Monday, August 21, 2017

A Spammer in the Works

It's been a long time since my last post. I was too busy clearing spam from my mailbox. 

Contrary to what some people think, email is not redundant. It's become THE means for spam to self-actualize and realize its full pulse-quickening, temper-raising and lifespan-lowering potential. 

If you ever feel guilty about feeling good, get spam. It'll have you feeling terrible in no time at all.

Yeah, 'guilty about feeling good' is nonsense but it sounded like something out of a junk mail headline so I had no qualms about saying it. See,that's just the sort of bad influence these spammers- who have zilch qualms about anything  - have on you. 

Spam is like that thingummy that has several heads and each time you chop one, two others appear in its place. Hydra is what it's called I think although do NOT google unless you want to be spammed.

Ever tried unsubscribing ? They make you select from various options of reasons to make absolutely sure that you do want to unsubscribe and didn't click Unsubscribe because,like, you do not want to unsubscribe. Hmm, yeah, I suppose wanting not to receive unsolicited mail is an exceptionally rare thing. Among the options is "I no longer want to receive these mails" which is funny considering you can't remember asking to receive them in the first place.

I know that's quite a lot about spamming. I bet you've never thought about spammers before. And that is mutual. Spammers don't think about you either. All they think about is email ids. Emotions and the rest of it  can go to hell (or, better still, to a mailbox). The way other people marry for love or money, spammers probably marry for email ids.

Now the author braces himself for a spate of matrimony-related spam to plague his life.

Monday, February 27, 2017

La La Lift

"What ho!" I said
"What ho!" said Motty.
"What ho! What ho!"
"What ho! What ho! What ho!"
After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.
- P.G.Wodehouse, My Man Jeeves

So okay. Today was the big Oscars fiasco when they mistakenly announced La La Land instead of Moonlight as Best Picture. With Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty at the helm there, it was quite a case of Bonnie and Clyde stealing the show !  

But hey,big deal. These things happen. (For example, there's the Miss Universe screw up in 2015)  

It can get so much worse.

Like when your world turns upside down in a moment - or at least between the beginning and the ending of a sentence.

You're in a lift. Another guy walks in. There are several things you could do. Keeping quiet is not only about the best but also something you'd normally do anyway. However, in this unpredictable and deterministic world that is so devoid of freewill, unseen forces propel you towards epic brain failure and you go  "Hey Long time ! New look, I see?"

Before realizing you've never met this guy before.

The good part is that you reach your floor before he can go beyond a well disguised " Oh good thanks and how have you been?" The bad part is realizing that he works in your building and you'll be seeing him around a fair bit. 

What Faye Dunawaye must have felt would be a walk in the park in comparison. The perils of living in La La Land ! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

On Minding My Ps and Eating my Qs

I'm unsure if the name  'Ptolemy'
Is said intact with the 'p'.
Takes a mental toll on me
That's just my psychology.

Happily  'Psychology'  is no mess
It's clearly said with an 's' ! 
Also clear are 'Pluto' , 'Plural', 'Penal' and 'Polly'
But what sets the clock back - by golly ! - 
Are words like 'Psephology'  and 'Psyche'
Which always arouse a 'Christ !' or a  'Crickey !'

Also I'll surely stand in queue
If they ever teach a class on 'q' : 
A confused letter that you can say
Either with  a 'Q' or with  a 'K'
The name Qantas and the word Quill
Can't be told - behold ! -
From the name Kansas and the word Kill

But what is a really smooth sail 
Is : Don't bother with 'Quail'.
I am glad  to state
That it's on my plate
Plate - the P intact and cool
Now that my mouth is full.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

All Spaced Out (If It Ain't Broke It Ain't Me)

As usual the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) quietly went about doing a stellar job. This time it was launching 104 satellites in orbit from one single rocket mission. 104 ! Staggering achievement, what stars these guys are ! 

Now a rocket ejecting 104 little satellites is compelling visual imagery. You can just picture these several many little eggs hatching in rapid succession from out of a rocket belly in the blackness of space. Rather reminds you of those periods when life launches a million problems  at you all at the same time. "What! You have only ten problems?! Here's a hundred more - BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG !"

Sigh, if only it ever worked the other way. You know, if only life launched a hundred big sums of money at you. "Here's your first million dollars. Next 99 coming up in a hour." But of course that doesn't happen does it. Your bank balance is a vacuum that'd make outer space look like a wind tunnel. Getting rich would be rocket science if only it were a bit easier.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Phony Valentine

It was Valentine's day.

Valentine woke up and checked his phone. The "Happy You Day" messages in it made Valentine quite happy indeed. Valentine spent some time with his phone before getting ready for work which he did while staring at his phone. Then he left for work and,because he was driving, he didn't stare at his phone except only occasionally. That's not all that rare - I once saw a man who was not staring at his phone. Not for around five minutes anyway. 

The security guard in the office building looked up from his phone to wish Valentine on his special day. In the lift , people nodded at him without looking away from their phones - nodded at Valentine that is, not the security guard who was not in the lift and whose day it was not anyway !

At the office Val's colleagues who were all on their phones sent him You Day messages. Valentine's boss looked up from his phone to wish Valentine and to say that he - Valentine that is, not the boss- could take the day off. Valentine's boss , who didn't take the day off, then went back to staring at his phone.

Valentine treated himself to a movie on his phone. And he did so over a nice  meal which he ordered on his phone. It took a bit longer than usual as the delivery man had an accident while staring at his phone when he bumped into a man who was also staring at his phone -  his own phone , that is , not the delivery man's. It was clearly not their day.

Valentine went to bed very pleased at how splendidly the day had turned out. It would wouldn't it , it was his own day after all ! Then Valentine spent some time with his phone - who knows, perhaps reading the older Valentine posts on this silly blog ? He found them here and so can you.

