11 Years of This URL

I have just renewed my website URL for the 11th year running. Awakeanddreaming.org is booked for the next year, 365 days from November 14th. I first booked this URL back in November of 2006 just a couple of months after I made the move from Thrikkakara to this apartment in Kacheripady. A friend of my cousin had started his own internet website service and webspace reselling business and I contacted him to set me up with a URL. I called him up and he asked me which url I wanted and I checked out a few.

It’s been over a decade so I can’t remember exactly all of them but I think I checked out and came up with 4-5 final choices :

  • countroshculla.com
  • roshanmenon.com
  • rgkonline.com
  • rgkmenon.com
  • awakeanddreaming.com

I finally decided to get awakeanddreaming but couldn’t get the .com version. So it was a toss up between awakeanddreaming.net or awakeanddreaming.org and I should have taken the .net but they had a discount for the .org URLs and I though, what the heck. I remember I had to pay him through the money order option for the first couple of years as netbanking was still new for us.

And like that this name stays on.

Social Media I Use

I dunno about you but I am addicted to Social Media – to the point that I prefer to stay indoors and not be very social and instead connect via my laptop or my smartphone.

Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram – these are the big four that I am usually always online at when I am not at work. Sometimes at work I can still check Facebook and Twitter. And ofcourse Flickr has all my photos that I shoot on a regular basis. I have an on and off love affair with Pintrest and even went a whole year or more without access it. But I am back on it and I love it again. I have two Tumblr accounts – one for general stuff and the other for just Star Trek – but I haven’t used it in about 3 years.

Something that is not the norm as far as Social Media is concerned is 500px which is a photo sharing website and it is awesome but they recently reduced the free upload option to 7 a week instead of the 20 pics a week which came with the free account. The payment for a year, with a discount that I have is almost $60 and since I live in India that is a big amount to pay for uploading pics, especially since I haven’t sold any yet.

Youtube is ofcourse my jam! It has replaced tv for me and I love it for the vlogs, the professional done channels and the music, especially the live concert clips which is amazing for me.

The Most Memorable Thing I Got In The Mail

What’s the Most Memorable Thing You Ever Got in the Mail?

I only started getting things in the mail in the past few years, like 2011 or 2012. And it’s only since 2015 that it has been on a regular basis. So a couple of hard drives, 3 I think, 3 phones and a bunch of other things from juice and snacks to mugs and decorative stuffs for the house.

But among all of these the best things that I have gotten in the mail – or courier/carrier – are my Star Trek starship models. Specifically the ones that Eaglemoss makes as part of the Official Star Trek Starship collection. These are things I dream about and marvel for hours and hours on my tv screen or on my computer. To have them in my hands and displayed on my shelves is a big dream come true.

So the most memorable thing I ever got in the mail is the iconic USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. The one that you see in 7 seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation and the movie Star Trek : Generations. Which is probably the best of all starships out there in the known universe. My excitement and pure joy still amazes me when I look back at the video of me unboxing it.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Wednesday Out For A Movie

Well I am back to the evening shifts as of yesterday. I think I prefer the evening shifts for this process and company because I usually will get enough time to relax and rest, watch some tv for a while before I have to go to work. Day shifts take a lot outta me as I end up having to stay back at the office for 10,11,12, 13 or 14 hours at a stretch and then having to come to work at 8:30 am or 9:30 am still tired and sleepy.

This Monday & Tuesday as I had the morning shift I had more time yesterday as a)I left the office early as I wasn’t feeling very well and left at 5 pm and b) I was working a 5:30 pm yesterday. So I had time to head to Lulu Mall for a 1pm movie (Thor : Ragnarok) and then have a late lunch before heading to work and reaching a half hour early. The movie was good and the mall wasn’t as crowded on a Wednesday as it is on the weekend but still a lot of people were in it.

After the movie – and I just reached there in time to deposit my bag at the counter and buy popcorn and a large Pepsi and stepped in as they started the commercials. Ofcourse, I just had to get a seat next to two lovey dovey people who talked a bit during the movie and even hugged at one point – at the interval and I happened to stretch and look that side and then quickly looked away! Can’t stare at it for too long, just like the sun.

