Thursday, November 15, 2007

Black Thunder

Last May two of my friends, my wife, and I decided to visit Ooty. So when one of us suggested that we “do” the Black Thunder, I mentally settled myself to a wet experience in one of the water parks around Ooty. The Tamil aunty next door prefers Ooticamoond.

So after spending the previous evening drinking beer, we woke up with a nasty hangover and decided to drive down the hills to Black Thunder, 250 km away from the spooky hotel we were staying in.

The drive was eventless but for the driver who seemed to sport quite a funky beard and an eloquent pair of shades. He was dressed all in white, a complete contrast to the dirty, old, and rickety Ambassador he drove. So after enduring a number of the crafty curves and ornamental driving maneuvers we finally rolled the final stretch to Black Thunder.

Our friend in white, the driver, decided to talk business and briskly announced that he wanted us back to the car within an hour and a half. I looked at him blinked and almost nodded when my friend pointed out that it would take us just that much time just to dress down for the watery rides. So my friend haggled with the driver for an extended window of time, I screamed, my wife admonished, and my other friend suggested we hurry up.

As we were entering the pink dome like structure, which also served as the gate to the park, I wondered why the place looked so empty from outside and why the other visitors – a short portly aunty, her thin little dark daughter, and her frowning husband – were dressed in clothing that best suited a visit to the temple rather than a water park. We paid for our expensive tickets - which I thought could have been better spent on a T-Shirt or an evening out with friends - sighed and walked into Black Thunder.

No sooner had we crossed the gate, a huge surge of black, half naked, and dripping mass of a family came towards us and zoomed towards the Men Only and Ladies Only dressing rooms – in the same order. For the next three hours we spent in the park I could see little but black and the vision remained with me long after we left the park.

And what a sight it was! A mother of two young daughters tried to cover their dripping wet T-Shirts with one long piece of towel jumping between them, in front of them, and behind them. For the people with the right kind of taste, the mother herself was quite a sight to watch with her wet Sari pulled tight right across her backside.

And more mothers – tall skinny ones, dark short and wet ones, tall board and dry ones – and one with a rose on her hair, the other with a bunch of jasmine. Following in close proximity to the mothers were their children – twins, not-so-twins, crying, smiling, rose running, frowning and all kind of siblings were in magnanimous display.

Then there were the cool dudes. Some of them with big flowery designs on their flairs, plastic sun glasses and ill fitting shorts that did little to hide their loud bellies or their hairy dark legs.

Quite a company we were in!

After a round of sign language and several gestures, which included an up-yours, I finally managed to get a key to the locker room. We dumped our regular clothes and got into T-Shirts with Black Thunder embossed on the back and tight low quality shorts bought from the utility stores within the park.

Thus dressed to get wet, we snaked our way to the first ride – that was the only ride we rode that day. We had to queue to get into the ride called the Lazy river and I am not sure if its by co-incidence that all fat portly people including me preferred that ride. As we were standing for our chance into the water, I couldn’t help but notice some very peculiar sights that I am sure I will not be blessed to watch anywhere else in the world.

To ensure that her modesty was not tarnished, I saw this lady get into the Lazy river ride in her burkha. But poor she. As soon as she jumped into the air-filled tube, she slipped and fell into the water, her burkha and whatever beneath it riding way up her thighs. Ladies scorned, men sighed, some choked and I looked at my wife and smiled.

And then the loving dad. The guy got into the water, managed to sit still on an air-filled tube and on him sat his child. Along with the child, he had a pair of shoes in his hand, a feeding bottle, a napkin, a small bag carrying spare nappies around his neck – he was Walmart-Kids-Section in all its glory.

The ride around the Lazy river was full of activity actually, I kept falling off the tube, my wife’s tube wouldn’t budge from the starting point, and one my friend walked most of the river than ride through it.

Then there were the river Romeos. They kept trying to reach close to all female lazy riders, hit them accidentally, laugh or scream per their current testosterone levels. Finally, after lot of nudges, a few pushes from fellow riders and lot of knockings from my wife, I reached the finishing line of the lazy river, so did my friends, and my wife. Were we glad!

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Resolving PDF Problems!

You need to send that PDF file by close of business to your product manager/SME and the file won't just print. What do you do?

Listed here is a set of common PDF issues and solutions:

Pain: When you right-click a Microsoft Office file to convert to Adobe PDF, the application returns the message, "Missing PDFMaker files," and does not create an Adobe PDF file.

Solution: Remove Adobe PDF from the Disabled Items list in the Microsoft Office application.
To manage your Disabled Items list in a Microsoft Office application:
1. Open the Microsoft Office application (Word, Excel, Publisher).
2. Choose Help > About [the application name].
3. Click Disabled Items.
4. Select Adobe PDF from the list, and clickEnable.
5. Quit the Microsoft Office application, and then restart it.

If the error message continues to appear after you enable Adobe PDF, then check the security level for macros in Word:
1. Choose Tools > Macro > Security.
2. In the Security dialog, click the Security tab.
3. Choose Medium or High.
4. Do one of the following:
-- If you chose Medium, then click OK.
-- If you chose High, then continue with steps 5 through 7.
5. Click the Trusted Publishers tab.
6. Check Trust all installed add-ins and templates.
7. Click OK.

PDFMaker and the right-click context menu should function again.

For more, see

Pain: Images look fine in MS Word, but after converting to PDF, image quality is poor.

Solution: Save your image in JPG or TIFF format and embed the image into your Word document to publish using Adobe PDF printer. PNGs are not suitable for word to PDF conversion, TIFFS work much better. Use high quality print setting while converting to PDF. Also, standardize the resolution settings of your desktop (1024*768) and the DPI setting in your screen capture software.

Watch this space for more!

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