Football and Software Development

25 11 2009

Its being almost 8 years I am following football (American Football) and loving it more and more, year by year, day by day. When I think about the game everything about the game seems just amazing. The strategies and custom plans, passion of the players as well as their fans, the attitude to never say die and always fight, perfect team work with players contributing and compensating down falls and gaps of each others on the team, and many more make me feel so very attached to the game. As software professional, more than anything else, the closeness of the game to my profession makes me love the game more than anything else. It just makes me feel like a part of it.

Football has three separate teams, the offense that tries to outscore opponent; the defense that tries to hold the opponents to less than their own team, the special teams that try to get the best possible head start to their offense as well as helps the defense by keeping the opponent offense as away from the goal line as they possibly can.

Now consider a typical software outsourcing engagement. The way football has a large number of teams, IT has numerous number of service providers, more popularly known as competitors. The way some football teams are better than others in some aspects, some software provider companies are better than others in some genuine or bizarre ways. Some are great offensive companies who make great sales but fail to defend their projects, i.e. fail to deliver. These companies are like San Diego Chargers, the team with a great offense but absolutely no defence at all. Some companies perform very limited engagements, i.e. deliver services to limited customers or work on limited number of products, but do a tremendous job in terms of delivery, like Miami Dolphins, a great defense with offense almost completely absent. Some companies specialize on one or two products but monopolize market in that area completely. This is same as Terryl “TO” Ovens in Buffalo Bills or Jason Taylor in Miami Dolphins.

Some software companies beat others based on talent, like Pittsburgh Steelers on defense, New England Patriots on offense, Indianapolis on both, offense and defense, etc. Some companies beat others on only size, which in NFL world would be money to buy any number of players any time, like, our dear American Team, Cowboys from Dallas. 

In spite of presence of great talent as such, some NFL teams win games only on individual heroics of great team members. Look at the recent upsets of Bengals from Raiders and Steelers from Kansas City Chiefs. Some IT companies also deliver some projects successfully, outside their reach and capacity, only due to some individuals on the team and their passion and attitude to fight in spite of all odds. On the contrary, some companies also fail to deliver simple projects well within their reach in over confidence, like Patriots losing to Colts last week.

Thinking more about it, I am sure, you can also find tremendous resemblance between software companies and professional football teams in your day to day experience. If not already, when you start following the game, you start loving the same, especially if you are in the Software Profession like me. The game is not just the entertainer, it is story of our lives…





Lemongrass Cafe – Eat food with bugs and get insulted

16 10 2009

I just wanted to share a very uncommon experience that myself and my friends had at Lemongrass café in Pittsburgh downtown on Sixth Avenue. We went for a normal work day lunch to this place and order our favorite Red Curry and White Rice. The server brings the order in a little moment with a dead bug clearly visible in the white rice. I immediately brought it to the waiter’s (the shaven head fellow) attention and mentioned that there’s a bug in the rice, you can even see the legs of the bugs where he very arrogantly said, “You are not seeing right. It’s Brown Rice.” I mentioned, if so, let me take a picture of your brown rice in white rice. He told me to zoom right to get a better view. In few seconds, before I unlock my cell phone to take the picture, he came yelling and picked up the rice, went inside and brought a new plate after a couple of minutes. As he was bringing the new plate from kitchen, he screamed in the middle of the crowded restaurant, “Make sure he doesn’t have anything before you eat this time, OK?” Feeling insulted, we finished our food, paid and walked out. There was not even one word of apology used by this guy.

 

After a week, today, three of us went again to the café, putting the past behind. Today other guy with long side burns was our server and the guy from last week was there at the counter. We were not sure about his vendetta until he visited only our table a couple of times and asked if everything is okay. When we went to pay for our food, as we asked him to pay separately for our food, we again got the extremely irritating looks. By this time, we were absolutely sure that he has some hidden agenda. I was to pay $9.43. Seeing the same guy with the same anger and revenge, I made the receipt as $10.00. That’s where he started. “Can you tell me what was wrong with your service today?” I said things were okay today. His screaming continues, “In United States you have to pay 15% of gratuity.” I told him in United States, you also should be apologetic about your mistakes and behave with customers with decency. Before I finish this sentence, the second guy started screaming from other corner of the restaurant which sounded something like, “You don’t work here…. You don’t work here”, which didn’t make any real sense to me. By the time this exercise took place, every single guest from every single table in the restaurant was staring at me and my friends. That’s where I just concluded the conversation and walked out…

 I am also going to report the same to FDA and to the owner of the restaurant who also owns another Thai Restaurant on GreenTree Road. Till then, readers please be aware!!!

