zigzackly's omnium-gatherum *
|Quid quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur|
Reactions, suggestions, any kind of feedback is always welcome.
We, the Media;
Son of CSF.
Now and then, when Hurree needs a holiday, i pinch-hit at Kitabkhana.
We endorse, approve of, and throughly adore:
Other Thieves of our Time
D Mervin Ffingir writes, and having writ, moves on:
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
If they can't get their URL right, wouldja really trust their software? Check out this mailer from our favourite Redmond company for an app called OneNote, and pliss to note the spelling of stationery. Then, go over to the site it links to, stationaryaintfun.com (noting spelling as you go) and you will see that someone did find the error, going by the headline, but they haven't bothered to clean up page title.
Link courtesy Mahesh Murthy.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
My friend Hemant Suthar of Fractalink designed this logo. He would like to have it passed around, so here you are.
The HTML for the image is:
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hsuthar/155233955/" title="Photo
width="400" height="400" alt="noreserve" /></a>
Please note: this does not mean that I am anti-reservations.
And the preceding statement does not mean I am pro-reservations either.
I do not know enough to venture a public opinion, and, at this point, like Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that.
p.s. As per today's DNA, Hemant's design is on its way to going viral. [Note, that's a large PDF of the entire page. You may prefer to go to today's e-paper, and click your way to page 35. [DNA has a seriously sucky interface, be warned.]
p.p.s. Hemant's blog is here.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Our dear pal Joan Pinto is on the Oxford Bookstore e-Author version 4.0 contest shortlist. Yay Joan!
You can download her stories The City is never Lonely and The Saint of Lost Things [Dunno if the very clunky OB site will let you pull them off our links. If not, you poor thing, you'll have to go to the page linked to in the first paragraph and wait for every piece of crappy design to download.]
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Try the Slogan Generator
Our Spammer Name is: Trencherman Z. Akron.
What's your spammer name?
Friday, May 26, 2006
Wired's June issue is online, with the 2006 Rave Awards topping the bill.
Pliss to also see the sub-category, the First Annual Steve Jobs Award. No peeking, but any guesses as to who won it?
Thursday, May 18, 2006
If you're reading this
By Amardeep Singh
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Blog Neologisms 101: Take an existing word and hack it about a bit. Add or subtract a letter, or a syllable, and hey, presto!*
Right. On with the show. *sounnd fanfare* We proudly unveil, exclusively for your discerning eye, our latest neologism:
Neoblogism: Word coined to describe something in the blogosphere. Contains the word "blog," with smart-arse additions.
Now then. Continuing on from where we left of yesterday, part Two, for your delectation.
We have the simple stuff out of the way. Now we'll go for two- three- and four-letter additions. And we're gonna open it up to you. Leave a comment with your neoblogism and its definition, and if we like it, we'll pull it up here.
Update 1, 2006-05-17
First, a quick run through of some existing neoblogisms, so you don't re-invent the wheel: bloggerati and blognoscenti, blogorrhea, blawg, splog, bleg and blegging, blogroll, permalink, podcast. (Have we left out anything?)
Then, a quick mention of proper nouns that have become verbs, like Dooce and Fisk via the blogosphere, or have been verbiformed (we just made that one up), like slashdotted. (Got more?)
Then – coz it's our blog – our own contributions.
Blogabulary: words frequently used in the 'sphere. Including, but not limited to, neoblogisms. eg. Hit Counter, Track back, Hat Tip, Blogroll, link whore, link love.
Blogger Pradesh: The loose community of Indian bloggers.
(at) bloggerheads: Pick yer sides, there's a scrap happening in the 'sphere.
Bloggerel: Poetry on blogs.
Blugly: Terrible blog template.
Blongblong: The blog equivalent of blingbling. Membership badges, "Blog of the month in Transylvania" badges, the little national flags thingies showing you how many people from those countries are currently visiting, etc.
Oblogation: The compulsion you feel to reciprocate a blogroll link.
Now, we have work to finish, so we'll come back later to pull stuff in from the commentspace (which is a word we stole from Megha.
