Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jersey City here I am

What an odd turn of events. For most of my life Jersey City was a place existing but not a matter of thought. And here I am, living in Jersey City, few blocks away from Journal Square station. Damn, and last year I was wondering whether I was going to move to San Francisco. I go back further and I find this point in my life is even more unimaginable (I'm pretty sure that sentence lacked grammatical sense, but there's a gist of it that I think you can understand it).

Yet here I am. The mind reels.

I remember when I was in Elementary School and figured that I was going to be a doctor and then a politician. I suppose that would put me in Med School right now. But that figuring was based largely on a utilitarian consideration of what would best allow me to help people on a small scale and then on a large scale. Though the latter part of the dream, presidency, persisted with me for quite a while. And then there was the island...

But that's neither here or there, point is, despite various plans and schemes, and for many reasons, I graduated college with neither a plan or a profession and... something, something.

And so I found myself working with computers and stuff. And then I found myself doing an 1 1/2 hr. commute to NYC and neglected my life outside of that. And then I found myself unemployed. And then I found myself getting a new job. Dude. But then I still had the 1hr commute or so to Jersey City. And so hence I'm here.

Actually that all made perfect sense.

What makes less sense is my sense of purpose, et al., which was once quite a bit stronger. I dream dreams, it's what I do, and I have still some great ambitions, but I've come to terms with the fact that success is something that may come or may not, and I'm not terribly worried about it.

Which leaves me not terribly worried about much. Which bugs me. But then again, whenever my feelings fall upon that zone, I always end up remembering stuff.

I got family, friends, dreams to work on. I'm doing alright. And In those family, friends + dreams, I do have stuff requiring urgency et al.

Honestly, I have to say I have at times been neglectful of my friends, family, and perhaps even my dreams. But that's what tomorrow's for right?

And so raise a glass with me, mine will be filled with orange juice of course, and let me toast to all the girls I've ever loved and God, the founder of the feast.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A conversation doomed to happen

"What is that?"

"What is what?"

"The giant laser!"

"Oh, that, that's just a giant laser."


"You know, that question never really came up."

"Laser! Giant!"

"Look how else am I going to-"

"No, don't what to hear about it! Don't want to be an accessory."

"Well, you should have thought about that before I took $100,000 out of your bank account to build this laser."


"Look we could debate who stole, who's identity till the dogs come home-"

"Hey, where's my dog?"

"Oh, he's in the engine."

"My dog's in the-"

"Well if you know a better way to create a dog-powered engine, tell me."

"Get my dog out of the engine!"


"My dog!"

"Fine, fine, fine... I'll get your dog out of that engine. But I hope you know that you denied the world a world-threatening super-villian threat."

"I'll be okay."

"I understand, it's okay, it's okay... we all have disappointments."


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Excuse me, please miss

I'm sorry
Excuse me
Just a moment
Please miss
I simply want to say
You have the most beautiful arch of the neck
I have ever seen

No that would be creepy
But I could say
You have the most amazing eyes
Make sure to mention the color
Maybe that's too cliché
But maybe it's worth a try
I've got to say something
Before the moment is gone
She steps out of the train
And though I saw her four times on this route
I can't parse her face from the crowd anymore

And so it goes
Life moves on

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I suppose I was bold that day

Rand writes. It's what I do. It's something I've done for quite a while, sometimes by necessity, most often by choice, and always with awesomeness. And thus I have a number of scraps of writing like this, written long-ago in my prehistoric high school junior year, which despite their age have quite a bit of life to them and are deserving of throwing onto the web. And who am I to make such a judgment?


