The things I do…Offline

Looking back at this month, I realized I wrote just two posts the whole of this April …which is way below my average!
In fact, now that I think about it, I barely logged into my Facebook account twice all this month; I still have unanswered Email in my inbox and I haven’t even read up on all the blogs I regularly read (I know that’s lame, I’m really sorry you guys!).

So what
did I do all of this month while I was away from blogs and social networking sites?

Well, even though there wasn’t a shortage of stuff to write in my life, turns out there’s a lot more to be accomplished offline, than sitting in front of a computer.
Here’s a list of some of what happened.

A good friend of mine (who recently decided to pursue his masters in management) decided to trust me with correcting, rewriting, proof-reading and otherwise ‘fixing’ his essays for his business school.
I love to write, but when someone trusts me with stuff like this, yes I feel honored, but also nervous. In the end though, it was a good experience…and made me re-think about continuing school again.

I’ve also been invited to write for my company blog; and that feels good too, because it is mostly authored only by people who are almost as twice as old as I am!
Company policy however, dictates that I cannot mention it here, nor can I link up my blog URL to my post; but then I guess it is all the much better keeping my personal life separate from business.

I’ve been travelling. A lot.
Of course (from my previous post) you probably already know about my little trip to
The week after that, me and some guys from work – a colorful mix of Indian, Finnish and Argentinean colleagues – decided to take off on multiple mid-week road trips to
Rudesheim, Wiesbaden and Heidelberg.
It was quite a awesome experience visiting all these places, and doing it in the middle of the work week only added to the fun!
Remind me to write a detailed post on this later.

I’ve been working out.
Yes, don’t give me that look. Now that spring’s finally here, I’ve started this little routine of going out for a run everyday.
According to one guy I know though (who’s a fitness fanatic), it’s not enough to run unless you do it everyday for at least 45min at a stretch!
And even though I’m not at that level yet, I am working my way up.

I’ve finally started my course on learning German.
And about time too! My
“Bitte sprachen Sie Englisch?” was getting me nowhere.

I finally managed to clear away all the junk from my balcony flower pots; and eyeing the lawn downstairs. I’m not sure if I mentioned this earlier, but I do have a bit of a green thumb. In case you’re wondering, gardening is not just for housewives or senior citizens…its really quite fun getting your hands in the dirt.

I spent an afternoon at my neighbor’s place trying to fix their computer. Note, I said
trying to fix it.
I don’t know how they got the weird idea that “those IT guys” should know everything about computers, silly people.

And to all the guys reading this whose blogs I haven’t read, I’m sorry…but there was a load of stuff that kept me away. But I will get to it soon.
Jaffer if you’re reading this, there is life beyond twitter; hence proved :D (don’t hate me!)

Love you guys!

Sidenotes on Brussels

Yup, I am back from another one of my elaborate weekend getaways; this time me and my roomie decided to take off to Brussels – the capital of Belgium – for the easter holidays.

And like any true-blooded blogger, I kept small notes of things that kept intriguing me; and thus I present…

Side-notes on the city: 

a)       At a height of over a hundred meters and weighing over 2,000 tons, the Atomium was incredibly impressive. But even though you’ve probably seen great many pictures of it… I guess the reason this is not a very “popular” landmark (like the Eiffel Tower for instance) is because apparently every single image of the Atomium – regardless of whether they are holiday pictures you took – is protected by copyright and it is illegal to publish images of it.
Ridiculous law I know, but it is true.

b)       Belgian chocolates ARE a big deal. They are amazing.
Ditto for Belgian waffles.

c)       A lot of people in Brussels have no clue about their city.
At the hotel we stayed, the manager didn’t know that the Jardin Botanique, which he claimed was supposedly 10minutes away, had actually been shifted to outside the city.
…No one had any idea what the Autoworld was or where it was located. And it IS in
…The waiter at a restaurant we went to had never heard of a museum that was on his street!

d)       Brussels has a surprisingly sizable arab/muslim population. In fact, leaving aside the tourist traps in the city center, within suburbia you can pretty much get by with just Arabic…even though French and Dutch are the two official languages.

e)       Dutch is remarkably similar to German; which makes little difference to me because I don’t speak German either – but trust me; it does have a lot of similar words.

f)         The Mini-Europe near the Atomium has beautifully crafted and extremely accurate 1:25 scale models of most famous buildings and landmarks in Europe.
However, one of the most famous landmarks in
Europe (not to mention, one of the seven wonders of the world) – the Colosseum – was missing.
What’s up with that?

g)       Apparently the most famous public landmark in Brussels is the bronze statue of a little boy…er…answering the call of nature called the Manneken-Pis. You’ve probably seen pictures of this too; and if you’re wondering if it was just a marketing ploy, you’re absolutely right.
Hidden in the corner of a narrow alley and at just 61cm tall, this was perhaps the most over-hyped and ridiculous-looking famous thing I’ve EVER seen. And I’ve seen quite a few.

What makes it so silly is the fact that there really isn’t any verifiable, historic significance behind this…just a bunch of legends that took this statue to where it is today.

But all said and done, this was quite an enjoyable trip, and Brussels is really a nice little city with a good mix of ancient landmark buildings and glass and steel high-rises that can easily compete with the Manhattan skyline. Do pay it a visit if you get the chance…Brussels will not disappoint you!

Google Fools Day!

It comes as no surprise that Google – as one of the world’s leading internet companies – is also the one with the biggest sense of humor when it comes to practical jokes.

Last year on the 1st of April, Google blew the world away when they announced a print service that allowed Gmail users to print out their emails and have them delivered to a physical home address, complete with a Gmail-stickered cardboard box!
Needless to say, the next day everyone realized the joke was on them when Google pointed it out.

And thus history repeats itself again; and I almost instinctively knew Google is up to no good again this year.

So I go to the Google homepage and guess what I find:

Google Chrome in 3D

Yup, you read that right; apparently this time Google wants us to believe there is actually a version of their popular browser that let us see stuff in 3D!
The page actually features a special version of Chrome with 3D along with steps to follow to get the perfect 3D view.

And get this; the site comes complete with a PDF document with a picture of 3D glasses you should print, cut out and wear!!!

I doubt if the site (or at least the link) will stay for long, so here’s a couple of screenshots from the site and the 3D glasses:

Given the amount of following Google has, I'm sure there's lots of downloads of this already; but I really wonder how many people are gonna fall for it this time!!