Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A Geek tragedy

I am a geek at heart.

It's my blessing. It's my curse.

Born with all the trappings, from an interest in astronomy, to the even more esoteric passion for learning strange and difficult languages like Snobol -- all those who think French is a language are non-geeks. Period-- I am a geek through and through. This being the case I have frequently been teased, hit, chased and once even come close to being lynched by my very own family.

Somedays the geek in me reveals itself as a rather heavenly aura filled with random bits of geekish knowledge like the configuration parameters for an FCO card, or the exact mind numbingly large command to type out to install boot loaders on a remote network machine; while some other days, it lies just dormant making people (especially young pretty girls), believe I in fact am human, if they shut their eyes rather tightly and exercise their imagination to the fullest ( N: do you recognize the symptoms?). Of course, I refrained from exercising my imagination to the fullest, lest I do something indecent, but then again at most times it was/is evident that I am a geek.

Somedays it doesn't take much to see the geek in me. Like today. I had to call up a rather distinguished "Ah"merican firm to get them to give me reset my password and they very properly asked me my login id, which was my name.

"R-Anant", I went.
"Kenurepeethat?" he went.
"R, hyphen, A, N,A,N,T", I went.
"I'msorrybutisthatan.... Arrr as in Romeo", he went.
Well, that was rather dumb of me. I should have used the phonetic alphabet.
"Yes" I replied, "and an A as in Apple".
"Try A as in ermmm...", I finally managed. Damn! I couldn't for the life of me remember a single English or British name
"N as in...".
Flummoxed!! I couldn't really remember any name with N. Not even the obvious Nancy or Nicole or Next or Nasty or Never came to mind.
Damn! Desperate now, I decided to speak the one name I could remember which started with an N.


Long and contemplative silence, then he went.

"I'm sorryit's what?"

So how do I explain, to an American liberal arts student that Nynquist is the only English name I am reasonably familiar with?

The next choice was highly ermmm... Revealing.

I chose Nimrod, not for it's Biblical connection, because that was the name of a British Aircraft.


Then came T.

I couldn't for the life of me remember any name starting with T. Not Ted, Timothy, Todd or Thomas.

Guess, what I chose?

Go on, guess?

I choose Tannenbaum. Yes! Our very own and famed Tanenbaum of the Network Theory fame.

The shame!

Like I said, I am a geek at heart.

It's my blessing. It's my curse.


The call center chap actually put down the phone on me. Which was very good, because I couldn't have taken more of that Luddite's company, as he couldn't obviously put up with mine. I did have the supreme satisfaction of writing him an email ticking him off for his rather rude behaviour, and of course I did get back my login. Thankfully, I didn't get lynched. So I guess it wasn't a tragedy after all.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

a long long time later

It's been a long long time since I blogged. I know. To while the time away and as a kind of ceremony I have been involved in a number of creative ventures, which, to quote the inimitable Douglas Adams, "are extremely brilliant, but will never see the light of day". I see what he means. Then again, maybe they will see the light of day.

Life has been intresting otherwise. I am teaching myself Lisp and boy!, I do have a lot to learn.

Btw, why are most Linux distributions so screwed up? I have spent an exhausting Sunday just trying to get rhythmbox to install in Linux and failing quite miserably, for a variety of reasons.

Sigh! Maybe Linux distributions will catch up; and a long long time later I may even install one in my system.


Anybody has a cheap sound card that they are willing to dispose, just call me up. I need to go and dot chipmakers VIA on the nose.