Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Joy"

- A pile of unread books by different new authors (recommended by trusted others), all waiting to be devoured.

- Thinking of the pleasure that my little book-loving 1.5-year-old niece is going to get from all the books that I loved as a child (some of which I still re-read) which I'm going to introduce to her.

So much joy to be derived just from those two things...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Limerick-off Monday

I like this week's prompt simply because I managed to come up with two limericks fairly easily - the bonus being that I'm pretty satisfied with both of them! At any rate I'm not wishing for quicker wits and funnier ideas... this time around, anyway. No promises about next time, though!

So here they are:

A fellow who went through a phase
Of carrying hankies made of lace
Didn’t care a jot
What anybody thought –
His hi-fashion cred was firmly in place.


A woman who went through a phase
Of attending each and every horse race
Found that her honey,
Her friends and her money
Quickly vanished without a trace.

Friday, November 11, 2011

If wishes were parking slots...

Any parking slot that I was trying to wedge my Range Rover into would obligingly swivel itself on a turntable until it was at the right angle for me to just drive straight in without having to do any angling manouevres. Also, MY slot would expand sideways to accommodate my car comfortably, should any vehicle on either side be parked too close to the line.

You think that's off-the-wall far-fetched? Well, think about this - apparently one of the Ecclestone daughters has, in her $45 million house, a car turntable so that she does not need to reverse her Ferrari out of the driveway.

I was only expanding on an already existing reality. Not so far-fetched NOW, is it? Hah!

Oh to be a multi-multimillionaire, just to experience the extravagances in that ridiculously rarefied lifestyle...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Omen"

Would you believe that once upon a time, I thought that the Malayali name “Oommen” was a phonetic Mallu way of spelling “omen”? I know, I was ignorant. Or innocent. I’ve coined a new word to describe the complete lack of worldliness which was my lot at age 20 – “ignocence”. Or possibly “innorance”.  

Which brings me, by way of a vague segue, to my first encounter with an authentic Mallu from deepest darkest Kerala. I didn't meet him until the first month or so of my apprenticeship in the Indian Express in Madras. Basheer was a sub-editor with a couple of years’ experience who was assigned to show me the basics of page-making and other editorial duties. He did this cheerfully even at his busiest. And since he was a friendly chap, he took it upon himself to try and draw me out of my shell (I used to be painfully shy).

The problem was that I found Basheer virtually incomprehensible. He must have thought me really slow because there was usually a bit of a gap between him asking me a question and my reply to him – mainly because I was scrambling to decode what he’d said. But I’d say I managed ok, most of the time. A question that completely threw me early on, and I remember it vividly, was “What do you think of God?” - except, of course, Basheer said “God” to rhyme with “goad”.

I must have looked like a total idiot, and I felt like one too, as I blinked at him. I was also panicking, because I had no idea what "goad" was, other than the literal "prod", and that didn't make any sense in the context. It could have been  "gode" or something else altogether, it could have been a editorial/journalistic term that I should have known, or something that I’d possibly missed in some previous conversation with Basheer or even, for all I knew, somebody that I'd been introduced to.  

I didn’t know how to respond – saying “yes” or “no” could have been the wrong response (as it undoubtedly would have been, with hindsight) and might bring on more disaster in the form of “what do you mean by ‘yes’ (or ‘no’)”. In the end I compromised with a weak smile and non-committal shrug and hoped like hell that it would do. Thankfully, it did – mainly because someone came up to him with a question... and just like that, I was off the hook. I didn't figure out what "goad" was until the next time the topic of religion came up in a conversation Basheer was having with Master - and then the lightbulb finally went on in my head.

I never did get to tell Basheer about my thoughts on God, though.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Easy-ish prompt this time, I guess. I'm getting fairly handy at writing limericks, but I do know that merely getting them to rhyme in the AA-BB-A format isnt quite enough - a proper limerick in my eyes has to be witty and preferably incorporate a pun or two or funny wordplay in general... kind of like the ones Ogden Nash wrote. Or Phyllis "Granny" Smith, who is truly versatile in her genius - there's nothing she can't write/write about, and how incredibly well she does it all, too - limericks, poetry, essays, you name it. How I wish I could be half as talented.  

Anyway, my limerick for this week:

A fellow was famous worldwide
For getting constantly pie-eyed
He visited every Irish bar
Between County Cork and Myanmar -
He didn’t stop even when his brain was fried.

Reviewing my choices...

How do you choose to buy something on Amazon when you're not familiar with the item? Me, I've found that I depend completely on reviews from people who've tried and tested it (whatever "it" happens to be - a novel/craft book/cookbook, clothes, games, a  new author whose works I'm not familiar with, etc).

I usually read a few comments and reviews, both pro and anti. If there are two or more commenters who have left positive reviews that are thoughtful, coherent and well-written, with minimal spelling mistakes, I normally commit to buying the item. More often than not, my choices are vindicated.

Sure, there have been a few duds over the last few years, but on the whole I'd say that 97% of my purchases that were based on positive reviews by educated reviewers/commenters have been worth it. Is that snobbery or just good sense? If you were to ask me, I'd have to say honestly that the ratio is skewed about 70-30 in favour of snobbery. It might make me a snob, but my instinct is to trust a review from someone who's able to write effectively and briefly about the pros and cons of anything - whether the review is of a book or a saucepan.  

