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The Disappearance of James Phillimore
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The very best fiction on e2

Ed stories by sam512

The moloch saga by moloch36

The New York magician stories on The Custodian's homenode


 

A non-brief history of myself.

I graced this earth with my presence on the 17th of October 1979 (Same as Kimi Raikonnen).
I was a real crybaby and refused to eat my vegetables, however my cranium was bursting with IQ.I never liked sports or rough games, preferring to be with a good comic or encyclopedia.

By the time I was eight, I had a great curiosity for computers and used to spend every Saturday with my brother, in the computer room at my fathers office, where the classic BBC Micros kept me mesmerized. The people there didn't seem to mind, because I wasn't playing games all day like most kids, but struggling to go through the manual and write cool programs.

Eventually, I started understanding these beasts and progressed on to the IBM PC/XT and forced my parents to buy me one. With 640K and a 10Mhz NEC V20, it was the fastest XT available anywhere.

It was then, at the age of 12 that a series of events occurred in my life making my life into a most colorful adventure which continues to date.

Its all too complex how it started, but anyway on the 4th of July ( how appropriate ), my mother, brother, sister and two other kids left the city of Bangalore, with the aim of going to the Himalayas for a spiritual quest.
I had completed 6th grade, my brother had just done his 11th and my sister was a graduate then.

We reached the town of Uttarkashi carrying rucksacks and sleeping bags and started off into the wilderness, we must have trekked for about 12 days walking from dawn to dusk across inhabited and uninhabited territory when we finally reached the Hamlet of Sankri, which lies en route to a popular mountaineering spot (Hari Ki Dhoon).

It was mentioned in an ancient Sanskrit scripture to be the place where the tenth incarnation of Vishnu was to occur (not that we knew at that time).Anyway, we were offered accommodation by a kindly villager. We started living there, as seekers of the truth. We studied the scriptures, eastern and western philosophy, and learnt to survive in that harsh but stunningly beautiful environment.

My mother

My mother had been a seeker of truth since her childhood, but as happens with many women in India, she was forcefully married off at the tender age of 16. She resigned herself to her fate, but continued studying, completing MAs in Philosophy and Sanskrit. Apart from being so courageous as to take this bold decision to leave on a spiritual quest, she was also extremely well-read, intelligent and inspired us with the love of knowledge she had. Here she was our Guru and she led us through Charles Dickens and Aadi Shankara with the same ease.

There were so many things going on in parallel through the 11 years that we stayed there.

The animals

We had a cow, dog and cat. The cow was called Munchie-Poo (because that's what she did) aka Mopo (always moping around) aka Shoffy (named for the sound she made while eating). While it was tiring enough to shovel the 100 or so pounds of dung everyday, it was even more painful to cut the 100 or so pounds of grass every day from steep hillsides to keep her in nearly spherical shape. The dog liked the cat and the cow, the cat liked the dog (sometimes), the cow liked the cat but the cat didn't like the cow and the cow didn't like the dog. If you ever wondered why the nursery rhyme says 'The cow jumped over the moon', you ought to have seen Munchie on the rampage when she was left in an open field. Cows can communicate with the position of their ears and spit as in 'Bring that bucket of bran and put it in this tub here' with the ears indicating 'this' and 'that' and the line of threadlike spittle describing the action dynamically.

The forest

We lived on the edge of a huge forest which was part of a wildlife sanctaury, there were plenty of bears, langurs, snakes, jackals, and leopards and 5 inch legspan spiders. Sadly to say, for survival reasons, we had to chop down a lot of trees, but tried our best only to take branches rather than the whole thing and look for dead trees wherever possible (someday I swear I'll plant a few thousand). Unlike axes in the west, Indian axes are heavy thicker and usually have a round straight handle. The trick to using one of these is to hold the axe below the head and at the very base of the handle, lift above shoulders and swing down while sliding the hand downwards such that at the point of contact both hands are at the very base of the handle. You have to put your whole back into the swing. You can split three foot long 8 inch logs in a single blow. And unlike the westerners, you don't hit the edge grain of the log; you hit it parallel to the grain after placing it on the ground. All this forced us to learn a little blacksmithing / weightlifting (believe me, its easier to carry stuff on your shoulder than on your back).

DIY

We had to carry all our food and other rations downhill from the motorable road about five kilometers. The only saving grace was that we didn't have to carry it another 10 kilometers uphill as the people from the nearest village did! The government provides subsidized solar panels to non electrified areas, so we got a few and rigged up an inverter and battery setup to get AC power along with the government supplied DC fluorescent lamp units. We were in the process of building our own domicile and we came up with a design for hollow concrete blocks and built it with them. Looking at the local carpenters and seeing a total lack of geometry, we found we could do much better. We started doing woodworking and a huge diet of secondhand Popular Science /Popular Mechanics magazines from the 50s to 70s refined our knowledge in DIY and science stuff. In 1995, My brother started working in the town of Dehradun with a guy who is the best friend we could ever have. He helped us in every way he could and recognized the massive talent my brother had for all things technical.

