In search of a new name

Late last night I thought I should change the name of my blog. No no, I absolutely adore the name “Mostly Pointless“, but this is what happened. In the ongoing efforts for gathering donations to the relief work for Cyclone Aila, my blog comes up in the top 5 results whenever someone searches for the cyclone relief work. But thanks to the name of my blog, it appears as this:

Search Results

Now it appears as if the cyclone Aila relief work is mostly pointless. I know, it’s laughable! But I felt bad. After all, I am an advocate of the contrary.

Anyway, it drove me to change the name of my blog to ‘Logophilia‘ – meaning love of words and word games – and it was like that for less than 24 hours. Because it was not the same as Mostly Pointless. Over the years (since 2006) I have grown to love the name ‘Mostly Pointless’ so much that Logophilia, though a beautiful word, didn’t have that zing. Mostly Pointless stays.

Tall tales of woe

A freakin' giraffe

A freakin' giraffe

Being tall is no joke. No, really. It isn’t. I am 6’2″ and often stared at like I am the freakin’ Empire State Building or something. If a dog is not paying attention, I might very well be a lamppost for it to relieve itself. There are so many problems associated with being tall… sigh. Where do I even begin?

Being tall reduces your general awareness of what is going on at ground level. You stub your toe more often and miss doorsteps. Or in some cases, entire bicycles. (Don’t ask.) Every foot related response is late because it takes additional time for signals to reach the brain. The worst part is when you see a notice that says “Watch your step” – you look down to save your toe, but you bump your head against the very same notice that told you to watch your step. For the benefit of tall people, they should have a notice near the foot that says “Watch your head too“. In my parents hometown, I cannot stand up straight completely because the ceiling fan might take my head. And those fans are fairly dirty and they have spiders. Not only will I lose my head, I will also have spiders on me.

Then comes the package of woes that are travel related. In a bus/plane, your knees touch the seat in front of you and all the vibration/turbulence shakes you from deep within. After a point (about 5 minutes) you think you are part of the bus/plane and it is your duty to vibrate along with it. When you get off the bus/plane, you wonder why everything is so shaky. You don’t fit in train berths at all. Either your legs are sticking out to face the wrath of every dude who passes the aisle, or your head is sticking out and you can hear every conversation between the chai-waala and the customer who does not want to pay Rs 5 for a cup that small. At 7:00 AM in the morning. You don’t fit in small cars and in order to drive, you need to push the driver’s seat far away just so you can get in the car. Later when your friend wants to drive, he feels very laid-back.

What if you had acrophobia? Being tall adds a foot or so to normal viewing, and that, when accompanied by the fear of heights DOES NOT HELP. You are walking down the street minding your own business, you happen to look at your feet – aaaargh! Too much height! Well, I do not have acrophobia… but what if I did?

And of course, the eternal problem of finding clothes that fit. Every T-shirt on me looks like it was originally designed to playfully display waist line assets of pretty girls. No, I DO NOT buy those tees because I value my privacy and I don’t want accidental onlookers to go “Oh, my eyes! My eyes!”. Trousers don’t reach all the way to the bottom, showing off some glorious ankle. And shoes! Oh my god, shoes. Big height needs big foot. Big foot needs big shoe. More than size 10, actually. And you don’t get that size easily.

I don’t fit in photographs! You will never find me standing absolutely straight in a picture with someone else, or a group. It’s either me or the rest of the crowd. And since we go by democracy, I need to bend weird and awkward to fit into the frame, finally giving my illustrious look of constipation.

And finally, what I call “the hug wind”. When you hug someone tall, and talk at the same time, your words are directed at his torso and they find way into his clothes. And they exit from the shirt sleeves in gusts of wind. Seriously! As a tall person, when I am hugged, all I get to hear is some buzzing and well ventilated sleeves.

I H8 TXTSPK ALOL

Yes, I hate text speak (txtspk). I am probably one of those few people in the world who insist on writing complete sentences even while SMSing/texting on cell phones. I agree every character is precious and it makes complete sense to abbreviate messages so that you get charged for only one message. But why do I have to read txtspk sentences in emails? NO ONE IS CHARGING YOU FOR ANYTHING. WRITE COMPLETE WORDS, LET ALONE SENTENCES. And what really irritates me is when I see a liberal use of replacing “th” with “d”. Look man, are you trying to be cool? Because it’s not working. No, it really isn’t. And you are not gaining anything from misspelling things. It’s totally arbitrary and it is not any kind of reason for celebration or show off.

Fr exmple how wud u lk 2 read da rest of dis post in dis abyssmal form of xprshn? It tuk me forvr 2 write dis sntnce. English is 2G2B4G. @TEOTD I knw u r g8ng u r msg acrss but dis is nt pr8y. K gtg nw. Show me the English ▼

It was late 2006 when New Zealand announced that it is OK if students used text-speak in their examinations as long as they showed an understanding of what was being asked of them. And that decision got many a bee in many a bonnet. The NZ qualifications authority apparently were asked “u mst b joking. or r u smkin smthng?” I was initially wondering that probably no one really wants txtspk to exist because it ruins academic writing. Turns out there are ongoing debates where educationalists are fighting over whether txtspk should be allowed or not…

The first *serious casualty* of txtspk is grammar. Well, grammatically speaking, they are trolls… but dramatically speaking, they pretty much convey the message. Let’s be honest. Languages have evolved a lot from what they were several hundred years back. They have always converged towards ease of communication and understanding. And that’s probably why Latin is no longer spoken by anyone. 😀 But will this lead to txtspk being the ‘talk of the town’? Can it actually become a colloquial language?