“Just because someone smells does not make them any less of a person!” I shouted in the late September, early October day. Those may not have been my exact words, but I remember the feeling of frustrated anger. I stood tall that day, eyebrows raised and nostrils flaring. I was pissed off because a kid was getting picked on because people said he smell. I don’t remember smelling anything, but my opinion is biased. The entire room turned against him, and even the adults joined in. That was the way group therapy was supposed to work, but this wasn’t a sin, some gaping flaw that made the kid, named Bill (not the real name for obvious reason), any less ofa man. At the worse this was a minor annoyance that it would be nice for Bill to change. Perhaps my anger came from other reasons. Many of my friends have been picked on because of how they smell, they have been alienated and made outcasts. While I’ll admit some of them did not smell pleasant, they had good hearts, and that is what ought to have been judged on. And perhaps my anger came from another reason. Perhaps it was because I had been in a mental hospital far too long.

The days pass in a mental hospital like slugs. My two weeks of in-patient confinement and 2-4 weeks of outpatient therapy seems now like a lifetime. Some of the people there, they didn’t deserve it. Bill told me he was sent there because he was sitting on the roof singing, heck, if I knew an easy route to my roof I might do the same. Others were sent there because of zero tolerance policies and abusive parents. Of course some of us needed to be there. Some of us needed some of the constant surveillance. Not all of the maddening rules, mind you, but some of them. Some of those people were like me, with a disease in the brain that wanted very much to kill them. Still after a week or so of in-patient therapy I was pissed off royally at the world. And so I didn’t take it when my friend was being picked on.

That alone is sort of standing up to authority, I suppose. The authority of my peers. And I am proud of the act if just for that. But one thing must be remembered about the mental hospital I was in, though nearly all of them were signed in ‘voluntary,’ we could only leave when the doctors gave the go ahead. Getting pissed off and yelling isn’t a good way to look sane.

Of course for all of the dramatics of my act it wasn’t all glamour. I hurt someone’s feeling, and I apologized for yelling. Yet I did not take back my message. Over the next week I tried my best to stick up for Bill whenever I could. Occasionally I got pissed off, though it never came to fists for me (though Bill ended up getting into two fights in the hospital, one the starter I do not know, but the second was most definitely not started by him). Still I felt like I stood against the grain, and against the sheep-makers in the mental hospital. I was his friend till he left. I suppose I stood up against authority that day, maybe, maybe I was just being a friend, I dunno, but heck, I helped Bill out, so that’s worth quite a bit.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Monday, August 17, 2009

And so they all exploded

The end... no it isn't for Rand is explosion-proof!

And implosion proof!

And nay, video will never kill this video star! (Go WRAT and WRSU!)

So bring on the pain and bring on the DOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

Because A is A, and Rand is Rand, and Rand is awesome.

Etc, etc, so on and such and such.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Even though Sally can wait, don't look back in anger

And what does that song mean? Take a look at the lyrics. Watch this music video. I think you understand the song's meaning, so much so I don't need to explain. (actually I think the song is fairly easy to get a sense of meaning-wise, though as to its precise meaning, despite what I've said previously (because you forget good sir, I lie), I'm not terribly sure, nor am I terribly inclined to figure it out right now).

Anywho, a little kid impressed me a while back (little kids are awesome, and funny, I mean just look at 'em, heh, heh, heh), by noting a bad behavior at some prompt, and remarking that he (less than 8 years old by the way), used to act that way when he was smaller.

That marks him a good deal more mature than many in this world, and me from time to time.

One bad trait which I have worked on out-growing, though occasionally lapse into every now and then, is, well... hate.

I talk now in broad terms, but I am Rand the Great and Glorious! That is to say, I strive to know and understand grand things, and few things are grander than the image of God, which can be found in every human soul, and so I talk now in broad terms of hate and love (and Love Divine), but only because these are necessary to capture the infinite (is it truly infinite? No, not going to talk about that now) complexities of the human spirit.

