Thursday, August 28, 2008

Quote for the day

"Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a starter home. Choose dental insurance, leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose your future. But why would anyone want to do a thing like that?" -- from the movie Trainspotting.

The weight of sign-offs

I think when you write someone (a personal note), the way you sign-off says a lot. Just those few words before your name at the end of a note can change the whole tone of a message.

There are some so neutral that I wonder why people bother writing them at all, like "Best", "Cheers" (I hate that one), "Regards".

Then there are those that are friendly but still pretty neutral (however better than the above): "Take care", "See you soon", "Till later", "Stay in touch", in Spain "besos" (kisses), or "abrazo"(hug).

Then there are the common but warm ones that no matter how unoriginal they are, it's just awesome when you read them at the end of a personal note: "Love", "Much love", "Lots of love", "I miss you", "Fondly", "Thinking of you", "Pxx", "Yours" -- one of my bosses when I wrote for Gridskipper used to sign off with "Yours". Coming from a boss (who I'd never met), I first thought it was weird, but then I grew to like it and it opened my relationship with him. In Spain you have ones like "amor" (love) and "con cariño" (with affection). I'm not much of a romantic but I'm a sucker for warm sign offs.

Then there are the creative ones -- which no matter what they mean, or are meant to mean -- are just awesome (well, most of them anyway). My brother signs off his emails to me "Lovelove" (I've stolen that from him and use it often too). There was a time in my life where I used to sign off "squillions of thoughts". Yeah...ugh. I think I also used to put a smiley face next to it. Super ugh, eh? (Oh do you know on my old passport my official signature has a smiley face under it? Omg. So embarrassing when I had to sign documents in the bank, or cheques, or anywhere.) Other ones like "missing you like madness"and "craving you" hit the spot but of course, they're very special sign offs.

I have a co-worker who signs off "Chaufa". Chaufa is chinese fried rice in South America, and since it sounds like "Ciao", a pretty novel way to sign off, I like it and use it often too.

Lately I've been receiving emails from somebody who always signs off differently and like nothing I've received before. "Baisers" (best kisses in French?), "Inspiration 'n colors", "Tenderness 'n flavors". Yeah...oooooooooooooooo. I'm not thinking much of it but I think creative sign-offs are awesome, the more original, the better.

Have any creative sign-offs to share?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another "life is short" reminder

From Gadling: "Dave Freeman, the co-author of 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Travel Events You Just Can't Miss unexpectedly died on August 17. He fell and hit his head in his own house. He was only 47."

Crap. So sad.

You can read the full post here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quote for the day

"Procrastination isn't the problem, it's the solution. So procrastinate now, don't put it off."
-- Ellen DeGeneres

Yaay? :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Live. NOW.

Two days ago, a Spanair flight from Madrid to the Canary Islands swerved off the runway, caught fire, and blew up. 153 of the 173 people on board died. I've covered most of the factual details on Gadling and PlanetEye.

I'm quite shaken from the news of this accident. I could have been on that flight, just as much as everyone else I know in the city. It puts back into perspective your life and how you're living it. And the wrenching thought that when it's your time to die, there is nothing you can do about it.

As I wrote on PlanetEye: One minute you are boarding a plane to go on vacation, the next minute your body is found burnt, bleeding and dead. Makes you think about your life and how you are living it. When people quote me "life is short", as much as I agree, the optimist that I am, I like to believe that life is long too...but perhaps I'm wrong.

Conclusion: The only thing we have is Now. Now. Now. NOW.

So guys, live and love. NOW.Don't wait till tomorrow. You might not have it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

12-hours with Timothy Ferriss

The September issue of the The Men's Journal runs a feature story on Timothy Ferriss, one of the most inspiring men I've come to know about lately. A must read when you have some time.

