Thowing Shit at the Wall: I should be doing actual stuff right now

WordPress changed its layout for writing stuff.

And, so it seems, the fonts. Which really sucks, I was just getting used to the older format.

Ignore the fonts now. Let’s talk layout. Gone is the distinct box in which one would write. It’s been replaced – the whole screen is now a blank canvas (are they taking the metaphor too far? Perhaps), and the formatting option occupies the single distinct portion of this blank page. It sort of stands out now. Looks like it’s floating mid-air. Interesting. Was this the intention of the page designers? I’m guessing it was; after all, WordPress isn’t some small niche thing on the Internet, any minor change shall affect the workflow of thousands – and stuff like this? It’s a completely different experience for everyone who writes semi-regularly. This redesign is sure to have been a major event in the internal running of the company, spanning several months at the least. I had something more to say but I’m forgetting what it is. Not a good sign.

Next up: the fonts. You know, when I started typing this out I thought that the font had changed. After a decently sized block of text, I no longer think so. It’s definitely the same font I used before. It’s possible that I thought so because I was looking at some of my older posts. The first one, especially: it was done on another editor and later copy-pasted onto the box, so it’s no surprise that the font type and size are all different. Long story short, the font type for the editor hasn’t changed. The headline’s may have, though – I can’t really check, never really spent long enough staring at my headings to differentiate in between them (I’m 98% sure there’s a grammatical error in that sentence). Point is, nobody cares.

When I was talking about the layout, I completely forgot about the rest of the page. Silly me. Anyway, as I was saying, the writing area is not the only new thing. The sidebar has shifted to the left.

Yes, folks. The all-important sidebar (no sarcasm intended) has moved from the left of the screen to the right, and honestly, this is the biggest and most noticeable change for obvious reasons. Opening the publisher to this change was quite a disorienting experience. I don’t know what else to say about this, so, MOVING ON.

The sidebar appears to have some features added. Nobody cares it’s late gotta go bye.

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Throwing shit at the Wall: Day 3

Or, how I consistently manage to screw up the simplest deadlines.

I was supposed to start working on this 50 minutes back. Post lunch drop is a real thing. I’ll have to come up with some fancy latin term for “post lunch drop” – makes for a better excuse when people ask me why I can’t schedule properly. I’d use Google Translate, but there’s no way for me to tell how accurate that’ll be; I still remember the mess it made of English-Bengali and English-Hindi translations. Does anybody know latin well enough to help? Preferably within the next week. Until then, I’ll try translate anyway.

Quick tests using phrases I know first. Let’s start with something simple, like “die for my country”. Should return Pro patria mori, or at least so say Wilfred Owen and Horace (ISC yay).

screenshot-from-2017-02-22-14-55-56

Great. Dulce et Decorum also returns “Sweet and befitting”, so that’s good. In a totally unrelated issue, could someone tell me why this is the same.

screenshot-from-2017-02-22-14-57-54

The english book says it should work out. Maybe it’s a contextual thing? Gotta try that out, but I’ll do it at the end. On to the point!

“Post lunch performance drop” isn’t working out. I mean, it is, but the translation is far too long. I need something easy to say like post meridian, I’m not some latin scholar. Let’s try Post lunch lethargy. Hm. Check that I’m using lethargy correctly. Yes, google says so. Great, now translate.

screenshot-from-2017-02-22-15-02-34

Perfect.

It’s a bit of a mouthful, but short enough for a 2 second limit and pretentious enough to qualify for something pretentious, I forget the exact nature of what I’m talking about. Either way (where’s the choice here?), it’s a usable phrase that was hopefully a decent translation. Maybe I shouldn’t have compared it to Bengali/Hindi. Different regions, different priorities, and what not. Then again, if it is wrong, could some latin-literate reader help (I know they’re non existent in my case but let me talk hypothetically dammit)?

I was supposed to consider contents of my discalimer but I’m already 7 minutes past my deadline.

About that contextual phrase translation idea – let’s try it out.

screenshot-from-2017-02-22-15-09-24

Uh huh.

The Romans used Fatherland? Didn’t know that. Hold on.

Wikipedia says it’s a long series of events and things. Never mind.

Also, this.

Throwing shit at the Wall : Day 2

As it turns out, people do read their mails. Weird. What truly surprises me here is not their apparent dedication to obsessively checking mail, but their willingness to venture beyond the reasonably well curated Primary inbox provided by GMail into the mess of the “Social” tab that is typically full to the brim with a variety of notifications from various Social Networking sites, and fishing out the ones sent by WordPress. There are a few inferences that can be made from these facts, but I’m too lazy to figure them out right now.

