Monday, September 29, 2008

Some good books

I am reading some good books these days. I just finished Jim Cramer's 'Stay mad for life'. It is about investing. I am already in the middle of 'Tipping Point'. Then I am also reading Jeffrey Archers's 'A quiver full of arrows'. It is a collection of short stories. In the meantime, I am reading about computer security and I just started with another book 'Blink'. 'Blink' is by the same author Malcom Gladwell, who wrote 'Tipping Point'. I also have a book of Churchill's speeches during WWII. But I have not started that yet.

Then I have 'Ulkridge' by PG Wodehouse, my old favourite author. And I had bought 'Security Analysis' by Ben Graham last year. I am yet to open the first page of that book. But I have read 'Intelligent Investor'. So I hope I can digest 'Security Analysis'. I also have to finish 'Random walk down Wall Street'. Again, I just purchased a book on Dot NET. So now I guess I am biting more than I can chew.

According to what I read in Tipping Point, we can focus on seven things at a time optimally. I have to count how many books I can read simultaneously and still make sense of them.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pro Classic Squash 2008

I have been playing squash recently. I am a beginner honestly, having started somewhere around May-June. What is that now, 4-5 months? But I play twice a week on an average. I have also joined the ladder where I am pretty much at the bottom. But let's have the glass half full attitude.

On the positive side, I have won the most recent two matches in the ladder. I am also doing better in terms of stamina and persistence. And after all, practice makes a man perfect.

So when I read about the Squash tournament I decided to take part. I asked my friend which group should I participate in. His answer was, "Select D. You will not win. But you will get some good matches". And so thus with these inspirational words, I decided to dive in.

Today I played my first match in the Pro Club Classic Squash Tournament. I learnt a lot from it. My opponent was much better than me and very experienced. Not to mention, he told me that he was the architect of Windows CE. Even though the result of the match was not favourable to me (in plain English, that means I lost), I had a great time. After the tournament match, we played some friendly games. I did better in them, though the result was the same. But you learn a lot by losing to a much better player than by winning against a poor player.

After I was done playing, I watched other matches and refereed a match. The club also gave a t-shirt which was cool.

Tomorrow I have two more matches to play.. I mean to win. Now we cannot predict the result, but the least we can do is have the right attitude.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bocce - relaxed and fun

On Friday we had our end-of-summer team picnic. And I was introduced to a new game "Bocce", pronounced as "Bochee". It is a fairly simple game, but not easy. So here is my understanding from a total stranger's perspective.

The game goes like this. There are 9 balls in all. One is a white ball which is smaller than the others. The rest 8 balls are divided into two groups, 4 in each group. Each of these 4 balls is of different colour, we used red, blued, green and yellow. To distinguish one group from the other, as the colours are the same, the balls in two groups have different texture. E.g. one group will have circles marked on the surface while the other will have squares marked on the surface.

To play the game, you need at least two players. Each player selects the group of balls he wants to play with, either the squares (on the surface) or the circles. One player then starts the game by throwing the white ball as far as possible. Then each player competes to throw their set of balls as close as possible to the white ball. You are allowed to hit the white ball or any other ball, the only thing counts is who gets closest to the white ball.

More details will be on Wikipedia. I just think this is a pretty cool game and could be played anywhere and by people of most age groups.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Phodani Linguini

While shopping for groceries today I thought of fusing Italian and Maharashtrian cooking styles. And thus how phodani pasta was born.

Now I need to explain some terms before I get on with the recipe.

Phodani - In Maharashtrian cooking, when we cook vegetables, we shallow fry spices and condiments such as mustard seeds, turmeric, chili powder or chopped chilies, cumin, masaala etc. This process is called as Phodani in Marathi and Tadaka in Hindi. We also shallow fry onions, tomatoes etc. However I am not certain if that is part of this Phodani process or not.

Linunini - Pasta is a generic term with many varieties such as Linguini, Spaghetti, Penne, Fettuccini etc.  I am not an expert on this, but I think they are classified based on texture, thickness, geometry etc.

So without further ado, here is my recipe.


  • Whole grain wheat Linguini pasta
  • Salt, ginger paste, garlic paste, garam masaala
  • Green Onions, green chilies, tomatoes, crushed peanuts, cilantro parsley
  • Tofu
  • Mozzarella cheese (grated), 
  • Olive oil, white wine vinegar


  1. Boil water to appropriate temperature. Add salt to it for taste. Cook the Linguini pasta in the water.
  2. While the pasta is being cooked, finely chop green onions, tomatoes, green chilies, cilantro and keep them separate. Also cut tofu into small pieces of appropriate size.
  3. As the pasta gets cooked, drain the water and store the pasta separately.
  4. In a woke or kadhai, heat olive oil to appropriate temperature. If you are new to the process of Phodani, you can put some mustard seeds in the oil. When the oil is appropriately hot, you can hear cracking sound of the mustard seeds.
  5. In the heated oil carefully put chopped onions and shallow fry them till light pink. Add chopped green chilies and stir for a bit.
  6. Lower the heat as we do not want to burn the phodani.
  7. Then add to that mixture, ginger paste,  garlic paste and stir for a bit. Add garam masaala to this and stir till it becomes homogeneous. Thus now the phodani paste is prepared. Add chopped tomatoes to this and stir till tomatoes get mixed up.
  8. Add little quantity of white wine vinegar to the phodani. Stir this mixture again. You may be able to smell the phodani and also the white wine vinegar.
  9. Once you are convinced that your phodani mixture is ready, add the cooked pasta to it.
  10. Add tomato basil pasta sauce and tofu pieces. Keep stirring till the separate ingredients are mixed. You can also add some white wine vinegar after the pasta is added.
  11. Once everything looks properly mixed, serve the dish garnished with crushed peanuts, grated mozzarella cheese and put a couple of cilantro leaves on top.

Here is how my Phodani Linguni looked like after served.

Phodani Linguini

Notes and Disclaimers

  1. Please note that I am not responsible in any way if you decide to follow this recipe in full or in part.
  2. I chose tomato basil pasta sauce as the colour looks better as compared to alfredo sauce in this particular recipe. And also because that was the only sauce I had at that time. Paneer might be a good alternative if tofu is not available. But I have not tried it so you are on your own.
  3. I reserve the right to change this recipe in any way in future.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Alt + Ctrl + Del ... a useful keystroke

What is the use of the key combination Alt + Ctrl + Del? You probably know that it is used to lock your computer and later as a step to unlock it. But have you observed that this keystroke can also be used while cleaning your keyboard?

Well, that's what I used today. I wanted to clean my keyboard, but of course, the moment you start cleaning your keyboard, you inadvertently press some keys and that can mess up any open documents or applications.

One work around will be to close your applications and then clean the keyboard really gently. But even then you might end up pressing the Windows button or pressing function or volume keys. Then it suddenly dawned on me! Lock the computer by Alt + Ctrl + Del. This was an Aha moment! Now after this I can easily clean my keyboard even if I have 20 applications open. It is an easy calculation. Closing and reopening 20 applications require many more keystrokes than 2 combinations of Alt + Ctrl + Del and that is not even counting the keystrokes it will take to save the applications.

My 2 keystrokes :)