Archive for March, 2008

23
Mar
08

Holi …. (fill in the dots for a prize)

My baby left me. There, I said it. Run dear reader, before this text will drown you in melancholia and the darkness will immerse you so definite you will die. My baby left me for a better future and I am stuck in the here and now, struggling with the consequences.
Nahhh, I’m being melodramatic. We went apart quite composed. And we forged a type of bond you’ll never have in a thousend years… so don’t get any ideas! I just thought I’d mention it to make you feel slightly acward.
It’s one of the curses of this medium you know. Melodramaticism winks you with her/his sexy eye after every phrase you write. Just like it’s the easiest to act angry on stage. But it is true however that I sit here all alone on a friday night. My roommate went out. God knows where. He didn’t say where he went and didn’t say when he’ll come back.
When my roommate comes back I’ll have to open the door for him and see the after effects of a fun time out in the town on his face, while at the same time we both know he didn’t invite me to go with him. Melodramatics… It’s to easy…
But why, you wonder, do you (being me) have to open the door? Well, because you can only either lock it from the out- or the inside, but not both at the same time, but yet sequentially it is possible. Multiple actors at the same time is also an option. You just think about it…

So here I am in my house all alone on a Friday night, without a girlfriend,… and having diarrea. I’ve been having it for weeks on and off, and my anti-diarrea provisions are running out. Another setback…

But don’t think I didn’t have fun today. It’s Easter today, as I’ve been reminded by my Fokke en Sukke calender. But not in Nepal. And not in a lot of other countries is my guess. Of course what I mean is endorsed by the state. I’m sure a few here do celebrate Easter. But in Nepal another festivity IS celebrated with passion. With how much passion, I don’t know, because I’m at home, without a girlfriend, having diarrea, while everybody is feasting.

In Nepal, as in India, it’s Holi today! The festival of colours. In the west we celebrate in family circles, or, if you’re still an unatheist, in tall dark coffin-like buildings, that a guy was hammered to a cross. In Nepal you smear colours in eachothers head and throw lots of water at strangers.

As my workmate Ram puts it, the perfect recipy is to start drinking at eight o’clock in the morning. But we started at around eleven. To compensate for the late start, we called for the heavy artillery in the form of a bottle of whiskey. We relocated and drank some more whiskey, while colour smearing in between.

A minor incident occured when the whiskey was empty and Ram and his friend went to get some more. They were bombed with water and his friend couldn’t see where he was going due to water in his eyes.

When he regained his sight he discovered he was on a colision course with another motorcycle, and indeed the collision occured. Luckily no one was harmed, but the motorcycle was. It was not fit for travel. Luckily the motorcycle of one of their friends was stationed nearby. After starting it and their friend not coming out to see who the freak was busy stealing his motorcycle, they assessed it was safe to steal it and we got our liquor. Nepalis and traffic… yet another example that it is an horrendous combination.

Those happy times are over however. For me anyways. From not to far away I can hear a chorus of drunken singing Nepalis. Ram’s voice is probably amongst them, as is probably my roommate’s. And if this is not the case, than that doesn’t matter. Nothing heightens one’s loneliness more than hearing the rest of the world having fun while feeling pity for yourself.

Did I mention I’m experiencing the ill effects of diarrea? I had my fun today, and that has already cost me. The gods of my tummy are not amused. Under the veil of my skin they burp to show their disapproval. At last night’s feast I also twarted my health by drinking some beers,… This diarrea game is a delicate one, I’ m experiencing. You get back what you put in. A metaphor for life if you will.

Ah, good… my roommate just got back, and it seems he didn’t have as much fun as I feared. It’s always nice to hear these things. Well it’s nice to be able to finish a post on a positive note, so I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

Good night!

04
Mar
08

Power to the office clerk!

(originally posted on the stix.to blog)

As it is I’m working for Stix.to in Kathmandu. That is to say half my time goes to Stix.to and half my time goes to OLE Nepal, the local organization that is going to implement a computerized school program with the help of OLPC laptops. I’m working most of my time in the OLE Nepal office.

Let me tell you that at the moment working at the office is kind of ’special’. That’s because of the special power circumstances around here: In Kathmandu you’re without power around eight hours a day at the moment. These are no random power faillures, but state policy. Every district got a schedule in which is indicated when the power goes down; it’s called ‘loadshedding’ over here. Usually two times a day, four hours in a row.

‘But why?’, you might think. Or you might right now think: ‘Because there’s no power of course!’ If you answered the latter you are dead right, but if we’d leave it at that, we would miss out on the tragic irony that tortures the poor country of Nepal.

You see Nepal has the worlds biggest potential for hydro-electric levered power; thanks to the huge height difference in the country. If they would only plant a number of extra hydro-plants in the country, all energy problems would be solved in an eco-friendly way. But Nepal doesn’t have the money. A company is building one of them at the moment, but an electrical engineer that works here on energy problems told me: “It’ll take five years before it’s done, and by that time the need has grown so much, that we’ll need another one just to keep up with rising demand.”

So where does this leave the general office clerk? Is he just free half of the day? It depends… OLE Nepal has got batteries which load when there’s power, and which usually would hold out during power shedding. However one of the batteries is dead, and thanks to some kind of weird configuration it doesn’t take long before the rest of the grid is dead.

This event is followed by the sound of numerous fans spinning down, and CRT’s making that weird heigh pitched sound when they’re switched off. A bit later, but well within the fan down-spinning time, there’s a collective grunt from the developers, indicating loss of work.

Me being one of the few with a laptop, am feeling a secret sigh of relief knowing this wouldn’t happen to me. But then I realize I’m one of the few which hasn’t got a rock hard excuse to sit in the sun and chit chat till there’s power again.

Now there’s talk to supply the developers with laptops. Since a laptop consumes between 14 and 19 watts and a desktop around 140 watts, or so I’m told, one doesn’t have to be a maths wizard to figure out the advantage of our portable friends. Perhaps all of us could even start using XO’s, which only consume 3.4 watts, or thereabouts.

As for me, I’m finding the XO to be a very nice excuse to take my job outside. Not for everything, but my OLE related development environment is a standard requirement for these lil’ ones, and it’s sun-friendly screen and dust-resistant build just scream ‘take me into the mountains!!’.

And as I’ve seen in the wild, there’s room to take this mobile office idea a whole lot further, but that’s the subject of a future post.