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Monday, January 31, 2011

Busy Day

I know I should've posted yesterday, according to the new alternate-day routine that has replaced my everyday routine. But it was such a busy day that I didn't have time to come to my PC for the whole morning and afternoon. In the morning, after waking up a little late (give me a break, it's still Sunday!) I readied myself and went to the Bidhan Chandra Institution to answer the National-level Science Talent Search Examination organised by the Unified Council, Hyderabad. Hope I make the achievers' list this year too.
The test ended at 12 noon, and we left the building five minutes later; it took me another five to get home. Then after bathing, lunch, and reading the newspaper, I went to the Mangolik hotel where the Durgapur classes of Shrutinandan, my singing school, are held. Class was from 2:30 pm to four, after which I came back home, freshened up, and then sat at my PC.
It doesn't take me very long to check my Gmail, Blogger updates and in-game messages on Travians. Once I was done with that, I began prep-working on my school project, which is tomorrow (1st Feb). We are supposed to make a nature magazine, and it's taking extra work because the the teacher isn't allowing us to bring the pages printed and assemble them. We can take print-outs, but we must cut them out and assemble them there. What a waste of time!
Given all the above, I hope I can be forgiven my delay in posting, especially because I am going to post two consecutive days to make up. Cheers!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wallpaper long due

I made this along with the last one I posted, but I had a lot of other things to post in the meantime. Anyway, at last here's the 23rd wallpaper, made in Photoshop. I did some crazying around with different colours and brush shapes for this one.
24 and 25 are ready too. Once I have posted all 25, I'll begin working on a separate page on my blog with thumbnails and links of all the wallpapers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ring ring... why DO you give me a call?

Bollywood ringtones and callertunes. Celebrity gossip. Lotteries. Sports updates. Telemarketing. What haven't they got? And at what price? Well, I just have to drop everything I'm doing and answer phone calls full of recorded whining and keep pressing numbers as per their (recorded) instructions. First it started with text messages. I always deleted them. Now, they've moved on to persistent calling. I was never a huge receiver of calls, but nowadays I find it difficult to pick out the important calls to answer, so huge is the number of useless calls. Half the times when I'm expecting an important call, I answer my cell only to find that it's one of those familiar metallic voices that are edited to give the impression of a miniskirt-clad office girl with painted nails and loads of make-up or of a handsome-but-dumb guy in a formal shirt, tie and suit pants, expecting to ensure the attention of cellphone owners of either sex. And most of the other half of times, I'm engaged in cursing at the recorded voice expecting that the person operating the recordings will hear me and switch it off (it happened once), and it leaves my phone engaged and the important caller never finds me.
I have no idea what sort of people form their target customer group. Must be semi-literate green grocers, domestic helps and fishmongers who can't download cheaper or free stuff from the internet and are not aware of the futility of the quizzes and lotteries they offer. Even the text messages are so stupid that I wonder if they really take us for imbeciles. A text on my Mom's cell guaranteed prizes for answering if milk was white or black. Such texts are a regular feature, sometimes naming a famous sportsman asking if he is a sportsman or an actor, sometimes offering festival specials or religious advice, or astrology or 'love percentages'. Sometimes for a few bits of currency, sometimes even for free.
My cellphone provider rubs salt into the wound and sends a searing pain up through my nerves, shooting right into, and wrecking, the intellectual, emotional, creative, and sanity-maintenance areas of my brain. How? Well, my darling Reliance keeps handing me out its own bounty of telemarketing by text and calls. They try their best to convince me to switch to one of their more bloodsucking schemes with more advanced money-laundering methods. Which is why, when in some rare occasions a real person (real miniskirt / real formal shirt) calls, you cannot blame me for not being as gracious with them as is appropriate. And you surely cannot deny me a pat on the back for still being gracious most of the times and not asking to speak to their boss.
And then there are those you-won-more-money-than-there-actually-exists-in-the-world-just-count-the-zeroes things that sometimes come by e-mail too. Unfortunately cellphone spam filters are not that advanced yet, so we are bombarded with messages from phishing scammers that are cheeky enough to make you wish to entangle the perpetrators of this torture in fishing nets and throw them into a fishpond full of piranha fish. Nowadays, realising the fragility of texting, they too have learnt to call, with their hoard of lotteries, inheritances and African estates with dead owners. Why don't they create an account with the money and send me the number? Saves me trouble, y'know.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Winter Dusk Blue