PS. When it comes to negative reviews, if there are three or more comments that are pretty much unanimous on the quality of the product (never mind the language/spelling here), I don't buy the item. I'm pretty sure that my choices here are vindicated as well - although, obviously, I'll never really know for absolute certain.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Marvellously insincere marketing

A couple of days back, I received an email from a marketing representative of a job-site company, which was sufficiently different enough to make me smile. The writer (called Serge) tried his best to be flattering, sympathetic, honest, intimate and humble by turn - a pretty hard-fought attempt but not quite achieving that note of sincerity he was trying to go for. I suppose that shouldn't be a surprise because, after all, it's an advertising/marketing exercise - and advertising/marketing have nothing to do with sincerity or honesty.  

The text of the email is below; comments in italics are, of course, mine.

"Hi there

Nice that he addresses me by name...

I just want to thank you for your wonderful blog

I read the post "Spinach & green bean rice" and then I spent another hour on your blog by reading your posts with pleasure :) Every article is interesting and easy to read.

How oleaginously the sincerity oozes through…

I work for Jooble company, we aggregate job adverts around the world.

My job is to persuade bloggers to link to our site.

I really love my job! We have a friendly team and good management, but unfortunately I have no idea how to convince a blogger to link to us…

Which begs the question – what EXACTLY about his job does he love, if he doesn’t know how to do it in the first place? And just how good is the friendly team and good management, if none of the friendly team-members have helped him, and if the management haven’t even trained him in how to actually do his job, or told him how to go about it?

 I'm afraid I might lose my job because of it :(

Noooo….. the sheer pathos of it! *sniffing away a cataract of tears*

And that is why, instead of sending letters to thousands of different blogs, I am reading yours.

Er… hang on, he doesn’t know how to do his job (although perhaps he DOES have a clue) and he’s afraid he might lose his job – so what does he do? Does he try to get some information from the web or from his colleagues on how to do his job? Nope - he continues to read my blog... instead of sending out those letters to “thousands of different blogs” (and as opposed to what? Thousands of the same blog?).

Honestly, I am not really sure if the link to our website in United Kingdom -, will be appropriate for your blog,

What, after reading my food blog for an hour, he’s still not sure if a link on my blog to his job-aggregating company’s website would be appropriate?  

but if you believe it will and it is possible to add it, I would be really grateful to you! Our site is really cool, it can greatly help hundreds of people to find jobs.

Yes - because my food blog is really not about food, I only maintain it in the hope of someday helping hundreds of people to find jobs…

I wish you to have a good day and excellent mood! Thanks again for your nice blog. Write more! Thanks!

P.S. I am a Pisces by zodiac sign too :)


And that is the final sealing touch from this marvel of sincerity – his admission that he’s a Pisces by zodiac sign, TOO. I feel such a connection with him, I'm so happy now…

Monday, October 31, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click here for this week's Limerick-Off Monday on Madeleine's blog

Coming up, a limerick from the "It Serves Her Right" school of limerickery...

A woman who just let it slip
That she was going on a trip
To the Aloha state
With another woman's mate
Soon found her friends had all jumped ship.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "The Backyard"

I prefer to call it “the back”, because that way it is, in a manner of speaking, non-denominational – nobody’s likely to get the impression that “the back” is a structured garden or a neat lawn or even a proper backyard. Because “the back” really is, simply put, a mess. No more, no less. I’m no good at growing things, too squeamish to do any serious gardening in case I encounter any slugs, snails or other creepy crawlies, and don’t know how to maintain a manicured lawn (and don’t particularly care to know – what’s the point? It’s at the BACK! Hardly anyone gets to see it!).

However, nobody who’s not actually a visitor to my house needs to know that, which is why I’m boldly stating this on my blog. What if someone reads this post, you ask? Well, so what? The three people (my guesstimate) who might conceivably stumble upon this post at some point in the future will read about “the back” at my house - but it won’t do them any good because they will not know what it actually looks like.

No, I will not be putting up any photographs.

I may have outed “the back” of my house here like a sleazy insinuating gossip columnist, but I'm going to retain at least a vestige of its dignity (and mine) by not sinking to the level of the shameless paparazzi...

Limerick-Off Monday

Click here for this week's Limerick-Off Monday on Madeleine's blog

My limerick for this week, after a bit of a gap in taking part.

When I saw the first-line prompt, the first phrase to pop into my head was "tell-tale tail" - and, of course, once it got in, there was no getting it out, so I ended up writing the limerick to accommodate the phrase. Some phrases are just such bullies - they forcibly occupy my brain and then throw their weight around, overcoming other, gentler ideas that are easily cowed into submission...


A woman was telling a tale
Of an experience that turned her pale.
One day she found proof
That a rat lived under her roof –
She knew by its tell-tale tail.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click here for this week's Limerick-Off Monday.

Forgot to post this on my blog on Monday, but heyho, at least I managed to get it across to Madeleine's blog! Also, it's not exactly the same as what I posted there - I've tweaked it just a teensy bit because I think it sounds better. Is this much too contrived? What do you think?

A guy in the mood for a bite
Went out feeling quite uptight.
He took a gander
At a man called Evander
And took a chunk from his ear in a fight.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Plan B"

Sometimes I wish my life was more organized, more structured than it is.