I've read his book "4-Hour Work Week", and was blown away. As I wrote on Vagablogging: "For those not familiar with the book: it inspires you to be part of the “new rich” who work 4-hours a week, are independent of location, and earn enough money to do whatever they want to, e.g. travel the world, speak Chinese, etc. It shatters the notion of the conventional rich, who slog their whole life to earn mountains of money, only to retire old and unfit to do anything they wanted to. A BMW is bought with their hard-earned money, the rest of which stays in the bank as the owner wiles away his retirement vegetating and getting fat on some beach, on the road to ultimate boredom."

A quote from the article in the Journal: "Nothing bothers me more than sloth. The objective is to fix mistakes of ambition and not make mistakes of sloth. I work my ass off." Read it!


What, now "plurking" is the thing to do? I can't keep up with all this new stuff! I'm just going to stick to Twitter for now. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Condom ring tone: Seriously?

2.5 million people in India suffer from HIV/Aids; using a condom is taboo (I didn't know that -- I thought it was the lack of sex education that was the main cause). Anyway, what's a good way to spread awareness? A ringtone that sings "condom, condom." Really? Yes, really.

According to AP: "A ring tone is a very public's a way to show you are a condom user and you don't have any issues with it."

An initiative by the BBC World Service Trust (funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) the ring tone was launched on August 8 and has already been downloaded 60,000 times.

And guess what, shockingly, IT'S AN AWESOME ring tone. It's just the word "condom" sang about 50 times. Full points on creativity for the composers. You can listen to it here.

No I would never use it as a ring tone. Nor am I sure if it will serve a measurable purpose. But I still think it's awesome.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Quote for the day

"I love the detachment of cats, their willingness to be loved but not to respond beyond a certain, very clearly defined point; no cat ever gave its entire heart to any human being."-- Bernard Levin in "On Becoming Fearless" by personal idol Arianna Huffington.

I hate cats. They're losers. And evil.

Off to Murcia this weekend. Back on Monday.
Enjoy your weekend. Don't be good ;-)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is Phelps Superhuman?

In five days 23-year old American swimmer Michael Phelps has won five races and set five world records. He now has 11 career gold medals making him the most "medalled" Olympian of all time, i.e. since 1896.

From Fox Sports: "I figured out Michael Phelps. He's not from another planet. He's from the future. His father made him and then made a time machine. Sixty years from now he is an average swimmer, but he has come back here to mop up."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Trip To The End Of The World

I wrote this about a trip I took over a year ago. I don't think I ever posted it anywhere, or did anything with the piece -- so thought I'd put it up here.


There are some trips I do for the sheer ‘that would just be cool’ sake of doing them. My trip to the end of the world was one of them.

Yes, there is a place called the ‘end of the world’ or Finisterre. Located on the western most tip of Spain, it’s part of the Galician province. Apart from pilgrims who land-up there to throw their boots into the sea after doing the ‘Camino de Santiago’, it’s a secret well kept.

As you can imagine, with the name like ‘the end of the world’, the place hypes itself. Identified as the end of the world in medieval times before Columbus came and changed that, it’s hard not to still consider it just that.

So while pilgrims with worn out feet arrived to Finisterre after days of walking, I got off the bus from A Coruña, munching a Snicker.

Arriving at 2:00pm, I disembarked at the port of what seemed like an unexciting, ugly, village. A few houses, a port, lots of construction and tourists, were all I could see. Not allowing that to disappoint me, I immediately began to walk towards the lighthouse at the tip of Finisterre.

The walk is about an hour from the port; it’s along a highway which runs on the ‘Coast of Death’. The walk is pleasant with a spectacular view. You will pass a church, a cemetery where the graves look like wardrobes facing the sea, and a fresh water source where you can stop for a drink. My excitement soared when I saw the lighthouse approaching. This was it; I would be at the historic ‘end of the world’ in less than a few minutes.

And there I was.

But it was dead. The lighthouse was ugly. The view was fine, but nothing I hadn’t seen on the way there. And there was a steel boot. Fixed on a stone overlooking the coast, it represented the pilgrim’s shoe that is thrown over sea so that its owner can be redeemed of his sins.