Also, please read post by Ranga, a very good friend of mine, who witnessed both incidents with me.





Beginning of the Love !!!

11 10 2009

It was a rainy day. Stormy winds continued the whole Saturday. Peter and his friends had a terrible week.  Everything that could have possibly gone wrong had gone wrong with Peter. His team had spent more than 80 hours that week at work supporting their application go through the user’s testing phase. On Tuesday, Peter was woken up from the three hour sleep that he would have otherwise got by burning smell coming out of his furnace making it completely useless in the 10 degree sub-zero winter of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The next day, he had found that his entire pay check that was due on this Friday would be spent on fixing the heater. More than everything, he had just come to know on Friday that Amanda, the girl he always wanted to know, like, and may be, spend his entire life with, was moving to Sacramento, California, even before he could gather the courage to talk to her for the first time.

 

Very tired, frustrated with himself, Peter talked his friends including his closest friend Mark, in to going to Curly’s Pub at Lambeau Field to grab a couple of drinks in the evening. As the snow started stacking up on the ground, drinks got intense. Started with beer, they were now drinking rounds of Chivas on the rocks. Drinks were concluded with nice Chicken Fajitas, Pan Fried White fish and much more mouth watering food. This was the first evening in days Peter and his friends had actually done anything that made them think about freezing this moment for a very long time. Not ready to call it a day, they decided to go for movies. Being a bye week for Packers, theaters had a little rush. A little drunk, Peter got tickets for all of them for X-Men: Wolverine. Still thinking about Amanda, a little inebriated, Peter settled down to watch the movie which finally started after about six commercials featuring the same guy wearing a cheese hat. May be the boring and stupid content of the movie or the disturbed and distressed mind set, he was not really enjoying the movie even after a significant struggle.

 

Finally the movie was over and Peter could not think whether he was glad for the conclusion of the trauma or sad as it was time to go to the freezing home which felt like an Igloo with the heater yet to be fixed. After dropping couple of his friends, he pulled his car over the drive way of his home and decided to sit on the steps of his house for a while. Snow had stopped by then. Brushing the white flurries, he made himself comfortable on the steps. All the events for the entire week were quickly rushing through his mind. Thinking about everything, he could not stop himself from looking at the light coming out of the window of third house to his left. It was Amanda’s. Deep drown in his thoughts; Peter loud noise coming from the intersection few yards from him caught his attention. Always ready to help others, Peter thought somebody might be in trouble and could use his help. To his surprise, he found a group of about 6-7 mid age men arguing with one young fellow pushing him away from them. Peter immediately thought of himself at that place and decided to jump in to break the dispute. Before he realized, the dispute had turned in to a fight of two versus seven. To make things worse, one of them pulled out a gun from him jacket and fired a shot. Peter was sure that the bullet hit his left arm with tremendous force which made him fall on the ground. When he opened his eyes after a couple of seconds, all of the fighting men had disappeared. Collecting himself, he looked at his left arm and could not see any blood. The hole in his coat confirmed his thought of bullet hitting him at the hand but no wound and pain made him stunned. He pinched himself and found that that he was still alive. Surprised, shocked and little pleased, Peter returned home. The house with no heater in -12F suddenly didn’t feel very bad. He lay down on the bed and all the gloomy thoughts had disappeared from his head. He was feeling, powerful, sturdy and more than any thing, happy.

 

Peter did not realize when he felt deep asleep. Sun rays woke him up at about 9AM on Sunday morning. When he got up he still had the jacket on with the hole on left arm. He could still feel the strength and charm from last night. Suddenly he saw out of the window where he could see a Budget truck parked across street. He immediately thought of Amanda although it was not her house which was hosting the big old truck with a 7 feet fellow fighting with its driver side door. His blood rushed through his head and he came out of his house and aimed for Amanda’s. Before he could even think about what to say, he was standing next to her at the door of her house. Peter, who could never gather the courage to talk to her even once, was now looking straight in to her eyes, holding her hand, telling her how exactly he feels about her. He was telling her how she is the single most important thing to him in the entire world and though he has never spent any time with her, he knew that being with her in better or worse is the single dream he sees every night. He told her that how she brings a smile on his face when she returns home from work, how her voice seems like the sweetest tune he ever hears, how coming home to see a glimpse of her helps him pound through the stormy day. His voice brought tears in Amanda’s eyes.

