Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Flannel is back!
Can you dig it?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

winter wonderland

Photo: My bike was lonely at the bike racks last week. :(

I recently went to Golden Harvest with some wonderful friends. It is one of my favorite diners in the Lansing / East Lansing area. On the walls of the diner they have old Michigan license plates. In the late 50's and the early 60's on the bottom of the license plates it said "water - winter wonderland". This is the first time after living in Michigan for 12 years that I am really enjoying winter. I have finally learned how to dress properly. With the bone chilling winds off my mind I can't get over how beautiful it is outside. Michigan truly is a winter wonderland.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Like most other bike commuters Weather.com is one of my most frequently visited sites. I often roll out of bed and automatically direct my browser to the a weather site. This is how I decide if I need to wear ski goggles and a mask for my commute. One of the developers working in my department wrote up some code so my work computer's wallpaper is a live animated image of Michigan weather. As I was leaving work, this is what the map was showing. . .

I wonder if Google is trying to make Michiganders feel better about what is ahead because instead of snow for my Gmail template I see a sunny day.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Chinese Translation - by M. Ward

A friend just introduced this song to me and I have been listening to it on repeat since then. I looked it up on YouTube and realized that it has one of most beautiful music videos I have ever seen. So, I had to share it.
This winter I have been getting attached to songs instead of broader genera. By the end of this Michigan winter I think I will have a soundtrack to bring back memories of the happenings of 2008.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cargo Only

Cargo only
Photo: Nassarawa State, Nigeira 2008

Technically passengers are not allowed to ride in the cab of trucks like this. People put a label on the side of the truck indicating that the truck is used for "Cargo Only" . . .

The roof doesn't count right?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Autumn 2008

Mandatory autumn photo.
I was just gone for a week. Where did all the beautiful leaves go?


Photo: Washington, DC 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My mom Rocks

My Mom just bought a bike and they made a movie about us.

P.S. Except this guy can do way sweeter tricks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Am I a PC?

In their new ad campaign, Microsoft is trying hard to disabuse the coffee sipping, tree hugger, dirt worshiper stereotypes about Mac users. Regardless of how hard Microsoft tries to get rid of these perception about Mac users, it doesn't change that fact that when I walk into a coffee shop everyone but one or two people have a glowing apple behind their laptop screens.

Cognitive Daily is an interesting science blog about peer-reviewed journal articles on psychology. The Friday edition of this blog is called Casual Fridays. For a change of pace they conduct incredibly UNscientific surveys of their readership to set straight all kinds of questions. Last week the casual Friday blog was about whether we lost more sleep over the 2008 republican national convention or watching Micheal Phelps at the Bejing Olympics. This week they tackle the mac-head stereotype. Check it out here.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Photo: Summer 200

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bejing 2008

The New York Times is one of the first things I see when I roll out of bed. Like clockwork I crack open my laptop, check my email and read the headlines on the NY Times front page. I am sure many of you read about the American cyclists who caused international unrest by wearing masks when they arrived at the airport. Apparently they were "scolded by the United States Olympic Committee for embarrassing their Chinese hosts".
Initially, I was surprised at the Chinese response to these elite athletes protecting their lungs but after a little research I can see how they would be offended. China has made great efforts to reduce pollution for the athletes. The Chinese have made were forced to make major lifestyle changes in order to reduce the pollutants in the air to more acceptable levels. The growing number of people driving in China and consequently all the cars idling in traffic jams are the biggest contributors to such elevated carbon monoxide levels. This article has a cool animation about the dramatic decrease in carbon monoxide due to driving restrictions.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Men in Skirts

