this will be interestesting

I am so convinced that I want to travel alone and be independent- I talk talk talk talk talk about it all the time. Well, here goes!

Kerala, april10-18, fort cochin

I am super anxious and excited.


April 10, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

April 8, 2010

Another full day of class-full day followed by full night.

A few of us stayed at new campus to do packaging work. We found ourselves distracted for a few hours, in search of food and ice cream before sitting back down at our computers. Productive and exhausting, I came home around 7:30 am to nap for a few hours before returning to class…

Benny’s foot is getting better- stitches came out today and walking will occur very shortly. (She stepped on a broken glass).

I have found it unfortunate and unstoppable, the counting down pf days-and I leave India in less than a month, how strange.

The heat here is incredible-I feel as though I say this often, yet when the power goes out-many times a day-and the movement of air once powered by the fans ceases to cool our skin, you feel it.

Literally, you feel sweat forming into droplets that then roll down your skin-while you are sitting still- it’s hot.

My dreams lately have been very different than normal, I even had a crazy nightmare the other night that resulted in my invasion of mimans bed. Very strange.

Really good news- I will be going to Kerala on Saturday the 10th of April for a week to do an independent study. Lots to do before then, but I can’t wait.

I have been enjoying my share of juice and street food these days. I have indulged many times during the trip thus far, although now that the end is nearing- I am taking up opportunities I had once passed up without thinking twice.

This week, for the first time this entire trip, I have been asked by strangers how I like India. The first, was the bus conductor on the return trip from Goa. He actually looked at me, smiled, and WELCOMED me to India, partially joking and full of laughter as I boarded his 16 hour semi-sleeper. The second, was the man in the school supplies store, who told me pani puri (water balls if your a foreigner who asks Namisha about street food) is not good for your health- delicious none the less.

Birthdays!-Michael and Tim!!

Grandpa- funeral business. I have been getting emails about all the plans which I will be unable to attend, but it sounds like it will be really nice.¬† On top of all this, upsetting to me, is the thought that this could be the last time the whole Koucky family is together, and for such an event… I truly hope that this death does not extend deepen the crevices of the family he produced. One tragedy is enough, and it would only be easier for everyone if they could be together and be there for each other in times like these. I hope they prove my cynical predictions wrong.

Random thoughts- to wrap up the evening.

April 8, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


Every night

when I brush my teeth,

a gecko watches me from a nearby wall.

