Sunday, October 29, 2006

Seeing the Sea...

A plateau where a summit should be...
A plateau where an abyss could be...

Mirage-like in the distant horizon.
Just beyond the bend.
Almost there now.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Creative Ads from all round the world!

Found this in Mari's blog today

Cool ads!!! And there were two from India... one from our own Eatalica in Chennai.

And this is pretty funny too!! Again from Mari...

wiki's better half!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I'm going to read Virginia Woolf...

I saw (The) Hours yesterday. Some blogger (I forget who...) had claimed that this movie was the best movie he/she had seen. So with a lot of expectation, i finally saw the movie yesterday.

How did I like the movie?? Uhmmmm... I don't really know. I didn't understand much of it. But the concept was awesome. It brought together three women living in different ages with a book "Mrs Dalloway". One of the women in the story was the writer of the book - which brings me to the title of this post - Virginia Woolf. The other two women were deeply influenced by her book and her life.

The movie deals with suicide and life and death and when one becomes meaningless and lets the other swallow it up. Suicide is not something i relate to. Even in my worst depressions i have always wanted to live. But does it require courage or is it cowardice? Is it always better to choose life over death?

There's something that I've noticed - when you start liking or noticing or thinking about something - it suddenly seems to be all over the place. Was it always there? Or did you bring it in because you started thinking of it? I watched The Hours and the next day I started reading a book - unconsciously. This book also seems to be about suicide but i don't know for sure - since i've only begun reading it - It's called "Veronika Decides to Die".

Alright... enough diggression - back to the title of this post. Virginia Woolf is a famous writer from the time between the 2 world wars the 1920's and the 1930's i suppose. I've heard of her before - that she was a feminist and that she was a great writer. But i've never read her. The Hours has made me realize i've missed something.

I'm going to start by reading more about her... here

Monday, October 09, 2006

Gushing to meet you...

To be is to be with you.
- A river rushing to the sea.

Patience and Impatience

How can there be so much of a perceptible difference in just the change of an angle... :-)
There are two images below...
One is supposed to be Patience and the other her twin - Impatience
Guess who's who!!

P.S. Why is it so easy???

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chinna Chinna Aasai

A sticky post... Scroll down for the rest..

I don't think the post's name quite goes with what i'm going to write!! But anyways it's my name and my blog!

One of my friends is always complaining that most of my posts are sad and depressing. Hey! It's not depressing!! It's contemplative and intellectual.. He he.. So anyways, although i won't mention her name here, i'm sure she'll know this post is for her and for my sister. A collection of images of my favorite things!!

Here goes:

Long earrings - my new-found love!:

The woman who first made me want to write - enid blyton:

My all time favourite movie:
There's got to be some food! - Atleast at number #4!!

Next up: coffee mugs in all shapes and sizes!!

Alarm clocks in blue or yellow...!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Sound of Music

I love this movie and all of its songs... This one should be in my favourites list too.. but i decided to give it a seperate space.. After all, it's a song from this movie that has inspired my favorites' list!

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Impatience and a Wandering Mind

I have too many things on my mind today. And i just need, no, want to blog something. But I'm in such a state of disorganization that I don't know what to do! So here's a collection of words that have been running wild in my mind for quite some time now:

Work, my satisfaction (or non-satisfaction) in it, my inability to keep in touch with people I care lots about - What is that keeps me away from calling them or talking to them? My inertia. I want to do so many things. But I don't. Ayn Rand's philosophy and why it makes me feel like such a loser. And why i still keep reading her books again and again. My hypocrisy. Things standing still. Like the dark waters of a lake. Can dark waters show promises of a brightening horizon?
Sleep. Since when have I needed so much of it? Why is it that though I see so many things that I need to do, I don't do them? I need to help myself out of this ditch i've fallen into!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Circumstance, Compromise and Women

Do women compromise more than men do? I think so. Is this good? I think so. But this is exactly what makes us seem fickle, i guess.