Anywho, with hate, let me say now that I can sympathize with hate. It is immensely romantic to have an enemy. Actually back in the day (by which I mean when I was 5 or 6), I drew upon a vaguely defined incident (from about 4 or 5 or so (perhaps pre-schoolish)) where I was bit by some kid (let's call him Kid A (just because it gives me a shout-out to Radiohead, whose infinite mopiness makes them a bit off of my taste, but who I must admit are immensely good rockers)), and dwelling upon my biting by Kid A, I pretended he was my arch-nemesis who I had every right to despise. I went even further in my imaginary adventures, where often I was a superhero or secret agent of some kind, and pretended Kid A was some sort of super-villain.

Now despite the fact that this kid was only part of my life for I think 1 year of pre-school, I thought my utter hatred of him was well-known and respected within my house. However, one day, when I was 5-ish, I was drawing a map of my speculation of Kid A's location in order to think of ways to curtail his activities, (imaginary adventure, people, just an imaginary adventure, for now...), and my brother stumbled upon me and asked me what I was up to. I mentioned then Kid A and my conception of him, and my brother then surprised me by telling me that despite being bitten by him, Kid A had actually been one of my best friends in my pre-school/pre-pre-school years (really when you're <=5 or 6 you bite everything or everyone, least that was the way I grew up, we worked hard and we bit hard! (only when we were <= 5 or 6, maybe 7, and then there was that time last year in Uruguay...)).

This stunned me, and my mind reeled, and... well I don't remember exactly what I thought then because this was about 17 years ago. But anywho, it speaks to the folly of hate, or at least arch-villain-ship. But my further experience reinforced the former lesson (and also taught me that arch-villains can be your friends). Most directly, I received constant lessons by my parents/school/Church about how hate was bad and love was good. I believed it, more or less. Yet observing those around me, and TV, books+ pop-culture, I suspected that while the general case was love-good, hate-bad, I was allowed a little hate.

Now middle school shattered that. In middle school, almost every year I found a few kids who bugged the crap out of me. They were generally semi-cool kids who teased certain people relentlessly, with on occasion me/my friends being among those people. Sometimes this teasing fit perfectly into my own growing paranoia/self-hatred/depression, well, my developing mental illness, so much so that these semi-bullies became representatives for all my problems with self-esteem.

And it was easy to hate them. Because upon them I could throw all my issues with my unstable mind, and I could then pretend that the problems were finite and external... and would someday go away. But this required me to actually commit the deed of hating. And I did.

The exact details of my hatred are complex and confused, but in short, yes it felt good to hate sometimes. Indeed, it made me feel strong and powerful, to feel that rush of passionate emotion. But in the end, it removed me from the better parts of myself.

When my thoughts were circling around hate, they were less inclined to find the beauty in a summer day, less inclined to realize the creative potential in an interesting event, less inclined to return to the beauty of love. Hate is sin in the purest sense, it is distance from God.

Eventually, I realized I shouldn't think about all this. It was pointless, self-defeating, and distracted me from the real issues of my mental health and my potential to do good with my life, and my potential to enjoy life as well.

Middle school is about 10-12 years in the past for me now. My memory is a bit hazy. But I don't think it was really for idealistic reasons I chose to move beyond hate, I think it was just pragmatism. I was tired of hating.

And then high school came, and I thought about and learned about love in a more profound sense, and advanced my spirituality and my emotional maturity, and became more and more convinced in the centrality of the essence of Love, which is God.

And then somehow, mostly without intending it, mostly without noticing it at first, I began befriending my old enemies. One in particular became a close friend because we both liked comp sci and were in the same class. And then my hate seemed so pathetic.

Even those I hated were carved in the image of God. Everyone, sometimes in tragic ways, has some of the infinite beauty of God. How can you hate that?

But I do at times. Sometimes I feel hate creep back into me. But then I clear my mind and force it away. Because I can be better than that, and I can choose love instead, maybe not just with my own strength, but with God's help all is possible.

Love is always possible.

Anywho, that's more than enough for today, so take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to turn a Facebook Friends List into a CSV

So here's a little something for some people who like to use things that are not nothing but rather are something, a how-to if you will, to translate a Facebook friends list into a CSV:

Facebook, it is designed to let you keep in contact with people.
Yet as most know it is not the end all of human interaction. Despite this
fact, the makers of Facebook have not made it easy to take the contact
information in Facebook and get it out.

