????

The question marks indicate that the current post is consisted mainly of many pointless ravings, all of them with no commonality (except for the fact that I wrote all of them) and bearing no particular relationship with one another; thus naming it with a title is as silly as, say, naming a dustbin.

First off, things are getting pretty cloudy over here – both literally and metaphorically. Literally because it is the monsoon season this time of the year here; and this fact robbed me of many opportunities to wonder at the night sky with my good old telescope – one of my favourite past times. Metaphorically because I am becoming sort of gloomy nowadays.  Well, it is not unusual to find me sinking to the endless abysses of depression – but this particular episode comes in time when I thought that I would be truly happy.

The reasons? Well, I did not get a seat in a college I wished to join; that is to say, the chance that I would get a good seat in NIT – Trichy is about as much as the chance that North Korea would disarm itself of nukes. I didn’t score that well in the board exams either. The fact that my mom barely speaks of any other topic other than admissions – either to me or to her relatives and neighbours, not letting me forget my failures,  continually reminding me that I should have secured much more marks in the Public exams isn’t exactly helping me either. Neither are the facts that my dear dad is away in Ranchi, that my best friend isn’t talking to me much or in a few weeks all our classmates will be separated and leading new lives. Gosh, I so need to lighten up. It’s not like I am too emotional or anything. Its a sort of a feeling which goes in a diffferent dimension from the happiness-sadness scale – the lack of happiness makes me feel so…void.

On a much happier note, I finally began to write the first few sentences of Good night,  Part 3. I’m pretty sure you will like it when it comes out tomorrow or the day after…and I have quite decided upon a framework for the story’s ending, although the details are a bit fuzzy.

And finally, the last piece of junk in this rambling post.  A certain blog-mate once asked me to make an ambigram for her name, Ashwini. (I repeat drearily, an ambigram is a word so designed such that it looks the same up side down) Well I finally set my hands on the task today, and finished it.

ashwini

Ok, I know what you are gonna say: there is no way that those combinations of curves looks like anything near the word Ashwini. I admit, this was one of the most difficult ambis I have ever made – I somehow made it look better by adding special effects in Photoshop. The point is, it looks the same upside down. 😀

Until Good Night: Part 3,  sayonora guys!

Four things

I’ve been tagged by the evil genius…ahem…intrepid blogger Subhayan, meaning I have to answer several questions about me:

Four jobs you’ve had in your life?

Child labour is a crime, didn’t you know? OK, I am seventeen, so I could work, but I’m in no big hurry. 🙂

Four jobs you wish you had?

  • An astronomer
  • A particle physicist
  • An astrophysicist
  • An astroparticle physicist

Four movies you can watch over and over again

  • A Beautiful Mind (haven’t heard of it? It won 4 oscars dude!)
  • Contact, 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010 (in other words, the best of sci-fi)
  • All Walt Disney films (Finding Nemo, Lion King…. in other words, the best of animation)
  • Taare Zameen Par

Four cities you have lived in?

  • Coimbatore
  • Coimbatore
  • Coimbatore
  • Coimbatore

Four TV shows you love to watch

  • Fullmetal Alchemist (on Animax)
  • The Big Bang theory (on Zee Cafe)
  • Friends (on Star World and Zee Cafe)
  • The Cosmos documentary series (on no channel currently:( )

Four websites you visit daily?

  • Google Reader (which has the feeds from all the blogs in the blogroll)
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day
  • Facebook (come on..should I link to this site too?)
  • Graffiti In My Heart secret headquarters (aka the WordPress dashboard)

Four of your favorite foods

  • Chilli gobi
  • Naan
  • Barotta
  • Dosas

Four things you won’t eat

  • A jar of dirt
  • Curd rice…eww
  • Sambhar rice ….ewwwer
  • I won’t say it but its the “ewwest”

Four things you wish you could eat right now

  • This is the third question about food. What is with this guy ? He falling in love with cuisine or something?

Four things in your bedroom

  • Bed
  • Door to the bathroom
  • Cupboard
  • Other assorted junk

Four things you wish you had in your bedroom

  • Bigger  bed…I’m really tall, you see.
  • No doors to the bathroom
  • A laptop
  • No junk

Four things I’m wearing right now

  • Shirt
  • Pants
  • Specs
  • Belt

One place I’d rather be right now

  • If the necessary requirements are fulfilled by the questioner – including, but not limited to – spacecrafts, space suits, oxygen and so forth; then it is Saturn’s moon Titan.

