I am an amateur Vintner. This is my wine.

This isn’t your usual vintner’s (if you do call a vintner usual!)post – how s/he posts the recipe used and goes about each step telling the good and bad of the what, how and when of making wine at home.

I have been making wine at home for a year now. This is the latest batch.

Beautiful color.

White wine. Beautiful color.

My dad started making wine about two decades ago. He helped me last time. Unfortunately last time, I was too involved in learning the process to actually record it with a few pictures. This time I did get a few.

Its quite potent and mildly sweet. I actually wanted to gauge its strength but for lack of time, could not.

I didn’t want to post the recipe here. I wanted people to focus more on the outcome, the romantic beauty of Vinification. A recipe turns out to be classically ugly, with its lecturing tone and follow-me-blindly procedural.

But if people do want it, I’ll update this post with a link.

I have shot these with my Sony A-37.

PS: the classic and romantic split is derived from my current read, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Cheers !

Wine for two.

Wine for two.

A few lessons from this summer..

Okay. I had 11 weeks off from college this summer. 8 of those involved an internship. Needless to say my summer was wrecked. And hectic.

With my internship taking up more than half of my days from Monday to Saturday ( yes a 6-day week ! ) I never actually had time to catch up on all those carefully crafted plans and indulgent lists made before the internship, during the first week or so. Those lists and plans got flagged down or ended up as botched attempts as soon as I realized I travelled 2 hours to my place of work, each way.

During this unappreciated preview of my adult life, I found some treasures and realized quite a few epiphanies.

1. Pink Floyd (esp The Dark Side of the Moon) still heals the day. The psychedelic experience, besides still being shockingly relevant –

“..And you run and you run

To catch up with the sun

But it’s sinking

Racing around

To come up behind you again

The sun is the same

In a relative way

But you’re older

Shorter of breath

And one day closer to death..”

-Time, Pink Floyd ( Dark Side of the Moon )

just puts you in a completely different mood, soothing your mind; warm, caressing, trance-like music that fills out the voids with its queer and unimaginatively complex harmonies.

 

2. Life without the web, the internet can be shockingly painful. For me, at least, not having an internet connection when I’m at my laptop or the iPad can be very, very dull and painfully restrained. The very immediateness of subjects, to be looked up without a  moments notice has gotten addictive. Because I recently shifted over to Open Source and I’m constantly learning new things on the web through forums and courses, not having an internet connection was, to repeat again, restrained.

Believe me, I’m the kind of guy who collects and reads a lot of books, a huge music collection to listen to, a more than acceptable social life, is a sports fanatic and its not like I was craving for the web while on the Metro back home. But if my laptop has some issue (usually some linux device driver problem in the beginning) the instant craving, shamefully, takes control.

3. Spain still beats the heck out of any footballing nation. Not even Germany, the Netherlands or her Royal Blunder – England could do anything about that this Euro. Although I’m all for the competitiveness of the English side of football, the Spanish side pretty much ruled every base in football, except for that freak of nature – Chelsea – winning the Champions League. But more on that later.

4. Roger Federer still rules the grass season. Though at the time of writing, he lost to Murray horribly in the Olympic finals. But the way he’s holding and smiling at his silver, me thinks he might just be trolling Andy Murray and the entire British nation. Oh and yeah, Nadal is still the King of Clay.

5. Delhi University cut-offs remain ridiculous, mocking and laughable and I just pity those looking for seats there this summer. The JEE is a mess too.

6. You can probably earn a college degree online (at least a Computer Science one ), what with all the free courses shrooming up on the web. Don’t believe me ? Check out this link and then talk.

7. To drive is to attain nirvana. Having got a little more than 600-odd km on the road under 4 months, I believe I was destined to drive (stick that is). My dad being my role model here though, I have come to hate most of the traffic in Delhi with their retarded sense of traffic rules and self-righteousness.

Nonetheless be it a hatch-back or an SUV, I can probably drive the wheels off it, given enough time and asphalt. And costly, precious Petrol.

