Saturday, March 31, 2007


This is what I mean by STAY HEAVY!!! Metallica has been using this piece to open their concerts since 1983.

A note to fellow drivers in Jacksonville, FL, Southside area...if you hear this piece come up on Sirius Octane and you happen to see a gold Saturn Aura in your rear view mirror, get out of the freakin way! I am not a bad driver but that piece gets me on the move...and you better make way for me.

Please find the original Ennio Morricone version here: link

Friday, March 30, 2007

Fcuked-up No. 31

As the anesthesia wears away, the numbness turns to pain. I am in too much pain with my number 31 to be considerate of my language. To the dentists, I have a decaying number 31 that needs a root canal. It is the 31st tooth, the molar in the bottom jaw.

The tooth apparently had a decay on it, then it broke and probably exposed the innards to help propagate the decay even further. I now have a super-tooth with super-decay in the back of my mouth that is inflamed enough to not become numb at all no matter how much anesthetic juice is pumped into it. Two doctors with twenty years of practice each have come across probably five such cases where the nerve wont get numb no matter what.

Root Canal Attempt 1, 27 March 2007, Tuesday:
Around five injections to my gums and jaw around the tooth help numb half my head, the right side half. Then my super tooth is ground and three injections in my "super tooth number 31" later, I still quiver with pain when they put something cold against the tooth. The pain does not reduce with the injections, it stays consistent. The doctor sends me home to finish up the anti-biotics that may help reduce the inflammation internally, keyword 'may'.

Root Canal Attempt 2, 30 March 2007, Friday:
Around four injections to my gums and jaw around the tooth, I don't seem to mind the numbness like the last time. I am just waiting in anticipation for the dreaded 'cold test'. I like the idea of thinking about the 'cold test'. It will either make your whole body quiver with pain and indicate that you have a fcuked-up tooth or you will feel no pain at all and get ready for the drilling (the root canal process involves drilling into your tooth to reach the nerve attached to your tooth and pretty much drilling that nerve out). Don't get me wrong here that I may have been nervous and anxious. I was very calm and assertive though the whole session. Anxiety only makes your nerves more sensitive. First cold test and the pain is lesser than before. More anesthetic is pumped into my gums and the cold test happens again, and it hurts like hell..and the pain lingers this time...probably for a good 15-25 seconds...felt like days though. The super tooth is further ground to facilitate the injection to penetrate better into the nerve and several failed cold tests later, the dentist announced that he has met his match.

The Verdict:
The difficulty in numbing the tooth probably indicates that whats left of the tooth may not be enough to save it and provide enough footing for the crown to sit on it. Now, I got the general indication that patients and dentists strive to save the tooth first. My case happens to be at the border-line for root canals and I am reluctant to take that chance. Further, I am not emotionally attached to the tooth to want to 'save' it. The other process is to completely extract the tooth (yippeee) and let the gum heal and the bone in the jaw heal, then screw an implant on the bone and put a crown on the tooth. While the doctors have their conference to decide on the future of my tooth, I have to spend more agonizing days pumping pain killers into me.

The Moral:
The moral of the story is: Thank you Wal-Mart for $4 generic drugs and thank you Benefits dept. for dental insurance. I don't even know how much I will be spending on this whole ordeal (even with insurance, the number looks like $1400+) but it is a blessing that my state-of-the-art pain killers are so cheap.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Re: Why Your Home Isin't the Investment You Think It Is.

I posted a blog with reference to an article in the Wall Street Journal (March 12, 2007) about why investing in homes may not be the best financial decision. Read the original here if you wish: link

Here is a comment on the blog:
Anonymous said...

You are missing a key point here. If you finance your home with an interest only loan, you will pay less than renting to live in a likely appreciating asset, while maximizing your tax deductions. This is teh best of both worlds. Less near term cash outflow,(which you could invest in the market), and an equity stake in an appreciable asset. Of course yoru house could depreciate, but so could your stocks. In addition, for your low low down payment on $100,000 house you can earn 2% -20% on that entire amount, while investing that down payment of let's say $20,000 ,you only earn maybe 11% in the market on that 20k. This is what the stock broker boys and girls never fully disclose, and why real estate has and always will be a nearly gauranteed form of wealth creation.