April 8, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Grandpa Koucky

Charles Joseph Koucky

“KOUCKY, Dr. Charles Joseph of Saginaw, Michigan. Charles Koucky, our father, peacefully passed away at his home after a weekend with family, friends and a dog he requested, and under the watchful eyes of his loving caregivers, “Charlie’s Angels,” on Sunday, March 28, 2010. Age 80 years. He is missed already. The son of the late Ella (Harshman) and Frank Koucky was born September 5, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois. He was known for his determination even as a child, and was featured on the cover of Boy’s Life Magazine, showing his bone collection, and discussing his urge to become a truly great surgeon, and to help many. This he did, and also became a pioneer in laser surgery. As a kid, his mother often found strange things he was studying in her basement, but she seems to have adopted a “don’t look, don’t want to know” philosophy. His children remember patients’ gifts of gratitude though the years-vegetables, baked goods, lawn furniture, even live chickens in Chicago, which rather stunned his wife Pat. Charles was passionate about learning and teaching and could explain complex surgeries with very good drawings. One medical student, frustrated with her knots, remembers him saying “the most dangerous doctors are the ones who think they are natural born surgeons.” He always encouraged people to follow their passions but to be truly great at whatever it is they chose to do. He heard Patricia Munson play the organ at Carleton College and decided he must meet her. They married May 31, 1952 and shared a love of family, books, music and musicals, and all the arts. They were active in the arts community of the Saginaw area, and passed along these interests to their four children. Their favorite times seemed to be in Charlevoix Michigan, and in Naples, Florida, both places with family never far. Charles loved boating and fishing, and Venetian Fest, which over 30 years, he rarely missed. An avid gardener, he loved sharing seeds with others and planting seeds in places you would not expect. That legacy will live on for many years. He leaves behind 12 grandchildren, now spread throughout the world, and Charles was looking forward to meeting his first great-grandchild in the fall. Patricia passed away suddenly October 22, 2003. Charles received his undergraduate degree from Carlelton College and his medical doctorate from the University of Illinois. He practiced as a general surgeon with privileges at St. Mary’s, St. Lukes and Saginaw General (Covenant) hospitals. He began the Michigan State University Residency Program in Saginaw and was a full professor at Michigan State University. He was also the Director of the Surgical Residency Program at Synergy. He also served as Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery in Saginaw General Hospital. For over two decades he was the only surgeon performing Pediatric Surgery in Saginaw. As a medical leader in the community Dr. Koucky also performed Saginaw’s first laparoscopic cholecystectomy, ushering in new medical technology in the region. He received the Physician of the Year award. He served as a Captain with the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Together with his wife, Charles was an active supporter of the Saginaw Symphony and Saginaw Art Museum. Surviving are four children, Charles Koucky Jr. and his wife, Nancy, Pine Island, FL; Kenneth and Sharon Kousky, Saginaw, MI; Katherine Ackerman and her fianc√©, Mark Schrag, East Lansing, MI; William Koucky, Traverse City, MI: twelve grandchildren, Lahren and Caitlin Koucky; Bradley, Corey and Alyssa Ackerman; Rebecca and Carolyn Kousky; Luke Koucky, Alex and Laura Adams; Megan and Jason Breen. He is also survived by a brother and his wife, John and Mary Ann Koucky, Decatur, Ill; several nieces and nephews. A brother, Frank Koucky, predeceased him. The family wishes to thank Kathy Lonsway, Ruby Rodriguez and Melissa White, as well as many other caregivers for their tremendous patience and loving care of our dad. Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 10, 2010 at First Congregational Church, 403 S. Jefferson Ave. Saginaw, MI, with a reception for friends and family to follow. Dr. Charles Guerreno Jr. will officiate. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider the Saginaw Art Museum or the Saginaw Bay”
As far away as I am, until today I have felt completely disconnected from everything I have been hearing from my family. Hearing words over the phone can only do so much, apparently, because when I finally started searching the web for the obituary and read people’s comments in the guest book, it was completely different.
He got me my very first orchid

April 8, 2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

March 27, 2010

I woke up this morning around 5:30 in order to catch a bus around 5:40 to the city. The sky, dark purple, showing first glimpses of daylight. The streets, quiet, empty, except for the dogs who patrol through the night. I sat at the bust stop, waiting for the massive green vehicle to turn the corner. Settling in, I dozed off and got off at Mehkri circle. Here, I met Gounder and we went for breakfast- a huge breakfast of Idli, Rice, and vada (?). This idli was better than any I have had this whole trip! It was soaking in sombra(?).

Originally, it took me some time to get used to breakfast consisting of lunch and dinner. It seemed that most food could be eaten for any of the three meals without someone-eyebrow raised-questioning, “your eating CEREAL for dinner?”

This was a small but very busy place, with tall metal tables for people to stand at while enjoying their breakfast before hurrying off some place.

Before entering the park, we stopped at the fruit market. Conveniently, this was located directly outside of the gardens. Again, Jackfruit confronted me, large and round in shape, with a spikey, sharp exterior. The inside consisted of yellow fruit that came out in separate pieces, each containing a large seed. Finally, I got to try a piece, and having really enjoyed it, took some along.

Gounder said goodbye, and I entered the gardens at the West Entrance. I took a left, and began exploring. Startled by the number of others visiting the park, and by the enormous trees I passed, I walked. People were jogging, walking, sitting on the benches that were scattered around the grassy fields, playing games, and just enjoying the morning air and the beautiful scenery.

I walked all over, amazed by the size of these trees. I would stop and just stare at the sky. There was a rose garden, a tree fossil, an enormous glass house, a magnolia garden, a bonsai garden, and on and on and on.

Bonsai Garden

Glass house.

The place was incredible, and upon completing the loop, a lake jumped out in front of me. A huge lake, which apparently attracted the monkeys, too.

These guys are great, I love monkeys, I have been seeing a lot more of them lately and everyone seems to have monkey stories.

Around 10:30 I sat outside the garden, and was approached by an old couple from Tennessee, who came to chat about the garden, and then about where I should travel while in Europe. We decided upon a lot of places my dad will hate, but Corey being in Ohio, I really have to pick up the slack in providing two daughter’s worth of anxiety-corey you owe me :).