My semi-transparent blog background (thanks, Blogger!) allows me to change the feel and mood of my blog while maintaining my favourite falling leaves. Till date I had only tried the lightest default shades of the main template colours. Now I have decided to venture into darker shades, and experiment with the effect they have on the presentation of my blog.
As winter begins to show the tell-tale signs of goodbye, I sometimes feel like hanging on; not to the toasty sunshine, for it will be the last thing to go as spring bridges the leap to summer, but to the cold evenings after the early sunsets, when a dark, uniform blue stares back at me when I stare up into the cloudless sky. Imposing yet soothing, I forget that it is the fore-bearer of the dark when it inspires me into the thoughtful, poetic mood that I enjoy being in.
Isn't it nice?
This face of the sky won't be seen for many more days; as the weather grows warmer, the monsoon winds will once again turn onshore and the evenings won't have any more cloudless skies. Paying tribute to that silky, comforting, blue that makes my winter day as the light rapidly fades, my blog's background this time is a two shades darker version of the default blue. And of course, shaken by the wind that blows from the riverine plains out to the sea, the last few leaves fall, marking the onset of the tropical winter's homeward journey and announcing that spring has already set foot in this direction.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Terrible, terrible mistake

Like the few past years, this year too I answered the Olympiads conducted by the Science Olympiad Foundation. They designate a common roll number for all of their Olympiads for a particular student. When I answered the National Cyber Olympiad, I came to know that my individual roll number was 020, and placing it accordingly after the school and class codes had also worked when I checked the NCO results from their website. I also answered the National Science Olympiad organized by them, and the results were due today.
Why me, guys?
Due to an overloaded server, I had to wait for long before I got access. And the wait ended in a dreadful shock; the name, information, and result of another classmate of mine was displayed under my roll number. I rechecked the NCO results; there was no error on my part. Thanks to their overloaded servers, the tedious task of trying out all (about 001-070) serial numbers of my school and class has become a near impossible task -- half the times the servers can't be reached. And because of the overload, they have taken down the rest of the site temporarily, cutting me off from their contact details. Now I can only wait and hope that I do get my result. A fair result? I don't know if that's too much to ask for, given the terrible mistake they have made. And if the present condition of their website is any indication, I am not the only sufferer.

*follow-up: Today (23rd) the overload is gone, and I tried every serial number in my category till I found mine at 029. My All India Rank is 110, School Rank is 1, and I am selected for the second round. However, I cannot breathe easy, because this mistake may cause me further problems, and also because of the mistake I cannot be absolutely sure that these results are mine, even though I've been ranked this high (and better) before.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sleep drifting deep, deep drifting sleep. . .

Yesterday evening as I studied History in the bedroom, I nodded off. I hadn't slept well for some days, so Mom didn't wake me up. She covered me with a blanket, with all my clothes on. She shut down my computer and did every pre-bed ritual (placing of covers and putting away stuff, etc.) for me. Then she tried shoving dinner into my mouth, but didn't get more than a slurred question about my computer. As soon as she assured me that she had turned it off, I turned myself off too. Today morning I woke up, sweating under the extra layers of my non-night clothes. It was such a frantic morning. I always pack my bag carefully the previous night, but I had to do it in half the time in the morning. And I still left my crotchet needle back as I grabbed the staple and the wool to take to the stupid mandatory S.U.P.W.(craft) class. S.U.P.W. is supposed to stand for Socially Useful Productive Work, but as some wise person once said, it indeed is Some Useful Period to Waste. Plus I only realised it once I returned home. I genuinely thought I'd lost it, back in school. Oh, though I feel sleepy, and History's so boring, please don't let me do that again, Ma. I can't stop it myself so...

The title which seems rather appropriate, is not so if you take the parent context into consideration; the lines are from Wilfrid W. Gibson's 'The Ice-Cart', a poem in my English course-book this year; it's the last poem on this page, if you're interested. Image courtesy Google Images, as is usual on the LoudSpeaker.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Farewell; plus Studying for exams