Actually no, I think what I mean is that I wish I could organize and structure my life a little bit, given that my husband is the sort of person who sets off blithely into the sunrise without knowing how to get where he knows he needs to go (literally and metaphorically). I’m not exactly a worrier myself, but I’ll have to admit that compared to Pete I’m about as relaxed as a bagful of freshly-trapped snakes.

For instance, there was that occasion when he decided to whisk me off to Harrogate (in Yorkshire) where there’s a club called The Blues Bar, which has excellent music all days of the week but especially Saturday. I hadn’t been to Harrogate before, so I’d no idea that the city is wickedly posh and insanely expensive, and that the Blues Bar is located in the city centre right in the middle of a welter of posh hotels and clubs and bars – basically, the most popular hangout area especially on weekends for the wealthy young persons of Harrogate and surrounds. We would be getting there late Friday night, staying Saturday night as well, and leaving Sunday morning.

Me, as we were leaving: Where are we staying?

Pete: Probably at Premier Inn.

Me: Have you booked ahead?

Pete: No, I’ll ring them when we get nearer there. I’m sure we’ll get a room.

Famous last words, as they say. When we were about 30 miles away, Pete rang Premier Inn, but was told they were full up. Then I started ringing around the hotels in Harrogate – but cheap or expensive, they were ALL fully booked for Friday and Saturday although they were free on Sunday (for all the good that did us).

Me, somewhat alarmed: NOW what do we do?

Pete: I guess that rules out Plan B. On to Plan C.

Me: That rules out Plan B? What was Plan A??? And what is Plan C?

Pete: Plan A was tto have a Plan B. I've no idea what Plan C is. I didn't think we'd need it.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So THAT'S what he meant!

Frank Sinatra, that is. Long long back I heard one of his songs with the refrain "Let's forget about tomorrow, for tomorrow never comes"... followed by "Domani, forget domani" - and I always ended up wondering who Domani was, and if there was a "story" to the song that I wasn't getting.

Then I started studying Italian on my own, and by Lesson 3, all became clear.

Domani = tomorrow.

I hadn't realised that it was Mr Sinatra who set the trend so often seen in Bollywood movies, where the hero/heroine speak a sentence in English and immediately repeat it in Hindi (or vice versa), so that there's absolutely no doubt in anybody's mind of what was said in either language!  

Anyway, long-time mystery solved, which is always a good thing.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oh, the irony of it!

Doolittle and Dalley - estate agents and surveyors

Wright Hassall - solicitors

What WERE they thinking of when they named their firms? Did it not occur to them to say the name aloud? Perhaps they were economising by choosing a name that also described their workstyle?

Well, whatever. I don't mind, really, as long as the names stay.

And you, gentle readers with the quirky sense of humour (y'awl know who you are, right?), if you know of any other gems to add to the list, please feel free to let me know in a comment. Just the thought that there could be more such descriptively named firms in this world makes me feel more positive and cheerful in general. Do you feel it too?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

How 'bout that - this week I managed a limerick without thinking too hard about the storyline or the rhyme (the prompt being "A guy/gal who was covered in sweat"). I must be getting cleverer at these (I hope). But next week will tell if this week's limerick is a mere fluke or a sign of easier times to come...

A gal who was covered in sweat
Couldn’t help but fume and fret.
Her high-fashion kit
Just ripped and split,
Laying bare much more than her silhouette.

Whatcha think of this one? Anyone? 

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Limerick-off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-Off Monday on Madeleine's blog.

Well, technically mine's now a Limerick-Off Wednesday, but this is the first chance I've had all week to try my hand at this week's competition. Unlike previous occasions, I had almost an embarrassment of riches to deal with in terms of rhyming words , which made it difficult to decide on what the "storyline" was going to be. I know, I have a genuis for making anything into whine (and there's another rhyme). :)

PS. I've heard from various sources that this feat was achieved a few thousand years ago by a young man whose name was Jesus Christ. But since I don't have proof of the nature of his feat - that is, whether it came in limerick form or not - I shall continue to hold my talent for limerick whine above anyone else's.

And so on to today's show:

A fellow was trying to dine
On fresh strawberries and aged wine.
The berries were sweet
A perfect fresh fruit treat -
But the alcohol, worryingly, arrived in a stein.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flashback to 2008

I found this post as a draft from way back in 2008... I'd even forgotten I'd written it, until I came upon it when I set about deleting posts that were marked "draft" but had no content. Don't ask me why - a virtual tidy-up of my website is the best reason I can offer. Anyway, it seemed a shame to waste a nearly completed post, so I've decided to publish it. 
A couple of days back, Pete and I went to a “Cheese and wine” fund-raising do for a local Royal British Legion branch, of which my boss is an enthusiastic and long-time member. He had invited us to attend and because I’ve been helping him with designing posters and so on, it seemed like it would be quite interesting. (Plus I wanted to match a few faces to the people with whom I’d been corresponding and/or talking on the phone.)

Pretty much to be expected was that most of the members were at least 50-plus, and some well into their 70s and 80s. The meeting/function/party (can't think of the correct word) was held in the rose garden of a large manor house. The sprawling three-storey manor house, the very large formal gardens surrounding and the estate with 1000 acres were all inherited by the nephew of the family whose successive generations had been in unbroken ownership of the mansion for over 300 years.