So much in a woman's life is governed by circumstance and chance that perhaps somewhere along the line she learns to choose the easy way. The way to let things unfold as though they have a will of their own. A passivity and a peace that i sometimes feel men completely lack. It is this quality in women that allows us to listen to problems without offering solutions. We know that all problems need not or cannot be solved. We know that sometimes listening is all that is required.

"A conflict is a failed negotiation." - Couldn't this be interpreted to mean that a conflict is a failure to reach a compromise? Most of the conflicts in the world belong to men. It is men who start and fight wars.

What brought this line of thinking on? I was asked recently by a group of friends about my plans for the next six months. I found that i did not have a single answer. You could say i had too many answers or you could say i had none.

Does empowering women mean that they always have control of their life, their destiny? Then maybe i am not so empowered. Circumstance plays a large part in my life as well. And i find that all the terms they use in office for success 'being proactive' and 'being in control' and 'planning' do not have much effect or meaning sometimes. Sometimes you have to just flow with the course of things and relinquish 'control'. I have not yet decided if i feel comfortable about being so out of control with my life.

Such a confused jumble of thoughts. I attended a seminar given by a famous gynaecologist from Chennai recently. This was a seminar on women's health and fitness and it was organized at work. I expected that this women would be modern and liberal in her outlook. She was confident, intelligent and beautiful. Everything i aspired to be. She gave an awesome speech and was very matter of fact when talking about many issues that could have made her audience feel squeamish. She made everyone comfortable. The unmarried, the newly weds, the mothers!! And she told us that in any relationship, it should be the woman who compromises first, because she said.. we have a gift for compromise.

But like all gifts it is a gift that carries with it some bitterness. A woman's endurance and passivity are the reasons she sometimes does not act when she should. Why she bears circumstances of such cruelty and oppression that she never should. I guess we need to know where to draw the line. Erasing the line and refusing any adjustment or compromise or asking for total control is not the answer either.

There is no black or white only shades of grey. I discover this more and more each passing day.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Amadeus and Mediocrity..

A few weeks back i saw this play 'Amadeus'. I'd always wanted to know more about Salieri - Salieri was Mozart's contemporary. Salieri calls himself the patron saint of mediocrity. His one ambition in life was to raise above the mediocre and be famed as the best musician and composer of his time. And he did attain fame. Atleast during his lifetime. He was the court musician for the Prussian King. However Salieri had the misfortune to be born at the same time as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The worst part was that Salieri was the only person who recognized Mozart's genius for what it was. God granted him fame - but he was not happy. He realized that he did not deserve his fame.

Salineri was haunting. He brought back to me those days where i used to feel so disappointed that talent was the only thing that ever counted. Not hard work, not attitude but sheer talent. What do i have against talent, you may ask. Nothing except the fact that it is not earned. You are simply lucky to receive a particular gift. I learnt the hard way to live with my own mediocrity. I may not be the best singer around - but i sing because i love singing. I may not be the best writer around - I write because i love writing. But the mediocrity stings. I wish like Salieri that i could have been a Mozart. Mozart in this play is shown to be completely frivolous, undisciplined and in no way a soul worthy enough to carry the gifts God bestowed on him. God plays cruel jokes on us sometimes, doesn't he. Or maybe they are funny in a way we do not yet comprehend.

Of cracks in perfection

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.

--Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Understanding my own hyprocisy...

I just did something which i don't think i'll ever understand.. and just at that moment i got this from a friend...

Coincidence.. ? perhaps...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Finding God

I found this really nice site during my browsing. They have a large collection of audio poetry and poems collected from different languages.

This is a German poem (translation) that i have never heard of before. (Not that that's very surprising. I haven't heard any german poetry before! :-) )

Anyway, here it is:

All Who Seek You

Rainer Maria Rilke

All who seek you
test you.
And those who find you
bind you to image and gesture.

I would rather sense you
as the earth sense you.
In my ripening
what you are.

I need from you no tricks
to prove you exist.
Time, I know,
is other than you.

No miracles, please.
Just let your laws
become clearer
from generation to generation.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The insensitivity that lies behind being frank

It really gets to me. Why do people pride themselves on being frank and open and honest when being insensitive and unkind is all they are?

