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Thu, 19 Feb 2009:

The word intellectual has been hijacked. That epithet was reserved for those who held views of their own on this world. For those who used their intellect and abilities to percieve the world in their own light. For the renegades of thought, not restricted by the dogmas of their time and life.

Somewhere along the way, it became impossible to distinguish between the true leaders of ideas from those who have squandered their potential as independent thinkers. It's not like the fundamental roots of philosophy have changed over the years, but the world of print is seducing those that wish to futher their development onto the beaten paths of the last century. I do not deny that on shoulders of giants we should stand, but not on their toes.

I meet people like that all the time. I in fact, enjoy the crossfire of ideas that results in. I'm growing, I'm learning without being taught. But I often feel like what I've wandered into is not the melting pot of ideas, the half-bakery of them - but the McDonalds of ideas. Ingredients sourced from all over the world, made with a recipe, packed and tastes the same all over the world. There's a pervading sense of sameness about it - the names dropped, the vocabulary and the people I meet.

The ends remain the same, but the means have lost their meaning. Existential angst is the source of all my philosophy. The contemplation of suicide is perhaps the only source of truth for me - to veer off that path, I've looked far and wide for meaning in my life, till I realized that ironically, that very same quest is the fundamental meaning of sentient existence. To find an answer would be a death unto itself - cogito ergo sum. There's only one certainty and depressing as it might be, the evasion of which is what's so uplifting about every day lived.

I'm not an intellectual. But I like to pretend to be one, because of the social acceptance it provides for my quirks. But beyond that, I'm merely a student of human nature - mine first and everybody's later. And that's just my arrogance claiming how unique I am.

The error of youth is to believe that intelligence is a substitute for experience.
            -- Lyman Bryson

posted at: 17:31 | path: /observations | permalink | Tags: , ,

Wed, 18 Feb 2009:

The really hard part of APC is the internal locking code it has - it's not that hard to do, just hard to figure out if you've done it wrong. And I'm just about to really mess around with the assembly spin locks and pthread mutex locks to make them cross-process locks which live in shared memory (remember that "volatile" keyword in C?). The other couple of lock modes are already cross-process and slow (because of the syscall). If these work right, I won't really have to cripple the fast part of the code to implement the features I have in mind.

But before I start to go MIA into the locking code, I'd like to get my testing in place. So I've written a small and tiny test app called lockhammer - read the makefile and please run it on every platform you want APC to work. (make APC_DIR=~/apc link; make)

The code in lockhammer.c should be easily understood - basically it allocates some shared memory, creates a lock in it, forks, re-attaches the memory in each process. Every process is a loop of lock, write PID into shm, sleep, check the PID. In case someone has a better idea of how to test locks, I'll also like modifications to it, in case any of you think there's some corner case I missed (yes, random sleep & random fork-order is also on my list of TODOs).

Fundamentally, the information about locks is privately held within the lock type code in APC. The information needs to be moved into a shared mode (or at least, transparent) for multiple un-related processes to be able to share the cache without collisions. Eventually, you should be able to use APC in a standard FastCGI deployment without allocating a cache per-process.

And if you're a user, I'd like read something other than a bugreport, occasionaly.

They're gonna lock me up and throw away the key!

posted at: 19:07 | path: /php | permalink | Tags: , ,

Tue, 17 Feb 2009:

We condemn the most in others that which we hate in ourselves. For it is our nature to be honest and judge oneself so harshly, so much so that your judgement passes onto the actions of others. It's never their deed that you despise, but the bitter taste of your own which rises like bile from your gut. And you can never forgive, never forget.

At some fundamental level, we are incapable of being with people like us.

I'm a man, you're a woman. We're just too different.

posted at: 19:12 | path: /philosophy | permalink | Tags: , ,

Freedom isn't degeneracy. Oppression is never constructive.

Rebellion isn't the answer, it's merely a step. Freedom is a state of mind, reality checks are moot.

The ability to be whoever you want to be is no excuse to slip & be somebody you aren't, someone you don't recognize anymore. You are not truly free inside your mind, until you know your Ego & your Id - in your decisions, reasons and emotions. Until that day, freedom from the comfortable clasp of social norms is meaningless. Free from others, but still a captive of your desires and whims. Merely an illusion of isolation, holding onto it; Changing everything, seeking instability, perpetually emptying out your soul. Hoping to be free in solitude, but still not succeeding.

Perhaps I'm wrong and freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose, nothing left to keep and nothing left to fight for.

But how would I know? I'm not free, at least not yet, not for a long time to come.

Man is free the moment he wishes to be.
        -- Voltaire

posted at: 18:12 | path: /philosophy | permalink | Tags: ,

Sat, 14 Feb 2009:

It was always the story of a loser. A loser who lost it all and held onto his sense of loss, because here's the kicker, he's afraid to lose that too. A man who fails to own up to the loss, but keeps it alive, hoping to fill it one day with a replacement. A man so intent on keeping his loss, that what we see of him is a man with a hole where his heart was - wearing it proudly, but in disgust of a world which doesn't care.