I sat there for 5-minutes to ponder. Not inspired, all I could think about was the elaborate 6-type recycling system they had put at the ‘end of the world’.

The next bus was in an hour, I decided to catch it back to A Coruña where I would go to the captivating Torres de Hercules for a walk and an ice-cream.

On a concluding note: go to Finisterre only if you want to say that you have been ‘to the end of the world’, otherwise, don’t bother.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

From a salsera to a salsero, with love

Dear Salsero,

We girls love dancing with you guys, but there are some things that we cannot bear which is why we choose to avoid dancing with you again, and you call us salsa snobs. Here are some tips that will change your luck on the dance floor:
  • Cut your nails. They HURT when you hold our hands and scratch us while dancing.
  • We don't care if you sweat, but it's a big problem if you smell. Use deodorant, carry an extra shirt, and PLEASE chew gum.
  • Listen to the music and enjoy it while you dance with us.
  • We don't care how many complicated steps you know. Don't experiment dance-Twister with us.
  • We are more delicate than you realise. Don't treat us like rusted machinery that needs to be pulled and rammed to function. Be gentle.
  • Try to realise when you step on our feet, and acknowledge it -- that makes it OK.
  • Do not throw us up in the air. WE HATE THAT.
  • No more than 6 spins please. And after those spins, don't let go of us -- we are slightly dizzy and may fall.
  • It is fundamental you protect us from being hit and stomped on by other dancers close by. In other words, if there is limited space don't use us to make space.
  • The first time you dance with us, keep a wee bit of personal space and don't try to shove your leg between ours. Odds are the second time we dance we will let you do that willfully. However, that does NOT mean we want to go home with you or even talk to you.
  • Don't try to feel us up, we are not stupid and we will tell the rest of the girls not to dance with you the creep.
  • Don't try to give us a lesson while you dance with us. If we want lessons we go to classes.
  • Lastly, look at us when you dance.
Happy dancing.

Monday, August 11, 2008

How will India perform at the 2008 Olympics?

Abhinav Bindra just won India its first individual gold medal at the Olympics, and the first gold in 28 years since the Men's Hockey team won the gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Is there more hope for India? Or will this be a repeat of the 2004 Olympics where India came back with one silver medal?

As India is booming economically, dominates the world technologically, scores a nuclear power deal with the US, has already conquered the world of feminine beauty (5 Miss World titles and 2 Miss Universe titles), as well as film (Bollywood is one of the largest film producers in the world and the largest in terms of number of films produced), why is the country so dead when it comes to the Olympic Games?

Here's a great article in Asia Times that gives some insight.

John Mayer: Free Falling

From his new album: "Where The Light Is", cover of Tom Petty's "Free Falling". Very Dave Matthews, but awesome. Check him out playing it live here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Me Time Thoughts

It's been a while since I've had a lot of time to myself. Pure, selfish, alone time. It's almost been liberating in a way. Like I'm allowing myself to be in a perpetual daze as I look for my "quan". (Oh how I love that word).

I'm a very gregarious person. I love to meet new people, I love to go out, I love to be doing a million social things at a time. But these days I'm just so content being with myself. And that doesn't necessarily mean being alone all the time. I've met more people in the last few weeks than I have in ages, and even transcended into new and special levels of friendship with some. But at all times, I've very much been with myself. It's like I've entered this pensive phase that I'm reveling in, and I know that I have to revel in it to get out of it. Dare I say it's been glorious in many ways.

Madrid's calmness in August helps.

I'm also realising that midst the beauty of change, how awesome it is to have a few permanent things. They won't always be permanent, but are for the time. I refer to them as permanent because they are very deeply and strongly rooted, hence not easy to change. There's a very warm and safe feeling about those things, and now I'm taking refuge in them by reconnecting and just being.