To be Continued…





Pittsburgh Downtown – Endless Food Journey

3 10 2009

As you can tell, I belong to a circle of friends where we just love food. We call ourselves the eMasters of food for our excellence in three “E”s; experiment, explore and enjoy when it comes to food. American, Indian, Italian, or others; short or tall; slim or fat; food is the simple part of our life that we share with millions, if not, billions of people. What and how we eat sometimes sketches the picture of who we are for those who are completely unknown to us. Let me take you to a journey through the enormous food choices in my current home town, Pittsburgh, PA.

Its been more than two years and I am still in the discovery mode for various food choices at Pittsburgh Downtown. I categorize them in to three; Millionaire’s Lounge, Paradise Food Club and Daily Dinners.  If you are willing to spare $25+ for a side, Millionaire’s Lounge is the place for you. Although not every day, some visits to this lounge are amazing. My personal favorite is Lamb Chops at Morton’s and Calamari at Capital Grille makes you forget lot of pain of your daily life and just indulge in the flavor and test. At Morton’s don’t forget to complement your Lamb Chops with Sequoia Groove Red Wine; together they make you feel on the top of the world…

There are like a million Daily Dinners in Pittsburgh downtown.  Gyro Place would be the top Greek; India Palace would top the Indian food places. Out of million Chinese restaurants, Chinatown is undoubtedly out of the world. Another Thai ‘n’ Chinese joint is Lemongrass cafe on Penn Avenue. Food here is good without a doubt. Once, just a few days ago, a small bug had accompanied my rice along with the Red Curry. The arrogance of the waiter to fight, not just argue, over the replacement is going to make me rethink my decision to ever visit the place again.

My personal favorite category is the Paradise Food Club to include some of the awesome restaurants around. The amazing Six and Penn with the dinner on the open roof brings unbelievable ambiance. Penn Fra Diablo at Milano brings that perfect little spice test to the Italian making it top many others. The best among the bests is though, Olive or Twist. The quality of food, pleasant faces serving food and drinks, always joined by a great enthusiast crowd makes this place a true paradise. Pop Corn Shrimp, Signature Cheese Burger, Smoked Chicken Sandwich are just a few top notch items that would definitely bring that missing smile back on your face. Buffalo Chicken Salad on Fridays have made me and my friends addicted to visit this place every single Friday for Lunch. Yet the best is to have a Martini or two with Olive or Twist to call off a busy and hectic week on Friday evening. Spicy Calamari in the signature sauce along with the drink makes you really feel like in paradise…





I want to be a kid, again!

13 09 2009

Well, after a long, in fact all, the time here I am finally signed up on wordpress to start blogging.

When I was a kid, I remember my dad taught me the first lesson to write. Shri Ganeshay Namah, as the famous words, every kid in India starts writing with. Although the condition is dramatically changed, I am all grown up, having my own family, I could all rewind the clock to be that 2 year old kid all over again.

Every day when I do everything that I do, I can’t stop resembling it with something I had seen or done many years ago making me think going back in time, again and again. My day starts with the annoying alarm going off or worse ring of my cell phone from one of my million bosses. And I couldn’t stop thinking about my mom’s sweet voice from many years ago or her hand through my hairs waking me up just to eat my breakfast. Getting ready for work where people are always ready with bunch of problems for me makes me sick. I can’t stop remembering getting ready to go out to play with other kids. Driving to work through the terrible traffic jams must be there only to make your patience grow to prepare you for even worse conditions once your drive is over. The only jam I want to deal with is the nice red strawberry or mango and peach. That smooth layer of jam on both hands, sometimes legs, too, and of course, all the cloths really attract me.

Work place with so many people with so many expectations make you feel good but standing up to each one of them makes your stomach upset. I only want to stand up to the expectations of not beating the neighbours kid or at the most, spelling A to Z. While talking about wheather at work place, somebody starts going after global warming, my legs lose the strength to stand up. For a very long time I use to think about global warming as something that you can eat which is globally warm, of course, I was just a kid then and global warming also made me happy. The choices of food selection for lunch or dinner and their prices take half the time available for lunch. Many time there’s no time even for that. The days where either mom or dad use to run behind me with a plate full of home cooked food makes me really wonder.

When I go to bed, the nightmares of phone going off in the middle of night or thought of meetings the next day keep me awake for a very long time. I want to go back to the time where I use to play so much and fall asleep sometime, somewhere while playing or watching TV and used to get up the next day morning in my bed with my mother’s voice.

So, if childhood is that peaceful and pleasant why do we grow up? Childhood has powers of even making global warming sound good then why do we come out of it? That jam, that sleep, all had so much peace in it then why we leave it?

Can you think of a world where every one is just a kid? No wars, no thieves, no robberies, no mugging, no weapons, no traffic, of course, no work ;)… There would be some downsides, but aren’t we all ready to give them up???