Booked a 930 pm plane instead of 930 am. Breathtaking Genius TGFI.

Yeah. Just wucking fow.




Loop

Its all too familiar. To want, to get, to not want, to be scared, to want to run. I am not sure what it will take to get out of the safety of this comfort zone. It all seems too demanding and not inspiring enough. It shouldn't seem like a chore, like a task waiting to be struck off a to-do list, right? Most times, thats what it seems like to me.
And so I run around in recursively twisted logic. It's getting tiresome.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thought of the day

You know you don't have enough nasty people in your life when you start getting sensitive about things at the drop of a hat and make life difficult for your own self. sigh.
get. over. it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Black book, blue book

Throughout grad school I worked on mostly one project at a time. Of course there were many sub-parts going on simultaneously, back ups etc, but they were all aimed at answering the same question, the basis of my doctoral dissertation. When I started my post doc we outlined two projects A and B. Project A was taking up immediately from where someone had left it, and had an experimental framework outlined. But it required so much groundwork and set up, while project B required so much of my understanding of the literature and conceptualization, that A had been consuming all of my time for the first year. B is supposed to be my "main project", my baby, and it has only taken off in fits and starts whenever I got time from working on A. Finally, A has taken off, and I have attained a degree of confidence and command over it so that I can now work on getting B up and running too. Now I am actually doing what they tell you to do all the time, work on 2 projects at a time. And I am loving it!

A and B are entirely independent of each other. So I go in everyday and open up my black notebook, which I record my experiments and observations on A. Somewhere in the middle of the day I switch off from A almost completely, switch gears and start thinking about B. I open up my blue notebook, design, plan and conduct experiments for B. It's like living two mini-lives in a day! They both employ different techniques and different experimental models, so I am learning a lot of new stuff now and getting to play with very different tools. They are also aimed at answering very different questions, and I am beginning to enjoy juggling between the two disciplines and the mental gymnastics of jumping laterally from one thought process to the other. And there is the thrill and rush having all of these different things to do and stay on top of, which gives me that kick to see me through the long days.

And every once in a while, A provides a vague insight or segue into B or vice-versa, and those are delightful moments, like unexpected bonuses. In the bigger picture, A and B are also after all pieces of the same huge puzzle: understanding how and why cells do what they do.The plan is to make the two roads meet at some point in future, and I am excited to see how and when that intersection happens!

50k



I waste a good bit of time poring over the stat counter data on this blog. Part of it is my innate paranoid self. The other part is just a fascination for being able to track traffic, see where readers come from, search words etc, as many might share.

Today at some point this morning a visitor from Bombay pushed the sitemeter over past the 50k count. Yay! I am glad it was a visit from bombay. :) Here's a shout out to all you people who indulge my nonsense and read this blog. Thank-you! :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Penn Masala

My desi-phile labmate pointed them out to me

Penn Masala, the world's first and premier Hindi a cappella group, was formed in 1996 by a group of students at the University of Pennsylvania.


A cappella (Italian: “at chapel” or Latin: "From the chapel/choir") music is vocal music or singing without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way.
(wiki)

Check their music out, quite nice and this funny one too

And then i wonder

if it really is a miscommunication? We let down our guard with people we feel close to, and at some point stop worrying how our words are received. I wonder sometimes, if thats what it is. And then I wonder why I am trying to explain any of it? Who am i trying to justify? You or me?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Homesick, home, sick.

Rotten migraine is back. I was going over my archives and reading about my awesome vacation last year around this time. Made me all the more homesick. Crave for my mom's TLC. Crave for Bombay. Wonder if it is still all that it means to me. Miss it anyway.

Sometimes I get this overwhelming wish to pack up and head back to India. Of course, its just a passing feeling but its quite strong when it is there. Enough to make me wonder what is keeping me back from actually finding a job and doing it? Nothing except the fact that I'd like to save some amount of money before I go back. And get a good paper out of this post-doc.

I'm just a sad puppy today. Looks like i'm going to wallow in self-pity for a bit, and not for lack of better things to do.

Must. snap out of it.

