January 2011


Facebook has a method of making even the initiatives geared towards privacy awkward. I just realised that when you created a group and called it something, it emails folks you added to the group telling them exactly what you did. So, if I have a group of folks who I choose to classify as ‘Casual acquaintances’, they get an email saying “You have been added to ‘Casual acquaintances’ by ‘nourishncherish'”. Sometimes, casual acquaintances don’t have qualms but there are folks there who aren’t casual about slights such as these especially when you spoke so warmly to them every time those 3 times you met them in the last five years.

One automatically cannot have creative groups such as ‘I used to sock them at football’ or ‘Steer clear of’, not that people do, but they may wish to. And that is my point, you can’t tell people that you are adding them to a classification. You have the classifications and you use them, but don’t tell them.

I can’t imagine the number of issues this kind of thing can wreak in the lives of high schoolers for instance. Just imagine what happens when ‘Best friends’ and ‘Close friends’ compare notes at your party?

I don’t know if there already are, but it may just be a good idea to have some sociologists ponder over the technical designs before implementing them.

While we are busy discussing the privacy settings, Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg’s fan page was hacked into yesterday.

http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/01/25/5916863-mark-zuckerbergs-facebook-fan-page-hacked

I can’t imagine the security team’s pressure now!

Fox shoots man : http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70C5Q620110113

I don’t remember the time the tide turned in my favour, but it was around the time I shot that man. I hadn’t been a particularly obedient cub, and my mother would always discipline me for being lax about security.
“It would never do to nap where people can see you Loxim. What if you are injured?”

I was one of those calm sorts, and ignored everything she said, unless she was particularly hysterical, in which case, I would make my ears droop and the shoulder hunch and sit down with a sorry looking expression on my face. She couldn’t stay angry at me for long, for I never once lost my temper or fought back. She told Papa proudly that I was one to be watched as all my pent-up anger is bound to come leaping out of me in one shot one day.

I would then go straight back to napping on the rocks by the ledge. One had to accept the beauty of my favorite spot – the best sunshine with bright, fat rabbits hopping up and offering themselves up to you. Then one day, this buffoon of a man came and tried to attack me. I wasn’t particularly pugnacious, but you can’t sock me on the skull with a long stick and expect me to keep quiet. He kept hitting me and when I couldn’t take it anymore, I just used up all my concentration, and Mama was right. All my pent up anger came out in one shot  – it was a loud ringing noise, and the man looked agonized.

I was so scared of what I’d done, that I ran away myself and watched from afar. One thing was certain, my pent-up anger had caused the man distress. Maybe I was one of those rare specimens meant to be watched. I was scared, but proud too. I limped to my mother and told her what had happened. If she felt awed then, she did not let on. She just cuddled me, but after that I was the indisputable king. Other foxes tucked their tails behind their legs and fled when they saw me, rabbits froze in my presence.

I have not displayed my super-natural powers ever since, but they all know it is lurking within me, and that is good enough for me!

Crocodile! Crocodile! May we cross the Golden river?
Crocodile: Yes you may, if you have cyan on you.

I remember this being one of the hottest games of our youth. We roped off a portion of the street and positioned the crocodile in there, while the goal for the remaining was to cross the river. If you did have the colour the crocodile was looking for, you usually donned an unnecessarily supercilious expression and made a big scene about strolling across the river, while the poor crocodile looked more crocodile-like than crocodiles do – wanting to tear and rip you apart, but the rules of the game bound one. The ones who did not have the colour on them ran across while the croc lunged and grabbed. If caught, you were the next crocodile and so on.

When we first started playing this game, we were very much the rainbow kids – not very innovative in our colours. Then slowly, we expanded to yellowish purple and bluish orange. Anything to get all of them to run across. That was when, I quipped, “I have diglish danglie on my underwear” (Or whatever ridiculous colour it was), and stroll across. The modicums of decency allowed one to stroll across wearing a white panty without verification, but just a small pang of guilt. Best to leave the attitude behind on such occasions. But this method was soon vetoed, because one could not possibly have 255 colours, and all their permutations and combinations on a small panty, and some people claimed they did.

