C-rappy Cacophony

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Scientist warns of major disaster in S-E Asia

Scientist warns of major disaster in S-E Asia

Quite scary stuff!
But I think it is better to err on the wrong side when it comes to precautions and alerts related to natural disasters.At least there is no question of foul play when it comes to an earthquake or a tsunami.This is any day better than a President who always warns of an impending terrorist attack or a disaster in the country.
The state of the Union address was marked with not words of wisdom but just words of wishful thinking and sugar-coated explanations for all goof-ups till now.
The way the members got up and clapped their hands after every bullshit laden statement from the president showed how the whole Senate is just a bunch of hypocrites.
For once.I wished it was like in India where the opposition hurled benches and mikes at the man on the Podium unable to bear the shit being thrown at them in the name of state of the union address.I think I ve heard at least 3 of the last 6 speeches and every time I felt it was a deja-vu.The same old promises and the same old expectations for the future with the same old threatening remarks about the terrorists.
At one point I got the feeling that the guy was trying to awaken the so-called anti-social elements from their sleep or sleeper cells as they are called.Nancy Pelosi seemed confused as to whether she was expected to clap or just grin when the issues being spoken were medicare and bio-diesel. May be they should have had the 'TV studio' style banners for the democrats indicating
whether they should clap or remain silent or get up from their seats and clap their hearts out with a phony smile!
Stupid people to say the least are all the U.S politicians.

From natural disaster to man-made disaster - That was a huge shift in my focus,but the commonness being that its the common man who gets to face the brutalities of both of the uninformed and uncalled for events!


Posted by rajesh |

Friday, January 19, 2007

Thanks, TV guys, for Ice Hysteria '07

We have them to thank for staying home on Austin Winter Warning Freakout Day

It wouldn't take a Nobel laureate to figure out why News 8 Austin and the other local TV stations painted this week's pantywaist ice storm like it was nuclear winter.

At first I thought the coverage of gloom and doom over a little ice was because there aren't any chili cookoffs to cover this time of year. But then it occurred to me that the channel 8 folks made a big deal out of this wimpy ice storm because they have a TV station.

So naturally they want us to stay home and watch it.

This is smart marketing. Your dentist tells you you need your teeth cleaned, right? And your barber tells you you need a haircut.

So why should we be surprised when the TV weather dudes tell us that, for our own safety, we should stay in the living room watching them standing out by the highway in a fuzzy coat?

Oh my God. You would have thought these weather geeks were covering the end of days. My favorite was the female TV reporter who interviewed the guy who was waiting it out in a convenience store in Williamson County because the roads were too icy to keep driving. She was treating the story like the guy was holed up in there. What a hardship. Imagine having to exist on caramel lattes, peanut patties and Doritos.

I can hear it now. "I dunno if I can make it; all they got in here is Starbucks."

The trouble is that the weather really wasn't all that horrible, and the roads weren't, either. The only difficulty I had during this storm is that when I got where I was going, nobody was there, and everything was closed. And it was starting to tick me off.

On Tuesday afternoon, I tried to go to the movies at the Regal Metropolitan 14 in South Austin, and it was closed. Apparently the popcorn guy was snowed in by a quarter inch of sleet. The same day, nobody delivered my mail. What happened to that old "neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow" philosophy? Has this been replaced by, "What are you? Crazy? You expect us to go outside in this stuff?"

Thanks to the urging of weather people, Austinites spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday staying home sitting on their butts. Not that this is all bad. One of my strengths is goofing off.

But don't try to tell me the weather brought the city to its knees. No, what brought the city to its knees was the weather forecasters warning us to stay off the streets by showing these large areas of pink approaching on radar.

Why do they use pink? Are they trying to tell us that Paris Hilton is coming?

You call this an ice storm? If you scraped with a shovel you could have scratched up enough slush to build a snow midget.

What a joke. The roads were safer during this storm than they were back in July. Why? Because, thanks to the TV weather wonks, there was nobody on them. And what few drivers there were were so weirded out by the TV warnings of death, doom and destruction that people were driving 20 mph.

So anyway, I'd like to thank channel 8 and the rest of them for creating a new holiday: Austin Winter Warning Freakout Day. We should make it an annual event, like Spamarama.

John Kelso's column appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 445-3606 or jkelso@statesman.com.

I have to agree to the above said things completely.The weather channel guys went overboard and completely made a fool of everyone in town.While it gave 3 days holidays to most organisation in austin,it was a true case of TV guys manipulating everyone and causing panic everywhere.

