The Alignment Test

I turn out to be “True Neutral” in this Alignment test.

Via Sister Scorpion, this seemed like an interesting test. Here are my results:

True Neutral
56% Good, 42% Chaotic

Plane of Existence: The Outlands, “Plane of Concordant Opposition”. Description: The plane between all other outer planes.

Examples of True Neutrals (Ethically Neutral, Morally Neutral)

  • Mr. Spock
  • Linus Torvalds
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • Scott Evil
  • Batman
  • The Punisher
  • Switzerland
  • Canada

Not actively for or against anything. Has his or her own reasons for doing everything. Usually difficult to understand.

  • Will keep their word if in their best interest
  • May attack an unarmed foe
  • May use poison
  • May help those in need
  • May work with others
  • Indifferent to higher authority
  • Indifferent to organizations

True Neutral
“Balancer”

Some neutral [people] commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They are of the true neutral alignment as described in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

A true neutral [person] sees good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. He advocates the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run.

Some true neutral [people] actively support balance in the world, and seek to avoid having any one side, law or chaos, good or evil, become too powerful over them or anyone else, and will work against whichever side is the most powerful. They tend to side with the underdog in any situation, and are often opportunistic in their
actions.

True neutral is committed to the avoidance of extremes, and is non-judgmental.

Side-Note from Xan81:
Due to your Neutrality, I would really, really LOVE your feedback. Not that I don’t want feedback from members of the other alignments, but a True Neutral’s feedback is typically NOT emotionally, morally, politically, or socially charged. Please send me an email! I have it set to automatically email me when someone gets this score, so I know who you are 😉 True Neutrals are the classic, “I just don’t give a shit” alignment, and I fully understand if you don’t feel that you have any responsibility or obligation to sending an email/comment. Even if you did, I’m sure you’d have some difficulty in deciding what to comment about. But, I guess that depends on your tendencies 😀 —- Xan

Other Alignments and Tendencies (Tendencies are what you would more often sway towards; esp. for Neutrals):

Outlands

My test tracked 2 variables how you compared to other people your age and gender:

  • You scored higher than 27% on Good
  • You scored higher than 22% on Chaotic

Link: The Alignment Test written by xan81 on OkCupid

My response to the results: Who gives a shit about Internet quizzes!

Bride and Prejudice

A very Bollywood movie despite being in English. It deserved a rating of 5/10 but we bumped it to 6/10 because of Ashwarya’s good looks.

Bride and Prejudice is very much like an Indian movie. It is definitely more Bollywood than Austen. Given the Bollywood nature of the movie, we had an odd perception issue: We didn’t expect English from Ashwarya Rai et al, so it was not only odd hearing it but also difficult to understand at first.

The movie had a number of formulaic plot twists which could be anticipated miles in advance. There was also some monologues with Ashwarya Rai’s character lecturing about India and so on.

Overall, Bride and Prejudice deserved a rating of 5/10, but both Amber and I agree that Ashwarya Rai’s good looks should count for something and that bumps my rating to 6/10.

A View of Islamabad

A panoramic view of Islamabad from the Margalla hills by my friend, Khawar.

This is a sort of guest post as the panoramic photograph of Islamabad below was taken by my friend, Khawar, who is visiting Pakistan nowadays.

A Panoramic View of Islamabad, Pakistan

I think it was a combination of 7 photos taken from somewhere in the Margalla Hills. You can see Faisal Mosque on the right.

Asimov Robot Stories

Since I had read the Foundation series a long time ago, I had been thinking of reading Asimov’s robot books. I found most of them interesting, but there were a number of weak spots as well. Robots fare a lot better in Asimov’s characterizations than humans and Susan Calvin fares quite badly.

I read Asimov’s Foundation series quite some time ago. Last year, I thought I should read the Robot series as well. So I read the following books:

  1. The Complete Robot is a collection of most of Asimov’s short stories about robots. Some of the stories are pretty good while others are just mediocre. I was, however, surprised at how flat Asimov’s portrayal of Susan Calvin is. Considering that there are not too many women in Asimov’s books, Calvin is a major character and Asimov characterizes her in extremely one-dimensional fashion.
  2. Caves of Steel is probably the best of the novels starring Elijah Bailey and R. Daneel Olivaw. I liked the portrayal of the cities though it is funny how outdated that is.
  3. The Naked Sun is also about a murder mystery solved by Elijah Bailey which takes place in Solaria, the planet which is shown as completely opposite Earth’s culture. This is a good book as well but the ending was a little weak. Again, it was funny that Solarians hadn’t heard of IVF.
  4. The Robots of Dawn is a story about roboticide on Aurora. Obviously, Elijah Bailey is called on to solve the mystery. This book wasn’t as good as the other Bailey stories. While the murder mystery itself was ok, the overall plot and Bailey’s being called was a bit of a stretch.
  5. Robots and Empire tries to reconcile the Robot series with Empire and Foundation series. It also tries to explain Earth’s fate. Like most of Asimov’s later Foundation books, this one isn’t great either.
  6. One last book I had not read from the Foundation series was Foundation and Earth which is one of those Asimov wrote long after the original Foundation. It is most definitely the most boring Foundation book. Plus it really does not belong with Foundation. Rather it tries to piece together the fate of robots and the spacer worlds. That, for me, was reason enough to read it. But the whole Gaia part of the plot was quite useless. This novel could have been shorter by a third and would have been much better.

