Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tennis Score: 1-6, 3-6 : Clay

My partner played really well and I played very inconsistently. Other than that no other explanation needs to be made.

The first set was a bit closer than it seems with several game points for me in vain. Clinching the point at 40-0 or 40-15 makes all the difference to the score.

In the second set, I started the set trying to slow down the pace of the game. It was initially successful with me going up 2-0. Then I guess my partner figured out my strategy and countered it well winning the next 5 games to go up 5-2. I then started to swing freely to win another consolation game. The next game was won and the game was over.

Tonight's dinner

With flash, F/2.3, 1/400 sec, ISO-200

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tennis Score: 5-7, 1-2 : Indoor

Playing after a long time (a week and two days) due to US consulate's insistence of blister-free fingers. I expected myself to be a bit out of touch, but was pleasantly surprised at the non-rustiness(?!?). First set was quite tough with my partner just managing to win the game that mattered.

The second set is too short to comment upon. It was good return to tennis.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tonight's dinner

Lousy photo of tonight's dinner. Thought more light from the window would make for a better photo. Apparently not..

The view from the window..

Monday, July 16, 2007

Tonight's dinner

A new location for the plate, directly under the light. The light is still not enough.
Settings: A - F1.8, ISO 200, S - 1/13

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tonight's dinner

Auto setting with flash.
Realization: Photos of fruits taken close up are better with flash. There is no substitute for light.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tennis Score: 4-6, 6-3, 4-6 - Clay

A full match after a long time. Playing on clay, under the blazing sun, with relatively old tennis balls, and moderately windy conditions, produced a tennis match where long rallies were the norm. 29 long games with an average of at least 15 shots a point has left me exhausted.

The first set was a close one with my partner being up 5-4 and me serving to stay in the set. As expected, I served really poorly and lost the game pretty easily.

In the second set, I was up 5-3 and had to serve for the set. Surprisingly, I managed to hold and win the set.

In the third set, I started really well and was up 2-0 very quickly. But I lost the next 4 games to be down 2-4. I fought hard and had to put in a great deal to get even at 4-4. But then lost the next two games to loose the set and the match.

It is a shame that I had to loose, but it was great to play a full match after such a long time.

Things to improve: Serve, especially in the third set. Stop running around the backhand so much.

Time: 2 hours and 20 mins.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

International Students in UK can travel to Switzerland without a visa

According to this page and the link "Example of all accepted UK residence certificates", students with a multiple entry UK visa do not need a visa to Switzerland. It also looks like anybody who has a multiple entry UK visa is eligible for visa-less entry to Switzerland.
clipped from

Do I need a Visa to enter Switzerland?

Overview of ID and Visa provisions for entry into Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein

Example of all accepted UK residence certificates

Swiss visa regulations

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Deadliest air.

An article about pollution in China that states that we Indians are a close second to China even in the deaths caused due to pollution caused

Deadly Air

Damaging air pollutants include sulfur dioxide, particulate matter—a mixture of extremely small particles and water droplets—ozone, and nitrogen dioxide. China accounts for roughly one-third of the global total for these pollutants, according to Krzyzanowski. (See a map of China.)

In neighboring India, air pollution is believed to cause 527,700 fatalities a year. In the United States, premature deaths from toxic air pollutants are estimated at 41,200 annually.

The combustion of fossil fuels—whether to power China's many automobiles, its burgeoning factories, or its expanding megacities—is a primary source of outdoor air pollutants.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Interesting saying about bears.

Quote heard in the program "Ultimate Bear" on National Geographic.
"When a pine needle falls in the forest, the eagle sees it; the deer hears it, and the bear smells it."
- an old First Nations saying
Quote taken from here.

One scientist even said that a bear could smell animals as far as 100 miles away. Unbelievable!

Tonight's dinner

Tonight's dinner.. photo taken without flash, auto settings on camera.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tennis Score: 6-7(8-6), 7-6(7-3) - Clay

On clay and with decent conditions, it was a good day to play tennis today. The first as usual full of breaks - my partner with the advantage of having a hold. He was serving for the set at 5-3. As expected, I broke and then somehow managed to hold for a 5-5. In the next game, even though I had a few set points, I squandered them and had to hold again. I managed to do that to take the set to a tiebreaker. After nine points, I found myself having three set points 6-3, but relaxed and the folly was immediately reflected in the score which read 6-6. Finally my partner took the two next points to win the tiebreaker 8-6.

The second set was a similar story with my partner reeling off one forehand winner after another to find himself at 5-3. So a change in strategy of hitting exclusively to the backhand was required. After this change, I started winning some points and then some games to even the set at 5-5 and even lead 6-5. But he won the next game to take the set to a tiebreaker. This tiebreaker also followed in a similar vein to the first one in that I found myself at 6-3. This time I intended not to make the same mistake as in the first and focused harder to finish off the set to win it - 7-3.

Time played: 2 hours.

Tonight's dinner

Tonight's dinner.. photo taken with A/S/M, ISO 200, F 2.8(?), 1/20(?), no flash.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Tonight's dinner

Tonight's dinner.. photo taken with flash, auto settings on camera.

Global warming : What I and you can do - Part 1

Global warming is a big issue these days, but nobody has practical advice that you and I can follow to try and alleviate the problem. The root cause of global warming can be identified as the resources we use. In other words the more we buy, more factories are run, more transportation is used, more people have to commute, etc thus adding to the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere. So the simple advice to people who want to do something towards the problem is to buy less.

However, since I buy a lot and do not follow this advice, it's not fair on my part to give this advice. So the following are some of the things I have been able to follow to do my part towards reducing my carbon footprint.