The gardens were breathtakingly gorgeous, and the rose garden, with its immaculate lawns, was a perfect venue. You could almost see royalty (or the upper crust, anyway) getting married there and having a posh reception with people in fancy clothes wandering around the paths with canes and parasols and hats and bonnets… or hang on, perhaps I’m imagining the wrong century?

Anyway, the members - there were a few of them who probably weren’t seriously posh, and again a few who weren’t seriously loaded, but on the whole, you could tell those few very easily apart from the posh and the loaded. Not that the latter were dressed much differently from the former, but there was a certain something that even I could discern that set the posh ‘uns apart from the hoi polloi. I’m not terribly good at recognising upper class accents as different from a neutral, “clean” one - any regional accent has to be really pronounced (Liverpudlian, Glaswegian, Yorkshire, etc) and either easy or grating on the ear for me to recognise it.

This time it wasnt just the accents that made me realise at once that I was in the company of the Seriously Loaded... it was just a certain style, perhaps. I could NOT stop looking at a lady, probably in her late 50s, slender, with very blonde hair tucked under an Alice band, who, when she sat, sat very erect with a silk shawl wrapped stylishly around her shoulders. You could tell she was Class with a capital C. She was perfectly friendly as far as I could tell, and she took part cheerfully in everything that was going on. The reason I couldnt stop looking at her was because I was trying to work out what it was that set her apart. I dont think I managed to pinpoint it, even with every instinct yelling "posh" "loaded" "wealthy" "classy" and other such adjectives at me.

I wonder if that sort of poise and demeanour is something one can learn, and if so, where I could go to learn it. I bet the Queen could make a mint by giving out a few tips on behaviour and deportment...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday Scribblings – “Shipwreck”

How would you answer the question “What would you want with you if you were shipwrecked on an island”? There's no way I could take just one thing (or person), so here’s a partial list. The list is not in any particular order – you have to believe me on this. So:
- A shipbuilder
- A navigator/engineer
- A seasoned sailor, preferably the ship's Captain, assuming he/she didnt go down nobly with the ship when it was wrecked 
- My Kindle, with as many books downloaded onto it as possible
- Pete’s Kindle, with as many books downloaded onto it as possible
- Kindle charger
- Something with which to generate electricity to run the charger
- Internet connectivity (although I don’t know how I’d manage this)
- All my spices and cookery books
- My husband
- My mum, sister, brother, sister-in-law and baby niece
- A good pediatrician (for my niece, and any other babies that might be caught up in my list)
- Assorted cousins and friends
- Scrabble, Balderdash, Taboo, Ticket To Ride (all board/card/multiplayer games)
- Paints and things to paint (clothes, etc)
- My beading stuff
- My beading instructor
- Beading instructor’s family and friends, because otherwise she might not want to come with me at all
- 64Gig iPod and fancy noise-cancelling headphones from Sennheiser or Sony
- Johnny Depp
- Pierce Brosnan from his Remington Steele days
- The guy who plays Thor in the movie Thor.
- Amitabh Bachchan from the 1970s/early 1980s.
- Don Cheadle

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-Off on Madeleine's blog.

I wonder if everybody does as much second-guessing of their work as I do of mine. I keep getting the nagging feeling that I should be able to do better, and yet these limericks (and previous ones) have come about only after an awful lot of forehead-wrinkling. The best limericks of the week usually make me laugh out loud, and I very much fear that mine can at best only raise a weak smile. Even from me.

Oh well... I console myself with the thought that I might not be the best, but I DO at least have the ability to recognise the best. (Granny Smith is one of the latter - whatever she writes - stories, anecdotes, sad poems, happy poems, limericks, her laundry list - they're all SO good! Even her blog's web address is a very clever pun that I love.)

Here are mine for this week:

A fellow who tended to brag
About the clients he got to sh*g
Was called in by his boss
Who put her point across
By calling him a right old sl*g.

A woman who tended to brag
That she’d never look like a hag
Was sadly forced to repent
When south her boobs went
And her butt developed a sag.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Limerick-off Monday

Click the headline for this week's Limerick-off on Madeleine's blog

The prompt was "A fellow who always seemed game". It wasn't a problem coming up with rhyming words... but to wrestle those words into something resembling a logical "story" - that wasn't quite as simple as it seemed at first. Still, because I wasn't satisfied with the first one, I thought I'd try my hand at another and choose the better of the two to publish. Sadly that plan, although I'd thought it cunning, didn't work like it was supposed to. I couldn't choose one limerick over the other, because I felt both were equally meh. So here they both are. Get one, take the other free.

A fellow who always seemed game
Ended up taking all the blame -
From cheating to assault
Ev’rything was his fault…
And yet no one felt it was a shame.

A fellow who always seemed game
Other people to hurt and maim
Soon found it was painful
More than it was gainful
When the Mafia came into the frame.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Pleasure"

Click on the headline for the Sunday Scribblings website

A shortlist of things that give me pleasure – and if all some any of them come across as petty and/or childish, please be advised that there is a very good reason for this... that is to say, I AM petty and childish (no “or” about it).