W.o.m.m #23

Sad: at the fact that some people and some things never change. And I *still* let it get to me. Why? I really should stop caring. I don't need the grief...I never asked for it. I'd like to think I'm more thick skinned to these annoyances now, but I guess what really saddens me is being reminded about how much they'd affect me in the past. sigh. Mean people will be mean people. whether they mean it or not. heh.

Happy: I pimped up my bicycle today. Greased her joints, got her a new rack (to replace the one stolen by the bloody vandals way back then) and a new bottle-holder. I need a bell too, may be next time. The guy at the bike shop was telling me that there's been a clear increase in business since the rising fuel costs. More repairs than new bike purchases, though. He was nice and chatty, and I was reminded of the friendly rapport I had with the local bike shop in lutom..


Happy definitely >>>> Sad. :)

I just realised that my bicycle doesn't have a name. Hmm... must come up with one.
Edited in: The floor is open for suggestions...btw. To give you an idea of how i name things in my life, my computers have been called Hobbes and Kalia, and my car Basanti. (Clearly there is no pattern) :) The cycle is female.:)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Heights of cheapness

I have to pay in order to select my seat before hand now while booking a flight. $20 (each way) For an exit row seat. $6 (each way) for reserving any other seat- even a crappy 3rd-last row middle seat? On AIRTRAN? Give me a break!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pet peeve of the day

You know how when you call someone, and they might be in the middle of something or in a rush to go someplace, so you make your call short and make as if you're about to hang up and then they start asking you more questions so you continue the conversation and then they cut you off and say "hey you know i've really got to go now why don't we chat another time?"

stupids.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Bungee Jumping 2: why I'll never be the same person again

I know that sounds dramatic but its true! (ie I am full of drama so what to do now?)

Having made my way to the bungee jumping site, I found that it basically consisted of this one booth being manned by a couple people. I went up nonchalantly and said I had a reservation for 11:00 AM and signed a bunch of papers that basically said I couldn't sue anyone if I broke an arm or a leg etc etc. After signing my life off this girl weighed me and wrote my weight on the back of my palm. Then she pointed me in the direction of the path that would take me up the cliff. After a short 5 min hike I was up there, and went up and met Ian who was going to harness me and help me jump. I chatted about, he made silly jokes and I told him they were silly jokes but I understood he was trying to lighten things etc etc. So far so good. In five minutes he went over the procedure- I would be harnessed, walk down the bridge to the jump-off board. Ian and his friend would test the bungee cord lengths etc. I would walk down to the point where I had to jump from, Ian would count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and I would jump at the count of 1, basically just leap forth. I was harnessed at the ankles so I would be dangling from my ankles. In less than 45 seconds the boat would come by and I would get pulled into it and sail away to safety. Cool! I said. The view from up there was beautiful, by the way and I clicked away before I had to put away my camera and specs and all of that.



So I walk up to the site shuffling because my ankles are harnessed..and Ian positions me, asks me to walk up so that my feet are half off the ledge. SCARY SHIT MAN! I did anyway and was gripping the side bars like there's no tomorrow. Ian yells: 30 seconds! (to cue the man on the boat to get ready) and goes 5! 4! 3! 2! ONE!. And I'm still standing there. Frozen.

I retreat..and tell Ian we needed to go over the process again..

Ian: OK, I count 5 to 1 and you leap off at the count of 1. Think of it as a ride at an amusement park.

Me: why am i not amused?

Ian: OK, now you're going to do it, ok? We've done all the work, tested everything, you've just got to jump.

Me: I'm scared!

Ian: you're supposed to be!

I shuffle up again, make my way to edge of the ledge, not even sticking my feet out this time, looking down

Me (Thinking) ok, tgfi, nobody knows you came here..you can turn around, go back home, and everything will be fine and dandy with the world. What is the big deal in a 30 sec thrill anyway?

Ian: Come on tgfi! You know you want to do this! You came here all the way.. you've got to even the score with your sister right?

Me: yeah??.(A very scared yeah) I am peering down, squinting at the simultaneously terrorizing and exciting view..and Ian and the other guy keep telling me not to look down, to look ahead..I don't see how anyone can do that!

Ian: OK THEN 5! 4! 3! 2!