1) Have a house near your work place / University - If you are renting a house, then this is easy. Move to a place near where you work. Ideally you should be able to walk to the work place. My university is at a 20 minute walk from home, thus making a car unnecessary for the daily commute (though I do have a car).
Other benefits: Save money, get a bit of exercise.

2) Eat raw food whenever possible - One of my daily meals, the dinner, consists solely of raw fruits and a glass of orange juice. Nothing processed or cooked, thus saving the energy necessary.
Other benefits: Saves the need to cook for one meal, healthy.

3) Cook for several days at once - Since I cook Indian food, I cook a dish once every four days and make rice once for two days. This saves the electricity needed to cook.
Other benefits: Save time, healthy, save money since you have cooked and don't have to eat out.

4) Shave less (if possible) - Shave once in two days instead of everyday. Saves the shaving cream, razor, after shave, etc associated with shaving.
Other benefits: Save money.

5) Obvious - switch off TV, lights, etc when you get out of your room, even if only for a few minutes minutes.
Other benefits: Save money on electricity bills.

6) Use cold water to brush teeth, wash hands, wash dishes, etc - saves the energy required to heat up the water.
Other benefits: Save money on gas bills.

7) Use air conditioning in your car sparingly, only if absolutely necessary - Air conditioners in cars reduce the mileage of the car. Especially in a country like the UK, when it is almost always cool, use AC sparingly. Open the window if necessary.
Other benefits: Save money on petrol.

8) Sleep early, wake up early - By sleeping early, you switch off all the lights, TV, electrical items, etc saving on your electricity usage.
Other benefits: Save money on electricity.

9) Turn off the heater (or turn it down at night) - In the night, when you are sleeping, you are generally under a good quilt and are warm under it. Turning the heater off or down will save on the gas usage.

The above are a few simple things I have been able to follow for an extended period of time. I believe that if everyone does their bit in simple ways, it is possible to save the environment.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tonight's dinner

Tonight's dinner.. photo taken with flash, auto settings on camera.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tennis Score: 1-6, 4-2 on indoor hard

The lousy weather meant that we had to play on indoor hard courts that are a good 15 minute drive away from home. The frequent changes of surfaces is not good for my scores as I seem to take more time to adjust than my partner.

The first set was not as one sided as it suggests. In several games, I had game points and break points, but as it happens sometimes, I just could not clinch any of these games leading to the one sided score. Even in the rallies, it was a similar story - I was getting into winning positions but just could not put away the short ball and was hitting it long or into the net.

The second set was a bit better in that I started hitting the ball a bit harder and flatter. More importantly, I started taking the game points and break points. What a difference winning these points make!

Sport can be a very good analogy for life. I guess, in life, as in tennis, the way the important moments are handled is what makes all the difference..

Time played: 1 hour.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tennis Score: 6-7 (7-2), 2-4 on Clay.. called off due to bad light. Playing on clay after a long time (about a week) in blustery conditions, with old tennis balls, meant long rallies with few winners and lots of safe play. All the long rallies has led to fatigue.

In the first set, I was serving for the set twice, at 5-4 and then again at 6-5, which hardly means anything, as serving is, on most days, a disadvantage. A poor tiebreaker was played and the set lost after all the hard work.

The second set started off well with me winning the first game, but then losing the next two. After many long rallies and games it was 2-4 when we finally decided that the light was not good enough and called off play.

Total time played: 1 Hr 30 Mins.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Delightfully funny article about Maria Sharapova's screams..

by Robbo Robson here perfectly describes the sentiment when the channel where she is playing is accidentally tuned to. A small snippet from the article.

What's that sound? Is there a fox in the hen coop? Has a seagull got caught in a combine harvester? No it's leggy Russian Maria Scream-It-Over! Arrrgggggghhhhhh!

It's just impossible to watch the woman without the sound down, not least because her incessant groans have been misinterpreted by me neighbour.

"What were you watching while the missus was out?" he said to me on Saturday, winking away like a pervy nutcase. "I heard it!" he added, with a nudge.

Do read the article in full if you like the snippet.

Tonight's dinner

Tonight's dinner.. photo taken with flash, auto settings on camera.

Tennis score: 6-7 (6-8), 6-2 on Artificial Grass

A very competitive two sets of tennis ensued between me and my partner. The first set was remarkable in that I came back from 2-5 down to 5-5 and then my partner went up to 6-5 and I had to serve to stay in the set, which I did after saving some set points along the way to take the set into a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, I had a set point at 6-5 which I duly lost and the set was lost.
The second set I decided to go for my shots a bit more and this resulted in the most positive result of a set that was won 6-2. That was the end of our tennis session due mostly due to exhaustion.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Tonight's dinner

Another ploy to increase my blog post count and also hopefully improve my photography skills. A picture of tonight's dinner..

Tennis score: 7-6(8-6) - me on Artificial Grass.

As most people who have searched for a tennis partner know, it is extremely difficult to find a one at the same level as you. After a great adventure of sampling a lot of tennis partners, I decided to join a tennis club. Within a week, I had found a tennis partner who was at a similar level to me. In addition, he also had the capability and inclination to play almost everyday - perfect. So I play tennis with the same partner almost everyday.

So with this introduction, I am posting my tennis scores more as a record of scores than anything. I know I can keep a spreadsheet, but this way, by posting scores every time we play, I can increase my blog post count.. :)

Today's scores: 7-6(8-6) - me. Just one set could be played due to us starting at 8 PM and even though BBC says the sunset in Swansea is at 9:35 PM, it was dark enough that we could not play after 9 PM. It was a normal set with several breaks and few holds. I was serving for the set at 6-5, but, as usual, could not close it out and the set went into a tiebreak, that I won with great difficulty.