If you can't pay somebody a compliment, then shut up. Do I really need to know that my outfit is not that great today? That my hair looks kind of messed up? Does anybody ever need to know stuff like that?

People who do this generally think they are doing me a favour by letting me know something is wrong. They are giving me an opportunity to deal with the wrong!! Please, i could live without it!!!!

Some time ago, i was asked by a so-called friend why i didn't choose to improve the dressing sense of one of my best friends. I was absolutely furious!! I like my best friend the way she is and I DO NOT see a reason to 'improve' her taste!

This is one of my favourite quotes.. an anonymous one...

"If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Depression... A long time ago...

Here's a poem i wrote in the heights (or should i say depths) of depression about work... About 2 years back...

It brings back bittersweet memories...

Hope seems hard to find,
I tell myself, let me try harder,
That's all i can do,
Try harder,
But will it ever come to anything???
I do not know

There are times when all around seems darkness,
My back is bent with a burden,
So heavy: it seems your back is crying
What does one do at such times
Hope seems hard to find

There is nothing to it but to try harder
Yes, I know that's not the solution,
But it's the only way

I don't choose to try harder
But I must
Cos if I don't,
My back is bent,
And Hope seems hard to find

Thursday, June 29, 2006


It does not matter how young or strong you may be, the hour of death comes sooner that you expect.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nothing ever happens...

This is a lovely song and i could think of no other song that suits my state of transience right now...

"I'm sitting here in the boring room
It's just another rainy Sunday afternoon
I'm wasting my time
I got nothing to do
I'm hanging around
I'm waiting for you
But nothing ever happens and I wonder

I'm driving around in my car
I'm driving too fast
I'm driving too far
I'd like to change my point of view
I feel so lonely
I'm waiting for you
But nothing ever happens and I wonder

I wonder how
I wonder why
Yesterday you told me 'bout the blue blue sky
And all that I can see is just a yellow lemon-tree
I'm turning my head up and down
I'm turning turning turning turning turning around
And all that I can see is just another lemon-tree

I'm sitting here
I miss the power
I'd like to go out taking a shower
But there's a heavy cloud inside my head
I feel so tired
Put myself into bed
Well, nothing ever happens and I wonder

Isolation is not good for me
Isolation I don't want to sit on the lemon-tree

I'm steppin' around in the desert of joy
Baby anyhow I'll get another toy
And everything will happen and you wonder

I wonder how
I wonder why
Yesterday you told me 'bout the blue blue sky
And all that I can see is just another lemon-tree
I'm turning my head up and down
I'm turning turning turning turning turning around
And all that I can see is just a yellow lemon-tree
And I wonder, wonder

I wonder how
I wonder why
Yesterday you told me 'bout the blue blue sky
And all that I can see, and all that I can see, and all that I can see
Is just a yellow lemon-tree "

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The release of Writing.

I've loved to write since i was a school girl. And wanted to be a writer ever since i knew the meaning of the word. And although i haven't done any creative writing in a very long time, just penning down my thoughts from time to time has done me a world of good.

I had started to believe that i'd lost the hang of writing. I had started accepting the fact that maybe i would never again know that thrilling feeling of being out of control, when the words come out so fast and you can't write or type fast enough to get them down on paper. This blog has helped me get that feeling back. It doesn't matter how i write. It does not matter at all if i have no readers on my blog. (Readers, this is not an excuse for you to not comment! I still want comments!) That feeling is reason enough to write.

One of my favourite authors is Stephen King. I am not a special fan of horror books. But i read all of King's books because he just writes so goddamn well. A couple of years back, i found that he had written a non-fiction book on the art and craft of writing. The book is called 'On Writing' and is a simple, well-structured book. Read it if you are interested in writing and read it even if you are not cause it's an interesting read anyway. It provides interesting insights into King's life and lets you see what a professional writer actually things of the art.

King makes a couple of perceptions that i was very surprised to read. Because they mirrorred what i thought as well. I don't think too much of my writing skills. I sort of feel that i'm one of those people who'll keep talking of the fact that i want to write and never write anything good enough because i will never devote enough time and patience to the art, as much as i respect it. A sort of dilettante in writing, maybe. Is that the right word??