However, where there is a will there is a way. Actually there are
many ways. Indeed there are many tools you could use for this purpose,
from the Facebook API to a Greasemonkey script. But when it comes to ad
hoc manipulation of random websites with a minimum of fuss, and perhaps
a little leeway timewise, my tool of choice is Firebug.

And thus here is a function one can put into the Firebug console and
then execute for gathering all the Facebook contact info from a My
Friends page into a CSV file (or actually a new window which can be
saved as a text file and will then become a CSV), which can be easily
imported to your email client or even phone.

NOTE: it's been a little while since I've worked on this code,
and there might be some flaws in it. No guarentee.

function fbcontactexport() {
items = document.getElementsByClassName('UIObjectListing');
datastr = "name, group1, group2, cellphone, landphone";
for(i=0; i < items.length; i++) {
datastr += "\n";
names = items[i].getElementsByClassName('UIObjectListing_Title');
if(names.length > 0) {
datastr += names[0].childNodes[0].nodeValue;
datastr += ",";
subtitle = items[i].getElementsByClassName('UIObjectListing_Subtitle')[0].childNodes;
if(subtitle.length>0) {
datastr += subtitle[0].nodeValue;
datastr += ",";
else {
datastr += ',,';
subtext = items[i].getElementsByClassName('UIObjectListing_Subtext')[0].childNodes;
if(subtext.length > 0) {
datastr += subtext[0].nodeValue;
datastr += ",";
else {
datastr += ',,';
cellNum = items[i].getElementsByClassName('FriendsPage_PhonebookCell');
if(cellNum.length > 0) {
datastr += cellNum[0].childNodes[1].nodeValue;
datastr += ",";
else {
datastr += ',,';
landNum = items[i].getElementsByClassName('FriendsPage_PhonebookLand');
if(landNum.length>0) {
datastr += landNum[0].childNodes[1].nodeValue;
else {
datastr += ',';
nwind =;
return datastr;

One limitation (or at least one big and notable one) though, this only gathers the contacts from a single page in your My Friends
list which, if you have several pages of Friends, means you'll have to
run this script several times. Could it be otherwise? Yes, yes it could.
There are more sophisticated tools as I mentioned (or rather more
appropriate tools as Firebug is amazingly sophisticated for its
primary purpose, that is debugging Javascript). It is likely possible
that a more powerful Firebug script could be written that'll open up
the new pages of friends lists and grab those pages, etc. But this is
a not bad function, and building it just about exceeded my interest in
the subject, so I'll leave it as is for now, or until curiosity strikes
me again like a hurricane.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand

Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm back, not quite in black

If any noticed, I had a bit of an unexcused absence for a long weekend, but hah!

Not that I need any excuses from you bums!

I'm just kiddin' I love all you folks out there in Internet-land!

Indeed, I'm bringing quite a bit of love with me now, because I just came back from the 2009 Malankara Catholic Association Convention, Woooo!!!!


Malankara Catholics rule!

So I got a lot of thoughts and feelings coming out of there. Unfortunately I lost my exact notes (a similar situation happened to me at a certain Rutgersfest some time ago), but still I'm feeling good, and feeling post-y-ish. Although a full account of things will have to wait. Till then peace I'm out a'right?

Just kidding folks, I'm too awesome to exit with that sort of remark. Because I'm just that cool.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jersey is more awesome than your state plus yo mamma

Everyone likes to bash Jersey, but you know what, we're cooler than you. No scratch that much cooler than you. Jon Stewart knows what I'm talking about.

We got cranberries!
And cranberries taste good. Plus we got a lot of blueberries (second in the nation, but first when it comes to fresh ones)

And don't get me started on Jersey Tomatoes... I mean come on!