  • Typing with my eyes closed (or without looking at screen or keyboard) and knowing automatically when I get something wrong.
  •  Bonus: After backtracking, erasing and re-typing the word correctly with my eyes still closed, and then, a few sentences down the line, to find that I have done all of that perfectly without causing more errors… oh the satisfaction!
  •  Getting my boss to realise that he cocked up, not me.
  • Bonus: When it dawns on him that he’s got to ring the enraged client, not me… oh joy oh joy oh joy! Or to put it another way – OH JOY! (no, not the Joy in your office.)
  • Accidentally stumbling on a rivetingly fantastic novel, racing through it in a breathless sitting and stumbling around in a daze for the next few hours because reality isn’t real yet. (My latest “find” – “The Good Son” by Michael Gruber.)
  • Bonus: Finding out that the writer has other best-selling books that you can now hunt down and devour… that anticipatory pleasure cannot be duplicated.
  • Recommending your newest favourite author to your book-crazy friends.
  • Bonus: If they haven’t come across the book/author either and they love it too – and they let you know… the feeling is akin to Doing a Good Deed For Nothing.
  • Lying in a hot tub and looking out at the Niagara Falls literally across the road from you.
  • Bonus: A punch-bowl-sized goblet of strawberry margarita in hand.
  • Double bonus: You’re with your husband.
  • Unbeatable: Your husband has his own goblet so you don’t have to share yours.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-Off Monday at Madeleine's blog.

The prompt was "A man/gal who was lacking in wit". I can't say I had much trouble coming up with these limericks, but by the same token I can't say I was particularly thrilled with either. My feeling is that they're adequate, but - oh dear - perhaps somewhat lacking in true wit.

I sincerely hope that my sub-conscious self didn't have me in mind when my conscious self came up with the second limerick! It would be just too much irony to cope with, if this turned out to be autobiographical...

A man who was lacking in wit
Bought a D-I-Y humour kit.
Being a hopeful sort of bloke
He thought he could amuse folk
With his one-size-fits-all joke - the poor twit.

A gal who was lacking in wit
Had just no idea when to quit.
She told her very lame joke
Without fail to the very same folk,
And wondered why they threw a fit.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Lyrics I love from a song I love

"Dekha machal ke jidhar bijli gira di udhar
Kiska jala aashiyaan bijli ko yeh kya khabar"

What beautiful lyrics, and what a fantastic song by Asha Bhonsale.

*For non-Hindi speakers, this translates (more or less) to "(His) every glance is like a bolt of lightning that has no clue about the devastation it causes." (Forgive the clumsy prosaic translation - I'm no good at poetry.)

Updated to add: The lyrics I quote above are from the song "Aaiye meherban". The movie is Howrah Bridge.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-off on Madeleine's blog.
The prompt was "A love-smitten guy was irate". I knew pretty much what my limerick was going to be about, because my rhymes for "irate" were in place... but I spent ages trying to re-word "His attempt at wooing Was the reason for his undoing" so that it scanned right - until it finally occurred to me to reverse the order of the two sentences. That was certainly a BINGO moment while still being DUH (for taking so long to reach such a simple solution).

A love smitten guy was irate
At being dumped on a "date".
The reason for his undoing,
Was his attempt at wooing -
His mate, unfortunately, was straight.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Knock knock

I haven't seen/read/heard this knock-knock joke before, so I'm going to take the credit for it until someone says different. Although, coming to think of it, it's really rather obvious, so perhaps someone else has invented it. However, here it is:

Knock knock
Who's there?
Zoe who?
Zoe Wanamaker
Wanamaker do what?

And that's how it goes :) By the way, Zoe Wanamaker is the star of the British sitcom "My Family". For the non-Brits, she's in the Harry Potter movies as Madame Hooch.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-Off at Madeleine's blog.

I really enjoyed doing this one! And I definitely had a few guys in mind when composing the limerick :)

The prompt was: "A fellow I tried to ignore".

A fellow I tried to ignore
Because he was a colossal bore
Refused to go away
(Too stupid, I daresay)
In men, traits I very much deplore.

Updated to add: I thought of a better version! Here's the new improved (or so I imagine):

A fellow I tried to ignore
Because he was a colossal bore
Didn't take the hint
(Too stupid to, I think)...
In men, traits I very much deplore.

"Hint" and "Think" don't quite rhyme, I know... but which version do you think sounds better? (My choice is pretty clear.)

I'm going to try writing Here's one for "A woman I tried to ignore":
A woman I tried to ignore
Kept on carping about my décor.
Did she have any right
To get quite so uptight
When I finally showed her the door?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Woods"

Click on the headline to go to the Sunday Scribblings website

Have you ever changed the name of a song inadvertently (either by mishearing or through simple ignorance), and even if it later you found out the actual title, you felt that your version was far more descriptive?

Well, I think I should have had the opportunity to let the Beatles know that “Norwegian Wood” should really have been “Norwegian Girl”. I mean, it was more about a girl than it was about wood – Norwegian or otherwise! He wasn’t having an affair with any wood, was he?

I may not have got the chance to say this to John Lennon, but I did say it a few years ago – in rather huffy self-defence, admittedly – to my friend Jason, a fanatical Beatles admirer, when he wouldn’t stop teasing me about my perfectly innocent mistake. Not that it got me out of the woods…

Another such occasion was a few years back further still, when I was in school. For some reason I'd got it into my head that the Def Leppard song "Pour some sugar on me" was actually "Throw some sugar on me". It didnt make much sense to me either way at the time... throw, pour - big difference!

