Tuesday, September 28, 2004

It's all over now, baby blue.

As Mr Dylan wrote, it's all over now baby blue.

And so it was for my baby blue.

I picked up this blue honda civic in the winder of 1998, just before I went off to North Carolina to do a co-op. I don't remember who it was that coined the name, but someone decided to call it it 'baby blue' because of its color. The name stuck.

The car has been on some amazing road trips, too numerous to mention. It's transported sofas, kayaks, riverrafts, bicycles, desks, dressers, and probably a host of other items that I'm forgetting.

I promised all of my friends that I wouldn't get rid of it until it died on me. It almost died on me once a few years ago. It was just a few months after 9/11 and I was picking up my roommate Suman from the airport. On the way to the airport I saw the 'Check Engine' light go on, so I resolved to go get it checked out the next day. As I pulled into the passenger pickup area, I felt the car sputter and stall. I immediately shifted to neutral, flung open my door, jumped outside (while the car was still coasting), and pushed/steered it towards the curb so as to not hold up any traffic. I looked up to see 2 marines with their guns raised, cocked, and pointed at me. Needless to say, I flipped out. No permemant damage. They got a tow truck to take me out to the nearest gas station, after which I had to arrange for my own towing. I eventually go the car fixed (I had somehow blown the head gasket) weeks before driving it cross-country from Pittsburgh to Seattle.

It hasn't given me trouble since then, but it just didn't make sense to keep it here for 2 years while I'm off in India.

Anyways, here's pictures from the sale:

Jim picked her up for his son Eric Posted by Hello

Jim's a nice guy. He works as an HR person at the Seattle courts. We did the exchange and then I took a picture of him. Then I got him to take one of me.

I'm smiling on the outside, but crying on the inside. Posted by Hello

Finally, he dropped me off at the Avis to pick up my rental. I took a quick snap as he pulled away with my first car.

bye bye baby blue Posted by Hello

Friday, September 24, 2004


Packing is taking a really long time.

I stayed up all last night going through my stuff. I guess it doesn't really have to take that long. However, I have boxes that have made the past 3-4 moves without being opened and that's just wrong.

I figure if I haven't used what's in those boxes till now, I probably won't ever use it. But it's really hard to get rid of stuff just like that.

Monday, September 20, 2004

saying goodbye...

I've started saying goodbye to Seattle. I'm super sad. On Friday, a bunch of my friends came to hang out at the W hotel downtown. It's got a bar that's niether loud nor smokey so it was a great place to chat with everyone.

Some of my buddies chipped in and got me an ipod which kicks butt. Except that now I feel like I'm in complete yuppiedom. But it really is awesome. I downloaded all of my indian classical music on it this weekend using Apple's lossless encoding. So I'm already 10 Gigs into the 40 Gig storage.

I made kheer this weekend for all the people who had called me over to say bye. My indian classical music group threw me an awesome get together. Jyoti organized a potluck which Shamneez hosted. There was dahi vada, shev-batata-dahi-puri, samosa, alu vadi, and of course kheer.

They gave me an amazing gift which was all Jyoti's idea. It's called The Raga Guide. I promptly downloaded all of the sound samples onto my ipod. :)

Thursday, September 16, 2004


I'm afraid that this blog will be exclusively on the potty-topic. That's really not my intent I promise. Nor does it consume the majority of my thinking power.

But my evil fiancee (the same one that inspired the previous post) sent me another great link to a product meant to help sitters become squatters.

So you can blame the theme on my fiancee and not me. :)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

wash or wipe; squat or sit.

My fiancee sent me an article which talks about washing vs. wiping.

What a wonderful topic. One that's very dear to me.

I just got back from Alaska a few weeks ago. And questions of washing vs. wiping were high on my mind for the past few months.

Denali National Park is pristine. Traveling in the back-country is an amazing experience. The park is divided into areas and you need to get a permit to sleep in a given area. There are only a few permits per area per night, so the chances of you running into someone else are pretty slim. There is a lot of wildlife (bears, caribou, dall sheep, wolves) so any food or fragrant items (toothpaste, deodorant) you carry has to be in a bear proof container.

How does any of this relate to the topic of this post? Consider the problem of taking a dump. You start by digging a hole 8-12" deep. Then you squat over the aforementioned hole and populate it. The next logical step is to wipe, bury the mess, and be on your way, right?

Well.. the problem is that your excrement falls under 'fragrant items'. So if some of the wildlife comes sniffing and digging, they're going to find not only your mess, but your toilet paper too.

And Denali National Park would no longer be pristine would it?

So what do you do? You wipe, and then you put your wiping materials into a ziploc bag. And then you put that ziploc bag into another ziploc bag. And then you put that ziploc bag into your bear proof container. Along with your toothpaste. And your food.

ugh. The thought of carrying my used toilet paper (albeit double bagged) in the same container as my food is scary. I don't see how people even consider this a viable option.

So I spent the month before the Alaska trip practicing washing. How does washing work?

Well, you start with an emptied out yoghurt tub filled about half way with water. You hold it in your right hand. Then you bend forward on the commode. Then you extend your left arm behind you. At this point, both your arms are behind you and you're leaning forward.

You tentatively start pouring the water and aim it just right so it pours down your butt crack but doesn't wet you too much. At that point you curl your left hand around the water stream and start scrubbing out the debris while water pours down onto your fingers.

It's actually not as disgusting as you think. The first sensation is weird (when you start the process) but then as you pour water to clean off your fingers, it all feels nice and clean; much cleaner that wiping.

The next problem is combining the washing with the squatting. If you're not used to squatting, you already have the daunting task of maintaining your balance (so as not to fall back into your own mess). So there's already some mental tension. Now, you somehow have to maintain your balance while keeping both hands behind you and coordinating the pouring and scrubbing.

To add to the pain, it's cold so you're probably going to be wearing several layers. Half of these layers are bunched up around your tummy and threatening to slide down to the hazmat zone, while the other half are bunched up around your legs, inhibiting your ability to squat. There is the fear of the water run-off splattering smack down into your trousers. I'm not sure if you're disgusted yet. These thoughts kept me awake at night but since anything seemed better than the alternative (paper + food locked into the same bearproof container), I persevered.

I was worried enough that I actually approached a work buddy of mine (more legitimately from the motherland than me) to ask for exact directions. He got a kick out of it. Being a fellow engineer, he immediately proceeded to draw diagrams on the whiteboard to address my concerns.

Armed with a shovel, yoghurt container, extra water, and some hand sanitizer, I proceeded courageously into the wild. This is me at the end of my first try.

the first time Posted by Hello

And no. That water was not from the run-off. It was from me nearly losing my balance while reaching for the mug and spilling half of the precious water on my pants. Nevertheless I had to return to camp with wet pants. The second and third days I was much more successful.

I'm back from Alaska reunited in spirit with the Motherland. And you'll find an empty yoghurt container sitting on the floor of my bathroom if you should need to use it.