A major issue I’m facing right now is the question of what I should write. My current style works well enough for now – commenting on completely random shit all the time – but it won’t last. I can only fling shit at the wall for so long. Ideally, this should work for simulating the freefall stages in examination essay composition, but it’s not quite that. After all, even there there’s a structure, a certain goal I’m working towards, points I’ll eventually have to hit in my slow ramble forward to make for a coherent argument – and this is hardly a proper representation of that form. Sure, I’m rambling, but every point seemingly brought up comes out of the blue, there is no predetermined  structure forcing a specific path or writing style. The words I use have nothing to do with the point – for that matter, there is no point to make. Or is there?

Okay, so this is going to be significantly shorter as I just removed three paragraphs of pointless rambling. I’m overusing the word ramble. Point being, writing stuff with no set goal is annoying, possibly pointless, and terrible to read. I, will, overuse, the, comma, take, that. Got that out of the way. Even yesterday’s narrative had a basic plot/narrative – me talking to a bunch of (as I thought) non-existent strangers about conjunctions and google search and whatnot. However, I learnt that these people did exist. Quite annoying , and a major reason I’d considered turning this into a private post. But hell, let it be.

I’m regretting that decision already, but I’ll have to commit to it for at least today.

So to solve that issue of mindless talk, I’ve decided that I’ll start writing on specific topics a few days earlier than planned. The initial plan was to do the flingshit thing for a few days for the whole freefall issue, but it does get boring after a while. Either that, or I’m just having a bad stretch today – but that isn’t important. The question we must all ask ourselves is: do I make those private? I mean, if I don’t, it will start showing up when you look for very specific ISC essay topics – my ICSE ones already do; and this is decidedly not a good thing. The essays are/will be very obviously practice tasks, and not some googlden(notatypo) standard for board examinations. If you want that, go to Sparknotes. Wait, does sparknotes provide essays?

Actually, scratch the going to sparknotes bit. Their clickbait on the side can get really annoying. It’s designed  to destract. Although to be fair that is their target. Wait, what was I talking about again? Ah right, specific essays. Another issue with them is that they aren’t really an expression of how I feel about the topic – they may be, sometimes, but for the most part it’s whatever argument can be dressed up and presented the best. That being said, my class 10 essays are a national embarrassment.

Maybe I’ll include a disclaimer before each essay. Yeah, that might work. I’ll have to decide on the contents of it later – hey, maybe I’ll do another flingshit day so I can spend half an hour just talking about that. Why not make it private, you ask? Well, people who see them usually have some comments to make – helps. There’s also the bit where I kind of like seeing the page stats provided by WP. Yeah I know, shameless sellout.

Eh, it’s too short. Never mind. Also, listen to this.

Throwing shit at the Wall: Day 1

This is a warm up post. I’m testing some stuff before I actually start writing – for whatever reason. Decided to post to WordPress as pretty much nobody’s gonna read this, and I also need to keep this saved and accessible, if not private. Wait, can you do private posts?

Ah yes you can. I’ll decide on whether or not to enable that setting once I’m done writing the text – probably won’t need it, because, as I said, I don’t really think anybody will read it. Except that one person who gets email notifications. Or does everybody get email notifications? I can’t be sure. Let’s assume, then, that you did get a notification, so if you’re reading this that’s where you came from. In this respect I’m pretty sure nobody falls in that category – it would probably be fair to say people barely even check their emails. If they do it’s probably GMail. GMail should be sending the messages to the Social or Updates tab. Nobody checks any tab other than Primary, and that’s assuming they open their mail in the first place.

So that’s it, then – I’ll leave this post open for all to see. If anybody does get here through their email, they can tell me. It’ll become a survey, of sorts. If they got here through the website in general, or by accident – wow. I welcome you, and request you to comment on what appears to me to be an overuse of commas and hyphens by me. Comments on grammar wouldn’t hurt either, as that’s the reason I’m doing this anyway. I do think I’m using “I” a bit too much, along with oversimplified stuff I can’t put a name to, like that right there. Either way, it should be sufficient practice for the freefall stage in the examination – planned write-ups should commence in a week or less. Also, could somebody point out better ways to start a sentence loosely based on the tone of the previous one without starting with “Also”?

Or “so”, for that matter. If I remember correctly ISC penalises (penalizes?) sentences that start with conjunctions or “or”. Wait, so I can’t start with “And”, but what other conjunctions exist? What are conjunctions, again? Hold on, let me google it.