* This follows the grand tradition of the word "blog" itself, a portmanteau word which started out as "weblog" before the inevitable shortening took place. (If you're remotely interested, we wrote about the history of blogs for a magazine a few years ago. No site for the mag, but our copy is here.)
Monday, May 15, 2006
..take large sip, and before you swallow, click here.
It is not enough to have invented the term "collablogs."
We vant more, more, more.
And, as we just saw on Sepia Mutiny, it is important to make the claim first.
So, let's start with the easy bits, and thereby secure our place in history.
Ze method is seemple, junior. Take log and add a letter before it, and make up something. Right, here we go. And yes, some of these are stuff we'd barf at if you said it, so pliss to suggest improvements. We'll share the Wikipedia space, wokay?
Alog: [Hm, Abhi of SM says it reminds him of something dirty.
Blog: [Gah. Taken.]
Clog: Dutch blogs.
Dlog Bhai-log ka blog.
Elog: Blogs about marine snake-like creatures. (pronounced "eelog")
Flog: Sado-Maso journals.
Glog: Blogs by Japanese dipsos.
Update: Honesty compels us to admit that Glog is taken. It's an abbreviation of cyborglog, which refers to a blog run by a person using wearable computing devices. It's a very interesting word, come to think of it. Two portmanteau words – Cybernetic + organism = cyborg, and web + log = blog – joined to make a third!)
Hlog: Blogs by those irritating pedants who point out to you that words like who, why and when are pronounced hwo, hwy and hwen.
Jlo-g: Jennifer Lopez fanblogs.
Klog: Blogs by breakfast cereal fanciers.
Mlog: Poison recipes only. Emlog. Hemlog. Hemlock. Gerrit? Ah never mind.
Nlog: Journals by people who don't like digital stuff. Update: For the person who emailed demanding an explanation, analogue.
Olog: [Open to claims, this one] Update: Teleute recommends "A blood group specific elitist blog."
Plog: [Stolen by Amazon. Also means "Project Log."]
Qlog: Blogs written on portable computing devices while standing in line.
Rlog: [As with O, even we couldn't think of something silly enough for this one.] Update: Another reco from Teleute – Ourlog. Humlog in its online avatar.
Slog: Sarcastic name for blog written by someone on office time using office computer and office broadband.
Tlog: [Gah. Your call.] Update: The prolific Teleute suggests this be devoted to Arnie fans.
Ulog: Blogger posts one line, and then the commenters take over, writing reams and reams of stuff they should be putting on tgheir own blogs.
Vlog: [Taken by those chaps with digital video cameras.]
Wlog: Um. Welsh blogs?
Xlog: P0rn blog
Ylog: Most of the blogs in the 'sphere. The ones about which everyone wonders "why on earth does s/he think anyone would want to read that?"
Zlog: Mi casa es su casa.
Right class. For homework, fill in the ones we left out, and tomorrow, we'll do two-letter add ons. Ooh. Fun.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
If you can't remember where you park, you need this.
Eliminate the embarrassment and possible danger of forgetting where you parked the car. The world’s most helpful key holder remembers where you parked, minds the meter, lights the key hole, and neutralizes static electricity. It records and plays a 15-second memo—example: “I parked on Level B, row 2.”But, as a BBC Science test we just took mentions at some point, women are more likely to remember where the bloody keys are in the first place.
Neha Viswanathan, Global Voices South Asia editor, is looking for bloggers to compile weekly (or fortnightly) link-fests.
You need to love reading blogs. All I ask for is a post once in a week or fortnight with five to ten links to interesting blog posts. These links could be thematic or they could be more general. You’ll have to provide a little context to these links and keep close to the pulse of the blogosphere. The post needs to reflect the Indian blogosphere to other people across the world - conversations, preoccupations, the ups the downs etc.She particularly needs people who can cover "Hindi, Bangla, Urdu, Tamil or any other language that Indians are blogging in."
Go here for all the details.
