The Best TV Show of All Time

Without hesitation is the The Sopranos.  The show follows mob boss Tony Soprano’s life through the years as he struggles with managing his mafia organization, his dysfunctional associates and family. Where the show succeeds is that the gangster is not portrayed as some kind of a criminal rock star who bulldozes everybody in his way, but as a person with myriad day to day problems. The best parts are of course the unconventional and often violent solutions. Without a doubt, the standout  is the lead actor, mob boss Tony Soprano played by James Gandolfini (sadly no more). Gandolfini with his huge physical presence is an intimidating personality who figuratively and literally overshadows all other characters. Which is not to say that the others are not good – there is a huge range of standout performances by the rest of them, but in the end The Sopranos has always been about the boss. The show definitely is more popular with men than women.  The violence and the blood are probably not the only reasons. I think a huge appeal is that one starts living vicariously through Tony Soprano. Affairs with hot women, using power and violence to browbeat your enemies and generally get your way sounds better than a cubicle 9-5.  The show also has some great tracks that play in the background or when the credits roll.  The all time favourite has to be the title track – “Woke up this Morning” by the band Alabama 3. It’s part of the opening theme of every episode.  RIP James Gandolfini – one of the greatest actors of all time.

Donate to Wikipedia

I donated to Wikipedia ! I’ve been wanting to do it for sometime, but somehow kept putting it off.  Wikipedia has been running a fund raiser campaign for a while and it served as a perfect reminder for me to donate.  Wikipedia has become such a major part of our lives that we don’t often stop to think about the effort it takes to keep it running.   Right from the hard work of the volunteers that goes in to create and maintain the content to the huge cost the of the IT infrastructure required to run the number five website in the world.  Importantly, Wikipedia is free to use and is kept ad-free !  All this can only happen with support from donors.

This is the e-mail which I received from Sue Gardner, after I made the donation. It does a much better job of explaining on how the donations will be used :

Dear Suhrid,

Thank you for your gift of USD XXX to the Wikimedia Foundation, received on December 11, 2010. I’m very grateful for your support.
Your donation celebrates everything Wikipedia and its sister sites stand for: the power of information to help people live better lives, and the importance of sharing, freedom, learning and discovery. Thank you so much for helping to keep these projects freely available for their more than 400 million monthly readers around the world.

Your money supports technology and people. The Wikimedia Foundation develops and improves the technology behind Wikipedia and nine other projects, and sustains the infrastructure that keeps them up and running. The Foundation has a staff of about fifty, which provides technical, administrative, legal and outreach support for the global community of volunteers who write and edit Wikipedia.
Many people love Wikipedia, but a surprising number don’t know it’s run by a non-profit. Please help us spread the word by telling a few of your friends.

And again, thank you for supporting free knowledge.

Sincerely Yours,

Sue Gardner
Executive Director

* To donate:
* To visit our Blog:
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* To follow us on Facebook:

This letter can serve as a record for tax purposes. No goods or
services were provided, in whole or in part, for this contribution.
The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit charitable corporation
with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in the United States. Our address is 149 New Montgomery, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA, 94105. Tax-exempt number: 20-0049703

So, say thanks to Wikipedia and make your donation today !
Support Wikipedia

Storing and restarting a Bullet motorcycle

Of late, I had to park my bike for long periods of time when I’m away traveling. I ride a Royal Enfield Bullet Electra 5S. (I have a black and silver model). The Bullet manual has detailed instructions on how to store the bike as well as to restart it. However, here are a few quick and hopefully useful steps that I found from experience.

Before Storing:

1) Disconnect the battery. This is very important. The bullet is heavily  dependent on the battery and will not start without it.

  • Remove the battery case.
  • Next, there will be two rubber straps that hold the battery in place. Reach out to the back of the battery, on either side there are hooks that hold the straps in place. Just unhook both the straps.
  • Next unscrew the leads from the terminals. Carefully preserve the nut, screw and the washer set of each terminal.
  • Put the battery case back on.
  • Store the battery in a cool and dry place.