Park Life?

Do You Hang Out in the Park?

Not really. Infact, never. But I wish I had a nice park nearby where I can go and hand out but I would want plenty of shade and it would have to be a cool breezy day. There is only one proper park near me and one a little further away and both are not places that I would want to spend too much time in.

I guess if we had a lot of greenery and there were some nice benches or seats where one can relax for a long time (I don’t want to sit on a hard bench and hurt my bum) but I wouldn’t mind it as long as I don’t sweat a lot as it’s too hot and humid. I would take a good book and sit there for a while. If I had a dog, I would want a dog park near me so I can throw a ball for him/her to fetch or throw a frisbee for him/her to catch.

I used to go to a walkway on Marine Drive which is concrete and inlayed blocks of bricks with some seating and benches here and there. There is a small mall next to it and you can either sit there in their food court’s air-conditioned seating – better seats and a table in front of you and food or drink and be near the walkway and stare at the Arabian sea – or sit on one of the seats out in the open in the walkway. Both are enjoyable.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Time Is A Bitch

How Good Are You at Time Management?

Not that good most of the time. I used to be able to do it a lot better but at times I feel like I am pretty bad at it. I guess it’s because I do not prioritize properly and end up doing a lot of things at once and then struggling to finish stuff at the time that it needs to be done. And I can also procrastinate a bunch.

So I guess I should do better in that regard and I can be better organized and get things done in a faster and more efficient method. And it will be less stressful and painful for me. One day, I will manage things better.

Until that time, I will struggle.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Languages

Do you speak a second language? What inspired you to learn it?

I speak three languages. English and Malayalam fluently and I struggle with Hindi, but I can understand a lot more than I can speak it. So that’s three. I cannot read or write Malayalam as I never learned how to. That’s what I speak on a regular basis but Hindi hasn’t been a language I speak on a daily basis or even a once in a while thing.

I wish I could speak a lot more of Hindi and be more fluent. I wish I could speak several other Indian languages. I wish I could speak French – my fav language – , Italian, Russian and many other languages. KLINGON! Oh I wish I could swear in Klingon – it would be glorious! I want to be able to speak to anyone in the world in the language that they grew up speaking in.

I think I will try to learn Klingon. Subtitles? We don’t need no stinking subtitles!

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF OCTOBER WRITING PROMPTS at The SitsGirls

Laptop, Wifi, Coffeeshop & You

It has been so long, longer than I can even remember since I just went into a cafe with a laptop and sat there for a couple of hours browsing through the internet and drinking coffee. I think the last time I did that was more than 4 or 5 years ago?

I used to take my laptop – not my 2 year old Dell but my previous laptop which was a Lenovo – with me to many places. Mostly to one of the cafes I used to frequent. The two Cafe Coffee Days in the city, or Coffee Cube which has free Wifi or the Barista that shut down a few years ago – they also had free Wifi. I used to order a cup or two of coffee, a sandwich or a muffin, maybe a small bottle of water and for two hours or so, be online. It’s the same as doing it from home but you get better coffees.

I kinda miss that time. I loved doing that. I’ve even taken my laptop to a couple of restaurants and to a bar a few times. Didn’t use it much there but atleast a half hour or so. Which was fun. But coffee in a coffeeshop and free Wifi go hand in hand. There is one place that has decent food and has free Wifi – the others have closed – and I think I will pick a Saturday and go there with my Dell.

Home In A Jiffy

I am beside myself with glee. Well not glee exactly. It is a sadden sort of happiness, if I can put it that way. Today, after a morning shift, I am at home in the evening at 6:17 pm and sitting in my room a few minutes later. This never happens to me for the past several months. Usually I hate working day shifts – meaning 8:30 am to 5:30 pm or 9:30 am to 6:30 pm – because I never get to leave the office on time.