Farewell!
Today the students of class 9 bid farewell to the outgoing class 10 students. The outgoing batch came dressed up, mostly in saris and they all looked good. We heard the 9th and 10th students enjoying in the hall. We 8th graders were supposed to take care of the school while things went on there. This time's farewell got us thinking. Next year our turn to plan a farewell for our seniors. And next to next year our turn to leave school. As much as I hate this school...
Anyway, the final exams are near. Good thing we have a whole 100-mark paper instead of it being broken into two unit tests of 20-80 or 10-90. Anyway the chapters are repeated, so why not do it all at once? The only non-100 papers are where we have projects/practical work. Most probably we'll have a 10 or 20-mark practical in Biology; and 20-mark projects in EE and Computer. The Computer Project is done, EE to go. Speaking of Environmental Education (yes, that's what it is), we are so lucky. The stupid idea of including EE in the Board syllabus has been abandoned in the revised syllabus, which begins with our batch! No EE from next year. No EE! In addition to no GK, no EE! I'm rejoicing. We all are. Poor seniors. On the downside, starting three years before us, the Shakespeare play in English was changed from Julius Caesar to As You Like It. Crap.
Back to this year, I've started studying (oh, hell) and have hardly made any progress. In Chemistry, I'm done with Metals, Electrolysis; and Hydrocarbons is quite easy and will be done soon. I'm worried more about the chapters being repeated from first term. In History, I've finished Birth And Advent Of Islam, started with the Renaissance. Have 5 more chapters in History (worried about) and 2 in Civics (not worried about). Our teachers have been darlings enough not to repeat old chapters in History. Physics has a whole load of repetition and I haven't made any headway. Biology... don't wanna talk about it. More than knowing stuff, the 'way of writing' and stupid formats matter more in it. Maths is ok, no rote-learning there, same with English Language. English Literature, do later. EE and GK, manage somehow. Bengali Lit., memorizing poems only headway. Lang., same (some poems we need to know for summarization exercises and stuff). Gotta go study history. 
Oh, hell, just let me go to class 9, please!!!


Image Courtesy: Google Images

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A waaallpaper!

Heh. As if it's something new. A black-and-white mess made in Photoshop. Don't ask me how it happened. I don't remember.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

KFC in Durgapur

It opened nearing the end of 2010, as a part of the still unopened Durgapur Junction mall at the heart of the bustling City Centre, the most modernized part of the city. It's only yesterday that I found time to visit it. Of course I had been yearning for a visit : a world-famous name had arrived at a stone's throw from my home. I looked around, and I whatever I saw was nothing special for an international brand in a shopping mall. Witty slogans, an LCD screen running ads, snazzy menu displays and employee tees, and a grinning photo under 'Chef of the Day'.
But once I tasted the food, I realized well enough why KFC was the fast food religion of many people. It even managed to convert as staunch a fast food sceptic as my mother. We tasted the new Popcorn Chicken and also some crispy Chicken; we opted for a takeaway and didn't eat until we got home, or else I'd have ordered more. For the next visit I'm planning to buy the juicy traditional recipe and a burger or two. And maybe a few of their desserts. I have no words in praise of KFC's food except:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wallpaper 21

A wallpaper made in Photoshop by using a combination of three special-effect brushes and several brush modes and colours.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Featured Rollblog 5

Yummy recipes from a wonderful cook. Who is also a cooking examiner in Los Angeles. You don't need to try those recipes to make your mouth water. Just look at the pictures. Any more questions as to why I follow this blog? For the still unconvinced sceptic, it became a Blog Of Note, too. But of course it became one, silly me. What are you staring at? Go there, foodies. Go there, chefs. And others too, because it could very well be the turning point in your gastronomic and/or culinary lives. Where, you ask? Where else, but to In Erika's Kitchen?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another one.

A sludgy wallpaper, made in Gimp by setting the sparks brush to 'take colour from gradient', and using different gradients, overlapping at places. Then selecting the white parts and doing a round of it on them.
I have made one more. But I'm not giving it up right now. Because I love it lots. ;) Not really; I'm gonna put them up one at a time from now onwards. Or else they get exhausted too quick.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The greatest heights of...

...uselessness: the longest English word without an 'e', 'floccinaucinihilipilification', means 'the classification and/or state of being useless.
...discipline: classes 7-10 are supposed to take turns at cleaning the school compound after break. Nearly every other week, it is miraculously class 8A's turn, with threats of punishment from the Principal if we don't do it. Class 9 hardly ever does it.
...fear: 'hippopotomonstrocesquippedaliophobia' is the fear of long words. I truly pity the people who suffer from it.
...funny things: I can't think of any more of them.
...thinking: I'm doing a lot of it.
...regular posting: It usually results in bad posts made only so that no day goes post-less.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The new technique

Done with some of the interesting brushes available in Gimp.
Not up to my standards, really, but I'm satisfied as this is the first finished experiment with this technique.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Colourman, colourman...