One fictional place I’d rather be right now

  • Heaven

Four people you’d really love to have dinner with

  • My best friend
  • Barack Obama
  • Dad
  • Einstein

Four things I am thinking right now

  • Tracking down the person who first wrote this questionnaire.
  • When will I write the first sentence for Good Night – Part 3: Observation Room?
  • When will I complete the ambigram one of my fellow bloggers asked me to make?
  • What happens if I leave the fourth thing blank?

Four of your favorite things/people

  • My best friend
  • My telescope
  • My books
  • My blog

Four people I tag

Hey, people a life you know?

Good Night – Part 2: Zero Gravity

For a fraction of a second, Pete’s heart seemed to have shot upwards to his mouth, which was stuffed with space food. His mind raced with distant memories of the fateful day when the Pegasus caught fire. No, please no, not again!
It was then when something totally remarkable happened. He actually felt his feet losing contact with the ground. He was, in every sense of the term, flying. Flying…as in, floating in mid air. Pete blinked …and then sighed with visible relief, as he slowly realized what had happened. The Ring had simply stopped rotating somehow – his keen ear had perceived that the distant, humming motors were no longer humming. The loss of artificial gravity would be inconvenient, but it was certainly not a life threatening issue. Most probably, one of the flywheels that caused the Ring to rotate was jammed. He presently resumed his eating, or at least tried to. He took a pinch out of the mixture of nutrient rich algae with a spoon and brought it to his mouth. The hard mix, lost contact with spoon midway through the journey and became a projectile. Pete gave up – the tasteless food wasn’t very appealing anyway.
Like most spacecrafts of the day, the Starry Messenger was equipped with a centrifuge – the large Ring, several hundred meters in diameter. The Ring would be made to spin, so that the occupants inside would feel a force attracting them to the outer rim of the Ring, due to influences of centrifugal force. This was the best way to approximate gravity, but it definitely did not feel like normal gravity. For starters, the inmates would feel that the ground was always concave, instead of flat. Walking throughout the Ring’s circumference would be quite a curious affair, as the all the person’s visual senses would tell him that the ground is rising, but he could easily “climb” the ascension. People, with bad humour, often likened this to a hamster running inside a horizontal drum. Second, if you happened to release a ball while inside the Ring, it actually will not fall straight to the ground. Instead, the ball would trace a complicated curve, (at least from the viewpoint of a person inside the rotating ring) so that it would land a few feet away from where it was released – this fact had come to him as a shocker when Pete first encountered a centrifuge in Earth orbit as a sixteen year old.* Of course, things were even more complex when the ball was thrown.
The reason for artificial gravity was, of course to spare the astronauts from the tiresome burden of exercise – without gravity the bones got weaker, which could only be remedied by exercise. Now that the Ring had stopped spinning, Pete found floating extremely likeable, and he would have easily preferred zero gravity and tiresome exercise to the alternative. He closed his hands around his knees, and by pushing on the wall near him; tried to achieve a couple of mid-air somersaults, with spectacular results. Peter Floyd becomes Peter Pan, he thought idly, remembering J. M. Barrie’s flying fairytale character which formed a part of children’s bedtime story curriculum. Presently, he saw two of the ship’s maintenance crew, Kolya Mikhailovitch and Jason Nedland, heading for the hatch which lead to the main axis of the Ring. Pete hurriedly grasped a wall to stop his spinning. “Everything okay Kol?”, Pete asked Kolya.
“Wha- oh, yes it is fine. It seems that the motors got burned. Don’t worry – it is even remarkable that they lasted for so long. We have loads of spares, it could be fixed in a jiffy. Probably three or four hours will…uh-oh, we got to go mate,” Kolya said, with an hurried articulated gesture toward Jason, as one of the loudspeakers announced angrily, “Would Mr. Mikhailovitch please report to the axis immediately!”
Pete watched as Kolya opened the hatch and left. As he now had nothing else to do, he floated around the the Ring, holding on to the railings and avoiding any obstacles that were floating because of the gravity-loss, before finally deciding that it was time visit the observation room. Again.
When the circular hatch leading to the observation room was opened, Pete immediately felt almost a complete darkness engulfing him. He glanced once at the distant wonders that lay beyond the strong glass windows.
His first reaction was to look away. The stars were just too beautiful.

This is Part 2 of the sci fi series called “Good Night.” (Read Part 1?) There is even a lesser probabilty that you would like this!

For a fraction of a second, Pete’s heart seemed to have shot upwards to his mouth, which was stuffed with space food. His mind raced with distant memories of the fateful day when the Pegasus caught fire. No, please no, not again!