Me: (I turn around and thrust my hand in Ian's face- he's right behind me..yelling) you're too loud! you need to count softly! you're scaring me!

Ian: You're supposed to be scared!

Me: No I don't want to do this. this was a wrong idea. I want to go home. I don't even want my money back.

I walk (Shuffle) back to the deck.

Ian: you're making it really hard by overthinking it all. Just go and jump..you know you want to do it! We do hundreds of jumps everyday!

Me: I don't knoww.

Ian: ok..the line is building up. You've got to do this now. I can drop you if you want. That way you fall backwards..

[We try out that technique on the deck- him holding me in the front by my waist harness and i just lean back, until he lets go..but it all seems extremely uncomfortable and I really cant see myself wanting to do fall back into a ravine like that]

Me: No no..i want to go facing down. But I don't want to be the first to jump! Can you let the others go first and then me?

Ian: No no no. we've hooked you up, everything is ready for you to jump. You've paid for our time. We've already spent more time with you than we spend with anyone..C'mon.. just do it tgfi..you're going to do it now, right?

Me: OK OK..At this point all I can think is the bloody greyhound ride and all the pains I took to get there, and how much I really wanted to do this, and if I went back now, I'd be miserable, and would never muster up the guts to do it again..so off I went..

Ian: OK i'll count "Soft and nice" now, (chuckles)

Me: OK, so I should jump at the count of 1?

Ian: at this point, you can jump any time! really! :)

Me: ok..

Ian 5! 4! 3! 2!

Me: leaps off screaming :)



And apparently i was screaming "Beautiful!" when I bounced back in reverse. :)

After the 200 feet dive, there is atleast a couple bounce backs, once in reverse, and it really is quite exhilarating..and quite a sight. I totally enjoyed the ride and soon it was done and time for me to be lowered into the boat.

I jumped off the boat and couldn't sit still! I was talking non stop to the woman who was manning the booth..I was bouncing off my heels and couldn't sit still or think straight for a good while after that. So I walked about, grinning the "I just bungee jumped!" grin..made friends with this bunch of french tourists and we exchanged stories and they shared their picnic lunch with me and we explored around until it was time to flag the greyhound bus back to Ottawa..

For the next few days, I was still wearing the "I just jumped off a cliff 200 feet" grin on my face, probably what caused me to be "randomly frisked" at the airport :) and every time I closed my eyes I could picture the beautiful limestone amphitheater view that I took in as I jumped..its all coming back as I write this post even now and is going to stay with me for a long long time.

Whew!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Why you should never stay late at work around a holiday

because the minus 80 degrees c freezer will decide to break down at 4 pm and you're the only one in the lab and you are left to move around the zillions of years of stuff that your boss loves to hoard and do all kinds of damage control.

bleddy rubbish naansense.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

White or not

a lie is a lie. A breach of trust. I don't think there's ever a justification.

Bungee Jumping 1: getting there

I'll start with getting there, because it was part of the whole adventure. For those who want the executive summary, the Great Canadian Bungee (GCB) site is in a limestone quarry called Morrison quarry ~ 30 km from Ottawa downtown, in Chelsea. The Greyhound should be your last resort, since it goes by there only once early AM and picks up after 3 pm, and is not the most reliable. Try to go on a weekday and take the city bus or else rent a car and drive.

The GCB site said it was in Wakefield, off hwy 105 North. The folks at the hostel i was staying at who went there either drove or took the city bus #1. The cab company was going to charge me $100 roundtrip, and a cab driver I was chatting up was ready to strike me a deal for $75, none of which I could afford. The only options were to rent a car (again, as expensive) or take the Greyhound bus to this small town Wakefield. After several calls to the GCB folks, I was told "just tell the bus driver you want to get off at the GCB, everyone knows". Of course, words you should never trust. :) I obsessed over it in the hostel, with everyone making fun of me that there i was all set to jump off a cliff 200 feet and was stressing out about taking a greyhound to get there. :) But what worried me more was getting off a greyhound bus in the middle of a candian highway, early on a sunday morning, not finding the place, and dealing with the disappointment of not getting to jump. There was no way I could find the exact street address of the greyhound bus stop in Wakefield and they never answered the phone. So I google-mapped the GCB jump site (using the co-ordinates they provided) until I narrowed down the exact two streets (very small nondescript streets) that the quarry was in between. Now from googlemaps it didn't at all look like it was in Wakefield, in fact it looked like it was in this other small town Chelsea that came before Wakefield. Armed with this knowledge, I reserved a cab for early sunday am to take me to the greyhound bus stop.