Therefore, I went ahead and made a few more calculations to my Loan Calc spreadsheet. The screen print you see on the right hand side is from my spreadsheet. It re-affirms Mr. Anonymous that I stand to make a potential profit of over 28% with my three year investment. The best C.D. that I know of gives me around 6% every six months (maybe 12% a year...I am not really sure). Even a 12% is not close enough to the 28%.

I guess my thoughts are headed towards the classic Risk-Return graphs. I could play roulette and have possibly HUGE returns on my little investments but I stand on a high risk too. I appreciate Mr. Anonymous for carrying this debate forward. I am not taking a stand that investing in houses is not right. I guess it would make more sense to read the full article on the Wall Street Journal, but I can not publish a subscriber-only article without breaking copyright laws.

The article also refers to people that bite more than they can chew only to make that killer investment in homes. Further, people borrow against their home loan to plan vacations, renovations and big-screen televisions.

I have bought the author of the article, David Crook's book on home investments. I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but I am going to before I put my money down on a house.

Re: When Doctors Write

I thought I needed to share this blog from Freakonomics Blog about these two doctors that have written about the doctors in the profession. I am undergoing a painful root canal so this topic is of particular interest to me. Below is a part of the blog:

And two men have just published non-fiction books that seem sure to enhance the literary reputation of doctors.

The first is Jerome Groopman’s How Doctors Think, which I was asked to blurb – we share a literary agent – and I happily agreed, since I love his writing for The New Yorker. Here’s the quote that Levitt and I supplied: “Jerome Groopman has written a unique, important, and wonderful book about a central paradox of modern life: even though diagnosing an illness is often as much art as science, we want our doctors to speak with scientific surety. Groopman gives a rationalist’s tour of the doctor’s thought processes – or lack thereof – and yet, unlike many rationalists, he never veers toward cynicism. You’ll never look at your own doctor in the same way again – for better or worse.” And I meant every word of it. It is not only Groopman’s intelligence, but also his humanity, that imbues this book with deep meaning.

The second book, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, is by Atul Gawande, who also writes for The New Yorker. I haven’t read Better yet, but I loved his previous book, Complications, as well as some of Gawande’s New Yorker pieces that are incorporated into Better. (Particularly memorable were the articles on cystic fibrosis and on the origin of the Apgar test.) Gawande has important things to say about medicine and is a wonderful stylist; if I practiced medicine one-tenth as well as Gawande writes, I would seriously consider opening a little medical practice on the side.

You can read the full blog here. Freakonomics goes on to further talk about how these doctors can write so well. All I can think about is how to get my hands on these books. My shopping cart on Amazon just got heavy.

Macher Jhal (Fried Tilapia in a Spicy Mustard Sauce)

After a failed attempt in cooking Macher Jhal in Florida using pure engineering instincts without parental supervision, I resorted to what we engineers consider a last resort: get a consultant. The reason of my failure is that I used the British method of cooking macher jhal, which uses english mustard to substitute for the hand-ground mustard seeds (works fantastically only in England). USA loves french style mustard sauce, so the english mustard that I bought was heavy on preservatives. I fried some fish and made the gravy using the preservative rich english mustard and possibly cooked the worst meal in my history. Living with roommates during my master's and having no money for outside food, we (my roommates and I) got pretty proficient at cooking good. We never tried macher jhal though.

My mom visited me for two months this year and she did her own little research to make mustard paste from mustard seeds. Here is how she did it and how I did it last night:

  1. Buy a coffee grinder ($14 at Publix) and grind your mustard seeds to a powder.
  2. Put the powder in a bowl and add water. Mix it. Strain the mustard pieces out.
  3. Fry fish of choice. I used Tilapia fillets.
  4. In a sauce pan, heat oil, add green chillies, add onions and fry till brown. I prefer red onions and you can use it if you wish to feel your eyes being sucked out of their sockets.
  5. Add the mustard strained water to it, add turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  6. Add the fish and let simmer.
  7. Serve over steamed rice.
  8. Enjoy, hopefully.
I am not a cook and having recipes here in my blog is certainly not a trend. All I want to do is share the americanized method of cooking Macher Jhal so my fellow Bengalis (and Bengali food lovers) can feel at home.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters

Sven is a die hard fan of ATHF, the series. So much, that I call him 'Master-Shake'. I tried watching it but could not identify with the genre of comedy. He grew up in New Jersey, so he completely does. I guess I did not take an effort to identify with the comedy...till I saw the commercial to the movie. I am hooked to the brilliance of the creators. Now, I completely love the concept and have willingly set my DVR to record all shows.

