Friday, October 31, 2008

The handwriting tag

So, here's a sample of my handwriting. It hasnt changed much from school days, really (you'll have to take my word for it because what few writing samples there are are NOT going to be made public! No, don't beg, it only makes me feel mean.) :) Anyway, this tag happened because I whined shamelessly to Rads about not being invited, so she kindly extended the invitation, just to shut me up. It follows on from her post here.

My post - and please note this is just mindless blah to show you my handwriting, so dont expect any nuggets of eye-opening wisdom. Nobody specified that I had to make sense or be interesting - that wasnt part of the tag!


Click the photo for a larger image

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Ever noticed how the dried up stalk stem whatever - I can’t think of the technical botanical word for it, but it’s the bit that remains from the vine on a tomato and it’s what you pull off – if it’s still on - before slicing the fruit… Anyway, ever noticed how that bit is a dead ringer for a spider? A LARGE, hairy, fat-legged spider?

I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve noticed one of those damned things from the corner of my eye on my kitchen countertop, and leaped back involuntarily even while realising that it’s only a bit of vegetation, not a dormant spider waiting to leap into movement. (Instinct is quicker than reason, as I’ve noticed over and over, although not always quicker than a spider. Those arachnids can move…!)

I suppose such incidents wouldn’t happen if I cleared away the debris from vegetables and things rightaway instead of putting it off with “I’ll do it all at one go after I finish cooking”.

Yeah, I could do that… but then those excitingly heart-stopping “yarrrrrrgggghh!” moments would never liven up my kitchen time, would they? Or get a mention on my blog?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "I dont like myself. I'm crazy about myself" - Mae West

Huh. It took me a while to figure out what Mae West had meant, because on first read it sounded like two contradictory statements. Until I read it out aloud with the emphasis on the word "like"… and then I got it - Mae West didn’t just like herself, she was crazy about herself.

Oh-kay. One thing sorted.

I don’t know what I can brag about with regards to myself. There are some things I’m proud of for myself, but I don’t consider them brag-worthy because they don’t make a difference to other people or help make the world a better place. However, I leave it to all my half-dozen readers to decide if all these are worth peethifying (Tanglish for bragging) about. As for me, I’ll still love those things about me :o)

- I never hurt anybody if I can help it (not since my late teens, at any rate).
- I’m a speed reader of most fiction; a bit slower if it’s non-fiction.
- I spot editing mistakes almost automatically.
- I take pride in spelling/pronouncing words right in whatever language I learn.
- I don’t like artwork/embroidery to be shoddy so I take pains to do a neat job (not applicable to housework).
- I don’t swear much, I’m pretty much a teetotaller (except for the rare occasions that I’m not).
- I tend to trust people until proven wrong.
- I cant hold a grudge for long – time and distance invariably dull the edge of resentment. That isnt to say that I forget the incidents, though. Forgiving is easier than forgetting.
- I could brag in exhaustive detail about how lucky I am in having the best family and friends, but I won’t – I’ll just say that pretty much all of them are wonderful people, open-hearted and intellectual, well-read, educated and a lot of them chronic overachieving all-rounders (in the best way possible), and possessed of a great sense of humour. Just like me... although the intellectual overachieving all-rounding bits kinda sorta passed me by.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Billy-Bob day

Long long ago I owned a book by Enid Blyton called Billy-Bob Tales. In one of those typically Enid Blyton stories about the little everyday doings of Billy-Bob and his spoilt-but-adorable little sister Belinda, Billy-Bob goes into the garden on a sunny, breezy autumn afternoon, excited to be out there, looking at the grass being blown this way and that.

I don’t remember what else he did in that story, but that image of a lovely windy day has always stayed in my mind. I loved the breezy cool days in Madras – admittedly very few days like that, so all the more precious – which usually happened just before or just after a hurricane (one of those that flicked Tamil Nadu with their tail while en route to poor ol' Andhra Pradesh to unleash their awesome destructive fury there). Too bad there was never any grass to look at then, but the treetops did a good job of being blown about.

Here in the UK, mild autumn days – like today - are my favourite… sunny but with no real heat from the sun, bright blue skies, a swirling fresh wind that blows your hair about and takes your breath away – and yes, a wind that ripples through the grass and makes it look like it’s being brushed with silver. The temperature has not dropped so much that the wind is painfully cold, so being blown about is actually very nice. On days like this, I feel as thrilled as Billy-Bob as I go for a walk and peer at the lovely flowers and plants and lawns in other people’s gardens.

Yep, I guess I’m having a Billy-Bob day.

Speedy conclusion

For a moment there, when I read that the Swindon Council had banned speed cameras, I thought it was because the Council thought the cameras didnt really stop traffic accidents, were too Nanny-state and, most of all, were easy revenue earners.