Friday, May 12, 2006
When we posted the other day about poetryDOTcom, we clean forgot to add the bit about Dave Barry's take on the matter.
He first wrote about them in
Anyway, I wrote a poem for Best Poems of 1995. I call it, simply, "Love." Here it is:Read the whole column.
But that's not all.
So anyway, this blog was just thinking how interesting it would be if a whole bunch of people submitted poems that contained a certain key poetic phrase. To see how it might work, this blog submitted a poem under the pen name of "Freemont A. Harkins," entitled: "A Sad Day." Here's how it goes:His devoted readers obliged. Most handsomely.A Sad DayYou can see this poem at www.poetry.com, using the search engine to search for "Freemont Harkins." Wouldn't it be fun if a lot of people submitted poems using a Pen Name that began with "Freemont" and incorporating the phrase, "the dog ate mother's toes"? Then we all could search for poems written under the first name of "Freemont" -- currently, this blog is the only one -- and see how creative everybody was!
The poetry.com site now has more than 500 poems by people coincidentally named Freemont concerning the consumption of mother's toes by the dog. Some of these poems are genuinely alarming. This blog is SO very proud of you all. Just think: If you were to take all that energy, creativity and talent, and apply it to something truly useful -- something that would benefit humankind -- this blog would be very disappointed.And then – and you have to take your hat off to them for this one – Poetry.com pulled one of the best spins ever. They milked the "Freemont Project" for more publicity, with a page that was even linked to from their front page for a while. An extract:
So what's the story behind all this fun? Our old friend Dave Barry! You may remember back in 1994, Dave's column "This Poet Don't Know It" – later reprinted in his mega-seller Dave Barry is from Mars AND Venus, Dave wrote a poem for inclusion in our contest, which was later published in one of our anthologies.The page links to those poems, though we hear that most were subsequently yanked. However, this site links to archived copies elsewhere.
Right. Now, we have an idea brewing. See next post for details.
People who we have met thanks to their blogs (roughly in the order that we were granted our first audience)
Jai and Samit, who we met over charcoal tablets and beer on a cold Delhi evening.
Dina so, so long after we first met and chatted online and became firm virtual buddies
Amit and Dilip, on the same day at Crossword, thanks to this, and then a few days later, same place, same reason, Yazad
Rahul and Chandrahas at Sonia's book launch.
Uma, and Charu and Scott (in one evening at Uma's, at a party for Scott)
Akshay and Sidin on the same day, thanks to this
Lee and Sachi, who Dina brought along to a panel chat
The world-faymbus Neha
Vulturo, at the wolrd-faymbus Meet the world-faymbus Neha blogmeet.
River (for all of two seconds)
Update (28th May). Last Sunday we met Manish Vij (who is so old-school-cool that he has a three-letter URL), formerly of the very, very faymbus Sepia Mutiny and now the man behind the new-but-already-faymbus Ultrabrown.
People who we knew from before they started blogging and got all faymbus but they still talk to us
People we knew, from before they started blogging, but they just don't bloody well post or they'd be famous too.
People who we had met IRL, but lost touch with and then resumed contact thanks to blogs, but then have not met since:
People who we knew IRL, but hadn't a clue that they blogged till they told us, and then we find that it's a blog that we read:
People who we wish would blog, but no, they just sit there smirking, saying "khelbo na."
The how-could-we-have-forgotten-we're-kicking-ourself department
The faymbus Pratik (blogfuhrer of the excellent DesiPundit), who made time to meet us in a shopping mall despite a very rushed schedule involving things like buying engagement rings and getting engaged.
That's what the fading memory dredges up. Will come cheat and add more if we remember. And we'll do a whole separate post introducing you to Caferati's blog's contributors one of these days.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Just a heads-up that the World Wide Help Group is blogging about the floods in Suriname at http://worldwidehelp.blogspot.com/.
Information from and about Suriname in general, and the flood situation in particular would be most appreciated. As would information about aid efforts, whether official, NGO-led or ad-hoc, national or international. Mail it to suriname[AT]worldwidehelp[DOT]info.