Again, not that my mumbled explanation cut any ice with my friend S, whose amusement at the time I found to be both unwarranted and excessive. I guess he was easily amused, or there was nothing better going on in his life at that point... did I mention that he got an awful lot of entertainment from one simple mistake?

Or maybe he was high on something, come to think of it...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-Off on Madeleine Kane's blog

Last week's limerick-off pretty much impossible to do, mainly because I found it really difficult but also because I didn't have enough time to think... but this one for the prompt "A gal who was lovely and fair" practically wrote itself.

A gal who was lovely and fair
Always wore dresses that were “barely there”;
Said she, when asked why:
“It's true, I'm shy,
- but I like to make the men stare.”

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Google are at it again

It’s a clever advertising/marketing ploy, one that Google have used before with great success when they were introducing Gmail. Basically, they made Gmail “exclusive” at the start, with new members having to be “invited” – and for a while they even rationed the number of invites that each new member could issue.
It worked tremendously well, you have to admit - especially as Gmail was the first (as far as I’m aware) to offer practically unlimited “storage” as one of the main advantages. And to be fair, it WAS a big draw for me because I’d lost some emails (that I didn’t really want to lose) by not clearing the rubbish emails from my inbox.
Anyway, Google is doing it again with Google Plus. I’ve got an invite, but I haven’t checked it out yet – and I might not get the chance to do so as I understand that Google are saying even to invited “members” that there’s no room in the inn at the moment.
I won’t feel desperately out of it if I don’t get “admittance”, but I AM curious to see what Google Plus is like, to see if it’s better than Facebook. Even if it is, I might not change over to it if everybody that I want to keep in touch with continues to use FB. If they stop using FB – well, I’ll have to move, too.
Random thought: If FB stops being the flavour of the month, will Mark whatsisname become a pauper? Yeah I know... not bloody likely, although FB investors might lose out.
Mainly, I'm just tickled at how obvious Google’s marketing is, and yet people are drawn in by it – even those who can see the “exclusivity” for what it is. Me included. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Gift"

Click on the headline to go to the Sunday Scribblings site

Of all the unwanted bequests that come our way, the ones that are the least welcome are those which are passed down in our genes as dangerous inheritances for unwilling recipients - sometimes from birth, like haemophilia, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease and so on; sometimes later in life, like diabetes, heart problems, cancer, etc.

Genetic inheritance - the gift that keeps on giving down the generations...

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline to go directly to this week's Limerick-Off on Mad Kane's blog.

My rather feeble effort using the prompt "A fellow was playing with fire". Dunno why but I had some trouble trying to get words to rhyme with "fire" - and still more trouble trying to come up with a limerick that made sense. Anyway...

A fellow was playing with fire
When he called his wife a liar.
She sulked, shouted, saw red,
Banned him from the marital bed,
Making him realise the extent of her ire.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Medecin sans English?

I guess everybody in the UK must know of the surgeon who shouted at CamerClegg and their TV crew for not following hospital procedures as regards good hygiene practice. That surgeon is now on “indefinite leave” – suspicious, suspicious. I also read somewhere that the surgeon had "created a controversy" a few years ago when he complained about foreign nurses who could not understand him. Nobody mentioned the word “racist”, as far as I’m aware, but the suggestion was very much there in the way the word “controversy” was bandied about.

I don’t understand what was so controversial about what he said. If you ask me, he was making a perfectly valid point. He did not question their professionalism or basic competence – his complaint was about the very wide gap in communication. What’s the point having foreign nurses, however qualified or sympathetic they are, if they are unable to communicate competently in English, unable to understand what the doctors/surgeons/patients want of them, and unable to ask or answer questions? At the very least, they should be able to speak/understand the local language. Do the racism-mongers honestly not see any potential for disaster during an operation, say, if the surgeon’s instructions are misunderstood by the nurses, or patients are unable to get across to them the specifics of any discomfort/pain they feel?

Any foreign staff – doctors and nurses both – should have to be competent in spoken and written English if they are to work in this country. Knowing other languages would definitely be a bonus, but I personally think English is an absolute must. I just can’t imagine any logical objections to this. Can you?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A confession

Limericks aren’t easy to write
Apparently one needs to be bright;
Finding words that rhyme
Is a challenging pastime -
But sometimes, it’s an absolute delight.

Workplace woes

A gal who hated to sit
When bored, would chafe at the bit.
To her dismay, her job
Was to assist a foolish nob –
It aint no joke working with a half-wit.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Here is what you may or may not know about me…

Click on the headline for a direct link to Umm's post.

Thanks to Umm for giving me the chance to do a post that isn't a limerick!