Posted by rajesh |

Thursday, January 18, 2007

29 or 17 Rediff?

Posted by rajesh |

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Visa renewal in Mexico

Found this very useful piece of info in an online forum.

Hope its of use to someone out there.

In a previous post http://www.immigrationportal.com/sh...ad.php?t=188257, I had mentioned that I will leave feedback about the F1 renewal/extension in Mexico. So, here it is.. It is a long long post with all details. In the post, I have highighted in bold anything that I felt was extremely important.

Last week, I successfully renewed my F-1 visa at the US consulate in Matamoros,Mexico.

My F1 visa was expiring in June 2006. In December 2005, I decided I will renew it. Because of time constraints, I did not want to renew it in my home country. For the purposes of renewing in a 3rd country, I had to decide between Mexico and Canada. I decided I will renew it at a US consulate border post in Mexico. There are 5 US consulate border posts in Mexico where TCNs [third country nationals] can get a new visa:
1. Matamoros (Brownsville in Texas being the closest US town)
2. Nuevo Laredo (Laredo in Texas being the closest US town)
3. Ciudad Juarez (El Paso in Texas being the closest US town)
4. Nogales (Nogales in Arizona being the closest US town)
5. Tijuana (San Diego in California being the closest US town)

I looked up different forums and found that Matamoros had the best results [low rejection rates for any visa type]. Keep in mind that F1 is a discretionary visa - so irrespective of however strong your case is, it is upto the Visa Officer to issue/reject your visa.

So, I decided I will go to Matamoros to renew my F1 visa. What next??
1. Schedule an appointment by using the internet based system. The url is: https://www.visa-usa.com.mx/default.aspx
2. One first needs to register at the website and get a username-password. You would have to purchase a 10$ PIN within 10 days of registration, otherwise your username-password will expire.
3. The PIN will expire 10 days after your appointment date. If you do not schedule an appointment, your PIN will expire 90 days after purchase. This PIN will give you 3 scheduling opportunities so that you can schedule an appointment and reschedule it up to 2 additional times if you need to.
4. Please note that you may not change or cancel your appointment within 5 business days of the appointment date
5. WHEN DO the Interview Slots OPEN on the Internet based system???
• Appointment dates for the ENTIRE month [which is 3 months away from the present month] OPEN up ANYTIME on the last 2 business days of the present month. To elaborate, the appointment slots for the ENTIRE month of May became available on Feb27th late evening. Appointment slots for the entire month of June became available sometime on March 31st.
• Keep in mind that appointment slots get filled up within a day or so
6. PREFERABLY, do NOT use the phone based system for reservation unless you do not mind an exorbitant bill on your credit card.
• most telephone operators are Spanish & it is hell of a lot difficult to spell out names that are UNCOMMON to them. You often end up spelling out all details forever and ever.
• even after you spell it out, there is NO guarantee that all the info. that they enter on the appointment site is correct.
• Keep in mind that the telephone OPERATORS also use the same internet based appointment system...this was told to me when I called up once as I was not getting slots on the Internet based system.
• SO, if SOMEONE states that there is a better chance of getting an appointment confirmation by USING the TELEPHONE system of booking, then it is a myth.
7. The MOST IMPORTANT thing.....with a given username and password, you CAN HOLD only 1 appointment.
• Keep in mind that, just like you, there are hundreds of people wanting to get an appointment date using the INTERNET based system. So, there is every chance that an AVAILABLE appointment slot would BECOME UNAVAILABLE within a matter of seconds.
• With your present USERNAME PASSWORD, You would have to cancel your present appointment before you can reschedule a new appointment.
• If you want to reschedule [because you saw a date that suits your needs], it is best to purchase a new PIN [new username-password] and then schedule an appointment.

