Google Desktop Search – So Good, It’s Scary

By now you’ve probably tried out Google’s new desktop search and oohed and aahed over the results. You might also have had a few unpleasant suprises when innocuous searches turned up cached emails that you composed days ago.

Contrary to what you might believe, this is not a good thing, especially if the tool is on your work/college computer. You can disable searching for emails by selecting the right options in ‘Desktop Preferences’.

Renaissance Festival

I finally got a chance to go to the Renaissance Festival after 3 years. The RenFest, as it is usually called, is where Americans display their dubious anglo-saxon tradition by dressing up in 16th century garb and generally being as anachronistic as possible.

None of the fantasies are left out; pirates are on an equal footing with royalty; fairies and pixies cavort amongst ale wenches. The whole atmosphere is surreal and it seems like a county fair from the middle ages gone berserk with interlopers from the present.

The ‘actors’ participate with gusto and their roleplaying is un-self-conscious. They become the very characters they portray. This couple spent 15 minutes talking to us about the entire gypsy history of english monarchy in the first person.

Exciting events like the joust are recreated. Visitors can compete at roaring like a Scottish chieftain. Pirates are welcome to try their Arrrrs!!! with impunity. Most visitors can be found wandering with a plastic cup of beer and a huge piece of turkey. If only there were fewer visitors, the time-warp effect would be complete.

Burning Man

Burning Man – doesn’t mean a lot to most desis. An annual event held in the deserts of Nevada. Once each year, this festival becomes a meeting point to the weird and the absurd of America. People come from all over the country to participate.

And participate they do. Each person is a living, breathing piece of art. Amidst the various art installations, the creators walk, themselves an expression of what they create. Day and night lose meaning; Clothes[nsfw] are an afterthought; Sleep comes whenever, wherever. It’s a state of mind.

This is the escape they have been looking for. A few days in the desert, wandering, searching for nirvana. The rules of polite society are thrown to the wind. Some people visit Burning Man, and go back to their cafe lattes after a weekend – 3 days of freedom from consumerism. For some people, it’s Burning Man all the year. They are the flower children of the new millennium. For them, this is Woodstock, 200X. The line between sanity and insanity is erased.

At the end of the festival, The Man burns, a catharsis of a year filled with credit cards and monthly bills. The visitors are made anew, and there’s always next year.

(photos by Patrick Roddie @ Hips are beautiful [nsfw].)