For some detailed reviews of Asimov’s books, you can visit Jenkins’ Spoiler-Laden Guide to Isaac Asimov.

Overall, I thought that Asimov appealed a lot more to me as a teenager than it does at 34 years of age which wasn’t unexpected. Also, I believe Asimov’s characterization of robots is much better than his characterization of humans.

Rape Musharraf

Pakistan’s General Musharraf loses his mind (again!) in an interview. He claims women think rape is a good way to make money and move to the western world.

Sometimes, I am glad that the President I live under is George W. Bush, rather than Pervez Musharraf. Here is an interview of Pakistan’s President-General with the Washington Post.

Musharraf said he had “totally turned around Pakistan” and had made key advances in fostering democracy, including protecting freedom of the press, empowering local government, improving the position of women in society and giving greater representation to minorities.

“Leave the developing world aside; I think we are better than all of them,” Musharraf declared. “Bring the developed world and let us compare Pakistan’s record, under me, a uniformed man, with many of the developed countries. I challenge that we will be better off.”

Well, this part shows Musharraf as living in bizzaro-universe, sort of like the Bush administration. Also, note that Musharraf claims to have improved the position of women in society, a claim belied by what comes next.

Musharraf also became animated when he spoke about the case of Mukhtar Mai, a 33-year-old illiterate woman who spoke publicly about having been gang-raped on the orders of village council in 2002. Mai, bucking taboos, won public sympathy and government support after she demanded that the men be charged and convicted. But earlier this year Musharraf earned the ire of the Bush administration when he blocked her from traveling to the United States to publicize the case.

Musharraf said that Mai was free to travel now — though she has never left Pakistan — and that he had no regrets about how he handled the incident. He said Mai had come under the sway of organizations determined to harm Pakistan’s image and he did not think Pakistan “should be singled out when the curse is everywhere in the world.” He noted he had seen reports or figures about rape in the United States, Canada, France and Britain showing that “it is happening everywhere.”

There is a difference though. Rape is unfortunately too common around the world. But gang rape is less so. And gang rape by village authorities even less so. Plus rape is usually reported to the police here and prosecuted. The victim is provided help of all sorts.

“You must understand the environment in Pakistan,” Musharraf added. “This has become a moneymaking concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”

I am speechless. Well, almost. My reply to the General is in the title of this post. May be he’ll enjoy the riches as well as life in Canada!

UPDATE: More Musharraf fun:

Pandemonium broke out at a meeting organized to promote Pakistan’s soft image when after a confrontation with human rights activists an irate President Pervez Musharraf declared that those who opposed his policies were the enemies of Pakistan.

“You are against me and Pakistan,” said the president when a human rights activist referred to his alleged comments in a Washington Post interview which quoted him (Gen Musharraf) as saying that women exploited rape to get visas.

Provoked by a single question, the president allowed an event held to promote his government’s pro-women policies to degenerate into a bout between himself and part of the invited audience.

“I am a fighter, I will fight you. I do not give up and if you can shout, I can shout louder,” said Gen Musharraf.

UPDATE II: Here’s the audio of Musharraf’s Washington Post interview. Notice the conflation of “me” and “Pakistan” by Musharraf. L’etat c’est moi, as Louis XIV is supposed to have said.

ٹیگ یا ڈوری

کچھ بلاگرز نے مجھے ٹیگ کیا ہے کہ کچھ اپنے بارے میں سوالات کا جواب دوں۔

مجھے شعیب ، شعیب صفدر اور شیپر نے ٹیگ کیا ہے کچھ سوالوں کے جواب دینے کے لئے۔ شیپر نے انگریزی میں اور شعیب نے اردو میں۔ اب میں دونوں زبانوں میں جواب دے رہا ہوں۔

Shuaib, Shaper and Shoaib Safdar have tagged me about this question meme going around blogs nowadays. Since Shaper did his in English and the two Shoaib’s in Urdu, my post is going to be bilingual.