2) Drain the petrol. Petrol slowly evaporates from the tank when stored for a long time. So you’re stuck without fuel when restarting the bike.

  • For this bring the fuel control knob to the OFF position.
  • Remove the small rubber pipe at the end that leads out from the fuel control knob.
  • Place a dry, clean bottle at the place where you removed the pipe. Turn the fuel knob to the ON position, all the petrol should now start flowing out of the tank into the bottle.
  • Once all the petrol is collected, reconnect the pipe and bring the knob to OFF position.
  • That’s it (And that’s why its so darn easy for those frickin’ petrol thieves!)
  • Store the petrol bottle in a cool, dry and safe place.

3) If the bike is parked outside, cover the bike with a tarpaulin cover – to prevent dust and rainwater from getting in.

4) Wash your hands and go eat a snack or something.

When it’s time to restart:

1) Reconnect the battery.

  • Get out the screw, washer and nut sets.
  • Place the battery in the holder.
  • Align the leads to the battery terminals making sure you use the correct polarities.  The screw plus washer set will hold the lead to the terminal on one side and the nut has to be on the other side. Keep tightening the screw till the lead is firmly connected to the terminal. Repeat for the other polarity.
  • Now just turn on the ignition and check if the neutral indicator light comes on. If so, you’re battery is good. If it doesnt, try the indicator or the brake light. If nothing works then the battery is dead. In such a case, haul the darn thing to a battery shop where they’ll charge it for you overnight for about 20 Rs.
  • Once the battery is connected, tested and in place, don’t forget to put the  straps back on. This is a bit of a pain fucking nightmare, so you’ll have to struggle.  Hook the battery strap into one hook and then pull the strap tightly – you’ll have to stretch, press, grunt and squeeze. A lot.  Once the first strap is in, the next one will be much easier.  (That’s why test the battery before putting the straps on.)

2) Fill in the fuel into the tank and bring the petrol knob to RESERVE position. This is to ensure that there will always be fuel supply.

3)  Next, remove the spark plug and just blow any carbon away. This is the critical step, removing the spark plug will cause built up air pressure to be released. If you don’t remove the spark plug, you’ll be kicking away until you have fractured kneecaps. All right then put the spark plug back on.

4) Now, press the clutch and crank the kick-starter lever. The lever might be difficult to press, but keep at it. If it moves without any pressure at all,it’s a good sign. Do this 15-20 times, this will allow the oil to circulate in the engine.

5) OK, showtime!  Turn on the ignition and make sure the engine switch is ON. This is easy to overlook, especially the engine switch.  All right, decompress the engine, and then give it a few solid kicks. If you feel the engine sputter – this is a good sign. Couple of kicks later – the engine should start. Fucking awesome! Give it some throttle and let it run at moderately high throttle for a couple of  minutes. Progressively lower the throttle and check if the engine runs.

If the engine doesn’t start at all, give a couple of minutes break and then retry with the choke on. It should work. All in all have some patience and don’t give up, I’ve usually found about twenty to thirty kicks to be the max to start the bike. (If it doesn’t start at all, fuck it and just call the mechanic.)

6) Ride into the sunset.

Soaking Saturday

Its been absolutely pouring for the last 36 hours in Chennai because of the North East Monsoon.  Check out the clouds in this satellite picture(focus on south India), you can hardly even see the Tamil-Nadu state outline!

Satellite image of the north east monsoon
Satellite image of the north east monsoon

And here’s a slightly closer-to-the ground look :

View from my apartment
View from my apartment

I desperately want to get out, but dread the thought of wading in sewage-mixed water in the road.  I can see that the water is already touching the 3 feet mark on the road and  am starting to worry on how  much further Chennai’s notorious drainage can cope up. I definitely don’t want to be in a situation like this.