There is always something or the other, some work or the other than comes up and I stay back for 2, 3 or 4 hours. And I come home late and go straight to bed, watch a little tv and fall asleep with the lights still on. I also end up waking up in the middle of the night, like around 2 or 3 and realize that the lights are still on and my laptop is still on and I switch everything off and get back to sleep because I need to be up by 6:00 am.

But yesterday I left by 6:15 am because a college was on his last working day there and I wanted to speak to him for a while. With the rains and it being rush hour at 6:30 pm, I took almost 90 minutes to get home. Today I took less than 30 minutes to get home and made a large coffee and some Oreo type cookies and enjoying being online. This is new. This is sweet. Simple yet so enjoyable.

Rain, Traffic, 9 Hour Work & Country Music

Now that is some rain! Last Friday and then last night and today. It’s been raining since mid-afternoon. It was raining cats and dogs and there was thunder and lightning in the middle of the day. It let up at around 6pm, enough for me to try and make it back home in an Uber.

Some areas of the city haven’t seen that much rain but in Kakkanad it was pretty heavy. I finished my work at 5:30 pm (having come in for work for the 8:30 am shift) and spent sometime having a cup of coffee with a colleague who is leaving us and it was his last day in the office. After that it was down to the rain and looking for an Uber.

We braved the traffic and it took much longer for him to get to my office gate and for us to get on the way to my apartment. And it may have cost me a lot more but I just wanted to get back home and relax in my lungi and in my room and have some black coffee sitting at the laptop and listening to Blackhawk – a country music band.

McDonald’s India Has Some Dumb Menu Items

Went into McDonald’s (Vennala) this evening on the way back from work and saw that they had new stuff on the menu. Sweet! thought I. But nay….I was disappointed soon.

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The Cheesy Italiano Chicken – it is enough for Italy to declare war on India. A dry chicken patty with some melted mozzarella and what looks like Italian dry powdered herbs. Or McD’s stole some oregano and chilli flake packets from Dominos and powered them even further and put it on this patty with a couple of small pieces of onions. Voila – instant Italian classic…NOT!

IMG_20171028_182839591

It was kinda bland and disappointing. Bun was multigrain or multiseasame or something stolen from Subway. It totally felt like something from Subway without all the options for toppings and sauces. This is part of McDonald’s India’s new “Flavours without Borders” menu – More like Borders without Flavours!! They describe the burger as – “juicy chicken patty, sprinkled with aromatic Italian herbs, layered with a rich and creamy onion-cheese sauce and shredded onions in a square toasted bun.” Seriously??? The preparation looks more like some guy in Bombay who was smoking some fine weed and coming up what he thought was “Italian”.

IMG_20171028_183828918

They also had a new McFlurry – Phirni McFlurry a rice pudding dessert prepared to perfection with delicate flavours of rich condensed milk along with rice bits. It was ok but not as good as the others that they have!

Sunday, Monday Off

So I am working today, a Saturday. Has the world gone insane?

No, not really. As I had to take an emergency leave on Wednesday due to getting hurt and swelling just above the knee, we had to cancel the training for my current training batch of new hire employees. That was to have been day 1 of their training on the product & process. So we have to work this Saturday to compensate. I would have just taken a leave if the batch wasn’t scheduled to finish their training in 10 working days.

So I work today but I will be taking Sunday and Monday off and then next weekend I will be working on Saturday and only taking Sunday off. Bummer! I wanted to do the 1 day weekend thingy this week but my trainees have to go home to their hometowns and some of them live a little far away so they need two days off this week. Oh well! I guess I will go out tomorrow, I could use a haircut. Actually, I am over due for a haircut.

And then maybe I will go for a pizza or a couple of beers. I dunno. If I feel lazy on Sunday then I will go out on Monday morning. I will be working evening next week so that’s something.

The Best Infomercials That Tempted Me

 Have you ever bought one of those “as seen on tv” items? Was it worth it?

No never though I have been tempted on many occasions. There have been a few that have caught my eye, but most have been ridiculously priced that I have y doubts about them. Anyway, I will tell you about a couple that I did want to buy.

