Friends are not welcome.

They come for short visits, surround me with happy vibes, make me feel good, make me a social animal.

Then they leave, off to get lost in their busy lives, leaving me behind to wallow in my new-again loneliness.

It’s too hard. Not doing it again. All invitations now stand withdrawn.

Last few tweets..

… just archiving.

Fri Aug 05 21:28:09:

“There’s no way to sugar coat it – if your work habits rely on minimizing windows you’re going to hate GNOME 3.” :(

Sat Aug 06 01:42:59:

Missing the long & strong tropical rain. The one which, once it starts, will go on for a few hours with no breaks :) #missingIndianMonsoons

Sat Aug 06 09:11:52:

Feeling bad for @julykatrae, no one @-mentions her or DMs her anymore. Other than me, that is. Show her some love, twitter!

Sat Aug 06 23:45:09:

2 small pints of beer and 3 tequila shots got me reasonably drunk. Not happy with myself. Off to sleep. Hopefully.

Sat Aug 06 23:57:36:

One night I take off to go drinking with friends and riots start off in Tottenham. London really can’t do without its super hero!

Sun Aug 07 01:00:52:

That frustrating feeling when you feel the tears welling up inside but they refuse to come out. Just finished reading: Half of a yellow sun.

Sun Aug 07 09:56:07:

From a family caught in civil war to families caught in Mumbai’s redevelopment fraud. From Chimamanda Adichie to Arvind Adiga. #Books

Sun Aug 07 13:50:50:

I hate hardcover editions of books :/

Sun Aug 07 13:55:08:

The ‘Ravi Shastri’ of Triathlon coverage just commented “he’s the picture of pain and the model of courage…’ :D #BBC

Sun Aug 07 15:53:03:

Glory glory Man United! :D

Sun Aug 07 15:54:05:

Also… just saw the movie… bhaag bhaag d k bose d k bose d k bose d k… bhaag bhaag

I’ve been good. And I’m better when drunk :)

Play snake on Youtube!

Just made an interesting discovery. Remember that circling dot that you see when a video is loading on Youtube? You can now play snake with it. All you have to do is use the arrow keys on your keyboard and the circling dot will start moving in a line like snake with another dot somewhere that the snake has to ‘eat’.

Nice, little, quirky discovery :D

BBC-F1-Sky!

The culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, described the deal as “tough but fair” and reassured the BBC’s commercial rivals that it would no longer be used to “blast them out of the water”.

In other words, Msr Hunt apologizing to the masters in Sky and offering them F1 coverage as a peace-making present after the NI-BSB deal got scuppered.

Further, what I don’t get is why keep half the races? If they were sharing the other half with a free to air channel like ITV, I could get the idea but in the current deal, BBC is just acting as a teaser for Sky – we’ll lure them in with half the races free and then you sign them up for the other half!  Heck, instead of paying £33m, BBC should be getting paid by Sky for generating subscriptions. But then that wouldn’t go down too well at the next conservative-NI-Sky dinner party, would it?

I have Sky at home and still hate this deal. I love the presenting team on BBC and will be distraught if that is split up, as seems likely from Martin Brundle’s tweet. Yet another reason for me to say – Screw you Conservatives!

Out.

P.S.: The Hunt quote is from here.

Why the bookstore chains are dying

Two of my favourite authors have published new books this year and I’ve been waiting to read them for some time. The books:

Last man in the tower by Arvind Adiga, and
River of Smoke by Amitava Ghosh

I ventured into the Waterstone’s store 100m from my house with an intention to buy the books. They had only the hardcover versions (expected) priced at £20 & ~£18. I wasn’t willing to pay that much for the books. Checked a few other books around, paperbacks all. None was cheaper than £7.99. Didn’t like anything much, so walked out.

Came home and checked on Amazon – the £18 book was priced at £8.99 while the £20 book was available for £11.99 – new copies in hardcover. Immediately ordered the £8.99 book and added the other to wishlist for ordering after I’ve finished the current book and the ordered one. By then that book may be available in paperback too.

P.S.: If the chain bookstores, with their scale, centralised buying and logistics networks can’t come close to competing with Amazon, how can the little, standalone guys survive? And frankly, I’ll miss the small, standalone neighbourhood bookstores a lot more than the likes of Borders and Waterstones

First encounter with Box Hill

Surrey Downs & Box Hill ride

The original plan was to ride to Brighton but having started really late, it became clear by the 1/3rd distance mark that I wasn’t going to make it in time for a return train. So, after getting over the Surrey Downs, I changed route and headed over to the famous Box Hill.

Frankly, it was a disappointment at first. I kept waiting for a killer climb but nothing came and suddenly I found myself in middle of the Box Hill village. This famous climb into Box Hill is featuring prominently in the road race at next year’s Olympics yet even the couple of Cat 5 climbs (acc to MapMyRide) in Surrey Downs had been much harder. The disappointment (actually, relief) was short-lived.

A quick review of the area on Google Maps in terrain view revealed a sharply rising road on other side of the village called, appropriately, Zig Zag road. At that point, I had two options – to head back the way I had come and just mark Box Hill as conquered or to head down the Zig Zag road and see for myself how much of a challenge it’d be.

Well, when I looked up after the first switchback on the way down to see how high the car I had just passed was, it became clear I may have bitten more than my legs & wheels could chew. Thankfully, I still had an exit clause. I could take an alternate route by passing Box Hill and climbing barely half of what ZZ road required in over 4 times the distance.

Took a short break, had a sizzling hot hotdog, a pepsi and some rest. Also used the time to research a bit and discovered that it was this Zig Zag road clilmb that was to feature on the Olympic road race route, not the easy tweasy route I had taken up earlier.

That bit of info was reason enough, so headed back up the Zig Zag rd.

Thankfully, saw a couple of other riders on MTBs just about 100m ahead of me so put in a bit of extra effort and quickly caught up with them. After that it was just a matter of using whatever of my will- & leg-power I could muster to stick with them. Made the climb without stopping even once and at least half the credit goes to those two fellas. Having them around prevented me from giving up midway or even stopping to take a break. It was the first time I realised how having a training partner, or few, could help one stretch self farther and improve faster.

After cresting the hill and passing through the village, it was a clean, mostly level or slightly downhill, 12 km stretch before I hit civilisation and red lights again. So, gave it a go and averaged, despite three red lights a little over 30kmph in that section. Once I entered Sutton though, it was just another urban ride with the magic of Surrey Downs and Box Hill well behind me. It became so boring that after a short break to buy some water, I even forgot to start the garmin (add 2.6km to the distance in the pic above for actual ride distance). Took a slightly roundabout way home so I could complete 100kms on the garmin and tick off this week’s century ride.

Done :)

P.S.: Just saw that I have totalled 859kms so far in June. Wondering if I should go for a 41-ish km ride tomorrow to take that total above 900 mark :)
P.P.S.: Total for the year, despite the dismal first 4 months, now reads 1200 miles. Still 520 odd miles short of Martin. I had planned to equal his mileage this year. Seems now like a tough ask.