  • I am an introvert. I chose editing over reporting (when I started out in journalism) because I very quickly discovered that I didn’t want to talk to strangers, ask intrusive questions or do any schmoozing at all whatsoever.
  • I have one very good friend from school, one very good friend from college, and a handful from the Hindu Business Line (my 2nd job). Since then, I’ve maybe made 2-3 new real-life friends, at most. What can I say, I prefer quality over quantity.
  • I like people who are outgoing and friendly. They make it easier for me to be friends with them because they take the pressure off me to be entertaining.
  • I’ve always thought I disliked the colour pink, but I find I’ve had so many pink clothes over the years – and still do - that I’m forced to conclude that I DO like pink. But my most favourite colour of all is still orange.
  • I'd love to wear high heels but my feet aren't up to it.
  • I very rarely wear lipstick but that doesn't stop me from buying them... and I always end up with the same two or three colours even though I think I've made a radical choice at the point of purchase.
  • I love different coloured writing inks - upgraded from colour pencils, which I loved till my early teens. My most favourite possession was a 60-shade colour-pencil set from Caran D’ache which I kept for many, many years after I stopped using them.
  • I still have no idea how to pronounce Caran D’ache (pronounce correctly, I mean).
  • I am always taken aback when I see my photos. Because I truly believe I look better than what the Kodak moment gives me credit for (borrowed verbatim from Umm). Mirrors deceive the eye but candid photos don’t lie.
  • I would like to be in a much better financial position than I’m in currently. Sure, money can’t make you happy or buy you love, but – at the risk of sounding smug – I AM already happy and loved. Now I’d like some money, please.
  • I have no illusions about myself or my abilities. Because the truth is that for every person that I'm better than (at anything), there are at  least double that number of people who're at least twice as good as me with only half the effort.
  • I hate - really, really hate - the thought of people being sorry for me, or worrying about me, so I find it very, very difficult to confide any real problems to anyone. I can't stop anyone from thinking what they like, but I don't like to provide personal fodder for any potential discussion.
  • I’m constantly amazed at how shallow some people are but yet think they’re deep/intelligent/funny/name your illusion. Especially funny. And constantly tempted to disabuse them of their illusions.
So, Umm... have I surprised you at all? :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-Off Monday at Mad Kane's blog

My limericks for the prompt: "A man/gal who could never say 'no'"

A man who could never say “no”
Wanted to stage a one-man show.
Asked by the director: “Can you sing?”
He coolly lied, “Why, sure thing!”
Sang a note One note, tho' - and he got the ol’ heave-ho.

A gal who could never say “no”
Was upset at being called a “ho".
Said she: “It’s not nice
To be asked my price
By all my potential beaux.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-Off Monday at Mad Kane's.

My limerick for the prompt "A man who was proud of his clout". I have to say this one came pretty easy :) I'm going to see if I can come up with more. Possibly with a gal who was proud of her clout, too.

A man who was proud of his clout
Did challenge Mohd Ali to a quick bout;
Alas for him, Cassius Clay
(As he was known in his day)
With one punch knocked him clean out.

And another (the gal didn't quite make it!):

A man who was proud of his clout
Thought he needed to standout;
He giggled and preened,
And boasted and queened -
But ev’ryone thought he’d at last come out.

And yet again - the gal made it! (I'm on a roll!):

A gal who was proud of her clout
When ignored, was inclined to pout.
At every party she’d complain,
Drinking far too much champagne -
Until, irritated, they threw her out.

Somebody stop me!:

A man who was proud of his clout
Was honestly a bit of a lout.
He would bully and tease
Imagining he was the bee’s knees -
But socially he was a washout.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline to access Mad Kane's Limerick-off Monday

My slightly risque effort of the week, using the starting line "A fellow who loved fine cuisine":

A fellow who loved fine cuisine
Always cleaned his teeth with fluorine,
And every girl that he fed
Spent the night in his bed.
His secret? “Good oral hygiene”.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Flock"

These are some of my favourite ways to say "Get lost" that are also funny:

Make like the wind and blow.
Make like a tree and leaf.
Make like a hockey stick and get the puck out of here.
Make like an egg and beat it.
Make like a banana and split.
Make like a drum and beat it.
Make like a green light and go.

My personal favourite, though (and thanks due to my husband):

Make like Jesus and get the flock outta here.

PS. If you're religious and don't wish to blaspheme while being rude, the variant is:

Make like a shepherd and... etc.

Humour ALWAYS works for me! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Currently reading...

THIS blog - Whoopee - and giving myself an asphyxiated hernia by trying not to laugh out loud for fear of alerting people to the fact that I'm enjoying it.

And by "it" I mean the blog, not my asphyxiating hernia. You would be right in thinking that strangulating a hernia in eye-watering silence is not pleasant, unless you're doing something so fun that the unpleasantness doesn't matter. Which is what I am currently doing.

Over and out.

Oh, and note that I can spell "asphyxiating" any number of times - correctly. Every. Single. Time.

Impressed much? Thought so.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

(Click on the headline to access Mad Kane's Limerick-Off Monday.)

My attempts using the starting line: "A fellow/woman went out on a date"

A fellow went out on a date
With a pretty young lady called Kate
He thought she was sweet
Polite, funny, and p’tite -
All in all, just right as his latest Playmate.


A woman went out on a date
Thinking they were going to ice-skate
When they got to the rink
She found that he did stink.
So she went home really irate.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A somewhat dismal epiphany

The pretty, slim, small, vivacious girl inside me is not going to see light of day in this lifetime.

Better luck next time around, I guess.

PS. I dont think I belive in reincarnation. But I'm not entirely sure.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

(Click on the headline to access Mad Kane's Limerick-Off Monday.)

My attempts, using the line "A gal who seemed guileless and sweet" as the start:

A gal who seemed guileless and sweet
Opted for a kooky sort of treat
Instead of coffee -
Or chocolate, or toffee
She preferred to eat – ugh – boiled sugar beet.

Or a slight variation thereof:

A gal who seemed guileless and sweet
Would find the weirdest things to eat
When it was time for dessert
She’d eschew cookies and sherbert.
Oddly, boiled sugar beet was her favourite treat.