What sets him apart from the regular losers of this world is his arrogance, which blinds him. His loss is something the world will never understand, because the world will never understand him. With this utter conviction, he embarks upon a demonstration of his loss - a path of self destruction and deterioration.

The original Devdas was the story of the deterioration of a man in love - unrequited love. A man of the world, taken out of society by himself, unable to rejoin the living in a land of fake love & real affection. A complete loser by any definition but a romantic's. But that's where any comparison to the original story ends.

Perhaps I'm biased. Or perhaps my emotions are lending perspective to the movie that just isn't there for others to draw upon. But I love the movie, the soundtrack, the screenplay and even the casting - half the movie is awesome thanks to Abhay Deol (If I wasn't a fan after Oye Lucky, I'm one, now). I'm not a big fan of Anurag Kashyap - No Smoking looked like the work of someone on some really cheap dope and John Abhraham didn't really help its cause either.

The movie is brilliantly placed in the midst of the day and age of the present. The events picked out from the media of today - the MMS case & the BMW case. The characters instantly recognizable. In fact, you could look at the players and see a little bit of yourself in all of them. The episodes chronicling the arrogance and downfall of Dev can be found in any dive bar in any city in this country - except for the brilliant background score. The events commonplace and the consequences natural - there's no pretension for the sake of the plot, no suspense of disbelief required.

Dev is an arrogant two-faced asshole. He loves no one but himself, but the loss of Paro means more to him than she would have ever meant to him by his side. Every step of the way, we can see a bit of his arrogance being eaten away by the results of it. The inner turmoil of someone who can't understand why Paro cares, but does not love, anymore. A man who's willing to love, but cannot find anyone worthy of such an honour. In fact, someone who's completely lost it - to the point of not remembering what "it" was.

Chanda has also been given a thorough exploration (that she deserves) in the movie, from her origins to the basic humanity of someone in that situation. She's been treated with her history in perspective, to actually lend some substance to a character who's technically a skin-deep style child. Again the casting choice has been excellent, including the accents, the appearance & the fluent tamil diction - all put to use fully in the character portrait.

To go watch that movie, only to notice the drugs, alcohol and prostitution is like looking at the Venus de Milo from the navel down. To me, at least, that was merely a plot device to illustrate the retrogression of Dev. And the soundtrack is simply brilliant - I'm still stuck in a loop between Pardesi, Emotional Atyachar (Rock version) and Nayan Tarse.

The ending is the redemption of the movie and the lead character. The arrogance washed out of him by his experiences, Dev finally arrives at that critical cross-road of life, revisiting his decisions, but without regret - to build a new him out of what's remaining. In a rather inverse-moralistic fashion, the people who gave it all up and tried to find themselves afresh are the ones who have found a measure of happiness. While the pragmatic Paro is stuck in a marriage burdened by an old husband and his other children, Dev & Chanda have actually got a real smile on the final fadeout.

Maybe it's not Happyily Ever After - but is there ever?

It is better to have loved and lost than just to have lost.

posted at: 06:13 | path: /movies | permalink | Tags: ,

Tue, 10 Feb 2009:

Maybe it's because my life feels so empty right now, but I keep hearing echoes of my past.

And now, I feel like revisiting those thoughts - this, that, the other and then some, pulling all together into a single page of the book that is my life.

Have the courage to take your own thoughts seriously, for they will shape you.
                -- Albert Einstein

posted at: 19:12 | path: /me | permalink | Tags: , ,

Thu, 05 Feb 2009:

We delude ourselves into thinking we are original. That all our interactions, love, hate and relationships are nothing like what the other six billion are going through. Feel like slapping the friends who said "I know what you're going through", because they just can't. Can they? Only one day to actually snap out of it, wake up and realize that you've been ad-libbing your way through a lost script written and replayed unrehearsed in pretty much every corner of the planet.

The realization that I'm ordinary is pretty much a revolting thing to digest. But it's kinda hard to dodge, when you can just press play and listen to this.

It is amazing how many eggs one can break without making a decent omelette.

posted at: 13:31 | path: /me | permalink | Tags: , ,

Wed, 04 Feb 2009:
As I leaned on the wall of the bathroom, huddled down to reach the
payphone to my ear, all I was waiting for was the voice at the other
end to smile and say Hello.

As much as I wish I could talk to it, just listening didn't seem to
help. People walking by constrained me, timezone you were in restrained
me and thus the payphone betrayed me. Couldn't shout what I wanted,
couldn't hear what I needed - not even hear a goodbye right, nor
say those thoughts which burst into my mind.

Perhaps it's the hope that brings the pain, that to talk to you would
fix my day - but to have it denied again & again. You are busy, I'm
eating lunch, reasons many and then a bunch.

Can't blame the system, can't blame the phone. It's just that you
& I can't find the time. Miss each other, but miss the time.

I guess sometimes what you really run out of is time. It's a long way round to the start and I guess it'll just take time, what I have & what I don't.

Perhaps the magic would last. Perhaps it wouldn't. But then, if it doesn't, what does?

posted at: 11:13 | path: /me | permalink | Tags: , ,