Nevertheless, ryting lyk dis irritates da hell outta ma sanity.

You might be wondering what on earth ALOL is. The reason behind this actually cracked me up. So, LOL is ‘Laughing out loud’ and ALOL is ‘Actually laughing out loud’. 😀 It arose from the fact that some people while chatting on IM or texting on cell phones never really laughed out loud even if they punched in “LOL” on their screens. So they wanted to draw the distinction between just LOLing and Actually-LOLing. ALOL. On that note… I came up with a self-explanatory graph here – the latest in Thoughts in 2D.

Do you hear laughter?

PS: I thought it should be text speech – but I really don’t know why it’s called text speak.
PPS: I required a bit of asking around to know what’s new in txtspk. Looks like my age does not permit usage of txtpsk.

Who moved my crease?

I cannot iron my clothes to save my life. Not that I would decide to iron my clothes when my life was in danger, as a last wish. But like I said, I cannot iron clothes to save my life. Why? Because it HAS to be perfect – when it comes to creases in clothes. For starters, I myself cannot make a straight crease. When I realize that, it’s too late to rectify it for that wash. And when I wear it, I always know at the back of my mind that my creases aren”t straight. Most of my friends tell me that they didn’t care to notice. Other friends pretend they didn’t hear the question. *Sigh*

The laundry guy was no good either. He never made the same crease twice! At the end of the year, my trousers and shirts had a strip thick as bandaid that served as the crease. Mom has always been there to help me in this aspect. She does a wonderful job. Simply brilliant, actually.

I haven’t used an iron since 2001. Thank God for wrinkle free and permanent crease wear.

And don’t even get me started on cleaning mirrors!

Just buy a new one!

Just buy a new one!

The elusive hyperlink

There is one thing I have noticed about official Indian websites – they do not do justice to the intellect of our nation. India is one of the nations that generates creative minds a dime a dozen – and more so in the IT industry – but it is unfortunate that Indian government websites are so poorly constructed almost everyone swears at least once while trying to locate information. They want it to be user friendly, but the user is barely friendly at the end of it all.

Websites with good navigation live by the rule that people should never be more than a click or two away from finding what they need, no matter what page they are in. Several US and EU based government websites literally serve information on a platter. They follow the norms of good web-navigation, they are advertisement free, they come with no fancy flash graphics or irritating GIF animations – something Indian websites need to learn from. To quote one instance a year back – a German friend told me that he had a tough time figuring out requirements to obtain an Indian tourist visa from the website. I was mighty embarrassed by the situation.
Let me make a disclaimer here – that most of the Indian official websites have indeed improved over time – one major example is the IRCTC – it used to be full of unused space – and all the wrong fonts were large in size with weird colors that would make you think the last cigarette you smoked had marijuana in it. It has become way better now. Our computerized railway reservation system maintains (and has been maintaining) one of the largest rail networks in the entire world, flawlessly! It’s a pity that this brilliant software was, for a long period, accompanied by a website plagued by flash ads and mind numbingly disturbing animated GIFs. Here is a screenshot taken once upon a time and circulated in an “It happens only in India” theme.
During a discussion with a friend, he pointed out that in most cases, the web-designing jobs are outsourced to bhanjas, bhatijas or distant relatives – who may not be qualified enough for the job – but this is difficult to beat in a country where nepotism is predominant within the government.

I would like to say that for a country that can make such a beautiful tourism ad (Incredible India), the websites should be of top notch quality too!

Of balloons and explosions

At Walmart, I am looking for something in the party aisle and there is an old-woman-Walmart-employee also rearranging stuff in the same aisle.

Me: Excuse me… Hi! I was wondering if you have any balloon pumps?
She: Bombs?

Ah, so here’s the deal. Inside the lady’s head, I am a brown Indian… sorry, brown UNSHAVEN Indian – possibly a terr0ri$t, shopping for bombs in Walmart. And on top of that I am asking a Walmart employee to help me find some.

Damn racist woman.

Kya mara Camera!

Photo SHOOT!
It is with deep regret that I hereby announce that I have damaged my own camera – and it will cost $240 to repair it!
In an attempt to clean it, I ended up leaving lots of microfiber inside the image chamber, and thanks to static electricity, they wouldn’t come off. Then I decided to go brute on it, and ended up scratching one of the screens and it all went downhill from there. 🙁
Anyway, I recalled my camera without having it repaired and I have decided to try to fix all of it myself. I hope I do something good at the end of it…
Here are a few pics I had taken during a trip to rural West Bengal… there are many more photos taken, but I will be putting them up on a separate post.

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