The gardens were incredible, I sat and drew for awhile under a jackfruit tree. A tree that literally looks like fruits are oozing from the bark. I passed women meditating, and many runners and walkers. Lots of families strolled the paths together, and others sat in the shade reading or writing.

After the gardens, and my short chat with the couple about Europe, I found Gounder and we stopped at Java City. We visited the church because I wanted to see it, and then made way for the temple. The colors constantly impress me, and I find myself completely distracted by my surroundings. I watch every face that passes, the expressions, the age, the conversation, the relationships. I observe every sound, the drums, chants, bells, cracking of the fire. I am persuaded by an older man to move to the front so I can see.

An old and a young man sit side by side in front of a fire. Behind them, the deity- dressed and decorated in flowers and bright color. Two blankets outstretched on the floor, welcome the men to one side, the women to another to sit while others stand in the back. The colors and the sounds are constant and can put one into a sort of trance. A woman holding a coach purse in one arm and a child in the other, sits near to me. Distracted from the flames and chanting, I lock eyes with the baby. Just for a little while.

Food is served again, on banana leaves, and a little trading occurs in order for us to finish the generous amount of food provided for us.

Another incredible day, I return to Yelahanka to finish up some work.

March 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


So… we had a day off, and we used the night before to play. We literally collected everything in the house we could use to paint with, and went a little bit over board. I have never done anything like that, and it was super refreshing.

Bug spray, body wash, soap, inks, beverages, spices, oils, lotions, mouth wash, dayquil, it was very exciting.

March 23, 2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


A few weeks ago, while I sat down to work at Cafe coffee day in Yelahanka (which I do rarely- but I needed to treat myself and really get some work done), I found this guy. Well, to be completely honest, he found me. He found me sitting at my computer stressed out and annoyed. He poked his head in, curiously as though he were surveying the situation and what potential consequences of his entrance would be. Watching him, I laughed out loud and looked around to see of other people noticed this, nothing. Conversation continued as normal, no one even gave a second glance.

It’s startling, the power of a cow on my mood these days.

Another moment like this occured while I walked to school. I spoke to my dad on the phone, and I say spoke but I mean-vented. I was really annoyed and a bit upset about the interactive design class- I was going going going, and I turned the corner to find a cow standing in a trash dump eating. Aboard his long long spotted back, sat a small bird. Again, I noticed a startling change in my mood, and with that, my complaints were done and my bad mood dissipated.

March 23, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

March 23, 2010

Last night, Rima and I had a night out. We deserved it. We went to town to the apple store. This store was located in a disgustingly over the top mall with versacci and louis vutton and all sorts of stores I should not even be allowed in. They ran some diagnostics on my computer only to tell me exactly what I told them-“it’s a battery problem”, but they were extremely friendly and pleasant-none the less. I did notice, however, that unlike the apple store in Chicago, the people running the store were dressed conservatively, no fancy colored hair, mohawks or piercings I can’t say I was surprised.

From there, we went for ice cream- natural ice cream, no artificial anything, and real fruit. It was incredible… a good appetizer before dinner a bit later. We explored and almost died crossing the street a few times… We went for South Indian food at an incredible place.

South Indies, in a hotel downtown Bangalore. This place was beautiful. Me and Rima, jeans, and backpacks, walked in and were treated no differently than had we walked in dressed in gowns, hair done up and the works. The service was wonderful and I ordered a…chutney marry which is similar to a bloody marry, only instead of tomato JUICE, they use tomato CHUTNEY- nice twist haha. Rima ordered a number of dishes, and we sat for a very long time enjoying the place. A rooftop place which was both open and closed. Open, in the sense of windows with no glass, just fresh air and the city. Closed in the sense that some of the windows were made of glass and were the pathway for a constant stream of running water. This place was wonderful, and without the fancy cocktail, dinner came to about 400 rps, about nine dollars.

Most importantly, I get to sit and talk with Rima and not think about time or work!

We grabbed an auto home and upon reaching Yelahanka, I walked up to house #97 and found the door standing open. I went in and started getting my things out to work… When I realized no one was there… and so I explored- just like they do in the scary movies that you watch and you yell at the girl for being stupid because you should never explore-right!?- anyways no one was around, so I locked the door on my way out and went back to find Rima. It was very creepy, but surprisingly, all the computers people had out and valuables they had sitting out, were left alone- I don’t think anyone even entered the house, I am more surprised we didn’t find any dogs inside.