...what colour are you? They are playing 'Colourman', where the Colourman 'changes his colours' and catches anyone who is not his colour. You can become his colour by touching something of that colour and holding on to it.
The kid who's the 'Colourman' yells, "Pink!" and runs after one of the others. That kid dodges frantically, taps a senior on her shoulder, borrows her pink handkerchief and holds on to it for dear life. The others run to her and claw at the handkerchief as well. One kid is too far away, and the Colourman kid runs after her. This kid finally spies my water bottle, parts of which are pink. She runs to me and holds on to the pink section of my bottle. I smile, as this is exactly the sort of thing we did when we were in pre and lower primary, and didn't know how to run relay races or play badminton and kabaddi and other grown-up games; or walk around and talk. I stop my solitary stroll and decide to eat the rest of my food while watching them. 
I sit on the red concrete border around the garden, the red and pink bougainvillea bending over me and sweet winter sunshine hitting my back from between the branches. As soon as the last kid finds something pink, the Colourman yells, "Yellow!", and runs towards the kid with my bottle, and everyone dashes away to find something of the newly proclaimed colour of their precious freedom. 
My classmates Nandini, Urbi, and Anushua have finished eating and are running a relay race with some others. What the kid doesn't notice is that Nandini has left her tiffin box with me, and it is yellow. As she dashes away she turns back to say 'thank you’ and dashes back as she notices it. All her friends now run towards me, and grab Nandini's box. But one kid is too late. She hasn't managed to turn yellow, and the Colourman catches her. He is now free from the curse, and she is the new Colourman. But the freed girl has to run for her life now. The new Colourman proclaims his colour to be brown. "Easy, very easy!” they all yell, as they run towards the trees. 
I grope around the inside of my tiffin box, and look down and snap it shut as I realise that I've eaten it all up. I notice that I can't join the relay race. They are playing in teams of four, and have an exact multiple. I'll need to find three more girls before I can join. I think of playing with the kids, but it wouldn't be a fair game with them. Nor do I feel like sitting and talking. So I rise and walk towards the field, watching people play. I take in the colours around me, the orange and red of the school building, the blue and white of the uniform, the green of the grass and plants, and the joyous, multicoloured bloom in the gardens; and the gifts of colours, of sight, make their importance felt anew to me. I realise afresh that they are a privilege, not a right. 
I look down at the mystery novelette I borrowed from the school library. Something about a blue crab by an author I've never read before. And I realise I'd forgotten the blue of the sky, and along with it the wispy white of the clouds and the soft, reassuring yellow of the shivering winter sun. I look up at them and smile, and then I sit down on the field, set down our food boxes: Nandini's yellow, mine peach. I take a sip from my grey and pink bottle, and then set that down too. Then I open my book, and lose myself in the mystery of the blue crab, enjoying the company of my long-lost friend, the 'Colourman'.

(Based on reality, Image courtesy Google Images).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Recent important changes

I made a sitemap for my blog that tells you where what's situated. It's put up above as a separate page. 
Also, I did away with the elaborate facts about myself in 'About Me'. I realized it got pageviews not because of its quality but just because people thought it would tell them something interesting about me. But it contained facts that most people wouldn't have patience to read about, plus I already have my Blogger and Google profiles. So I changed that to 'About' and introduced myself more as a person instead of putting up loads of trivia, and then outlined the beliefs, objectives, and expectations behind this blog and my philosophy about blogging.
Tthe Rule-ettes page became much more informal, as this is a life blog and I don't want it to look like those value education classes that I despise. Hope these changes will help you like my blog better. 
And attempts have been made to add some more quirky custom stuff in addition to the gadget titles, for example the new message in the comment form (go see it for yourself, ha!). I also enabled commenting on all the stand-alone pages, as opposed to just on the 'About' page, so you can now speak your mind about any content then and there. 
I would also like to inform you that generalized reactions on the whole blog, or any other feedback or communication otherwise not provided for, are very much welcome as comments on the 'Contact Me' page, if you prefer not to contact me by e-mail, etc.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Inspiration at last.

The New Year Wallpaper from LoudSpeaker. May not be a masterpiece, but it's colourful. Also, after a long time, a wallpaper made in Photoshop and not Gimp.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Wallpaper

Just one for now:
This one too is done with patterns. Now I'm working on using different brush shapes for a new kind of effect.