I can't say I'm particularly pleased with either of these. I might add one or two more if I can manage to shift my brain away from boiled sugar beets.

Update: The first version, improved 100% with Madeleine's tweaks (and comments) reads thus:

"Shammy your first version is much better meter-wise, but could use some meter tinkering. Here’s one possibility:

A gal who seemed guileless and sweet
Did opt for a kooky type treat.
Not ice cream or coffee
Or chocolate, or toffee –
Her preference - ugh – boiled sugar beet."

Thanks for your help, Madeleine!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

My first limerick

I love limericks - my first introduction to them was through Edward Lear's nonsense rhymes, but soon I tracked down lots of others, some innocuous, others tongue-in-cheek naughty and still others quite X-rated. I liked them all... that is to say, I liked all the genuinely good ones that made me smile or laugh and/or admire the word-play - Ogden Nash being favourite for this!

I came across Mad Kane's Humor Blog quite by chance, and since it's pretty brilliant and she writes some damn good limericks besides, I added the site to my links. On a whim I also tried my hand at writing a limerick for one of her prompts where she gives the first line as a starting point - and here it is:

A fellow was fit to be tied
When he found that his lovely bride
Declared she was off
Because he was not a toff –
What? You think this tale isn’t bona fide?

And ere ye judge me harshly, gentle reader, please to bear in mind that it's my first (public) effort at limerickery. The way to encourage is to not laugh - that is, to not laugh unkindly. Do feel free to laugh at the humour.

Addendum: Just had a thought - what if you think it best to NOT encourage any more limerickery-buffoonery on my part? Oh the horror...

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Messenger"

I’ve been a Stephen King fan for as long as I remember, although that said, I can’t actually remember which of his books I read first, or at what age, or even how I latched on to him first. All I know is that apart from a few blips here and there (“Rose Madder”, “Gerald’s Game”), I’ve read and enjoyed every one of his books, fiction and non-fiction. Some books, of course, are way ahead of the others, but on the whole I think he’s an amazing writer. I might have said this before, but I’ve frequently found his imagery and descriptions almost poetic in their lyricism... and how I’ve wished that I had just a wee fraction of his ability to paint word-pictures! (I haven’t really stopped wishing it, actually.) Considering he’s a “horror” writer, it speaks volumes for his genius that poetry is what comes to my mind even in the midst of gore – and let’s make no bones about it, there is usually plenty of gore.

But futile wishing and hours of breathless reading aside, I’ve also gained unexpected knowledge from his books. For instance, I learnt that sparrows - those tiny, drab, nondescript, cheerfully chirpy little birds once so common in Madras - are considered to be messengers of death, sent to escort newly deceased souls to the afterlife. The novel from which I gleaned this information was “The Dark Half”, which is replete with hundreds of sparrows swooping and swirling innocuously – and yet menacingly - throughout the novel, finally taking away the evil alter ego, George Stark, to his well-deserved ending.

I love Stephen King. Long may he write.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Nearly"

What I have discovered over the years is that “nearly” doesn’t really cut it at any point, at any time, at any age - not as an excuse, not as an achievement, and not even as reassurance.

- Me, somewhat proudly: “I nearly passed my maths exam, you know”. Yeah, 38/100 may be have been a personal high (with 40 being the minimum pass mark), but “nearly” still didn’t get me a rank.

- English teacher: “Have you finished your assignment?” Me, cautiously: “Nearly.” She, incandescent: “What do you mean, nearly? Either you have, or you haven’t. Which is it?” Me: “Um… nearly have.” And that’s how I got detention on a Friday afternoon.

- “Did you win the quiz competition?” “Nearly.” “Nearly?” “Yes, we would have except for the teams in first and second place.” Riiiiight...

- Pete, reassuringly to me: “I’m nearly done”... and 3 hours later, he’s not moved so much as an inch from his workdesk, it’s past midnight, and we’re still at his office where we were only “going to stop briefly to pick up a document”.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Free"

Every single day that I was in school, no matter which school, I can’t remember the final bell ever going without the exhilarating feeling of “FREE! FREE AT LAST!” coursing through my blood, fizzing away like nitrogen bubbles and lifting my spirits. Not even the knowledge that I would be back in school the next day could take away from that joy.

Equally, I can’t remember ever imagining that adults would feel that way – because adults didn’t have exams or teachers or Zero Period, did they? (Not to worry, "Zero Period" was not anything to do with misbehaving female hormones – it was merely the school’s denomination for the unofficial but still compulsory “catch-up” class of 45-minute duration that was taken by teachers who were behind on their syllabus, before First Period officially began at 9 a.m).

Anyway, I thought of adulthood as release from the prison of schooldom, the poor deluded innocent idiot that I was. Who knew that at the age of 42, every single day come 5 p.m, I would still feel the same exhilarating feeling of “FREE! FREE AT LAST!” zip through my blood! Allright, so there is no “final bell” rung to announce the onset of freedom, and granted that there are no teachers or exams or Zero Period... but that rush of relief is very much the same.

There is one difference, though – the pure joy of “FREE! FREE AT LAST!” is tempered four days out of five by the knowledge that the next morning would see me back at my workdesk. I'm an adult, after all, and therefore unable to put off tomorrow's worries today.

On Friday evenings, though, all bets are off.