Photo: NYC 2008, Me in my new Skirt 

I am absolutely hooked on Google Reader! It is one of the best methods for satiating my information hunger but that is just another post for a different day. On my Google Reader feed I am subscribed to The Sartorialist and a few weeks ago Scott Schuman made a post about "men in skirts". Not unlike most of the other post on this blog this one has over a hundred comments about everything from the above / below the knee debate to whether the world is ready for men in skirts. I say the world has been ready for men in skirts for a whiel.  Men wear skirts  all over the world. It is about time we bring the trend over to the west.
I grew up in Punjab among both men and women in skirts. You say skirt - we said lungi. Lungis are worn all over South Asia and even in parts of the Middle East. Nothing is more comfortable than a loose cotton garment when the sun is blazing. 
My friend just got back from Yemen and brought me back a futa. Futas or Ma'awiis are the Yemeni version of the lungi. I wore mind around Manhattan yesterday and on my drive back to Michigan. I bared dumbfounded stares as I stepped out of the car at gas stations all across the north east. I don't care how many people stare, this is the MOST comfortable garment I own. Men in skirts = Revolution

At this occation a perfect song comes to mind. CHECK IT

Sunday, August 10, 2008

5 Years Time

Noah and the Whale: 5 Years Time

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

Most mornings on my commute to work I encounter at least one disgruntled driver. Either they lay on their horn to get me out of their way or yell the typical "get on the side walk!" line. Only if I had the time to stop them and have a long "Same Road, Same Rules" conversation. Usually I just keep on biking quietly and it is already a bad start to a happy day.
This morning was an exception because a guy in a huge car stop next to me at a red light and was unexpectedly nice. He asked me about my commute and how I put my bike together. A few seconds later the light turned green and we both turned opposite ways. He renewed my faith in Mid-Michigan drivers.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Top 5 Favorite Running Ads

5. Nike Running: Enjoy the Weather

4. New Balance: Breaking up with running.

3. New Balance: Love Hate Anthem

2. 2008 Olympics: Fastest white guy

1.Brooks: Run World Run

Italy in America

Photo: Venice 2008

Last night I was organizing my music collection and I came across some old podcasts. I found a great NPR story about aerosol art, more specifically Paco Rosic. When he was six  his mother showed him a book of Michealangelo's work and he was stunned by the art. Paco has since dreamed of painting the Sistine chapel... talk about ambition. 
Today, at the age of 27 he owns a restaurant in Waterloo, Iowa and has a spray paint version of the Sistine Chapel covering the celing of the whole restaurant. Paco's aerosol art is about half as big as the Michealangelo's painting but the perfect back drop for an authentic Italian dining experience in Iowa.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

get inked

Photo: A couple in peeks in a tattoo parlor. Chicago, July, 2008.

I would probably never get a tattoo but I have always admired art on other people's bodies. Typically, people put much thought into how they decorate their bodies.  Throughout history tattooing has been a cultural and religious practice for people all over the world. People get tattoos for many reason; medical, cosmetics, identification, spiritual markings, and of course decoration. People get permanent makeup such as lipstick and eyebrows, while cancer patients get tattoos to mark the exact location for life sustaining radiotherapy. 
Tattoos are often a window into a person's mind and display the most intimate of memories. The Michigan Center for Forensic Psychiatry is using tattoos in the prison system as red flags for antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). The researchers conducted a semi-structured interviews for inmates with and without tattoos and correlated tattoos with ASPD. Also, tattooed inmates were more likely to have a history of substance and sexual abuse.
Although, the research team surveyed a very small study sample, they published a paper in the Journal of Personality and Mental Health. This is an interesting finding but it is unlikely that one study of only 36 people is going to make any conclusive suggestions regarding inmate tattoos and their psychological state.

via: wiki and PMH article

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I work with several computer programmers and it is a perfect environment for constant exposure to tech-trivia. Many of the people working here are aspiring video game designers. I often get to hear about the newest, hippest games on the market. Even with constant advancements in game design it is nice to revert back to text-based games. You have to rely on your imagination instead of the incredibly realistic virtual environment.
I was exploring Terminal on my computer and I came across a really cool text-based game that is a part of every Macintosh operating system. On macintosh systems, Terminal opens up in a UNIX shell and if you type the following you text, you are prompted by a short discription about where you are. 
emacs -batch -l dunnet
Give it a shot and don't be affraid to type what comes to mind. You will be surprised at all the possibilities.