But noooo… the Council was just pissed off that all the cash from fines went to the government although the Council was responsible for the upkeep of the cameras. *sigh* I should have known it wasn't because of wanting to be fair to motorists or in the interests of "eco-driving".

Why am I convinced that the Council would not have banned the cameras if it, rather than the central government, had been the recipient of all the moolah?

Am I just cynical?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "My style"

Style is such a personal thing, nothing that can be pinned down and defined… and yet it’s probably the most discussed topic in fashion-centric non-cerebral circles – or cerebral ones too, who knows. I can’t claim first-hand knowledge of either. Sartorially speaking, my style is probably best described as “comfortable” – or maybe practical. (In all other respects, putting it in the style of the immortal Popeye, I yam what I yam and that’s what I yam.)

I’ve always been curious, in a desultory, idle sort of way, about what makes a person stylish. Not having that characteristic myself, I keep looking for it in others. And of course I then need a second opinion to see if I have correctly identified “style”.

Even given the basic fact that one person’s style is another person’s shock-horror, the parameters of judging style vary tremendously. I simply love the glossy magazines which regularly publish photos of celebrities all dolled up for the red carpet, then declare some as fashion victims and others as fashion divas. Unless the dress is particularly hideous – and to be fair there are a few which are immediately identifiable as such – my usual reaction is “Why”. Why is this dress considered a hit, and why is that a miss? The celebrities are usually perfectly slender and there isn’t much to criticize in the way of size. So why is one person stylish one day for wearing a baker boy cap and capris, and why is another person a victim because of her baggy trousers and baseball cap? Is it just the opinion of the fashion editor for that issue, or am I missing something deeper?

For similar reasons, I rather like the “America’s Next Top Model” series hosted and produced by Tyra Banks. I’m not usually a fan of reality shows, but this one intrigues me and has done from the start not just because it’s so slickly produced, but because it revolves around looks, style and fashion. Some of the girls who are picked for the show are unattractive to my eyes, and yet the judges heap praise on their looks. I like to compare my opinion on the models’ photo shoots with that of the judges… and more often than not, I’m way off the official mark. Perhaps it’s because I’m ignorant of high fashion and “edgy” looks and prefer the more traditional - or normal - hairstyles and body sizes.

I have friends who can effortlessly carry off clothes that would make me look like a clown if ever I had the courage to wear things like that in public. (In private, it doesn't matter. If nobody's there to see your clothes, does stylishness exist?) I’m not talking about revealing tops or butt-crack jeans. In this instance I’m referring to multi-coloured loud checked cotton trousers (which were purchased at one of the seconds outlets in Mahabalipuram), rubber chappals and a tank top – which my friend wore to go to a posh mall in Bangalore. Her hair – gorgeous thick shiny black hair, granted – was piled up messily in a style that I normally sport at home when I’m alone and grubbing out. I wouldn’t have been fit for human eyes in an outfit like that, but she was her usual confident self, and that came across as incredibly stylish. She didn’t expect to be treated any differently than if she was wearing the hautest of couture - and she wasn't. I deeply, deeply admire that sort of casual confidence.

What I find amusing about fashion advice is that this or that model or celebrity is pointed out as uniquely stylish every time she's out in public. Then various items of clothing and accessories similar to that model's, but far cheaper in price (obviously), are also set out. "Be unique in your style, be different" is the bottomline. Yeah, unique and different, in clothes just like Kate Moss's.

Which brings me finally to seasonal fashions. "Purple tulip skirts are the 'in' thing for this autumn" says someone in the fashion industry, and immediately thousands of women rush, lemming-like, to the stores to get the latest purple thing and look like water balloons. What's the point?

And somebody should try telling Goth teenagers that it really isnt unique to dress in black and metal like all the other hundreds of "unique" Goths out there. At least if you're yourself, you're unique - but if you look and dress just like hundreds of your peers, where's the exclusivity there? Or is style not style until everybody is wearing the same type of garment?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cooking marvellous

Bloody chefs. Especially, bloody BBC chefs! They put up what seem like simple, inexpensive, sometimes vegetarian, recipes on the website, and you feel mighty thrilled… until you look at the ingredients and discover that an essential item is something exotic that you don’t get unless you go to great lengths to source it on the Net and import at huge expense – which pretty much negates whatever little simplicity and economy there was in the first place.

Not every place in the UK is London, which is to say that outside of London, shops and supermarkets don’t get much more exotic than Spar or Tesco! Not every person who wishes to cook outside of his/her comfort zone is privileged to travel to exotic places to collect unusual ingredients in person! The least these bloody chefs could do is state where they sourced the PepperJack cheese or pomegranate molasses or really anything else that’s probably commonly available in whichever country it’s from, but – and I wish the chefs would realise this - NOT IN THE UK!