It wasn't till I traveled outside Jersey that I realized how awesome it is. We got diners, lots of random road stuff, cool diversity of pop density going from farm to city in various variations (though overall top pop-density in the country - whooo people!)

Plus we got mad diversity + mad Indians! Woo Indians!

We got easy distance to NYC and Philly when we care to get a little variety, plus easy access to airports and seaports and trains (NJ Transit rules!).

Dude, Jersey rocks. It just does.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Lest you think me always a fool

Once upon a time I dreamed of politics...

I once mentioned to a professor that I was interested in getting into politics. His words were “Why would you want to do that to yourself?” I was surprised by his response but his question was valid. Getting into the world of politics is hard work, it is often a messy business and you are forced to deal with difficult and complex choices. And yet politics has always appealed to me, even since my youth. One of my early memories was watching the TV as the electoral votes accumulated behind George Bush and Bill Clinton, while only a zero sat behind Ross Perot. Later as I advanced in my schooling, I learned about political scandals and heard of bitter debates which divided friends, and so I was tempted to expunge politics from my mind. But the effort was in vaind, politics was just too attractive for me to refuse it.

Part of my attraction is based on the idea that politics allows me a chance to make a difference. It's a cliché concept, but it is still appealing nonetheless. Being involved in politics, in the thoughts and debates over how the country should be run, even being involved in the government without any ideological component, gives me an opportunity to help improve the world, if only in a small way. Politics is influential and being part of it gives me an opportunity tobecome influential. Through increasing regulation or decreasing it, through steering the government conservatively or liberally, the actions of those involved in politics send vibrations throughout the wider world. Given the size and scope of the governemnt and the prestige and prominance it holds, those involved in politics can influence the world even without any desire to change policy. If those involved in politics are simply more efficient, then the government will be more efficient and all the business ventures, educational enterprises, and bureaucracies which are involved in, regulated by, or receive assistance from the government become more efficient. Getting involved in the government, or in politics, allows me to become a part of the impact that politics has on the nation. To be honest, though, politics is not the only way to make a difference. Art, charity, and a number of other fields also offer an opportunity to change the wolrd, although perhaps to a lesser degree than politics. And so while my desire to make a difference explains part of my attraction to politics, it is not the only reason.

Perhaps the most important factor in my desire to get involved in politics is simply that I find politics fascinating. Politics is the result of the votes, opinions, and actions of the entire population as well as the day-to-day interaction between politicians. There are a million stories in those thoughts and meetings, the stories of peaceful cultural movements that bring down racist demagogues, the stories of the quiet bureaucrats who manage the logistics wthat save the lives of our soldiers, the stories of men and women who resist corruption and the tragic stories of those who fall to it. These stories tickle the imagination and engross the analytical mind, and part of the reason I am so enchanted by politics. And yet there is more than that. Politics is also history unfolding. Thea citons of the government today set the stage for what will happen in thew world tommorow. Wise foreign policy decisions can promote peace, a faulty economic policy can provoke a recession, a well-informed educational policy can open opportunity to millions. And beyond policy, if the government earns the respect of the people and inspires them through its actions, then the cultural atmosphere of the nation will be lifted in spirit. The influence politics has on history has always been an irresistible lure for me, and has guaranteed that my attention remains with politics.

Politics is often a thankless field. Voters expect everything from politicians, and blame them for everything that goes wrong. Yet I still find politics immensely attractive. Part of it is my desire to make a difference, but a large part of it is that I just find politics immensely interesting. That is why I'd like to become part of the political world, even if in a role that does not involve my personal opinions. To simply become part of the political process would be a wonderful experience, it would engage my interest and offer me an opportunity to serve the people through the politics and perhaps make a difference that way. Politics is a pert of me, even if I tried to get rid of my interest in poltics, and I have tried, it would still be a part of me. And so, despite the fact that I know the political world is not necessarily a pretty one or a happy one, I still think that it is an honor to get involved in it.