VIA: nethack

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


It is very often that I copy a citation or a quote from a web page into a word processor and all the text is upper case. So, instead of retyping everything I just discovered the coolest thing in Microsoft Word! If you have text that is all uppercase you can highlight the text and press SHIFT + fn + F3 (mac) or shift + F3 (PC) to convert it to lowercase.
Now I don't sound like I am yelling.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Steaming hot Korean rice green tea and Reese's peanut butter cups.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What was lost is found

Photo: Parma, Italy 2007

“At that age, it’s one of the worse things in the world to wake up and not see your bike where you left it.” -- 50 Cent, on the theft of his childhood bike.

I totally empathize with fitty because for some reason things like to get stolen from me. A couple of days ago, I was sitting at my desk and I got a phone call from the police regarding my bike. They said that they had recently impounded a bunch of bikes that were stolen by the same person. The Raleigh was included in this bunch but the story gets even better. Some other person then tried to steal my bike from the police impound lot!
I left work early and rushed to the police impound to pick up my bike. They had stored it in a special impound lot with walls that were double the size of the other ones. I know I should be mad but it is kind of flattering that my bike was appealing enough to be stolen twice. BAM!!

I got the bike back home safely and it is in pretty good shape. I noticed some pretty long scratches and the thieves cut my leather seat. I am happy to be rejoined with my bike! Thanks to the PO PO.

OH YEAH, while my bike was gone I bought another one. :-D

Monday, June 02, 2008


A couple of years ago my friend introduced me to Bo Diddley's music and I was instantly hooked. He was one of the pioneers of rock n' roll but was too modest to accept the honor. He attributed the rock n' roll craze to Chuck Berry. 

Today, at the age of 79 he passed away but left us with such memorable tunes to cherish forever.

Rest in peace Bo.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The raleigh is gone

My freakin' bike got stolen today!!!!!

I haven't been this sad / angry in  LONG TIME!!!
This was a perfect bike and I had carefully chosen every SINGLE part on it. It was totally customized to the most detailed specifications. 
I was leaving a coffee shop after a long night of studying and I walked up to a sawed bike-lock and no Raleigh.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Garden Project

Photo: Spartan Village porch 2006

When I was a kid we always had a vegetable garden in our back yard. There were those summer-time meals when everything on the table was from our own garden. For the last ten years or so I have maintained a garden at my parents house (about an hour away), but I recently found out about a community garden project here in the Lansing area. Without a car it would have been impossible to make enough trips home to establish a good garden. I am pretty new to community gardening and it has been an wonderful experience so far. All the gardeners are really friendly and helpful. The Lansing Garden Project is a program of the Greater Lansing Food Bank. I didn't know much about them till now but they are dedicated to providing healthier food options for low income house holds. The surplus produce from these community gardens go to the needy in our area. Last year they served almost 1,500 people with fresh produce.
I work at a local food bank in Lansing and it is so great to know that lower income households are not restricted to high sodium, canned foods.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Life and Death

Photo: Lamps in my living room, 2007

I let one of my friends from work  borrow my book, "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel. Today, he gave it back to me and as I flipped through it I came across this really funny quote. I could never have found it if I was looking.
"I can well imagine an aetheist's last words: 'White, white! L-L-Love! My God!' - and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agonostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays true to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, 'Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain,' and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story."

Monday, May 05, 2008

The fat David

Photo: The fat David. Window shopping in Florence, Italy 2008.

Michelangelo's sculpture of David is the ultimate symbol for the European Renaissance. In Italy it is tough to get away from the tacky plastic replica's of David. These replicas are a tourist's favorite. After a few days of walking around Florence at every turn of the corner you could see David. It wasn't until I visited the Accademia Gallery to see the actual sulpture I realized what the hype was all about. I am not an artist but this sculpture was incredible even through my eyes. As you exit the Academia gallery they have a huge photograph of people looking up at David in awe. After a couple of hours of looking at all sculptures it is funny to see how the sculptures look at us. hahaha

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Midwest Rabit Resque and Re-Home

This litte bunny was a brand new arrival last time I was at Midwest Rabbit Resque. 