OK, I have now scheduled an appointment at the US Consulate in Matamoros, Mexico. What next??
1. You need to obtain a legal document to enter Mexico. You can either get a Mexican Permit or Mexican Visa. The difference between the two is explained here: http://www.mexico-assistance.com/AMexicanPermit.html A news flash on the website http://www.mexico-assistance.com/AN...esMexImmig.html states that “Starting June 20th 2006, anyone visiting Mexico who is NOT a US or Canadian citizen will need to apply for a Mexican Visa at a Mexican Consulate in the US for legal entry into US”.
2. You need to prepay your Visa application fee [105 USD] before you enter the consulate. Since you are going to a US consulate in Mexico, it is required that you must pay the fee only at one of the different “Banamex” bank locations.
3. I decided that I will avail the services of an agent to accomplish the above two tasks [instead of wasting valuable time by going to one of the Mexican consulates in the US to apply for the necessary Mexican entry document & again wasting more time by trying to find out a Banamex location in the US to prepay the visa application fee]. “Starting June 20th 2006, one can enter Mexico only with a Mexican Visa which has to be obtained by the applicant by applying at one of the Mexican Consulates in USA. The processing time is 3-5 weeks. So prepare ahead”.
4. I decided I will avail the services of Mark Lehmann of Mexico Assistance Services (MAS). His contact info is:
• 956-455-3628
marklehmann@mexico-assistance.com, http://www.mexico-assistance.com/AContactUs.html
5. MAS helped me (a) obtain Mexican Entry Permit (b) Prepaid the US Visa Application fee (c) provided a free shuttle/van service from Brownsville to the US Consulate in Matamoros and back to Brownsville. Not just that, MAS is equipped with wireless broadband internet access and fax service straight from their van. This fax number is a US toll-free number & hence when somebody is faxing a document from the US, it does NOT entail long distance charges. This FAX facility came in very handy when one of my friends had to get some documents (within few hours) upon request by the Visa Officer. This friend of mine [also for F1 extension/renewal] had the interview at 10AM, whereupon the Visa Officer asked for some supporting documents and asked to come back by 3PM. My friend called up the University and had all the documents faxed to the MAS toll-free fax number. By 1PM, she had all the documents. Without MAS, she would have had to find a business (like Kinkos) that could receive faxes in Matamoros, Mexico & faxing from US to Mexico would have also entailed long distance charges. With MAS, she did NOT have to worry about all that.
6. There is a document checklist on the website http://www.mexico-assistance.com/AD...quirements.html that tells what documents you need to send to Mark so that he can arrange for necessary paperwork for your trip in and out of Matamoros, Mexico.

Once inside the consulate, they take your photograph & fingerprint your right and left index fingers. Make sure that you do not have any injury on these fingers, because if you have one, then they will not scan it & then you cannot attend the Visa Interview.

As regards the Visa Interview with the Visa Officer, I carried the following documents:
1. An updated I-20 reflecting my most recent finances from the University.
2. A letter from the funding department in my university giving a breakup of all the earnings I receive [assistantship, tuition waiver, insurance benefits, etc]. Make sure that the numbers in the I-20 and the department letter match up exactly. If there is any discrepancy whatsoever, then it is going to open up a barrage of questions. This discrepancy [different numbers in I-20 and department letter] happened to my friend (mentioned above) and she had to get new/updated documents within an hour.
3. A letter from my research advisor which mentions my research in layman’s terms, how vital I am for the lab, etc. If there any publications (even forthcoming), make sure it gets mentioned in the letter.
4. A letter from my bank stating the current balance in the different accounts I have with the bank. Most banks provide a “balance letter” which states the average balance in the last 6 months.
5. One set of official transcript(s) from the different Universities attended.
6. One copy of the tax returns from the last 3 years.

The questions asked by the Visa Officer:
1. What course are you studying?
2. How long will it be before you complete?
3. What is your project on?
4. Why are you applying for an extension in Mexico and not in your home country?
5. I see that the University has given you an extension in the I-20. So why is it taking this long?

Well, that was it. I answered the different questions in a calm and collected manner. I was brief and to the point. The Visa Officer then said she is issuing the visa and asked me to collect my passport later on in the day. I got my passport with the F1 visa stamped.

Posted by rajesh |

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Karuppaana Kaiyale .....

This raises a question.

I have heard a couple of other songs which were set to 'Kanda Shasti Kavasam' or has the 'Gaayathri Mantram' as its lyrics.

Are the music directors who are mostly atheists or converted Christians taking advantage of the religious tolerance of the Hindus or is it just that the Hindus don't give a shit over such things?The worst thing is that these guys make sure everytime they make a mockery of a well known shlokam or religious song,they will set it to the must uncouth and dirtiest of all lyircs and connotations possible.

Has anybody tried setting a bawdy song with filthy lyrics to the tunes of 'nalla manathil kudiyirukkum nagoor aaNdavaa' or 'Ellaam Yesuvae..enaku yellaaam Yesuvae'?

Not that I care too much about what I have stated above but just for gigs I would like to see what happens when someone tries to mess with Christian or Islamic religious songs.


Posted by rajesh |

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mera Bhaarath Mahaan !

Girl stripped and molested in public in the New Year party at Gateway of India - India Daily


Posted by rajesh |


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