An Owl's 2 hoots

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Green Greed

What actually goes on in a person's mind when money is in play is simply inexplicable. Of course, there is the bleeding obvious that the person keeps wanting more and more. However, if there is no thought or hard work involved on the way, then it all crumbles to pieces.

From a viewers' perspective, there is just so much joy (how sick can I get?) in watching people make "decisions" which they think would pave the way to a better position, only for them to realize that they had infact been making the wrong decisions each and every step.

I was watching a show on NBC called "Deal or No Deal", which by far has to be the most money minded game show that has ever been made. Atleast, in other game shows like "Who wants to be a millionaire" or "Jeopardy", there is the aspect of General Knowledge, although some of the questions asked in these shows reek of extermely localized cultures. Nevertheless, the participant has to answer these questions rightly to "earn" the money. But, not in this show.

"Deal or No Deal" is based purely on probability, more specifically on diminishing odds. There are 26 briefcases with various amounts ranging from 1 cent to 1 million dollars. First, the player chooses one case and keeps it aside (as a lifeline). In the first "round" of the game, the player must pick 6 cases at random for elimination from the game (they claim that nobody knows which amount is in what case). The 26 amounts are divided into 13 small ones and 13 large ones (all increasing in value). Just by simple probabilty, the chances of eliminating 1 million is very small. So, more often than not, the player usually picks smaller amounts, possibly one large amount (like 40,000) in the first round. Now, 40,000 itself is big, hell, anything more than 1 dollar is big if it is given away! But you should see the player's face, reaction and smart-ass comments when various amounts are eliminated. "It's not bad, I have bigger ones left", or "YeahH!!", and "Whooo!", when they toil to get rid of 20 bucks. Yevan kaasu... kadacha varaikum laabam.

So, after the player successfully fields the tough moments to eliminate 6 cases, based on the value of the remaining ones (also considering the hidden value of the first case which was set aside), a "banker" gives them a deal to stop right there and leave. In most cases, the first offer would be around 40,000 - 50,000 (unless the player was extremely bad in guessing 6 big amounts). Being the true, hot-blooded human that the player is, he/she slams the table saying "No deal!" (they seem to relish saying that!) coupled with an unmistakable expression that flatulates of self-importance. The player thinks that he made a good decision, but that is when Mathematics starts its strip-tease. He has to choose 5 more cases for elimination.

Endlessly egged by the audience and by their own luck/fortune, players end the next round with an amount that normally is more than the first offer. The American dollar has a nickname - Greenback, or green. Not surprisingly, it resembles the word "Greed" too. So, another "No deal!", - followed by a smug expression and a re-assuring look.

In today's case, the player was offered 22,000 first time, 67, 000 next, 100+ next, 130+ next, all of which she rejected with the most emphatic "No deal!". Now I wouldn't have written this post but for one of the comments made by the player's mother in the audience. She said that everyone in her family was wearing green today, since green represents money and fortune.

Now that made me see red. From that point on, I was rooting against her to loose more than what she had before. But I did not have to break a sweat, since our dear old Mathematics abruptly changed her strip-tease to a whipping game. The player had 2 more big amounts left and was asked to choose one case. She picked one of the big ones. No smug expressions this time. Still, she could have left with almost 80K, but she said she was going all the way. All the way, she WILL go. Choose another case! - bang! - the last big one was also eliminated. Now it was my turn to say YEAAH and Whoo!

She left with 20+,000.

I have been vindicated.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Black to Brown

I am not sure how this has happened. But apparently it has. Today I got my Washington state driving license and my eye color has been marked as brown!

The officer had looked at my passport which clearly says black, but by some "hi-tech" device in the vision-test machine "determined" that it had changed to brown.

Did this happen because of my line of work or is it normal?

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Thermal Punishment

Maybe I was inspired by Raju's post in the opposite way. Maybe I am just plain crazy. I am not even sure if I would be the same tommorrow morning, after what I subjected myself today.

1. The maximum outside temperature today was 8 C (46 F).
2. My body is still acclimatising to this terrain and weather.
3. I had joined a gym a week ago (similar to the one in FL, but had 3 important additions to it - an indoor swimming pool, hot tub and a sauna)
4. Needless to say, I pick today for starting swimming et al.
5. So I reach the gym (all bundled up, while locals were walking in Tees) and proceed for my pre-swimming shower. First mistake. I turned the shower knob the wrong way and got a stinging reply!
6. The swimming pool was at a comfortable temperature: 22 C (72 F). After about 30 minutes, I climbed out, and walked towards the locker room, but if I had done that, that would not make a post now, would it?
7. So, Hot tub next: 30 C (85 F). I was there for around 15 minutes and said to myself that I had enough fun for the day. But, mind is a monkey, you see! How could I possibly not complete the third item?
8. Sauna room - When I entered it, I could not see properly due to the steam in the room. At first it was pretty refreshing. The temperature was a little bit warmer than the hot tub (35 C), and it felt good since my body was in the "cooling down" stage during my walk from the tub to the sauna room!
9. And then comes this guy who must have felt really cold in the swimming pool, and turned the sauna heat to full blast 44 C (110 F) !. I did not realize that he had turned it on, since my eyes were closed (no point in opening them!), but I certainly felt it hit me! It was unbelievable! There was NO way one could take a breath of air in such conditions. It was like sitting in a furnace. This guy cooly stretched and laid down on the platform, and there I was, getting cooked properly.
10. Two thoughts came to my mind - to get the hell out, or to see how long I could take it. No prizes for guessing which one I did. So, I stayed on until the 110 F cycle completed and it came to 100 F.
11. This time, I was really done. I hit the showers (no mistakes this time) and dressed up to leave. But I had forgotten about the outside temperature!
12. One step outside, and the shock came back again - I was seeing my breath in front of me as if I was smoking a gigantic cigar!. I ran to my car, started it and turned the heater on and came back home!

A pretty sinusoidal day came to an end!


Monday, March 13, 2006

Here we go again

After the initial moving blues and hectic few days at work, I had some time this weekend and ventured out. Although the weather was bright and sunny, it was still cold for me. But as soon as I reached the place where I wanted to go, I could see why this place is so sought for. It sure is an outdoor paradise and I think I would enjoy my stay here. Some pictures which I took -

This was at a local park near my place and it has a few trails which goes around and through a hill. Pretty good for trekking

That's a new one. A tree camouflaging with leaves!

Something which you don't see in Florida - so much green...!

but... green paint on leaves? This is pushing the limits

And then there was water...

Spoiled brat! Enna paakura? beach avalothaan.. po po!

I saw a lot of people scuba diving.
hmm... some day...

This is new too. Roads which are not flat!

That's all folks!


Friday, March 10, 2006


My affairs with the weather continues. It did not rain the first week I landed here, but 3 days ago, it started to rain. And it still is. What's more, it snowed too!. I never knew that my car's odometer had a display called "ICY" until today.

Seattlites would be wondering how on earth could it snow in winter, but look no further. It's all because of me. After all, it was me who was blamed for bringing back hurricanes to Florida, torrential rains and cyclones to India, so what's one more to that list!?

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Sunday, March 05, 2006


1. Sniff - Sudden change in the weather due to a dramatic geographical relocation brings about a runny nose (sniff!).

2. Sniff - Emotional response to the pressures of moving and missing a lot of things which I was used to. (sniff!, boo hoo!).

3. Sniff - Absence of a proper conduit for expression of thought over the Internet leads to sniffing nearby wireless networks for short bursts of blogging activities. (sniffing!).