8. John Mayer’s “Born and Raised” is the perfect album to drive to. (You know, apart from Sabbath, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Maiden and Metallica, Alter Bridge, Audioslave, Floyd, Hendrix, Foo Fighters and probably Coldplay) With its soft sounds humming you to peace, not even the most retarded of drivers can shake your composure. His previous works were good enough with him hitting a low point with Battle Studies but I believe he’s really come back with this one.

9. You can probably spend an entire day browsing through Hacker News, and still not get to the bottom of all the cool links and knowledge of the users and commenters. It boasts of a user base of people genuinely passionate about topics they post, and almost all links, questions, projects and topics to be found here, from economics through math, science, tech, startups, to astronomy, are assured to be deep and insightful.

Regular visits, probably once or twice a day can be enlightening on many different levels.

10. I think I probably need to write and post more often. Hope to do that during this half of the year.

How was your summer ?

Truly Humbling.

Have you heard of the “Pillars of Creation” ? The “Eagle Nebula” ? What about this image – have you seen it somewhere ?

Beautiful, isn't it?

Well this picture was taken through the Hubble Telescope when (heads up!) it, technically, didn’t EXIST.

For starters:

Wikipedia says  “Images made using the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, by Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen, greatly improved scientific understanding of processes inside the [eagle] nebula. One of these, a famous photograph known as the ” Pillars of Creation”, depicts a large region of star formation.”

Our planet Earth would probably be the size of a pixel in the image on the right.

And this formation is part of a much larger area called the “Eagle Nebula” (down below).

(inset : the pillars of creation)

Heads up fellow star-gazers( and others). Maybe you guys will grasp the enormous impact of this.

When they were photographed in ’95, the Pillars of Creation never existed.

The reason : they are too far away (6,500 light years to be precise).

If you’ve ever really understood what light is, and how it travels, its effects, especially at interstellar distances, then maybe you won’t have a hard time understanding that the stars we gaze into on a clear night might not even be there.

The light that we get from them is, for lack of a better word, old. When we look out into space, we are really looking back into time. Because with Space, we are dealing with cosmic distances – distances so mind-boggingly huge that we couldn’t even begin to comprehend them.

To reach something that is a 1000 light years away from us you would have to travel for a 1000 years at the speed of light.

And for us to see something that is or happened 1000 light years away from us, it would take the time it takes for light to travel a 1000 light years. And we would keep getting the images of things which actually happened in the past.

So again : When these images were photographed in ’95, they never existed.The red glow,a supernova (an explosion inside a galaxy) (seen in the picture above) had already destroyed the pillars.

But at that point in time, our senses recognized as the Pillars still existing. From our telescopes we could see (here, predict-since 2007)  that the pillars will be destroyed by the unstoppable explosion (that threatens the entire galaxy). We just need light from that period to reach us to confirm it. And it won’t, for probably another thousand years or so.

Take this for example : if the sun were to, say magically disappear, we would get to know only after about eight minutes. That is because light from the Sun takes about eight minutes to reach us. We would still be under the illusion that the Sun IS  there.

Still trust your senses?

Science apart, this nature of the Universe is truly magnificent and humbling. Such effects are only observed through the vast distances Space offers, and never will be recorded, for instance, on Earth, even if you could observe events on a location the exact opposite of yours on the Globe.

It truly underlines our position, our insignificance in “the grand scheme of things”. Such objects are deemed fixed, intransitive, work of some all mighty powerful being. But its only through such events that we understand how brilliantly the Universe functions. And how less our planet and our preciously fragile lives matter.

Apparently the universe goes on – as much at the cosmic scale as in our normal lives.

Rebooting..

Ok. Ages since i last wrote… college life is too busy at the time, but I haven’t been completely inactive – I changed my theme – a new, fresh one. And I came to the conclusion that I needed to really understand how to tweak around with WordPress settings and also figure out what my blog was to be about.I’ve been fairly varied in my last(and only) 3 posts.Here goes.I’ve decided I’m gonna follow a few fairly typical topics – the tech world (impossible to leave it for a geek like me), music, movies,TV series, books I read, recent sports, maybe try my hand at understanding and commenting upon global politics and almost any pseudo-philosophical thought that pervades my mind.

So keep reading!!!