I'm talking a completely different language today, eh? Well it's different to me too, and too darn vague for comfort. But I'm not rattled.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Teaching English in Japan :)

Ok, ok, I know, we're all going to hell.

Emirates A380. Whoa.

Although the news has been impossible to miss, for those of you who have missed the hoo-haa over the new Emirates A380, here's a great post with pictures and videos of the new aircraft. Pretty effing awesome.

I've lived in Dubai for 6 years, my parents still live there, yet I've never flown Emirates. Sacrilege, eh?


I met him on a train to Valencia about a year and a half ago. I was given the privilege (?) to be seated next to him on the way to AND from the city.

A madrileño, 32-years old, multicoloured piercing in chin, pop-rock singer/guitarist, filmmaker, novelist, and Osho follower, he was visiting his girlfriend in Valencia. He was decent company, and we had lots to talk about. We talked and talked. After about 8 hours of conversation, of course we exchanged numbers. Turns out he also lived down the road from me. What are the odds!

Back in Madrid, he begins calling me. He calls and calls. And calls and calls. And calls and calls until the only way to stop him calling is to answer (super-pesado as you would say in Spanish). The number of calls turned me off; I would answer one in 10 calls, and I never returned the others. Of course, because I was trying to avoid him, I would often bump into him at the post office, or tobacco shop, or local bar, where I would make a million excuses for not answering his million calls. I really didn't care though.

A year of dodging his calls and bumping into him, a few months ago I ran into him with his girlfriend at the time, in the metro. We exchanged pleasantries and somehow ended up deciding to start playing tennis together.

Getting back into the game has been the best thing I've done in a while. He makes for a great tennis partner; often annoying, but overall tolerable. The tennis works. He often brings friends to watch us play. Weird, but I don't care. They all seem nice and don't interfere. He keeps trying to get me to hang out after tennis, but honestly I have no interest.

But his calls don't stop. He still calls and calls. He calls until I pick up. He speaks at a supersonic speed on the phone and I never understand what he says. I get sick of asking him to repeat himself, and after realising that he doesn't really say anything of consequence, I pretend I understand him and leave it at that. His conversations are normally about a movie he watched, tennis, his upcoming mini-vacation, and something about an "agency".

Yesterday, slightly bored, when he called I decided to listen. He was on a job on behalf of this "agency" in Alicante, in a luxury villa, in a jacuzzi, with 3 girls. I was all ears.

Me: "Who are these girls?"
Him: "Ah, some girls from the agency."
Me: "Urrr...ok."
Him: Yeah, I have to look after them and entertain them. They are really nice girls, so it's fun.
Me: "Right."
Him: "Why don't you come here for the weekend? It's a great place, lots of room. I have lots of time to chill, so yeah, come hang out."
Me: "Urrr...thanks for the invite. I will let you know if I fancy it. But didn't you say you are working?"
Him: "Well, yeah, but it's not really work you know. It's easy. And it pays well. It's helping me pay off my debts."
Me: "Cool. Well I hope the girls are hot atleast."
Him: "Yeah, they're young and pretty. In fact, you should consider being part of this agency."
Me: "Right."
Me: "I gotta go. Call me for tennis when you get back."
Him: "Cool. Have a great week."

I hang up with him and try to understand what he's just told me. And then it registers, but with doubts, of course.
Is he a male prostitute?
Is he a pimp?
Is he looking after female prostitutes, or "luxury escorts", while they're on a job?

He is a nice person. He isn't good-looking, or well-built, and is often on sedatives. He is a bit weird and moody at times but not threatening, or unpleasant. I am no one to judge him. If it works for him, good for him. I'm just happy I have a tennis buddy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My Wordle

This is my Wordle. A word-tag-cloud-design thing made from the most frequently used words in my blog. Yup, procrastinating bigtime.

It's not clear at all though :( I wish I used cooler colours and font. I saved it in haste and there's no edit option. Argh. Anyway, if any of you are bored enough to want to look at this image more closely, click on it!

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