Overnight and by morning, my desire to go bungee jump was totally fortified, even more after all that researching and realising that getting there was not so straightforward. Now I had to crack this problem, and I really really wanted to jump, I had totally built it up for myself. :) I got to the greyhound bus stop in Ottawa, bought a ticket to Wakefield and asked the guy if they could tell me the street address of the Wakefield bus stop. He putzed around for a bit and then said..."Oh. its a flag stop". Which means, there's no stop as such. You just ask the bus driver to stop where you need to get off. Heh. Okay! I decided I will ask him to stop at "Morrisson Quarry" or the GCB site, as they told me. As I board the bus, the driver first talks in French, then tells me in English he has no idea what I am talking about or where it is. Hmmmm.. so I sit up front, eyes wide open studying the route like crazy. Of course he takes a different route than what I had looked up, but in any case, he had to get on highway 105 off which the quarry was, in between those two little streets "ch Carman" and "ch Morrison Heights". So I kept looking out once we got on highway 105 for these small street signs (They are really not even streets. I don't know what ch. stands for). But anyways I finally saw ch. Carman and then soon after saw the board for the GCB. It wasn't too huge... there was no huge billboard or anything announcing it. In the distance I could see the bungee jumping tower. Here Here! I said, and the bus driver stopped shortly after that. He told me i had to stand across the hwy when the bus returned around 3 pm and flag him down. Well, finally I was there and it wasn't so bad after all.

Later that afternoon after my jump I met a group of French tourists who were on the same bus as I. It seems they sat on the bus waiting to get to Wakefield. At some point, the driver stopped and said that all passengers to Wakefield needed to get off there. They had no clue where they were. They asked around for GCB, no passengers knew. Then the driver realised they were talking about the same spot I had gotten off. He called Greyhound to send another bus to ferry them back (they were now in Wakefied, about 10 km past the limestone quarry!). So there! - their story justifies all my mach mach. :)

OK more about the jump in the next post. I'll leave you with some photos of the quarry which was a beautiful place.




Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Look Ma..no hands

So I was torn between the temptation to share my excitement (very palpable even a day after I did the bungee jump) with my parents, and the fear of worrying my poor mom who as it is worries enough about me. It didn't seem fair to give her more reasons to worry while I was busy getting an adrenalin rush. When I told them about my sky-diving adventure, my dad was quite excited and impressed, but my mom launched into a huge tirade and threatened to have me quit my Ph.D and come back. Later on, my cousin did it and sent them all a video link, and my mom went "how come you don't have a video? That was so great to watch". Grrrr... Finally, they saw my tape when they came to Lutom for my graduation, and I think the only impression my mom took away was that I was strapped to some random strange man and sitting so close to him on the plane. HAHAHA! [In a tandem sky dive, you are harnessed and strapped to the front of your instructor, and they pile like a dozen people into a small plane so you have to sit er..pretty..tight in front of your instructor....].

Well, finally the excitement won over caution and I blurted it out to my mom in the midst of my phone conversation with them. I prefaced it with "don't yell at me but you know what I did...I went buNGEEE JUMPING MOM!!". :D My mom's first question was "Did you have to hug and stick to some random man again?". AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA! My mom is so cute.

Then of course I got the lecture, how she did not share my joy and excitement and how I shouldn't go off doing these things by myself and what if something happened..and I argued that the statistical probability of someone dying in bungee jump is the same as that of someone dying traveling 161 km by car so there you go..and she said shut up don't talk rubbish and and and..and finally I used my trump card and yelled out "Akka did it too and she never told you!".

Heh heh heh.

P.S: yeah expect a lot of bungee jump -related posts now..i can't get over it yet. :p