It was then when something totally remarkable happened. He actually felt his feet losing contact with the ground. He was, in every sense of the term, flying. Flying…as in, floating in mid air. Pete blinked …and then sighed with visible relief, as he slowly realized what had happened. The Ring had simply stopped rotating somehow – his keen ear had perceived that the distant, humming motors were no longer humming. The loss of artificial gravity would be inconvenient, but it was certainly not a life threatening issue. Most probably, one of the flywheels that caused the Ring to rotate was jammed. He presently resumed his eating, or at least tried to. He took a pinch out of the mixture of nutrient rich algae with a spoon and brought it to his mouth. The hard mix lost contact with spoon midway through the journey and became a projectile. Pete gave up – the tasteless food wasn’t very appealing anyway. Continue reading “Good Night – Part 2: Zero Gravity”

Good Night, part 1

This is the first part of a sci-fi short story series called “Good Night”. It is my first story, so don’t expect much…but I actually think that there is a slight probability that you will like it. 😀

The large spacecraft certainly did not look like the more fashionable ones from the old science fiction movies; indeed, one journalist had commented that it looked like a cross between an umbrella and a bicycle tyre. Nevertheless, the Starry Messenger would take them to where no man has ever gone before: the triple star system of Alpha Centauri, a place sundered from the Earth by more than four light years of vast interstellar space. The reason for spacecraft’s awkward shape was that it was one of the few solar sails in existence: its large, pentagonal and flimsy sails would employ the tiny pressure from sunlight, giving it a subtle but sufficient acceleration. Peter Floyd liked the ship very much, and did not feel like agreeing with that journalist. However ugly people thought the ship was, he likened it romantically to a strange, beautiful, and silvery flower.

A second thing that the Starry Messenger did not have in common with its romantically imagined science fiction counterparts was that it was not spacious – a sad fact that had been the cause for much grumbling from the astronauts since the beginning of space travel. The Ring (as it was called, which consisted of the main living quarters, the observation deck and the toilets) had barely enough room to walk. Out in the movies, a spaceship’s interior often resembled the insides of a luxurious five star hotel, while inside the Starry Messenger, some of the taller crew – Peter included – actually had to bend in some places to walk through. This was of course, necessary. Providing more room for the crew meant building a larger spaceship, which meant more mass; which would be much harder to accelerate – to say nothing of the costs involved. The hundred odd companies – public and private – that were responsible for the ship’s design and fabrication thus made sure the ship did not carry what was unnecessary.

However, Pete had to admit that this was something of an improvement from the cramped spaces of the Pegasus, with which he and three other crew had travelled to Saturn. That was almost six years ago, but Peter could never quite forget the moment when he first set his eyes on the ringed jewel of the solar system – the curiosity of the night sky that had mystified astronomers since the time of Galileo himself. But it was one thing to see Saturn and its rings with a telescope. It is entirely an other to see it with your own naked eyes, right in front of you…

A distant but perceptible jerking sound brought Pete out of his reverie. As the ship’s Chief Engineer, his senses had developed almost a mechanical bond with the ship…his years long training – which involved simulations, underwater spacewalk training, and hours of programming – had bought him into intimate familiarity with each of the ship’s many subsystems. Now, he could sense something was missing, something was different from the ordinary functioning of the ship. What was it?

After what felt like a decade, fear rose once more in Pete’s mind. Something was terribly wrong with the ship, and it certainly was not the lack of space.

Angels and demons sucked.

The Angels and Demons movie sucked. Totally. I was like, “Two years of waiting and I get this?” I was about to give a point-by-point explanation of why the movie did not work magic the way the book did, but I realized it did not even deserve that. OK, I know some things must be sacrificed when you go from a 200-page novel to a two hour drama, but cutting off the romance between Vittoria and Langdon? Not even providing a moment to appreciate the awesome ambigrams? Paying almost no attention to the bloody and gory killings described in the book? You might think I am a sadist, espousing violence; but the Dan Brown’s ingenuity was using the dark side of human nature to expose the light – in the end, the book did get people thinking about the things surrounding science and religion. After all, thats the whole point…without the Demons, there are no Angels. The soundtrack was awesome though. But this is Hans Zimmer you are talking about, you sort of expect great music form him – he was the man behind the Dark Knight‘s score.

And for a totally unrelated raving, here is one of my Photoshop works of art that I did not share with you in the last post, on the grounds that it was a bit obscene:

Hope the guys from flickr dont see this

Just to insult your intelligence: it is a spoof of the photo sharing site Flickr.com.