Google says conjunctions include “and”, “but”, and “if”. So we can start sentences with some conjunctions. If we couldn’t that’d be terrible. But doesn’t conjunction mean joining two sentences? If that’s so, I shouldn’t be able to start sentences with them – can’t join a null to a sentence here. But then again, English is quite weird as a language to start with, so at this point I’m not really sure – because I distinctly remember some words that we were taught back in primary – they joined sentences (wait that’s a conjunction right there), but you could add it to the beginning of a compound sentence. And I don’t really remember the words right now, hold on. It was something pertaining to causality, wasn’t it? I’ll use Google again, let us see what comes from it. Of it? Comes from it or comes of it? May as well Google that too. Hold on.

The first search term – it led to this website called gingersoftware. Ignoring the four different types of conjunctions that I just came (got?) to know of, it’s pretty elementary and doesn’t really tell me what I needed. The types and rules don’t help either. Ah, well. Onto the next search.

Search term “comes of it” leads to several dictionaries, leading me to believe that’s the correct one. However, “comes from it” doesn’t fare as badly as the first sentence led me to believe – you get something about context, a link pertaining to some law concept, and a word reference forum. Maybe, just maybe, clicking on the links instead of just glancing at them may help.

I’m basing my final decision based on Macmillan Dictionary’s definition of “come of”. Almost everything in the “comes from” search term turned out to be law related. Maybe if I were a lawyer, but I’m not. So, “Comes of”, I choose you. Allow me to add the actual definition here for a minute. Yes, I know I can’t do this in the paper but if you thought I’d write an essay in this format, then you need some lessons in – I don’t know, ISC marking? I can’t really see what I’m typing right now as editor’s in the corner and notifications keep popping up.

Okay, fixed all the typos that came of that notification mess. So as I was saying, you need lessons in ISC marking if you think this essay would be acceptable in an examination. Actually, if you do figure out the marking scheme, let me know. There’s no telling what actually constitutes a good write-up as per examiners; and if they accept endless tirades with no observable goal, that’d be interesting to know. Oh wait, I got off track. So as I was saying, here’s the picture of the definition:

screenshot-from-2017-02-20-13-39-14

Oh, dear. So it turns out you can’t just copy an image and paste it. Fiddling with the controls to add the image was a bit messy, as I forgot how to correlate obvious symbols to their intended meaning.  None of that really matters, as I have achieved my goal.

I think I’ll stop right here. Will read this later. It’ll give me an idea of how I write in between my planned sections, and, hopefully, how to fix my errors. If you did end up here and are still reading, I have two things to ask you: what are you doing?( x 2)

Bye for the moment.

Should we install more surveillance cameras in public places?

What do Marcus Junius Brutus from “Julius Caesar”, Gollum from “The Lord of The Rings”, and Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes have in common? Well, one is that they’re all characters from famous plays/novels/comic strips; but that’s not the point here. All of them – yes, even Calvin – thirsted for power. Now, power has a lot in common with your average narcotic. It can be used for the benefit of thousands (many narcotics are prescription drugs), but has some really dangerous side-effects. So what happens when certain people are given a whole lot of power which they are to exercise for the benefit of others?

This is precisely what happens with the use of surveillance cameras in public places. Now, surveillance cameras are pretty useful, because they were designed to be so. Their basic purpose is to record everything that happens in a particular place so that if something goes wrong, there shall exist a record of what had actually happened, thus saving a shit ton of money that would have gone down the drain due to litigation. Pretty useful. Aside from this remedial function, we also have guards sitting in front of screens and monitoring whatever the cameras record, so that they can raise the alarm if something seems a bit off.

However, as the saying goes: “quis custodiet ipsos custodes” – “Who will guard the guards”. Since we have all these cameras recording everything we do (in front of the camera), other people can see us doing stuff that we didn’t want those other people to see us doing. Was that a bit fuzzy? Okay, let’s say you’re in a shopping mall. You want to tuck in your shirt, because it is (quite obviously) untucked. It goes without saying, nobody must see you doing this. So, what to do? It’s simple. Go to a discrete corner of the mall, do the job, and come back. No harm done, nobody’s hurt. Except for one tiny detail: there was a CCTV in that “discrete corner”, and some faceless guard watched you tuck in your shirt while chewing listlessly on cookies. Okay, so what’s the problem? It’s just one random person, isn’t it? Well… correct. Now replace that guard with someone who holds a grudge against you/someone who’s bored and has the mentality of James Moriarty. Are you still happy with the incident?

Quite obviously not. That is where the problem with surveillance cameras lies: There’s no privacy. There’s (almost) no harm done if the “guard”- the surveyor is a responsible person, and doesn’t use anything to his/her advantage. The real danger lies in the irresponsible “guards”. There’s a devil inside everyone; and it takes little to ignite him (The evil devil is considered to be male, right? Right). Now, the danger exists. True. But there’s also the danger of litigation fees. Privacy matters as well. So what do we do? It’s simple. We already have a whole lot of cameras out there. Just don’t add any more, unless absolutely necessary. There. Job done.