I loved playing this game because this is when I started taking an interest in vocabulary. I learnt about ‘Scarlet’ and ‘Turquoise’ and ‘Garnet’ and ‘Fushcia’ just so I could ask for these colours when it was my turn to be a crocodile. I am not even sure I knew the exact colour myself, but so didn’t the others, and I was finally queen of the river.

Imagine my chagrin then when years later, I said ‘Teal’ or ‘Mauve’ matter of factly only to have the husband stare at me like he was oggling through a glass barrier at a very mentally disturbed gorilla. “You mean purple?” he’d ask. I let it pass thinking the poor lad in his youth hadn’t played this enriching game of crocs and must not be penalised.

Then, I read this article about different kinds of color blindness. So, where some see palettes of colours, others don’t. It also gave me a tit-bit that I have suspected all along. Women are less prone to being color blind than men.

http://mikestake.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/im-blind-colorblind-that-is/

I quote:
“Color blindness is an inherited condition(usually anyway) most common in men ( 8-12 percent of Caucasian men, and less than one half of one percent in women).  “

Not all forms of colour blindness is acute enough to not recognize primary colours – it is subtler than that. While we see the bottle greens and the olive greens, some of them just see green or possibly gray. I’d like to play Crocodile Crocodile with one of these people just to see how interesting it is.

I’d taken the brother’s family and daughter on that beautiful day to San Diego’s Sea World. I love watching the dolphins and the killer whales frolicking in the waters, and goofing around with their trainers.
On a side note, there is one thing that has always stood out for me at these outdoor parks, be it Disneyland or Sea World. I am never clothed right. Either I’ve seen the forecast, analyzed it from every angle and then come in looking thoroughly unprepared. Dressed like a polar bear, only to find the sun’s rays laughing harder and harder at me, pointing fingers as I struggle through; or I am dressed like  heroines in old Indian movies dancing in the snow with a flimsy saree – under dressed for the occasion I meant – Shivering and refusing to buy a  jacket at the local park stores.(I can be wool headed when I want to, I am afraid).

San Diego saw us prepared this time. We got up in the morning to rain and thunder. The kind of rain that urges you to stay indoors and gulp tea and have pakoras. But, we did none of that, we braved the elements and went looking for adventure. The look of glee that was on my daughter’s face knowing she could splosh around in the rain was infectious. Soon, we washed our faces with the gleeful rays emanating from her and danced and sploshed in the rain too.

I glanced at the killer whales as I entered the show stadium and winked at them. Dared them to soak me this time. You see we’d carefully concealed our beautiful clothes with unwieldy jackets and further added a pillow case like rain hood on top of that. I bravely sat in the soak zone and simply balked at them.

“See? Huh? 4 layers – the only thing you can really get wet is my face. Want to try?”

I should have known by the lazy flick of their fins. I sat there simply imploring them to come and splash on our side, but they refused. It is like they read my thoughts and said, “Think you are smart, do ya? Well…we only soak you when you are warm and dry. Not when you come looking like tarpaulin tents” and ignored our spot of the stadium the whole while.

Nevertheless, sploshing around in the rain was fun. It brought back memories of our childhood and watching a young one prance in the rain made us behave like 4 year olds who have had too much chocolate.

The way this news article asks us to behave, in other words.

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/momentsofmotherhood/want-to-get-healthy-act-like-a-4-year-old-2435873/;_ylt=Ajc0ZFeKu1VENwtlVAgFmyuZb6U5

My previous post told us about the sort of cloth headed things one needs to do when the partner is standing in the queue for food. The partner, in the meanwhile, was bored stiff. He took to observing those fellow sufferers in queue with him.

It turns out the family right in front of him had adopted a fundamentally different approach from the one we had adopted. We had decided to go for the divide and rule policy – queues vs scourging for seats. The family in front of us seemed to be staunch believers that everything was an experience to be shared by all. Every time, I circled back to see how the queue inhabitants were doing, I had the All-for-one-and-one-for-all song ringing in my head. Not that there was anything wrong with this approach, but it did seem like the children could have done with some time to sit quietly while the food was ordered. There were two children, and two adults. They did not seem to be complaining to us, but, I couldn’t help noticing the children spilling all over them and crying (1 infant plus one girl). At one point, the infant in their arms attempted a parabolic dive into a location known to her alone from her father’s arms. The older one had a most unpleasant expression on her face. Like Disneyland wasn’t at all the magical place she’d expected. The poor child probably thought that if somebody waved their wands, the food would find their way to them.