And we could really use your help if you can translate from and to Dutch.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
"Can you live off poetry?"
"Of course," he said, as he
paid his domain renewal fee
for poetry.com, "He he he."
On Caferati's message board, and in our email, every now and then someone posts gleefully about having a poem accepted by poetry dot com (yes, deliberately not clickable), or about the contests that site runs.
And then one has to go about the sad task of letting the person know they've been conned. So, we thought, being a lazy sod, we might as well put all the gunk out here, thus saving ourself the trouble of having to search-&-cut-&-paste every time.
How does it work?
You send in an entry, and after a respectable interval, you get a lovely glossy mailer telling you that you are a semi-finalist. It will enclose an Artist's Proof of your poem for you to sign. The mailer will also tell you that you can buy a copy of the thick cloth-bound book that will contain the best entries in the contest.
It's a "benign scam," you see. The ILP (International Library of Poetry, aka Poetry.com) and others like it operate by preying on the desire so many of of us have: to see our verse in print. You DO get a book. A large coffe table book crammed with poems. For which you pay a whole lot of money. It's cheaper for you to do a vanity printing, with only your verse in it, and give them to your 50 closest friends.
How do we know it's a rip-off? We sent in a poem once* (we were so much younger then), and were flattered to find we were a "semi-finalist." We immediately checked out the bank balance and thought to ourself, hm, perhaps this is worth a shot. Lucky for us, we first asked a few friends and e-contacts more worldy-wise than us. And were gently told that we should, ahem, perhaps, er, reconsider.
Poetry.com (a.k.a. the International Library of Poetry, the National Library of Poetry, and many others), is a vanity anthology scheme that draws in poets through free contests, and then solicits them to purchase the anthology in which they will be published, plus a variety of other merchandise and services. The contests, in which all entrants are declared "semi-finalists", are bogus; and while the company portrays itself as a viable and even prestigious poetry market, the complete lack of editorial gatekeeping and the resulting poor quality of most of the poems means that publication in one of its anthologies is not a professional credit.Someone did the math. Here's Exhibit Two:
Turn-over estimate[Read the whole thing.]
Here, from the same page, is a poem by the person who wrote the analysis above:
Poor VictimsThis was published, s/he says. :)
Here's another Semi-finalist:
FlubblebopThis, by the way, inspired the Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest
Oh, here's a few more links. Google will give you about 42,100 results for "poetry.com scam" in case you'd like to try it out (and another 595,000 for "literary scam").
A few to get you started:
http://www.windpub.com/literary.scams/ (good list of scams)
* Can't link to it, because the site pushes you back to the home page when you enter the search results. If you really want to read it, you could search for our name, then pick the poem titled "Old Diary" from the search results.
Um. Correction. Still can't link to it, but we did a little R&D so we can now at least make the search a little easier. It was written somewhere in 2001, if we remember right, but the site apparently keeps the copyright updated! And the book in which we could order it, as well as the scheduled release date, keeps changing too, to just a few months after the time you make your search. The site notes, if you click through to the Order Book page, that "Actual title and cover photograph may differ."
Monday, May 08, 2006
On a post at And why are you here? that calls for a "Turban Awareness Day":
..we will learn that a turban isn’t a hat- it can’t be removed at a moments notice, can’t be taken off to comply with a restaurants dress code and can’t be doffed to show respect to Her Majesty. Asking a Sikh to take off his turban is like asking Brittney Spears not to take anything off. It just can’t be done.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
It was a heavy day, meetings in different parts of Delhi - from Nizamuddin to Hauz Khas, then Darya Ganj, then Okhla and a long search, then a shorter search in another phase. Mercury well into the 40s, a heat haze, mingled wih much dust and pollution. We drank lots of water, and, sunk deep into the seat of our hired car, we, in our usual macho way, whine piteously to ourself about the heat and the dryness.
And then we see this.
