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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fantasy Fiction

How can J.K. Rowling, Christopher Paolini, Robert Jordan and Tolkien create such wonderful, new worlds?! Inventing new characters, new powers, more senses than five or six, new places, new games, new rules, new government, new species and what not?!
But there is a catch here. There is a necessity to read all the series written by these four brilliant writers one at a time. You mix them up, you better start reading again. I found that out at a very time-consuming cost.

I started with the Harry Potter series, and am more than glad that it’s over. That helped me enjoy it to the fullest and live the different world effectively for many years.
Then I made the biggest mistake of my book-worm life. I took the following treacherous path:

  1. Eye of the World - Wheel Of Time (WoT) Series

  2. Eragon - Inheritence Series (IS)

  3. Eldest - IS

  4. The Fellowship of the ring - Lord Of the Rings (LOTR)

  5. Brisingr (started) - IS

    • Googled for IS, read the wiki entry to refresh my meory.

  6. Brisingr (completed) - IS

  7. The Great Hunt (Started) - WoT

    • Googled for LOTR, to find where I am going wrong in understanding

    • Googled for WoT to discover that I had completely forgotten the plot, and mixed it up with Inheritence series

    • Googled for IS, to find out what is WoT, IS and LOTR.

    • Make a Venn Diagram for future reference.. ggrrrrr!


Kindly don't repeat the mistake that I did. If you have done it already, here is a little something for reference.

However, this does not guarantee a confusion-free reading, as the three series are deeply inter-connected. You may have to re-read everything again. What with WoT spanning 11 books, and still going strong, you don't want to take THAT risk!


I am a consultant and a follower of KrishAshok - hence propagating the usage of charts and graphs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Angry Scolding Self(ASS): Hey!!
Me(M): Mmm (Yawn) You talkin' to me?

ASS: Yes I am! You can't sleep now.
M: But, My preciousss!
ASS: Don't preciouss me! Medicinal sleep in never an excuse.
M: Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. zzzzzzz

ASS: Hey what the hell?! Hello!!! ARCHA....
M: Cut it out! You had me at hello.
ASS: Better, now what?
M: I am going to make an offer you can't refuse - 5 minutes nap break, pretty please?

ASS: Fine, 5 minutes it is. I'll be back.
M: You know, for a little woman, you do make a lot of noise!!
ASS: I am big! Its the pictures that got small.
M: *snort* You can at least use original lines!

After 5 minutes...
ASS: 5-minute power nap is over! Wake up!
M: (Still Groggy) I think I have Houston (Horrible Occurences CaUsing Sleep Taking Over at Noon)
ASS: Sh*t! Houston? We have a problem!!
M: No we don't. Let me sleep through this afternoon. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Disclaimer: For the sake of originality, check this out!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Up or down?

When we were young, we used to play a really fun game called,
‘color color what color do you choose?’
We had this paper model in hand, with grooves created for each of our four fingers. The moment one color is chosen, that person has to run and find an object of that color.

Then we grew up and started playing a different game:
‘Up or down, down or up, what approach would you choose?’
To the uninitiated, I refer to top-down and bottom-up approach. (To whoever coined these terms: You really didn’t realize that they have such obvious double meanings??).

This elaborate and unnecessary preamble is for showing my skepticism towards bottom-up approach. I think it works well in:

  • Market research: Forecasting
  • Coding: Creating solution modules for customers.

But where common sense and logic are involved, bottom-up approach totally messes up one’s mind.
For example, lets use the 2009 watch-word – recession. We know its here, and its doing a lot of damage (biggest understatement of this year perhaps). Consider the following exchange:
Q: How do you prove that recession is affecting international trade?
A: Simple, look at the export-import levels between countries.

Q: Well, um, they seem to have increased in the last month of 2008.
A: But recession is here. Q3 and Q4, show a downward trend right?

Q: Oh , well, so do Q1 and Q2.
A: Ignore that. That could have been due to oil price increase..

The above is, thankfully, a hypothetical example ( They do show a perfectly logical downward trend – whew!).
But, this is what happens when we know the end result. The data, current as well as historical, help us in validating the results, albeit subjectively.

Most of the time, our thinking is also bottom-up. For example,

  • A highly advertised beautiful scenery spot will appear beautiful even if it is just overlooking a bunch of dry trees and shrubs.
  • I-phone is a ‘value-for-money’ product even if it lacks some basic mobile features (the dictionary for one!)
  • Rollercoaster are scary-exciting rides because they go upside down, though we don’t feel much of it.

In all these cases, we have the conclusion fed into us. We just back it up with data supporting the advertised claims, and form the main body of the matter.

Reminds me of the Ishikawa or Fish-bone diagram, and how easily it can be misused. Ishikawa would have named himself after hearing someone say:

What a fultoos time-pass Kishi ka wah wah

or maybe its an acronym of:

It’s a Shit k(c)Ausing Wasted Analysis

Ok, perhaps not that either.

This post has been inspired by Michael Crichton’s book State of Fear. I am not for or against global warming, but its true that whenever a change in climate occurs (“its hotter than last year”, “we haven’t had such rains in over 20 years”), we just use one phrase (including me) – It’s the effect of global warming.

Sunday, April 5, 2009



Raezidyr sat by his favourite brook,
Flexing and oiling his wings,
Impatient, he stifled a sigh,
Listening to Haeli talk.

“toe heel calf knee,
Start from bottom, see?
You should be gentle, but quick”
She whispered tensely.

“But Haeli, I know this already!”,
He whined, exasperated,
“I’ll be good on my first day,
Please don’t worry about me”

Detecting enthusiasm in his terse replies,
Haeli felt nervous, but happy.
Leading him to his first task,
she nervously oversaw his work.

Working on the giant smooth and fast,
Raezidyr massaged from toe to head,
He finally felt the knotted muscles loosen,
And tasted sweet success at last!

He must have made a noise small,
For the beast woke up suddenly in shock,
Raezidyr flew out through the window,
With an angry Haeli at heel.

The human kept staring at the fairies,
Wondering what was wrong with her,
“black spots again! Do I have BP?”
She muttered and went back to sleep.

She got up in the morning with a sigh,
Yawning widely, she said with a smile,
“what a refreshing sleep, I feel rejuvenated!”.
Listening, Raezidyr beamed at Haeli with pride.

* pronounced as Re-zee-dir

Have you heard this story of a cobbler, who was very poor and could not sell most of his work? Then, feeling pity on him, every night after his going to sleep, these tiny fairies would come out and make fine, intricate, and beautiful shoes for him. He would sleep with half-finished work, and wake up to find his work completed! He quickly became successful and lived happily ever after!
I just started wondering how we wake up energised after every sleep! Maybe we are worked upon by tiny fairies too, who massage our hands and feet and make us feel fresher each morning!