On a scale of 1-10 on my Rant-o-Meter, this one logs in at 8.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Pointless Meme

What's your name spelt backwards?: you figure it out

What did you do last night?: Watched House

The last thing you downloaded onto your computer?: Nothing

Have you ever licked a 9 volt battery?: Nope (why?)

Last time you swam in a pool?: About 2 weeks back

What are you wearing?: clothes

How many cars have you owned?: one

Type of music you dislike most?: Rap

Are you registered to vote?: not yet

Do you have cable?: yep

What kind of computer do you use?: anything that works

Ever made a prank phone call?: yep

You like anyone right now?: lots of people

Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?: sky diving

Furthest place you ever traveled?: Dunno which is the most distance (or distant) –
UK to Singapore, Singapore to NZ, UK to India or UK to West Coast USA

What's your favorite comic strip?: Calvin & Hobbes

Do u know all the words to the national anthem?: Yep

Shower, morning or night?: As required

Best movie you've seen in the past month?: None

Favorite pizza toppings?: Not fond of pizza

Chips or popcorn?: Popcorn

What cell phone provider do you have?: Vodafone. I think.

Have you ever smoked peanut shells?: Is this even possible?

Have you ever been in a beauty pageant?: nope

Orange Juice or apple?: apple

Who were the last people you sat at lunch with?: nobody

favorite chocolate bar?: Lindt’s Dark chocolate with hazelnuts

Who is your longest friend and how long?: Rags – from 1981

Last time you ate a homegrown tomato?: last week

Have you ever won a trophy?: nope

Favorite arcade game?: none

Ever ordered from an infomercial?: perhaps

Sprite or 7-UP?: Sprite

Have you ever had to wear a uniform to school/work?: School, ofc

Last thing you bought at Walgreens?: Hayfever meds, in 2006

Ever thrown up in public?: nope

Would you prefer being a millionaire or finding true love?: found my true love, now
on the lookout for a (multi)millionaire :-)

Do you believe in love at first sight?: not for myself, no


Did you have long hair as a young kid?: yep

What message is on your voicemail machine?: There isnt any

Where would you like to go right now?: Home

Whats the name of your pet?: no pet

What kind of back pack do you have, and what's in it?: the kind that goes on my back. Nothing in it at the moment.

What do you think about most?: Going home

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "If I had to live at a different time in history…"

Do you know what, I thought about it, and thought about it, and thought some MORE about it, and in the end I realised that there is not a single period in time, at any point in the history of humankind, when I would have preferred to live – if I had to live as a woman, that is. (Yes, I could have chosen to imagine myself a man, in which case I would’ve had all of history to choose from and a much bigger post to write - but I didn’t want to change my gender, even in imagination.)

So, I don’t think women have had a good deal ever, and the present time is probably the best that it has ever been for us. Maybe things will improve in the future, maybe at some point women will not have to kowtow to the unreasonable demands of society and religion … but there’s no way of telling just HOW far into the future that will be. So yeah, I’m glad I’m living in the here and now.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Forbidden"

I'd write about it, but I can't.

'Tis forbidden, you see...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Innocent, but not entirely so

Well, at least that is an honest statement.

Yes, Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by mistake – but in the heat of the chase it was an honest mistake. No consolation to his family, of course, and personally I think it’s a shame that the real terrorists hadn’t been found and shot dead instead of him. In any case, there was this backpacked man, who ran when he saw the cops, who didn’t stop when he was ordered to - so what were the police to assume at that point? They didn’t shoot him for fun, they certainly didn’t shoot anybody else just for “looking like a terrorist”, did they? They shot him because he ran when he caught sight of them and didnt stop running, exactly what a guilty person would do. Had he actually been a terrorist, had he actually had a bomb in that backpack and killed dozens or even hundreds more people, the police would have been excoriated for letting a potential terrorist escape when they could have stopped him.

And for all that Jean Charles de Menezes was innocent of terrorism or plots to murder the innocent, he wasn’t quite the blame-free little angel. The man was in the UK illegally, having overstayed his visit. His visa was no longer valid. THAT was why he ran when he saw the police… most unfortunately for him, as it turned out. If he had stopped, he would not have been shot. He ran because he was afraid of being caught out as an overstayer. He wouldn’t have died if he hadn’t run, and he wouldn’t have needed to run if he hadn't been there in the first place - that is to say, if he had gone back to Brazil as he should have, when his visa expired.

Death is rather too steep a price to pay for being in the UK illegally, that’s for sure, and I am definitely sorry for him and his family. But isn’t it true to say that if Jean Charles de Menezes had been a law-abiding person and returned to Brazil as stipulated, he would most likely be alive today?

And how come nobody seems to have mentioned that little point in the reams of newsprint and air-time that has been given to his case and to his family?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Elsewhere right here in the BBC Online...

"Elsewhere on the list was horror author Stephen King in third place" - BBC News
Stephen King wasnt "elsewhere", was he? He was in third place.

Ye gods...