July 10, 2006

Trip to Mysore

Filed under: India — Chris @ 6:40 pm

Mysore Palace at Night
Originally uploaded by C+H.

Photo set here.

Elephants Need Tips Too

Filed under: India — Chris @ 11:09 am

Facing down the elephant's trunk
Getting it in the face
Tipping the elephant

Color Comics

Filed under: India — Chris @ 10:52 am

Why is Snoopy brown?

Brown Snoopy

Note: Snoopy is not brown on Sunday. The great and good Indian people know that Snoopy is not brown.

Equally perplexing, if less dramatic: why is Calvin yellow?

Yellow Calvin

Why lay down a light yellow background on an otherwise monochrome strip? (Dennis gets the same treatment. The Wizard of Id does not.)

Days Since a Lost-Time Bathroom Incident:

Filed under: India — Chris @ 10:49 am


July 8, 2006

Indian Trains

Filed under: India — Chris @ 12:52 pm

Are a pain in the butt. They have a dizzying array of classes (pictures here). To book in advance you have to figure out how to use a terrible website (IE only; best used in conjunction with this other, slightly less terrible website). Trains are sold out weeks in advance. When you try to book in advance, your browser crashes!

The only thing worse? Indian buses! Because, really, who needs destinations, routes, timetables, or booking information? Real men just go to the bus station and hope for the best!

On Local Scripts

Filed under: India — Chris @ 9:44 am

You should never buy a guidebook that doesn’t provide place names in the local script. Both the Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide books on India get this wrong*. While it is true that you can generally make yourself understood in English**, it is nice to be able to find your own way some of the time (and it is sometimes necessary to spot-check an auto driver’s route planning). An English-language map does not help if most of the street signs, bus stops, and train timetables are in Kannada script.

I don’t remember having as much of a problem with this in other non-Roman-script countries I’ve been to, although that’s probably because I didn’t know where I was supposed to be half the time anyway. We had a difficult time in Japan, but Japan is notoriously tricky to navigate (kanji would have helped, though). I remember having some trouble in Russia, which I guess I dealt with by being very conservative about cabs, buses, and trains. When you’re staying someplace for several months, it is pretty depressing to feel like any given cab ride could end in Tamil Nadu.

* As does the Time Out Tokyo guide. Lonely Planet Japan gets this partly right, so it’s not uniform across their titles.
** Oddly, this is least true inside Bangalore, which is fairly cosmopolitan, but has a rather small tourist trade and a rather large pro-Kannada chip on its shoulder.

July 6, 2006

Some perspective

Filed under: India — Chris @ 1:54 pm

Remember the elevator console Chris was so impressed by?

Elevator Console

With a sense of perspective, it’s interesting to even non-computer geeks.


(Sadly, I do not see much of the World’s Largest Calculator. Because after having worked in this apartment for a week or so I feel that I have a good estimate of the probability of the power going out at any given moment, and feel that the elevator is not the safest bet, unless you want to spend some quality time with the calculator.)

Matthew Yglesias: Punditry’s Golden God

Filed under: Politics — Chris @ 9:37 am

I’m adding Matthew Yglesias’ blog to my Blogroll as of today—despite his rank over-exposure as a blogger at Josh Marshall’s site, The American Prospect, and his own personal site, as well as having the dubious honor of being in Andrew Sullivan’s eponymous awards pantheon—and despite his frequent mis-spellings, his blind spot for homonyms, and his, you know, verbal tics—and despite his being only 25 and having been a prominent liberal pundit before he even graduated college, which puts me in a murder-suicide frame of mind—because the man is always right about everything.

Other recent additions: the brother-in-law; the pseudonymous friend with a great idea and no business plan.

Browser Wars Strike Back

Filed under: Not Tech — Chris @ 9:13 am

A cross-browser HTML rendering bug has caused the bodies of my posts to disappear in IE for the past I-don’t-know-how-many days. My bad. I only ever use Firefox unless I need to access the MS payroll site or something.

For those who care, the problem was I introduced some HTML comments to the blog template, using “--!>” as a terminator. This works in Firefox, but not in IE. The result is the entire post becomes a comment and doesn’t display in the browser window. (It’s still there if you View Source, of course.)

Comment poll: who visited the site and didn’t see anything? Who visited the site and didn’t see anything and didn’t bother to email me about it? Or are all my hordes of readers non-IE? (If so, you should really consider some of Microsoft’s fine products.)

July 5, 2006

Happy Fifth!

Filed under: India — Chris @ 6:18 am

Had a Fourth of July party last night, attended by a majority of the American ex-pats in the office. In the run-up, I think I convinced my Indian co-workers I’m a John Bircher, which is pretty funny considering how much time I’ve spent thinking about what country I will move to in 2008* if George Allen becomes president**.

We did all the things Americans like to do: drinking beer, eating hot dogs (thanks Jonathan!), talking about television, confusing the German, and teasing the Canadians. In a show of progressive internationalism, we sat through 119 scoreless minutes of soccer*** with only moderate whining. (Granted, that last minute was pretty damn exciting. And I jumped out of my chair as the only other foreign country I’ve been in for more than 2 weeks earned its spot in the finals.)

God Bless America. Especially the Supreme Court. Happy belated Fourth!

* Not that I didn’t spend plenty of time on similar themes in 2004/2005, but other factors intervened. I might actually be finished with my degree by 2008, knock on wood.

** I pose George Allen as a most-likely/least-acceptable exemplar—he is a deeply odd and odious character. Bill Frist and Sam Brownback would be similarly unacceptable. I’d probably stick around to see how John McCain turns out…

*** For a while, I tried to be “culturally sensitive” and call it football, but you know what? “Soccer” is semantically unambiguous. You know what I’m talking about. Get over it.

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