You argue with your rickshaw driver. He demands 40 rupees, you give him 25, telling him that that's what he gets for not turning on his meter or pre-negotiating a fare. He continues to grumble, but you're already on your way out of the blazing sun into the inviting cavern that's sending seductive tendrils of cool air in your direction.
As you disappear below ground, the heat and dust fade slowly away until it's almost like they weren't there. It's cool here, and quiet. No muck, no paan stains or discarded gutka and wafer packets. The loudest sound is the squeak of your rubber soles on the gleaming floor.
You pay your money to a surly chap-behind-the-counter (some things don't change), you get a undistinguished -looking round piece of plastic.
You dawdle a bit, not wanting to look the complete hick, so that you can sneakily see what more experienced souls are doing with those tokens. "Heck, I can do that," you say and stride forward confidently .. and manage to muff it on the first try. But then, it's fool-proof, so you get in on the second shot.
You hobble in search of a down escalator, but there isn't one, alas. As you start down the stairs, you realise there was an elevator that you missed seeing. Never mind.
Bombay-bred instincts steel your spine, galvanise your elbows, as you prepare to fight your way in.
But there's a sleek metal tube just sitting there, doors open, seats vacant. You look around suspiciously. No, it's not a trap. Gingerly, you step in, sit down. A beep warns that the doors will close. A lithe young collegian leaps in, eyes only on his phone, SMSing through the process.
The doors murmur softly as they slide closed. And with a lurch, the train sets off north. At least you take it on faith that it's north. There's no way to judge, underground, no sunny side of the train.
Your map, carefully copied from a website, is redundant. Clear signage over the doors lay out the route. A scrolling red-and-black marquee welcomes you to the Metro, and tells you what station is coming up.
CP, and there's a smallish crowd waiting to get in. They don't wait for people to get off (other things don't change either) and there's a minor scuffle which quickly sorts itself out.
New Delhi. More crowds. Standing room only. Lo and behold, a young man gets up and gives his seat to an elderly lady!
Delhi main. More people getting off than on.
Civil Lines. You get off. The train whines, eager to be off. The doors hiss shut, and it speeds off into the dark. You get up the stairs, once more, you watch to see how people let themselves out.
This time you manage the token insertion with elan. You check the signage. The Underhill Road side is where you've been told to get off.
You climb up the stairs, still awed, SMSing as you climb: Your Metro ROCKS!
And the blaze of light reaches down to you, hot fingers laying streaks of sweat down your face, your back. You emerge from this tecnological marvel of modern transport, and several cycle rickshaws clamour for your custom.
p.s. There's a Delhi Metro Yahoogroup! [Link via Manish Vij, who also has a bunch of pictures up in this post.]
Oh, have just put the Pachmarhi story (yes, the one that caused our butt so much grief) online now the next issue of the mag is on the stands, as per usual practice.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Prufrock Two points out some KV lifts no one else noticed.
Hurree Babu has more startling revelations.
Vivek Kamath has a few more giggles for you.
And more seriously, Samit Basu is displeased about being misquoted.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Nice time-stamp, no?
Gah. We wrote this ages ago, and then forgot to post the damn thing.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The Zubaan Book of New Writing by Young Women
(working title only)
Zubaan is planning to produce an anthology of short fiction showcasing new, young women writers from South Asia.
• The focus of the book will be on young writers in the 20s and 30s.
Selection will be on merit, and the stories would be read by Zubaan's in-house editorial team. The final selection for inclusion would rest with the Editor.
Complete stories should be sent as word attachments to:
Responsibility for the editing, design, production and sales of the book rests with the Publishers.
All writers selected will receive a modest fee for their work.
All submissions should be received by July 31 st 2006
Zubaan is a small independent feminist publisher, based in New Delhi. Headed by Urvashi Butalia, who co-founded India's first feminist press, Kali for Women, Zubaan is committed to publishing books by, for, on or about women – and women's issues – in South Asia for an international market. For further details, and a list of books published thus far, please refer to: www.zubaanbooks.com.
Note: [*] = The site linked to requires registration.
Zig's on TwitterFollow, all ye who must know more.
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce a masterpiece. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.