Well, i'm getting distracted from the point i was trying to make. The perceptions.

Number One: King describes a feeling similar to the one i have when i'm writing. That glorious feeling of being out of control. When the words rush out so fast that your fingers fly over the keyboard until they hurt. He calls this feeling 'falling through the hole in the paper'. Now, i don't know about you, but i find this description beautiful. It's so simple and it's exactly what happens when you're writing. You sort of free fall, out of control. And when you're doing creative writing (i've never experienced this much, because like i said, i haven't been able to do any creative writing recently. My muse refuses to come.), the hole in the paper is a sort of wormhole into another parallel universe. A universe that you create. Imagine Tolkien falling through the hole in his paper into Hobbit Land... Actually walking with Frodo, Sam and Aragorn. So King's description is magical and so true!

Number Two: King says that when you write a story, the author very often does not know the end of the story until he finishes writing it. There is something so awe-inspiring about this thought. Because the fact that the author - who is literally God to the characters in his novel - does not know the end of his book, gives the book a life of it's own. It makes the story a living, breathing thing, which nobody can control. This is an idealist view of writing. And i loved the fact that a writer like King still believed in it.

Number Three: The feeling of complete exhaustion after you write something. When you write with feeling, you write with mind, body and soul. And a bit of all three is left on paper.

Number Four: The fourth perception is not something King talks about in the novel 'On Writing'. He says this in another of his novels - i think it was 'Misery'. He says that no matter how many people a novel is dedicated to, the novel is written for the joy of the writer himself. The writer may love the fact that many people like his book, the book is a best-seller, the book is acclaimed by critics and the money his book gets him. But the book is written first and foremost for himself. King puts this across quite bluntly in the novel. He says that writing is a onanistic act. He's right! Writing is a private, exquisite pleasure. It cannot be shared and enjoying so much pleasure on your own makes you feel guilty!!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

All in the name of Love

It's amazing how when you're thinking of something, you can find so many other things that seem to relate to your train of thought. I wanted to write about parental disapproval of love marriages and the difficulties their children face in opposing them and getting married to the person of their choice. And that was exactly when i read this post . This post talks about career choices and how most kids are influenced by parents onto a career path that does not really suit them. I found that the poem had profound meaning for what i wanted to say as well.

So many of those around me today seem to be in love. And they have been in their relationships for a long time or even if it is for a short time they are completely dedicated and committed to the relationship. In true Chennai form, most of these relationships are carried on without the knowledge of parents. There is no true concept of dating in Chennai. Parents would not dream of allowing their children to go out in this manner. So when a guy and girl fall in love, they hide the relationship from their parents and wait until the Big Day when they need to tell their parents that they are in love. More often that not, this is the day when the parents themselves start looking out for an alliance for their daughter. And so it is the girl who has to tell her parents that she is in love and that she has chosen her life partner herself. And then - all hell breaks loose.

When they fell in love, this guy and girl did not really notice the difference between them. Whether they belonged to different religions, different castes, different positions in society with respect to wealth and status. It's true, Love is Blind. And Deaf and Dumb too, most of the time. :-) But when she tells her parents about the guy - these are the first things that parents want to know. If there is a mismatch in any one of the above reasons, it is enough for the parent to refuse the daughter's request that she be allowed to live her life with who she wants - this guy she has fallen so much in love with. She tries telling them that he is a very eligible bachelor, he looks good, he earns well, he has gone Onsite a couple of times, he is very responsible, hard-working etc. It falls on deaf ears. She tries telling her parents that he loves her more than life. And that he will take care of her forever. No response from the parent. She tells her parents that she will be happy only with him. And if she cannot marry him, her life will become one of misery. Her parents stand like stone, immovable. All parents do not react in this way - there are various ways in which disapproval is expressed. There are parents who lock away their daughter at home and do not allow her to talk to the guy anymore until she is 'safely' engaged to a guy of their choice. There are parents who try to 'make their daughter see reason'. Tell her that it is for her own good that they are doing this. The guy she has chosen is simply not suitable for her. Differences in culture and upbringing cannot be forgotten so easily. There are also parents who begin a emotional blackmail. 'Is this what i brought you up to be?', they say. 'All the hard work over the years, all the dreams i had for your marriage.. are they to end like this??' Or even worse, they resort to blackmailing children with their lives... Lines like 'If you oppose me and get married to HIM, i will not be alive. You make the choice yourself, ME or HIM!!! '