Here is the trailer:

Also, the Boston incident kinds helped in the publicity. Here is the news link.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I recently saw the movie Water. It touched me immensely. I can see why it had all that opposition. I have never been an ardent follower of Hindi movies...I just watch the good ones. Most of Amir Khan's work, Nagesh Kukunoor's work is what I like to watch. I like to watch movies that are more realistic and not over the top. Therefore, I can not stand over-glamorized movies like everything that Karan Johar makes, no offense to his work and his fans.

I have had an idea of how the widows were treated back in the day...but watching the raw hypocrisy of the Hindu culture sent a cold chill to my bone. I feel ashamed to be a part of my culture, but I also trust my teachings. Widows are no longer treated with inferiority in most parts of the country any more, but the hypocrisy continues on. No matter how much I hate hypocrisy, I think we all (Indians) have it in our blood. It is a way of life for some people who practice it without intention or knowledge...and some people like me hold dormant hypocritic views.

Yes, I agree that I can be hyporcitic at times but it is like a mirror that makes me look at myself, question my actions and thoughts and hopefully influence me to make the right decision. No matter how optimistically I direct my hypocritic energy, it can't be denied that I harbor hypocritic thoughts. Thoughts that I have to logically reason out. Logical reasoning is an easy exercise for me, being an engineer, I live eight plus hours a day with MS Access queries, Excel spreadsheets and analysis. The only thing dissatisfying about logically reasoning out every problem is that we leave emotions out. Not many ideas can sustain by themselves without emotions as emotion is nature and by denying emotions, we deny nature ( nature can not be denied).

Laya helps keep me from getting too logical. She fills the gaps with emotions. That is the reason why I love her so much. She needs me and I need her.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I have to get a root canal done...not fun. I also have a wisdom tooth t-boning(this is a NASCAR term though I do not watch NASCAR at all. The medical term being 'horizontally impacted') my I have to get that extracted too. In short, I am officially taking donations as I can not wait till I go to India to get it done. Cheques, cash, money orders...whatever form you see fit....(kidding obviously).

This is a classic picture of a wisdom tooth t-boning the molars. The x-ray is not of my tooth though.

Monday, March 19, 2007


I was driving to the Publix by my house to get a sandwich for lunch and drop off my formals to the dry cleaners. I have been listening to Octane on Sirius Radio these days. Caffeine and Octane keep me moving. Anyway this song came up as I was parking and I had to park and blast this one before doing anything else. Hopefully everyone in a 1 mile radius can thank
(a)me for being parked and
(b)Saturn for not making manual transmission Auras because you don't want me to be driving a stick with this song playing...


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Where do you buy generics from??

Here is an interesting blog on Freakonomics. The blog speaks about the price disparity between generic medicines in retail stores. Check it out here.
I have a Costco membership and thats where I am going from now on to buy my generics.

I blogged this article so you can read it here. I also share what I find interesting on my google reader. To read what I share, please scroll to the bottom of the page.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Incubus - Anna Molly

This song gets me going every day. It is clearly one of the best alternative rock songs this season. Hang Tight. Here is more information on the band.

Garden Vegetable Soup

Mom visited me and lived in sunny Florida with me for two months. This also means that I had fantastic home cooked food for two months straight. She is back to her grind in India now and I have to feed myself. It takes a while to get back to the routine of cooking and managing groceries. I seem to have lost some motivation in cooking. Back in UFL, I would share cooking turns with three other roommates and we had hot fresh food on the table 9 PM every night. Now that I have moved to greener pastures with a job, I have to cook for myself and eat what I cooked for three days. Either that or cook every night. I chose cook a few times a week. Then eating out took over and thats all I did. Deep down in my heart though, I want to eat at home. Thats when Garden Vegetable soup comes in. Thats what I had for dinner, with a couple of pieces of Sesame Chicken that my room mate ordered.

What will motivate me is if I make a list of all that I can cook and plan my week accordingly. I get lazy when I have to come home after a hard day at work and have to think of what I have to cook. Making a list will organize my head enough to cook fresh every day.

