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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Happy Diwali!

Let's take a moment to list some good news.

First, yesterday was Diwali, a holiday in honor of someone or other, depending on who you ask. It's about this guy, who is a God, and who slayed a Dragon. Or it's about some other guy, who is also a God, who came back home and people lit lights for him. The full list of interpretations is on Wikipedia, including the different opinions on when exactly it should be celebrated (Sunday, yesterday, or tomorrow. Trivandrum itself seems divided on the issue). Alternatively, it is a festival in honor Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and so during the celebration people convert their money into fireworks and burn it. It's a fun way to flaunt how rich you are, and to teach young children how to play with explosives. For instance:



Good good. Quite an improvement there Kini!

Second, more good news. I am a volunteer coach for two speed roller skate athletes. Binesh, here on the left, is seen winning the his race at the regional qualifications, and Shery, on the right, seen winning her race during the same event.

With the help of a small PLT Scheme program, I graph their times and shout it at them on every lap until they get faster. And they did -- they got faster and they went to win two solid gold medals at the KV Junior National Speed Roller Skating Competition. Way to go team!

Most impressive, they did it without any pasta. Normally, athletes eat nothing but pastas during the 24 hours leading to a race. This loads the body with the form of energy that most readily available for the muscles (That is, aside from sugar. Sugars may be the most available, but they cannot be stocked, since any extra intake is immediately burned in the form of a sugar rush.) So, since I do not know what is the nutritional equivalent of pasta in the Indian diet, and that here pasta is a rich foreigner's food that I can't afford (or anyone), Binesh and Shery had to win from the force of their own will -- no pasta-magic helped them. I am so proud.

Third good news, Kerala's celebrated its first web site to reach a Google Page Rank of 7. The State's tourism web site, was propelled to 7 when a sizable crowd of Bangalore bloggers linked to it as they prepared to travel to Blog Camp. The site managed to reach this position in spite of violating two core rules of web design circa 2001 (1- have no scrolling marquee, 2- have some substantive content on the first page). The news of the web site's success was discussed on the evening news, and printed onto the pages of the State's edition of respected national newspaper The Hindu, whose web site represents all the best rules of web design as they stood in 1997.

Fourth good news, and perhaps the most important, the neighborhood grocery store, in an effort to improve their imitation of a western-style grocery store, begun storing delicious-delicious Lindt chocolate. The jump from what was previously available is big: the members of the taste panel we organized were unanimous: At Spencer's, they sell one brand of awful chocolate, one brand of merely bad chocolate, some ok chocolate, and Lindt -- the only chocolate worthy of God's own country.

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