There is this mop – can’t remember the name – that is almost futuristic in it’s application and the technology that it uses. I remember watching it with my mom one late evening and I was asking her if she wanted to buy it. She did and so did I but we had our doubts about the genuineness of the sellers on the infomercial.

And then there is the Magic Bullet! Truly the best infomercial on the planet ever. I mean the almost 30 minute video – which was shown here in clips of 8 or 10 minutes each is hilarious, though it surely wasn’t meant to be. But it has become my favourite and even a nostalgic favourite of mine. I want to buy the Magic Bullet someday.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR DECEMBER at The SitsGirls

Overtime

Jesus fucking Christ! What is the point of this all? Another day at work and another 13 fucking hours at the office! This is getting beyond any sort of reasonable expectation. Work like a dog and do you get overtime – hell no!

This is getting a little out of hand. You can’t work your regular shift and then 4 hours extra and add an hour and a half of getting to and from the office to your home. I am getting rather tired and my health is getting affected badly. And I and am getting rather irritable and short tempered because of this nonsense.

Anyways I think we are coming to the end of this drivel. By the end of next week it will be done and I think we can get back to normal working hours and more peaceful working conditions.

If I Had $1,000,000

What would you do if someone just gave you $1 million?

I’d hug them and cry and hug them again. And make coffee for them. That would be the nicest thing anyone would have done for me.

1 million dollars US is approximately is 6.7 crores in India rupees. WOW! I would be rich. Well not by too much but still decently rich. Rich enough to buy a house or a nice, big apartment for my folks and one for myself! And I can decorate the homes with some really nice and comfy furniture as well as get the best gadgets for me and my folks.

I could also hire some good help for cleaning and cooking and afford some nice holidays. And I could retire and live in peace. That’s what I would do. Invest some money and live off the returns.

Prompt from Daily Teaching Tools

Worked In Sales Once Upon A Time

Have you ever worked in sales? Tell us your best story about that job!

Yes I have. One time it was direct sales but I only did that for about 3-4 months. I worked for a small marketing firm in Palarivattom and our first client was cable tv & ISP giant Asianet. They had started taking in advertisements on their website and for a measly sum of just Rs.365 a year (Re.1 a day) they would host an add to that business or store with the address and advertising their wares or service.

Now this was back in early 2000s – 2001 I guess and most people hadn’t gotten into the internet and websites and stuff over here, except for more younger people. A lot of the companies and businesses me and my colleagues went to were skeptical about websites and some even thought that the internet wouldn’t last! I met this teacher/professor of English, who had a business in the city for classes in English, who actually told me that he was aware about everything (his words, not mine) and told me that due to the Y2K problem the internet would die down in a few months (doesn’t he look stupid?)

We also did marketing for another online based advertising company. These two combined was my first experience with sales. We got very few sales but it was a good experience. I learned a bit from that job and today I look back on those days with some fondness.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR MARCH at The SitsGirls

1986

What was your life like when you were ten years old?

Let’s 10 years old means August 2, 1986 to August 1, 1987. I was still living in Kuwait with dad and mom when I turned 10. That would be my final year living in that country before we moved to India for good. I had joined a new school, New Indian School, for the 5th grade and that was a different experience too. Because classes started at 12 pm and ended at 6 pm. Plus they segregated the girls and the boys – the girls came at 6am and were never in the same classes as the guys.

That was weird especially since I came from Carmel school for grades KG till the 4th grade where girls were a majority. In fact in the 4th grade, it was 6 boys versus 40 girls or something like that. From that to just other boys in the class was a bit strange but at that age, none of us cared. We talked about….stuff that boys at the age of 10 talk about (so far back that I can’t remember) and our fav tv shows and sports. The World Cup in Mexico was in 1986 and we were all mesmerized by Diego Maradonna.

I watched my fav cartoons and tv shows. I played football with my friends. At my building I would play board games and video games with my friends who lived there. We bought candy and soft drinks and collected comics. All the things a 10 year should be doing. Those were simpler and happier times.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF JULY WRITING PROMPTS at The SitsGirls