Speaking of motivation, I am real motivated to finish off that pecan pie in my fridge. 45 secs in the microwave, and it will be delicious.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Who is the Hottest Mom Online

'When I hear the word culture, I reach for my pistol.'...Reich Marshal Hermann Goring.

I hold very liberal views but having a 'Hottest Mom Online' competition is pushing it. Hottest Mom In America™ - The search for women who define modern day motherhood; they are beautiful, smart, talented moms who also happen to be HOT!. I am fine till the beautiful, smart and talented part (though I believe that every woman is beautiful, smart and talented), but I can't see HOT and MOM in the same sentence. Competing in a beauty contest is more dignified than competing here. Beauty contests concentrate more towards other aspects of womanhood than just hotness. I am not able to digest a contest being held to measure mothers hotness and I need help to understand it.

Am I being conservative and still claim to have a liberal mind? I am not a chauvinist and I would not like my readers to judge me like that.

My room mate's sister, Misty is competing. She has her video uploaded. You can view it here:

If you can not see the video, there is a glitch in the website. I will rectify it when the video becomes available.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Why Your Home Isn't the Investment You Think It Is

I have been looking at homes and housing markets in Jacksonville to plan for a prospective home in the early future. Looking at the way the city is set up and the way of life that people are accustomed to, I should either buy a condo at the beach, or a single family home (an independent home siting on a private lot). Condos at the beach go for over $400,000 which make them above my price range. Now that I know that a single family home is my aim, what should by budget be? What drives my budget? A monthly mortgage payment, of-course. What should my mortgage be? I would be comfortable with a low $1000 mortgate payment including taxes and insurance. So, I have created a spreadsheet that you can view here .

I also came across an article in today's wall street journal that speaks about why some people bank too much on their homes as a nest egg (retirement fund) and why that is not the right thing to do. Some people think buying is better than renting.

Here is a part of the article. I hope I am not infringing on copyrights doing this:
Q: But it's certainly better to buy a house than to pay rent.

A: That depends on when you buy, and how long you own. Buy at the wrong time -- like during the kind of buying frenzy that much of the country has just experienced -- and you could well end up wishing you had rented instead.

Boom market or bust, home buying has so many extra costs -- from upfront "points" paid to a lender to title insurance and appraisal fees -- that over the first five to seven years, a renter who invests the equivalent of a down payment in stocks could easily do better overall than a house buyer. Compounding that problem: Most homeowners move within seven years.

As the ownership timeline stretches out to 15, 20 or 30 years, however, the buyer will almost certainly do better than the renter, especially given the tax benefits of paying mortgage interest over traditional rent and the big rebate when the owner finally sells.

But the typical buy vs. rent argument clouds the more important point: A house is an inefficient way of building wealth.

Q: But I have to live somewhere! And I have to pay something for a place to live. Certainly it's better to pay "deductible" mortgage interest than rent.

A: Buying a house with a long-term mortgage is just another form of renting.

Mortgage interest is rent that you pay to your lender for the use of its money rather than to a landlord for the use of his house. Yes, the government picks up a portion of that with the tax deduction, but most of your monthly payment neither builds equity nor is deductible. It just goes down the same black hole that sucks up any other renter's money. And it takes 20 years before a typical borrower pays more principal each month than interest.

"I have to pay something" is a rationale that home buyers use for going deeply in debt and paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest to buy a house that, they mistakenly believe, will make a big profit for them down the line.

These two answers made sense to me and got me thinking. The spread sheet was an outcome of that thinking process. I just hope I make prudent financial decisions. I thank all my friends and colleagues for their patience that are current home owners / renters that I keep pestering with my many small questions on home-ownership.

Update, April 2007:
My further investigation here: link

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ma in Jax

My mom visited me for two months. I have been in the United States for over two and a half years without seeing my family. It was about time for my mom to visit me. Hopefully she had a good time. I enjoyed being with her after so long. She got a taste of the american way of life and some american food. Here are some pictures of her during her last week here. I dont have to write much about how I felt to have my mom with me for two months. Any good son would know how it feels to be with your mom after a long and hard time. I would like to know of her experience, though. It is something that you have to write, Ma, and send to me so I can post it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, here are some pictures of the Mother of the Year!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Miami Downtown Sky

The Miami sky looks beautiful in a warm May evening in the midst of older buildings and perpetual constructions!