So the idea of someone stealing your stuff is bad. The idea of someone else looking at you stealing other’s stuff is worse (if and only if you’re a thief, that is, Nothing implied here). Okay then, let me now address the biggest issue: why did I say that Calvin desired power? Well, just read the comics. He wants to become an adult so that others can’t bully him anymore (He also daydreamed about being Captain Spiff, but let’s focus on the scarier things).

Siblings.

Some of the greatest rivalries that the world has ever seen have been sibling rivalries. From Elizabeth and Mary’s family feud as to who should govern England, to the fictional passive-aggressive relationship shared by Sherlock and his brother Mycroft Holmes, such pseudo-enmity is usually the result of ideological differences which in turn rise from different (life) experiences. Now, while these differences don’t always snowball into massive vendettas, it’s pretty useful to know the most common causes, and the subsequent effects (arranging for a sibling’s death while he/she is in the forest, hunting, has not been included).

Causes. “Time” takes the throne here. Siblings are usually born somewhere between one to twenty years after one another (unless we’re talking about twins, in which case, please skip this paragraph). Now. Think. How many things change in a year? Let’s consider the year that just got over. Several regime changes, a whole lot of democratic elections, Mangalaayan, the landing of a probe on a comet, the release of “Interstellar” and Apple Inc. finally releasing a large-screen iPhone! So look. If so much can happen in a year, the experiences of two growing siblings separated by three-four years are quite obviously going to be different. Henceforth, there’s a difference in ideology, and the inevitable quarrels happen.

That said, there are a large number of secondary reasons. Primary among them: genes. Heredity is determined by genes. Now, there are over 70000 genes, and therefore a massive number of possible permutations. This ensures that the possibility of having two exactly identical kids is near zero. Other than that, we have differences arising from gender differences, different schools, different friends, and, in short, different (almost) everything.

Effects. The effects aren’t as flowery as you may think. Most siblings learn to live with each other’s differences, with the occasional fight that’s soon forgotten amidst all the laughter that follows. In fact, real disputes often rise out of issues totally unrelated to the overall experiences of life, instead taking root in a single issue; like matters of inheritance. However, there is the odd childhood enmity, usually seen in “power households” or families which have a lot of power. Case(s) in point: Tudors, Mughals, Ambanis.

As you may have guessed, I do have a sibling myself. No, the ten-year age gap, different genders, and genes haven’t driven us apart. Therefore, you’ll never see any sibling rivalry in our family. I love my books and toys and gifts way too much to destroy the supply.

Reading is the only Habit worth cultivating- Opposition

A person whose only cultivated habit is reading is like a gardener who only grows vegetables. Both books and vegetables are excellent specimens of knowledge and food respectively (with books scoring over vegetables when it comes to the taste), but they aren’t enough. It’s like saying that one can bullshit their way through an essay in the English Language Board examination by focusing solely on the theory behind writing and never really practicing. I don’t know why, but that sounds a lot like me.

Now, get this clear: I am not, in any way, demeaning the habit of reading (my comparison to vegetables should have made that pretty obvious. Both are healthy and unpopular). Reading is probably one of the best habits that a person could cultivate. However, it’s not the only habit worth developing. There is no single habit that is worthy of bearing that hallowed crown; because human development requires a multi-faceted approach and there is no single habit which can provide all of this.

What’s the big deal if we take a one-dimensional approach? Let’s enter the hypothetical situation world. Our protagonist, Mr. X, reads books (we choose a specific gender to make the pronouns easier). Let’s rephrase that: the only thing he does is read books. He does breathe, eat, go to school and so on and so forth, but he does not play games, or watch television and the like. What happens to X? Let’s divide it the effects into multiple “aspects”. First, the physical aspect. X does not play games, or engage in any form of physical exercise. Therefore, his physical state is understandably in tatters. Then comes the General Knowledge aspect. X reads books, but exists in a dream world. Since he does not read or watch anything else, his knowledge of the world is nil. Now, say: would you want to be X?

Now, you may argue that reading is the only habit that needs to be perfected. No. To continue with the gardener analogy, there’s no point in growing many beautiful vegetables and keeping a one square metre patch for fruits, because the fruits won’t grow well. The results are pretty much the same.

Reading is definitely a great habit to develop and culture. Such a habit needs to be developed in order to read boring essays like the one you’re reading right now. However, remember this: there’s a life outside of reading. There exists a world out there – an imperfect one, but it’s the real one. Unless some of those conspiracy theories I read about recently are true.