Rima and I stayed up working for a long while before calling it a night

and falling asleep.

On a different note, the fact that I will be a senior in a few months is really scaring me, especially upon opening mail about my IP professors and such. I am 100% not ready to be in my last year of college. I like college, and I don’t know what I could possible dedicate one year of my time working on- project wise, I guess I don’t have a choice!

March 23, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

I found heaven

just behind that tree

Dear home,

8:30 am. The alarm has gone off so obnoxiously, so loudly, so repetitively, that you manage to pull yourself out from under the covers of your comfortable bed, place both feet upon the cool floor, and welcome another day. A shower to clean and awaken, brushed teeth for those you will encounter, clothes to express/to fit in/or to stand out, and breakfast to get you going. Lets not forget some sorta stimulant-americano, latte, expresso, tea, whatever it is that gets you through the first hour or so of your day…

While in this hour or so of your morning, while the light threatens the darkness just outside your windows, have you wondered-from where is the sun is coming?


India, the sun is just saying it’s final farewell to all the folks in the East in order to greet you this fine day. I have to say, the farewell ceremony, recognized by a vibrantly colorful sky, is more incredible over here than in Ann Arbor. Every time I witness a sunset here, I have to stop walking, working, talking, and stare


March 21, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

long overdue-arduino

Our first of many(?) successes a button!

There it is. Why use an IR trip sensor you ask!? We needed a sensor to judge the proximity of a person to the focal point. After attempting to work with proximity sensors, and looking into the limitations and requirements when it comes to the code, we decided to use an IR sensor. We would use three per person, so that with each triggering, a different movie would play on the N810. Our group was five people, each with three videos. So we still had to decide how the machine would know which series of movies to play through.

One big issue we had with the IR’s, however, was their range. The goal was to have a person walk in between them, therefor triggering a movie. After making one, however, we found out that the range is closer to an inch… we had to keep brainstorming. We started testing the IR’s using reflection by instead of placing the components across from each other, they would both face the same direction. This means no movie would play until a person walked by and the light being emitted would reflect off the person, allowing the detection of the light and the triggering of a movie to play.

The project for this class had group and individual elements. Individually, each student was to make a move using TYPE-not text- using after effects. This meant that we all needed to learn the software, and then produce something beautiful. The morning class periods provided us with basic knowledge with after effects, and provided us time to work on our videos. The afternoons and majority of the class was spent working with our groups on the arduino piece. We had to pick a sensor, learn how to arrange and code it, and create an installation.

This task proved extremely difficult due the unfamiliarity most people had with sensors and arduinos. We researched a lot and made many trips to SB road to by electronics.

In the end, I have a very negative look on the class. My expectations were high, I felt a class using arduino, flash, and after effects had a lot of potential especially considering the last and only class I had taken with arduinos. Issues with the group as well as the instruction were daily, and the end result was less than impressive.

Now, this was something I could be proud of. Mahima and I wired up one successful IR sensor and had everyone duplicate it once so there were now five working IR’s, I then wired all of these up to one board and then into the arduino. I labeled the wires to try and keep organized, and we were set… so we thought.

In the end, after spending days trying to understand why these boards that were wired exactly the same as the working one refused to function. FINALLY the third full night spent on new campus, increased stress and irritability due to exhaustion and heat pushed us to go up to the terrace and work up there… Afterall-if the heat was affecting us so negatively, we wondered if that could have anything to do with the sensors.

We used aluminum to try and increase the reflection… still no luck

On the terrace- everything worked perfectly, much better than we even expected, the range was much greater.

After a great deal of pain…

Tanuja and Chandini did the visuals, the rest of us did all the wiring, coding, etc. We each had a box with a breadboard in it, some graphics, and the N810. When a person approached, he or she would pick which of the five to view and sit down in front of the sign and graphics pertaining to that theme. The viewer would watch the first video which plays while the N810 is nearest to the individual, and in moving the N810 further from the body, the sensor would trigger a different movie to play.

In the end, the sensors changed to using one sensor per person which was based on proximity. We set the range, and that was that!

As I previously mentioned, I was extremely disappointed with the class overall, and cannot believe that this is all we could produce in a five week course that meets monday-thursday. I can’t help but think smart surfaces (scroll down) was a 7 week final project and just one class out of 5, but circumstances are different.

March 21, 2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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