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I want a dog

Photo: Dogs in Venice, Italy 2008

I grew up with dogs. My grandparents and parents always had dogs around our house. My grandmother is especially great at training dogs. Once, she told her german shepard to "sit and stay" and this dog sat there for hours! Unfortunately, I can't have pets at my current apartment. In fact, a few months ago I got a fine for having hamsters and a bird in my apartment. If I get caught with pets again they will probably evict me. 
I think later this year I will have be in a perfect place to get a nice dog. I have been doing research on breeds for a few months now and instead of narrowing down my search I have just discovered new possibilities. I don't have very specific needs other than a dog that can go on a run with me. I plan on being in the midwest for a while too, so preferably the dog would be able to handle the weather.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Locked in love

Photo: Padua, Italy 2008
A couple of weeks ago I made a pretty spontaneous decision to buy a plane ticket to Italy for spring break. I haven't been able to blog from here but today I had some free time for a quick note.

So far I have seen so much beauty and I can't wait to get my film developed. I have loved walking around and getting lost in the narrow Italian streets. On many bridges I noticed locks like these. Lovers put a lock on the third light post of bridges and throw away the key as a symbol of eternal love. I read that this tradition started when a novelist, Federico Moccia wrote a novel called "Ho Voglio di te". A part of the story mentions putting a padlock on a bridge and tossing the key to locks the couples in love forever.

Now there are locks on most of these bridges.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Islamic Banking

After that last few days of subzero temperatures here in Michigan I have started considering the option of ..... YES, a car. I came across this Reuters story as I was researching interest free loan options in the US. Sharia law (islamic religious law) has a set of principles dealing with how muslims should conduct their daily transactions. Especially interest or charing a fee for the use of someone's money is prohibited. Muslim banks also don't invest in businesses that sell haram products or services. 
I was totally shocked to see how many islamic banking institutions are available to US citizens. For auto loans they have a Lease-to-Purchase model. Instead of interest on the principal borrowed amount they just charge a set fee for the loan. I have a lot more research to do but this is such a great facility.

VIA Wikipedia & Reuters

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

Video Killed the Radio Star

I was on the road for most of yesterday, so I kept myself entertained listening to the radio. Many of you probably know that the superbowl was yesterday and I remember one of the DJs asking listeners to call in if they are not planning on watching the super bowl. She said "How could you be doing ANYTHING else!". When I moved to America, it took me a while to understand American craze for football. I am still not a devoted fan but it is definitely fun to watch the big games.
Even the president of our graduate student organization had a departmental superbowl party. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it but there was no way I was going to miss out on the fun. I listened to the first quarter and then the last 1 minute of the game on the radio. The commentators did such an incredible job at keeping the game alive. In a the world of iPhones, 3lb laptops, digital cameras, instant gratification and immediate access to information, it is a tough job to paint such perfect pictures of the game. Thanks to the radio everything for the coin toss to the final moments of the game were exciting.

Thank you radio, I still love you.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Letting go

About three months ago, I put the key in my car ignition just like any other day and zipped across the state to visit friends in Detroit.  On that drive, I specifically remember thinking about how much I loved that car. It was a 1995 Buick LeSabre and it drove as if War wrote  "lowrider" just for her. That night the unthinkable happened and someone stole my beloved Buick. The Detroit Police seems so sure they would find it but it has been months now and still no recovery. My lifestyle hasn't changed much, except for the fact that I can't make any spontaneous trips. I have been biking just a little bit more and life is good. 
So last night I finally took the Buick keys off my key chain. I think it is time to move on. These last few months have made me realize that it is not so bad to live car free. Of course, once in a while I need to rent a car to get around but otherwise it has been great.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Scientists for better PCR

If you are a scientist you will really appreciate this.

Via Renee B.