پانچ سال پہلے میں اٹلانٹا میں اکیلا رہ رہا تھا۔ میں یونیورسٹی میں تھا جبکہ عنبر نیو جرزی میں کام کر رہی تھی۔

5 years ago I was studying in Atlanta while living in the dorms while Amber was working in New Jersey.

ایک سال پہلے میں اپنی ایک ماہ کی بیٹی کے ساتھ مشغول تھا۔ انہی دنوں عنبر کی چٹھیاں ختم ہونے والی تھیں اور میرا سارا وقت مشیل کے ساتھ گزرتا تھا۔

1 year ago I was busy with my 1 month old daughter. Amber’s maternity leave was ending and all my time was spent with Michelle.

پانچ گانے جن کے بول مجھے پورے آتے ہيں: کوئی بھی نہیں۔

5 songs that I know the lyrics for: None. I am not much into music.

پانچ سنيکس جو مجھے پسند ہيں

  1. چاکلیٹ
  2. آئس کریم
  3. کشمش
  4. چاکلیٹ والے بسکٹ
  5. سمورز

5 snacks I like

  1. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate
  2. Icecream or gelato
  3. Raisins
  4. Chocolate cookies
  5. s’mores

پانچ کام جو ميں ١٠٠ ملين ڈالر ملنے کے بعد کروں گا

  1. یہ گاڑی لوں گا
  2. دنیا کا ایک لمبا سفر
  3. کشتی
  4. ایک چھوٹا ہوائی جہاز لوں گا اور اسے اڑانا سیکھوں گا
  5. خلائی سفر

5 things I would do if I had 100 million dollars

  1. Buy this car
  2. A long trip around the world
  3. A boat
  4. Buy a small plane and learn to fly it
  5. Space flight

پانچ جگہيں جہاں ميں جانے کو تيار ہوں

  1. اٹلی
  2. نیو زیلینڈ
  3. پاکستان کے شمالی علاقے
  4. وسطی ایشیا
  5. الاسکا

5 places I would love to go

  1. Italy
  2. New Zealand
  3. Northern areas of Pakistan
  4. Central Asia, as in a road trip through the whole area
  5. Alaska

پانچ بڑی خوشياں

  1. اپنی بیٹی کے ساتھ وقت گزارنا
  2. دنیا کا سفر
  3. آبادی سے دور کہیں ٹینٹ لگانا اور پیدل قدرت کی خوبصورتی دیکھنا
  4. کشتی میں دریا یا جھیل پر جانا
  5. انٹرنیٹ پر

5 joys of my life

  1. Spending time with my daughter
  2. Traveling the world
  3. Camping, hiking, backpacking
  4. Paddling
  5. Surfing the net

پانچ چيزيں جو ميں کبھی نہيں پہنوں گا: یہ کہنا بہت مشکل ہے کہ کیا نہیں پہنوں گا۔ شلوار قمیض بہت کم پہنتا ہوں۔ سکرٹ پہننے سے گریز کرتا ہوں۔ اور کچھ سوجھ نہیں رہا۔

5 things I would never wear: As they say never say never. I can’t think of anything except that I don’t wear skirts and wear the Pakistani dress of kameez shalwar rarely.

پانچ پسنديدہ ٹی وی پروگرام

5 favorite TV shows

  1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  2. Sienfeld
  3. Simpsons
  4. Good Eats

پانچ فلمیں جو مجھے پسند ہیں

5 movies I like

  1. Lord of the Rings
  2. Moulin Rouge
  3. Shawshank Redemption
  4. Godfather
  5. Hotel Rwanda

پانچ پسنديدہ کھلونے

5 favorite toys

  1. My Treo
  2. My laptop
  3. My camera
  4. My camcorder
  5. Camping/backpacking gear

پانچ لوگ جن کو ميں اس ڈوری سے منسلک کر رہا ہوں

لگتا ہے تمام اردو بلاگر ٹیگ ہو چکے ہیں۔ لہذا اگر آپ ٹیگ ہونا چاہتے ہیں تو تبصرہ کر کے بتا دیں۔

5 people I am tagging

It seems like a lot of bloggers have already done this meme. If you haven’t and are interested, consider yourself tagged.

The Motorcycle Diaries

A good movie, could have been better. Especially if it didn’t romanticize Che so much. Rating: 7/10.

The Motorcycle Diaries is based on Che Guevara’s book about his journey through South America with a friend as a young man in the 1950s. Only part of the trip was on a motorcycle.