Ever the resilient birds, they waited. Nature had taught them that patience is rewarded with a plate of whatever was up there on the menu charts. The line snaked slowly, dully, their aching legs causing them to squat even. Eventually, they reached the counter.

The whole time, we’d been there, the menu was written in large signboards and were flashing in front of us. The husband and brother, who were the queue heroes for the day, had prepared  a magnificent list to recite at the counter, replete with dessert. According to them, if you were standing for this long, it might as well be a grand lunch. Admirable sentiments, if not wholly agreeable to the belly.

Imagine our chagrin therefore, that the all-for-one-family spent a full 10 minutes deciding what it was they planned to eat at the counter. I mean – the dishes were right there! Could they have missed the boards? Not possible, it was the only thing to look at, with hunger gnawing at your insides.

After getting the food, they would have to find seats and then eat. I wonder what they managed to see at the Park that day. We managed a decent list because the husband’s fine-tuned fast pass algorithm saw him rushing from one end to the other and picking up fast passes, so we could get the rides lined up. For the remaining part, we went for the less popular rides and had fun all the same.

Sometimes, divide and rule works.

I witnessed something for the first time during our trip to Disneyland this time – the parks were filled to capacity and people were being turned away at the park entrance. It was a revelation of sorts to me because I didn’t know the park had a capacity to begin with. It was always such a sea of folks that I imagined those at the gates just stood there and sighed people through thinking of flood gates and drops in an ocean or whatever it is folks at park entrances think about. This historic day meant that the usually long lines were enough to sink the heart of the most optimistic soul.

I shall outline for you the process of buying some food on days such as this:
1) Position 1 member with a cell phone in hand at the back of a line that is nowhere near a food court. It is preferable if this person is a stamina gun and one who posesses a certain capacity to entertain and amuse the mind while standing in the queue. Reading the park map only gets you through 10 minutes (even if you memorize the names of all rides and restaurants – I checked), and the lines to get food snaked much longer that.
2) The other member with a cell phone must be one skilled enough to spot movement from a mile away and swoop down like a hawk. Hawks, if you study them, don’t swoop on whims. They observe, detect and decide on when to swoop on their prey. Looking around, reading subtle body language signals from other members already seated and eating. Constrained in every way by the burden of being a human being means no wings, no huge wing spans from which to soar and spy, bad eye-sight and not to mention the fact that we actually have bladders with needs while hawks probably don’t.

I functioned as the latter in our team of food gatherers. I had going for me what hawks probably didn’t. Optimism. I walked around aimlessly, smiling at people who made the mistake of making eye contact at me. Finding seating for a party of two on a day like this is a challenge, try doing it for seven and then one sees why the stomach is such an irascible thing to live with. I mean, cannot it eat for the day in the morning at the free breakfast buffet? It certainly behaved like it was. Ate like it was preparing for a spell of 24 hours in famine country and yet 5 hours later, the glutton was asking for more. Tut!

After what seemed like hours, I found 2 folks shifting their left buttock. I swooped – I’d gotten 2 seats. This is where Genghis Khan can take his lessons from me. Having acquired this piece of real estate, I looked around once again and found a couple chatting with fervour. People were leaving them alone since their plates seemed full. But I saw their plates were full enough, but not full enough to last till team member (1) got to the head of the line. I sat there looking bored and played with their little one amusing himself by throwing things on the floor from the table. I peek-a-boo-ed and gurgled. I don’t know whether Genghis Khan actually enjoyed conquering more lands, I enjoyed the process of playing with this child leaving the harried ones to eat in peace. They were so grateful that they actually got another chair for me and joined the tables together before leaving.

And that is how one gets seven seats together on a day that Walt Disney’s spectre gets turned away from the park.

That is also the story of us becoming Dislineophobes (yes, creativity takes a hit when attention is diverted to survival, and I couldn’t find the word for fear of queues)

Happy New Year Folks!

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