Water supply

We installed a Honda pump set, did all the plumbing ourselves and finally had running water after 5 years of carrying water in jerry cans from the river.(We had to carry the kerosene for the pumps engine however (TANSTAAFL)). We got a couple of second hand pipe wrenches or this. One of them was a US made RIDGID, weighed about 60 pounds, but some cretin who owned it before us had chopped it to 30 inches from its original 48.That was some wrench!! I could just picture some huge muscled guy wielding it on an oil rig on the North sea or something. Our technique was to keep it on the ground and use it like a vise while we tightened the sockets with the other puny 20 pound wrench. Many a time we had to use it in the shoulder deep icy cold, turbulent, one-slip-and-youre-swept-away-forever river water. When the suction line finally worked (with generous application of silicone sealant) it was heaven. Every monsoon, the pipes were damaged until we used heavy duty joints and clamped them onto solid rock with 6 inch anchor bolts. There's nothing like using a rotary hammer to bore 3/4 inch holes in rock! Many a time we blessed Robert Bosch, Soichiro Honda and all the patron saints of technology which were both useful and fun.

Natures fury

It's something mind-blowing to witness natures force in all its destruction. There was a stream on the opposite bank of the river, a tiny little bubbling brook with lots of algae and tadpoles. One dull monsoon day, there was a kind of vibration in the earth and a sudden earthy smell, followed by a whistling cold wind. Then came a huge battering ram of boulders tree trunks and mud smashing down the slope and tearing down trees like ninepins. The mass was astonishing and must have been at least 25000 cubic meters in a time span of 5 minutes. The rocks actually seemed to float on the ocean of mud and hundreds of massive logs were scattered all over. The stench of raw sap filled the area for several weeks. This flood made the rickety suspension bridge settle and over a few weeks, the bridge tried its best to emulate a moebius strip, causing great consternation to the villagers who could no longer take mules and cattle across ( It was some acrobatic feat for humans too, especially if you were carrying something )

Life goes on

In 1998 we managed to get a second hand 486 DX4 and the old spark was rekindled again and I worked to improve my knowledge of computers and managed to get a real feel for them.

My sister had moved back to Bangalore and had settled down, happily married (Through our entire spiritual journey, there had never been any proscriptions). In 2002 I visited her and one day was online on Yahoo chat in the Programming room, flame baiting VB programmers and generally dispensing gyan, when this guy started chatting with me. He was a young graduate who'd started a software firm with great work ethic and ideals. He was interested in me and offered me employment. I explained my circumstances but he was all the more eager.
So I moved to the city of Chennai with my mother and joined this company in the October of 2002. Since then I've been a real capitalist swine, programming like crazy, making more money in two years than I had ever seen in my whole life. I bought a house and a bike and was all set for a regular humdrum routine life.

Now

A month ago, I had a bad accident on my bike and broke my kneecap. There was no permanent damage and they managed to wire it up, but the enforced bed rest made me think about what I really wanted in life. I decided that this was not for me. What I need is a serene life in natural surroundings, earning just enough to make ends meet, spending my days learning and creating as much stuff as I can. So I dashed off a mail to my boss and am committed to leaving by the next month. There's a lot of well meant opposition to my decision, but my paradigm throughout life has been to stick to my guns and take the plunge. My ideal way of life is Stallmanesque, not Gatesian. My hero is Korczak Ziolkowski!

Finally

So wish me luck (actually don't, because I don't believe in luck!). I haven't described much of the spiritual experiences or view here, because I thik spirituality should be private, personal and subjective. If you really want to know then /msg me or e-mail at rep dot movsd at gmail dot com. You'll see much more of me on E2 from now onwards.

Feb 18th 2005





Thanks for these chings and praises

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Cool Man Eddie says Simulacron3 just cooled your Hand plane writeup, baby!
Cool Man Eddie says muted just cooled your Heat treatment of steel writeup, baby!
Cool Man Eddie says Servo5678 just cooled your DirectX writeup, baby!
Cool Man Eddie says cbustapeck just cooled your Hand plane writeup, baby!
Cool Man Eddie says Simulacron3 just cooled your Heat treatment of steel writeup, baby!

Andrew Aguecheek says re Hand plane: Wow, I must upvote this! This is a bloody good writeup. Congratulations.
montecarlo says re Hand plane: Fabulously well done! Congratulations! (Btw, I saw from your homnode that we share the same allergies :)
unperson says re Heat treatment of steel: Very intesting. I didn't know what termpering and annealing were, now I do. :-)
256 says Re: DOS is not dead Your policy of hardlinking smaller words within other words made my eyes explode. Nice.
Servo5678 says Re: DirectX - Great writeup!
ilteroi says hey, nice writeup on nyquist's theorem! that's the other way you can put it :)
Jurph says re Hand plane: this is excellent work!
wertperch says re Hand plane: This is truly excellent - you pack in history, diagrams and usage tips and keep it interesting. AT least for me! One typo spotted.