Monday, January 3, 2011

After orange, a feasty yellow.

(Referring to this post)
Goddess Saraswati

Just trying to cheer myself up in spite of the holidays being over and the exams around the corner. Yellow is the colour that the Hindu Goddess of Learning, Saraswati, is said to love. The day when we worship her, falls in early February this year. All in all, yellow is lucky for the exams. Yellow is also my mother's favourite, and the colour of lemons, which I love. My modem's link light, the cover of my PC,  my mother's bookcase -- all are different shades of yellow. The midday sun is yellow, and the midday sun is wonderful in winter. Bright shades of yellow make a room look bright. My cross-stitch-on-mat-cloth keyboard cover that I made in 4th Grade has a yellow base. One of my favourite craft pieces, a tiny collage-like thing that rests on my mother's bookcase, is also done on yellow cloth.
My favourite kind of bananas are yellow. Ripe sweet-limes are yellow inside, so are many varieties of ripe mango. Yellow is warm, comforting, and beautiful. Sunflowers are yellow. Yellow is one of the colours of marigold, calendula, chrysanthemum, carnations, dandelion and rose. Yellow roses stand for friendship and trust. Turmeric, a spice with great medicinal and antiseptic properties, is yellow. Many beautiful fish and are yellow. Beautiful birds like the golden sunbird and canary, and several species of birdlings are yellow. Bathtub ducks are yellow. Honeybees have yellow in them. Eggs yolks are yellow. The barren beauty of the hot deserts comes from the endless stretches of yellow sand. That cute Pokemon Pikachu is yellow. So is his previous evolutionary stage, Pichu. Yellow bell peppers and zucchinis are pretty vegetables, and the most popular smileys are yellow. Leaves turn yellow in autumn, and autumn is when the most important Bengali festival comes. Yellow is the colour of gold, sulphur and many precious stones like the yellow sapphire. And the latest colour of my blog background.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

'Do you KNOW what you wrote?'

That's what my English teacher after reading this. Grade 6. Last poem of my official collection. Nowadays poems have taken a backseat for prose. Sometimes I do get stuff in my head, and tiny rhymes and limericks always come and go. The one thing I haven't done but want to do is a haiku. But I just don't seem to be able to! 

======================================
Alone

In fear, I turned my head.

When the voice of cruelty thundered
My heart was left sundered.
Before I knew it, they all were dead.
The banner of hatred unfurled,
                                                I thought I was alone
In this wide world.

It left my life in smolders.
I knew that for me in store
Was duty, I knew not more.
It was all upon my little shoulders.
The boulder of revenge waited to be hurled,
                                                I thought I was alone
In this wide world.

Thence, I’ve known a lot.
All that came into view,
All that I had to go through—
The rules of life, to me, they have taught.
As I’ve grown, I have learnt
                                                That I’m not alone
In this wide world.                                          

For I know, as of my toil I reap the crop,
That I have been made
By the Lord so good and great
To be alone only on top;
The faith of my new people earned,
                                                Now I’m no more alone
In this wide world.                                          

And only nearly so at its top.
For even there with me,
                                And even above me,
Is He and only He
Who broke my fall,
                                Who gave me my all;—
It’s He, Who made me, me.
======================================

Woo! Quite spiritual! I wrote a tiny author's note to this when I published it on my FictionPress account. It's true and necessary, so I'll repeat: 'Inspiration credit to all fictional and real individuals who have faced such a life, braved everything, and emerged successful; all those exemplary bearers of God’s strength, on a small or big scale.'

Saturday, January 1, 2011

MMXI for real, plus, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wishing a year full of joy, hope and success to all for whom I care and all who care for me. And, a picture of Google's New Year Doodle that made its way into yesterday's post title as a horrible (read intentional) misfit.
Happy New Year 2011!


And the New Year poem by me, of course:
May you find peace,
May you find joy,
May you find success
And enjoy
The year that's here, with no regrets
From the year that's past;

May you make new friends,
Strengthen bonds old;
May the best of health and wealth
Be within your hold
Throughout the year, and forever-more.
May good luck forever last;

This twenty eleven,
May all your dreams come true.
That is all I pray for
As today I wish you
A very Happy New Year, two-zero-eleven

...make sure to have a blast!


==========================================================
2011 Fabulous Four
1/1/11 - 1st January
11/1/11 - 11th January
1/11/11 - 1st November
11/11/11 - 11th November
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011!
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