Although, sorry, the day is still not yours. It's Valentine's. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Reinventing the Wheel

History is written by the winners - or, at any rate, by the winners of elections.

There is apparently a history revisionist project of sorts under way in India.The latest episode is the overturning of the entire outcome of a historical battle.The guy you thought had lost ? Guess what, turns out he'd actually won ! (Read here)

For all the criticism against it, I think revisionism is a good thing. Quite apart from the inventiveness and creativity it fosters, it must be such fun ! Who invented the wheel? Who invented the steam engine ? Who discovered Antarctica? Who discovered a sense of humour? Who won this war? Who won that battle? Who built this monument? Who destroyed that one? 

The answer to all of them is,why,anybody you care to name ! Who could prove she didn't ? 

Always reassuring to know you can change the past. "It's never too late to have a happy childhood" wrote Tom Robbins. I was going to say something original but,hey, why reinvent the wheel.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Doctor , I think I have Midlife !

One way or another, midlife isn't all it's cracked out to be.It's probably not as bad as they say it is. Or it's possibly worse. Who can tell ? You're not cocksure about anything anymore. 

Not that that stops you from spouting philosophy anyway.

Somebody says a casual Hi How Are You and you're quite prone to go : " Life is short. And beautiful. I'm enjoying each day" or something like that. If the stars happen to be really aligned against your popularity, you may also add something about your chronic tummy ache.     

Thing is, after the doctor has ruled out cancer of around twenty different organs, has assured you the chest pains are from coffee and cigarettes and pretty much shouted out the fact that you are not diabetic and after you have then spent several late nights on WebMD, you discover that hypochondria is incurable. 

The other problem is that people are constantly telling you how much you now resemble your dad. I love my father to a fault - great guy! - but can't people say George Clooney or something for once?  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Lunch in a Lingerie Bag : The Inside Story

I started carrying homemade lunch to work around a year ago and have since reaped the weight loss benefits that go with it. I'm afraid , however ,the benefits stops there.

Now people - invariably men -  often ask how I could bear to be seen lugging a lunch box to work. That's easy. You don't care about such things by the time you are my age. Not even when you unwittingly end up carrying it in what turns out be a lingerie brand shopping bag (" A downmarket Victoria's Secret" giggling young colleagues inform me gleefully). Big deal !

No. Underwear , inexpensive or otherwise, is entirely inconsequential when you have to worry about what awaits you during the lunch break :  the flood of dourness, the squall of staidness, the blizzard of boredom, the apocalypse of dullness, the perfect storm of doom and destruction packed in plastic.

That's harsh, I know. The ladies who prepare my lunch are wonderful people and are very good cooks too otherwise. And to be fair, around half the time give or take - well, okay, more give ! -  their packed lunch is pretty good too.

No, it's more the philosophy of it, the feeling that life with all the promising bang of its fits and furies has come to an end in the whimper of chapattis and dal. This is how religions must have begun. Tied to a spouse, a house and a job is one thing, tied to a lunch source quite another. God is in the retail , the Good News on a menu , Nirvana in the promiscuity of food options. Lord , why have you forsaken me ? And also, Lord, why cauliflower again ?

Now excuse me while I go heat up today's. Rice and dal if you must know. Dessert : yogurt.

The absolute end.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Fashionably Never

The last time I wore skinny green pants, orange tee and spotless white leather sneakers the missus woke me up. Apparently I had been snoring. Phew ! Saved by apnea but I confess it still shook me. 

No, I have nothing against skinny green pants, orange tees  and spotless white leather sneakers. They'd look good on someone younger (and ,well,  perhaps female ?). It's the 45 year old boys wearing them that always makes me feel like it's late Sunday afternoon with a nasty Monday ahead, i.e. depressing - which makes it different from over-the-top entertaining that,say, a fish walking about on the beach in those clothes would make it.

I mean, why would you want to look like a rainbow ? Or 21 ? Have you forgotten how it was to be broke , stupid , awkward , clueless and - the difference between then and now - not knowing it ?

Hmm. Takes all sorts I suppose. Speaking for myself, I have never cottoned on to trends.  It has been a case not so much of being fashionably late as never. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Food for Thought / The DisContent Revolution

It's all quite simple really. 

National Geographic People is about food, Travel Channel is about food and around half the other channels on TV are about food. The other half are news channels that are either hysterical or wrong with their poll forecasts or both. (The History Channel is a bit different though. It's easier to tell what it is not about - history - than what it is about.)  

The word 'Content' (yes, upper case C) is as ubiquitous as food shows on TV. You don't know where it came from but suddenly it is everywhere - including on this Piece of Content (upper case P again,yes). More than the internet or smartphones, the word 'Content' is the defining hallmark that really sets our era apart. I mean can you imagine people like Shakespeare using it ? 

The following conversation is as inconceivable as a TV channel not airing a food show :
" William , thy meat is ready, thou art awaited".
" Get thee gone ! I'm working on a Piece of Content" 

Or Gutenberg saying this : " My printing press will produce Content !" 

Or Goebbels holding this designation : 'Chief Content Officer - Third Reich' 

And so on. Doesn't stack up, does it.  

The really nasty bit of business though is when food and Content come together  too often  on TV.  

Don't get me wrong. I love food. I also enjoy food shows - up to a point. It's only when a grill and a basket of fresh ingredients pop into the scene moments into a show about a destination that Content turns into some serious discontent. 

Oh well. Happy new year anyway  ! Hope 2017 leaves you very content indeed. Lower case. Why, upper case too if that's your thing. 

And of course, thanks for Consuming this Piece of Content.