The movie is decent. The plot runs along reasonably well and the cinematography is pretty good. Although I don’t think of Che Guevara as a romantic figure, I try to evaluate movies independently of the real life actions, especially when the time frame of the movie is earlier than all the bad things Che did as a communist. However, near the end in the leper colony, the movie script could have done with some skepticism towards Che. The additional materials on the DVD, including an interview with Che’s friend on the journey Alberto Granado, also sounded too much like the romanticization of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara that has become too common among some.

Overall though, I would give the movie a 7/10 rating.

Smoky Mountains

An account (and photos) of Michelle’s first trip to the Smoky Mountains in May 2005. She enjoyed hiking sitting in my backpack.

We visited the Smoky Mountains National Park about 3 months ago. My previous visit there was probably around the time I started this weblog.

Usually we camp there but since this was our first real hiking trip with Michelle we didn’t want to risk camping (plus our tent is for 2 persons only). Michelle enjoyed the drive out and started getting a little cranky only near the end. We have figured out that her normal limit for continuous driving is about 3 hours.

The first day, we started on Newfound Gap Road and then drove to the highest peak in the park, Clingmans Dome (6,643 feet or 2,025 m). There was a short 0.5 mile hike to the summit and the observation tower at the end of the road. Since Michelle was taking her morning nap at the time, we waited in the parking lot for 30 minutes. Just as we had decided that I would go up alone, Michelle woke up. This has become a routine for us now since anything we do we have to be careful about her rest, food and schedule.

We put her in the backpack we had bought recently. The backpack carrier is for older children than the Baby Bjorn front carrier we already had. Also, the backpack makes the child much easier to carry on a hike. It is pretty stable and the weight distribution between the hips and the shoulders keep the then-18 lb Michelle (plus a few lbs for the backpack) reasonably carry-able. It also has decent pockets for putting stuff, like food, diapers, in.

There is an observation tower at the top of the summit at Clingmans Dome. There we met an old couple who had hiked on the Appalachian trail from Springer Mountain, GA (a hike of about 200 miles) and were headed all the way to New Hampshire (more than 2000 miles). Michelle enjoyed the scenery at the tower and kept babbling. She was, however, a complete daddy’s girl and did not spend much time with Amber.

We drove then to Gatlinburg, TN on the northern end of the park. Gatlinburg seemed full of tourists. We got out of there and drove the scenic Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and hiked to Grotto Falls there. This hike wasn’t too difficult and was short (1.5 miles one way). However, there was some elevation change and the trail was a bit muddy and rocky in places. Also, we had to cross a few small streams on the way. Amber got tired on the way, but Michelle enjoyed it a lot. She was delighted at the river, the plants and finally the waterfall. She also enjoyed being in the backpack. When we got back to the car, Michelle was so pleased to see her car seat that she tried to climb into it herself.

Back at the hotel, we stepped out to the deck of our room where we could see the river flowing behind the hotel. Michelle showed some new appreciation for water then and stared at the river for a while. Back in the room, Michelle and I had a lot of fun playing and chasing each other.

On Sunday, we drove back to the Tennessee part of the park and took Little River Road to Cades Cove. Cades Cove is a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. It has a one-way road that loops around it. The last time I was here in the fall, it was extremely crowded. But this time it wasn’t so much. It still took us more than 2 hours to do the loop.

We had wanted to hike either Abrams Falls or Laurel Falls, but the drive had taken too long and Michelle was a little cranky with teething pain as her molars have been bothering her for a while. So we stopped for a little while at the banks of a river and then decided to take the scenic route back to Atlanta.

Somewhere on Newfound Gap Road
View from Clingmans Dome
View from Clingmans Dome
Observation Deck at Clingmans Dome
Michelle and me at Newfound Gap
Newfound Gap
Grotto falls
Michelle and me hiking
Cades Cove
Cades Cove
Cades Cove
Cades Cove
 

From Townsend, TN, we took the Foothills Parkway. We enjoyed the scenic, deserted road to the Chilhowee reservoir. From there, we took Route 129 through the mountains to cross into North Carolina. This area is known as Deals Gap and the road has a lot of curves and turns. Every weekend, motorcycle riders and car driving enthusiasts gather there for a run (or more) through that portion of the road. Michelle was getting hungry and a little fussy, but there was no place to stop there. So Amber fed her a little banana and Michelle went to sleep while the car turned this way and that.