It is not all parents who react like this, I know. But lately, most of my friends' parents seem to be reacting like this. And each of the girls in question, has chosen her parent over her lover, the man she had chosen to spend the rest of her life with. Why do parents do this? Why do they force children to give up on the love of their lives? Life is unpredictable. We do not know if we make the right choices. But that does not mean that we make no choice. We make our choices and our decisions and we learn to live by them. The girl or guy in love is entitled to make his or her choices in life, even if they are wrong ones. It is his or her life. And no one, not even the parent can live it for them.

Read Khalil Gibron's poem again. And please do not try to live our lives for us. Our mistakes are our own. Our joys are our own. Our life is our own. We will live and learn.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Caught in between...

I've wanted to write this for a very long time now.. but haven't cause i start feeling overwhelmed whenever i start on this issue and my fingers don't seem to move fast enough for me to write all i need to.

Hmmm. Where do i start.. i guess that i will start from something that happened on my trip to japan.. since i'm still very much in a state of hangover with japan..

Well, like all you people know, i stayed alone in japan and had to do quite a lot of cooking.. since vegetarian food is not very easily available there... Cooking and me.. well how i say this.. i can cook food that's good enough for me to eat.. since i rarely cook at home i don't really know how good or bad my cooking is. And truth to say, i can't say i'm much bothered about my cooking expertise (or lack thereof). I kind of see it as something that i need to know and don't necessarily need to be good at.. cos i'm a working woman.. See where i'm coming from now.. ;-) ??

Well in Japan, i was constantly expected to bring super lunches to office, just because i was a woman. I was supposed to drum up excellent sambhar and rasam, and a curry or a kootu each day.. ! And this when i was going home only by midnight or later each day (or should i say night) and had to come to work the next day at 9 30 AM!!! When is say, 'i was expected' i don't mean that my colleagues expected me to cook food for them and bring it.. (Sheesh, i'd have had quite a few things to say to them and none of them pretty, if they had!!!!) It's just that since i was a 'woman' they quite expected that i would be able to cook each day as well as work late nights at office.. !!! Now i don't know about you, but this constant living upto the superwoman image depresses me. Everytime i see some ad on a tv that shows this perfect woman who manages to have a brilliant career, look beautiful, have a perfect husband and two great kids, take care of her aging in-laws (forget the fact that her parents may be aged and even more in need of her), and run the best household to top it all... i can't help thinking.. is it only me who can't live up to be this paragon of perfection??? I just realized i can't remember exactly which ad shows this kind of an image but think back to all those wishes and cards we got on Women's day.. all those cards that say they salute a woman who plays so many roles, that of a mother, a wife, a dutiful daughter-in-law etc etc.. Do many women actually play all these roles with ease???

And yet it's these very same men who don't hold open a door for me or draw a chair for me.. or make any attempt to accompany me home when i have to go home really late at night. At all of those times, i'm the independant working woman, bold and confident to make my own way home and to do all my things on my own. Not a single finger is lifted on my behalf. And yet these same men treat other women (mostly, women from their own familes) in the best of ways possible. They treat their women like they were the most gentle and delicate souls on earth and meant to be protected and cared for at every step of their ways.

I don't know if the point i'm trying to make here is understandable. In fact, it's hardly a single point - it's too many. Am i wrong in expecting men to be chivalrous? Especially when i won't be the stereotype of my gender, what right do i have to expect men to be stereotypes of their gender?? Do i belong with the wives of the male colleauges i met in Japan - those who stayed at home contentedly and managed their households for their husbands? Do i belong to those brave women who burned bra's and took out rallies so women could vote, get an education, inherit wealth and in sum, be respected as human beings??? Do i belong to those career women who can leave a new born baby and go abroad cos that Onsite chance is never goin to come again??? Or am i supposed to manage all these roles and still do wonderfully well - jus because i'm a woman??????????

