Monthly Archives: November 2013

On god and fossils.

Mother asked me out of the blue to look up “shaligrama”s. They’re this rock that people worship, something to do with Vishnu. She happened to come across a big bunch of them on TV and was curious.

So I googled it. You find these rocks on the banks of the river Gandaki, in the Himalayas. They’re black, and very very coveted. You’re not supposed to buy or sell them, appraise them, or even discuss what you think they might be worth monetarily, or else you will, and I quote, “live in hell until the time of universal destruction”. Fascinating. This, of course, dashed mother’s hopes of acquiring one of these for herself.

That’s not all though. It turns out that these rocks are actually fossils. Ammonite fossils to be precise. (Omanyte the Pokemon). That there is a religion that unwittingly (I presume) worships fossils is somehow deeply gratifying to me. Especially in an age where more and more people are “skeptical” about the existence of fossils altogether.

This was #11.

On the importance of apps.

This is a nice little article about WordPress vs Medium. I agree with it. (It says Medium is better.)

So why am I here, and not on Medium? Well, partly because a friend’s blog is, and I just liked the way WordPress looked. Second, and more important, WordPress has an app for my phone. (Third, its icon is blue. Yes, this matters a little.)

Everything I’ve written so far I’ve written on my phone. Because it’s convenient. And it’s comfortable. The only reason to go to the desktop is to set the theme I wanted. And I didn’t even particularly like this theme. I just didn’t like a lot of other ones, and after about five minutes of looking, I gave up and picked this one. I can’t see it now, as I’m lying in bed, composing this post. I’ll have to finish writing, and then preview my post as it appears with the theme — what I presume most of you are looking at.

This is not exactly a good thing.

Medium is young. If I want to write something there, I need to be at a computer. It doesn’t have an app yet. It will eventually have an app. I will get that app and never look back.

In the meantime, why not read something on Medium?

(I have said Medium way too many times, haven’t I?)

This was #10.

On reticence.

This is, as you will have worked out for yourself by now, a blog. I haven’t told anyone about it though. Well, until now. This is the announcement post which is what you hopefully read first. So. Hello!

Why? Dunno. Maybe to see if I could keep it going at all. Don’t want to start something and then stop almost immediately. I now feel confident that I can churn out at least one post a day. That’s not a promise. There might be two posts, or none, on any particular day.

Where to begin? Begin at the beginning I suppose.

Happy reading!

This was #9.

On cognitive dissonance.

“In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel “disequilibrium”: frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc.”

That’s from Wikipedia. It is also almost exactly not what I wanted to talk about. What I wanted to talk about is this:

You know how when you have an idea or a thought in your head that is so clear to you, but whenever you try to explain it to anyone else, they have no idea what you’re talking about? Or they do, but not nearly as fully as you know it. Usually the people you’re telling this to will know they’re not quite getting it, and will ask for clarifications and so on. But every so often, they won’t. Not that they’re unwilling to admit they haven’t understood, but simply that they think they’ve understood perfectly well what you were saying. Or, at the very least, that they haven’t misunderstood you. While all this time you’ve meant to convey something else entirely.

What’s the term for that? Cognitive dissonance was what I thought it was. Or something that sounds very much like it.

Why do I bring this up? Because this is a blog. Words. Text. Were you, dear reader, right in front of me as I said this to you, I would have immediate feedback about whether or not you got what I meant. We don’t have that here. Unless we begin to have full scale discussions in the comments (which I think is highly unlikely) I must try to be as clear as possible here.

Or I could toss it all and write however I want.

This was #8.

On buyer’s remorse.

I read somewhere that somewhere (I have a bad memory, deal with it) the stores all have a “buyer’s remorse” policy: you can return whatever you bought even if it’s in perfect condition simply because you regretted spending the money to buy it. Come to think of it, this sounds like an ordinary “30 day return guarantee”. This must have been long ago. Anyway, I digress.

I just bought an app. It cost ₹220. It’s a game. This one, if you were curious. It’s about 200 mb, so I’m waiting for it to download completely. And then I got to thinking. There’s no return on this thing.

I don’t mean to say I regret purchasing it. I don’t know that yet because I haven’t played it. I have however been satisfactorily convinced that this is worth buying. Reviews and so on. And that got me to thinking again.

I’ve bought apps before. And they were all worth it. Well, except for one which I only bought because it was on sale and subsequently never played. Doesn’t matter. Anyway. What is so different about this one? Where is this anxiety coming from? Is it because I’m waiting? All the others were tiny things that downloaded instantly and then I got to play them and I loved them instantly. The ones in the beginning were ones I pirated before there was an Indian App Store. Feeling morally obliged to pay now that I could (I pay for games and books, I pirate songs and movies; I’ll talk about this later), I did. I already knew some were going to be good. And that let me buy the next few confidently.

I don’t know.

Astute readers will perhaps point out that I raise a lot of questions and never seem to get around to answering any. To which I say it doesn’t matter that I don’t know why I feel this way. Acknowledging it is good. Especially since it’s temporary. And I’ll be able to tell you if it was worth it or not as soon as I play it. So why talk about it?

Because I’m sure this applies to more than just a little app. How does one feel when one buys a car? Or a house? Or life insurance? Big adult things. Is there anything I can do to prevent feeling this later? Do other people feel this? Why aren’t they talking about it if they do?

Questions, questions, questions.

Worth it for the atmosphere, not so much for the gameplay. Also, I seem to have spent more than an hour on it already. Nice.

On second thought. No. Not worth it.

I don’t know. I’m overthinking this aren’t I?

On third thought. Now that I’ve actually finished the game (a little help from a walkthrough notwithstanding), downloaded the absolutely wonderful soundtrack, discovered the wonderful people behind this game (need to keep an eye on them!), and luxuriated in the aftermath of a pretty darn good experience, I’d say it was worth it.

In the way that a movie is worth the price of admission. You buy the ticket, you plonk yourself down and have an experience thrown at you for an hour and a half. Then you get up and you walk out, possibly dazed for a few minutes, or months, depending on how good it was. You might download it later to watch a second time, maybe with friends. Or at the tail end of a long week just for a change. This is that sort of game.

(Unrelated side-note: the soundtrack was ₹120 on iTunes for 19 tracks, not a bad deal at all, but since I managed to find it *ahem* elsewhere, for free, I didn’t buy it. I probably would have had the game itself been cheaper. The rationalisations of a pirate, ladies and gentlemen.)

This was #7.

On schedules and scheduling.

How often am I going to write here? Once a day? Four times a week? Dunno.

I did have things to say today (yesterday rather; it’s past midnight now) but they weren’t fully formed ideas. Or they weren’t incomplete enough to become a draft. You’ll see.

No, I’m not going to talk about schedules and/or scheduling. It’s just a title.

Should I count this as a post?

Category One is for the posts as such. Ideas I have, or thoughts, or opinions. Something I have had a conversation about, or would like to have a conversation about. Something I hope you find quite interesting.

Category Two is for lists. For collections of quotes I might like. For links to certain websites I might eventually get around to compiling. Songs. Movies. Books. Even math.

This is category Three. Meta. Announcements. Posts about posts. And categories. Hmm. Yes. That’ll do.

Opening lines.

This is where I shall dump lines that I think make for good openings for stories.

#1. The sun has disappeared. We have eight minutes to live.