اسرائیل اور پاکستان

پاکستان اور اسرائیل کے وزرائے خارجہ نے استنبول میں ملاقات کی۔ کیا پاکستان اسرائیل کو تسلیم کرنے لگا ہے؟ کیا اسے تسلیم کرنا چاہیئے؟

جوناتھن سے پتہ چلا کہ پاکستان اور اسرائیل کے وزرائے خارجہ نے استنبول میں ملاقات کی ہے۔ یہ کوئی ایسی نئی بات بھی نہیں ہے۔ آج سے دو سال پہلے جنرل مشرف نے اسرائیل کو تسلیم کرنے کا خیال ظاہر کیا تھا۔ مگر اس وقت اس کا کچھ نہ بنا ۔ پاکستان اور اسرائیل میں ملاقاتوں وغیرہ کی بات بھی نئی نہیں ہے۔ ایسا تو جناح سے لے کر ضیا اور نواز شریف کے دور تک ہوتا آیا ہے۔ میری پوسٹ کے علاوہ بی بی سی پر بھی اس تاریخ پر دو مضامین ہیں۔ پچھلے روابط میں فرق صرف یہ تھا کہ ان میں سے زیادہ تر خفیہ تھے۔

میرے خیال سے اسرائیل کے ساتھ مذاکرات کرنے میں کوئی مذائقہ نہیں ہے۔ بلکہ اسرائیل کو تسلیم کر لینا چاہیئے۔ اگر آپ کا خیال ہے کہ اسرائیل کے فلسطینیوں پر ظلم کی وجہ سے اسے نہیں ماننا چاہیئے تو پھر تو بہت سے ممالک کو ماننے سے انکار کرنا پڑے گا۔ مثال کے طور پر روس، چین، سوڈان، وغیرہ۔ اگر آپ کو یہودیوں سے کوئی خاص خار ہے تو آپ کے نفرت بھرے دل کا میں کچھ نہیں کر سکتا۔

جیسے میں پہلے لکھ چکا ہوں میری دانست میں اس ملاقات کی وجہ اسرائیل اور ہندوستان کے تعلقات ہیں۔ پاکستان کی دفاعی انتظامیہ کو خدشہ ہے کہ یہ تعلقات پاکستان کے لئے مسائل پیدا کر سکتے ہیں۔ اس کے علاوہ پاکستان اسرائیل سے دفاعی ساز و سامان اور ٹیکنالوجی بھی خریدنا چاہتا ہے۔ میرا گمان ہے کہ اسرائیل کھلے عام ملاقاتوں اور تسلیم کیے جانے کے بغیر یہ سب کچھ کرنے پر راضی نہ تھا۔ اگر پاکستان اسرائیل کو مان لے تو ان دونوں جوہری طاقتوں کو ایک دوسرے سے خطرہ نہیں رہے گا۔ اس کے علاوہ اسرائیل ہندوستان اور پاکستان میں سے کسی ایک کا ساتھ اور دوسرے کے مخالف ہوئے بغیر دونوں سے تجارت کر سکے گا۔ جوناتھن کے علاوہ بی بی سی کے عامر احمد خان اور Haaretz کا بھی یہی خیال ہے کہ اس ملاقات کی وجہ ہندوستان ہے۔ جون میں چھپنے والا یہ مضمون بھی پڑھنے لائق ہے۔

پاکستان میں اس خبر کا رد عمل کچھ ملا جلا تھا۔ مذہبی جماعتوں نے اسرائیل سے تعلقات پر احتجاج کیا جبکہ دوسری سیاسی جماعتوں نے کچھ شدید رد عمل کو مظاہرہ نہ کیا۔ پاکستانی اخبارات میں اس سلسلے میں جو کچھ لکھا گیا اس کے متعلق بی بی سی نے رپورٹ کیا ہے۔

عام لوگوں کا تاثر بی بی سی اور یروشلم پوسٹ میں موجود ہے۔ اس کے علاوہ بلاگرز بھی اپنے اپنے خیال کا اظہار کر رہے ہیں:

ایک ہندوستانی اخبار کی اس سلسلے میں خبر کچھ مزے کی لگی۔ اس کے علاوہ دو ہندوستانی بلاگرز (شعیب اور نتن) نے بھی اس خبر پر اظہار رائے کیا۔

اضافہ: اسرائیل کے وزیر خارجہ کا انٹرویو

Hblogger with Treo 650

Hblogger does not work. So back to mo:blog which barely works.

Let’s try posting with Hblogger. First problem seems to be that there is no post title and no categories to select.

Ok, so that did not work. Some error finding the image files. Too bad I liked it better than mo:blog. Back to mo:blog it is, with some settings changed.

These T-shirts were at sale at the whitewater rafting outfit when I went rafting on the Ocoee this summer.

Raft Naked: It adds color to the cheeks

Why the life jacket is better than a girlfriend

All I really want is something like Postie which is for WordPress. It has lots of features and works via email.