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Kite Runner

I didn't think i would post anything today. Today is the first day of my holiday week - a week i've taken off from work as compensatory leave... ;-) I had decided that i would not touch a computer for one whole week. But i just finished reading this amazing novel and i need to desperately tell somebody about it. So. Here i am.

I don't know how many of you have read this one 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini. It's a story set in Afghanistan and there may be many like it in the market today, I don't know. I guess Afghanistan has been a 'happening' place over the last 5 years. Many people write about it today. It is a fashionable setting for a story in these troubled times.

This book is a tale of guilt, a guilt that began with the author as a young boy and stays with him throughout his lifetime. It is beautifully written. I've never reviewed a work of fiction before but i felt a pressing need to write something about this book. The best part of the story is that at no point of time does it feel like a story. The characters come alive, the pages seem to turn on their own. There is no pretension by the author, he is not writing to impress anybody. He is writing because he has a story to tell.

I thought initially that i would write something about the story in this post. But i cannot. It would spoil the story for you. But don't miss this one.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

sakura photos...

take a look at the beautiful sakura.. if i'd stayed in japan for another week, would have been able to see them falling, falling, falling.. like i said in my last post.. the very beauty of these flowers is that their loveliness is so fleeting.. it makes you want to cry... i believe that the japanese have a word for this feeling.. they call it... ..
Mono no Aware
read that post of mari's to find out what this means..

p.s. i don't know who mari is.. but i'm addicted to her blog now.. ;-)

Monday, April 10, 2006

After Japan II

It's been so long since i posted anything. Almost 4 months.

I came back last week from Japan... So predictably this post is goin to be all about japan and my experiences there...

Japan's an awesome place and i just don't know where to begin. I've been there once before... in may of last year. But i didnt like it that much the last time. Guess all my focus was on something else. I spent 3 months there this time and just about fell in love with the whole place.

The language. It's so much fun to learn a new language. Our co-ordinator in Hitachi didn't know much English. And we needed to interact a lot with him.. So it was mostly gestures and the ever-present Atlas (a translation tool for Japanese to English and vice versa for those unfamiliar... ) but as time progressed i began to understand more and more of what he said. Of course given the high quality of our software, most of my vocabulary ended up revolving around bugs, defects, problems, quality, target, degrade, regression etc.. lol.. ;-) The language bug is still with me. I've joined the JLPT classes in office.. should be writing the exam in December. I'll let you know what happens then.. ;-))

The men!! I found so many japanese men attractive this time... Although i don't quite know what it was about them!! To name a few.. this guy on japanese tv who played a superhero.. he was awesome.. !! but then i guess super heroes are universally appealing ;-) Many of the guys working in Hitachi.. especially in the Server team.. ok let's not go into names here.. But there was this particular guy in the Server team who was hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.. sigh.. about the cutest guy i ever met! He was not much taller than me.. with dark eyes that seemed to have the slightest green to them.. He had a wonderful smile.. (we were always smiling at each other.. !! don't ask me why!!!!)

The service - Japanese service is an experience worth making a special trip to Japan for... Whether it's your local lawson shop attendant, whether it's a taxi driver or the yodobashi attendant.. they are supremely polite and just waiting to help you.. !! it doesnt matter if you dont know much japanese - the gadget friendly always have a translation tool in easy access. They flash it out and smile at you apologising all the while for their ignorance of english. Their apology makes things doubly embarassing - you're in their country and you don't know a word of their language.. !! When you come back to india and walk through Indian customs to meet the surly customs officer, you land back on earth with a bang.. !!!

And the sakura.. !! Now most people must have heard of this one - sakura is japanese cherry blossom. A beautiful delicate flower that blooms in spring and falls in just a few weeks reminding us that the most beautiful of things don't last long.... In fact their short lifespans make them all the more beautiful..

Hmm, i guess this post is getting too long.. Don't know how many of you people had the patience to get this far.. !! Comments, please.. !!