Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fried day

Today has been a rough day.

My 4 year old was to go on a field trip and the usual morning rush was accelerated to 32x. We raced through showers, breakfast and the drive to the school, until the moment when everything came to a standstill. Not exactly a standstill, because the front right wheel of the car was still spinning, as I drove the left one into a huge manhole. I use the term manhole euphemistically, because actually, it was a huge crater where a couple of tiles covering a river of sewage had just fallen in. So there we were, teetering at an angle of at least 20 degrees above the underground world of sewage. Has the car fallen down, my child giggled. Sort of, I said, before I jumped out of the italicized car.

By the time I dropped my daughter off and came back to the car, a small crowd had collected to watch our desi version of the tower of Pisa. Which was the luckiest thing that could happen, because these very same people picked up the front of the car and hoisted it out of the hole in the ground. I drove off to my favourite coffee shop for some r & r, and a long awaited brunch with my sisters.

Minutes after I had bragged about my buddha-like calmness while handling the car episode, the school called. My daughter had refused to get into the bus, and had decided to stay back at school instead. They said she was calm now, which didn't leave much about the past hour to the imagination. My calm mask slipped considerably as I rushed back to school, slowing down only near the crater.

And then things degenerated further. A soggy lunch at mcd (clearly the trauma of the morning had left my child's passion for happy meal toys untouched), a sister getting stressed out about getting delayed for work, and a crazy rush to drop my other sister off to her bus to mumbai (which included two evil arguments during the drive) followed.

And then, as we were returning, I spotted a small bicycle shop. I stopped the car, this was the closest I had got to my new year resolution to exercise regularly. We walked in, and behind a curtain of crotch guards and strange gloves was a man.  A lean, toned man, the kind who instantly makes other people suck in their paunches and stop breathing. I asked him without pointing (my arm jiggle has graduated to an oscillation to rival church bells) about a couple of the things on sale. We chatted for a while about cross country cycling spots in the city, and the biking group he belonged to. I told him that I owned a bike that hadn't been ridden for a while, and he asked for my number so that he could update me on biking events.
He also asked me when I had bought my bike and where. When I told him, the man got very animated. "Bring it here" he suggested excitedly. "We'll service your bike for you. It's not often that we get a chance to look at vintage models".
This was the worst blow of the day. What did they call owners of vintage bikes? Victorian? Neanderthal? I swear I felt distinctly arthritic as I walked out of the shop, clutching my child's hand for support. The only bright spot is that I'll forget all about this very soon... isn't short term memory the first thing to go when you age?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

sacred rice

Three days ago, I was surreptitiously comparing features of new phones, while my old waterlogged faithful was gasping in a container of rice.

Well, it worked!!! The rice trick I mean, not the surreptitious comparisons.

The ring sounds a bit nasal, but that's not shocking, after hours in cold water. The screen shows a marbled pattern that doesn't belong to any wallpaper of htc or for that matter any brand, but I could get used to it.

Everything else actually works. The phone, the net, my mail, and yes, I also know that the temperature in Fareham is 1 degree!

I am so impressed by the accuracy of the advice on the net, that I am now seriously considering taking my credit card for a surf. Maybe we could drop by on all those sites that promise flat stomachs, instant wealth and eternal youth...

Monday, February 6, 2012

my wildfire just got extinguished

I’ll confess right at the start that I have never been one to fearlessly embrace the cutting edge of technology; I am more often than not gingerly clutching the wooden, riveted handle.

By the time I bought my first smart phone, the android revolution had long stopped being a revolution. But inside my cosy cocoon of elderly gadgets and appliances, my little HTC Wildfire (bought, unknowingly, weeks before the model was declared obsolete by the manufacturer) was all set to start its own revolution.

I learnt the hard way that bragging about my new acquisition was out. I mean it can be a bit tiring to intercept amused smiles and sniggers when you enthusiastically ooh over mailing pictures to people without once touching your laptop (I use the term laptop fondly for a machine that’s only slightly older and heavier than my 4 year old daughter).

But it's amazing how my own smartness quotient has been boosted by my phone.

I know now that what’sapp isn’t a greeting with two spelling mistakes. That android market isn’t a shop that sells toy robots. And that the best things in life are still free, especially if you like to be quoted. I have this tom cat who reminds me of a colleague in meetings with his boss. And this personal echo came to me at no cost from the above mentioned android market.

Then there have been fringe benefits like learning to make detailed schedules of how I should spend my days. Even the fact that I don’t follow any of the events can’t dampen the thrill of seeing my plans transfer themselves to Outlook via Bluetooth on my …um… computer. And Outlook, that was another first for me, to figure out that the word is not just a part of a dismissive statement to be used when you’re losing an argument, as in ‘Oh (said coldly). Is that your outlook…”

But all these things are the stuff you sometimes find stuck to eggs, compared to what I discovered this evening.
Apparently, while immersion and deep dives are good things for human brains, they are not, for android intelligence. So if you sink your impossibly muddied gardening pants in a bucket of water, as I did a few hours ago, you have to make sure your phone isn’t in one of the pockets.

As I write this, my dismantled phone is resting in an airtight plastic container full of rice. I am informed that rice is a desiccant, by lots of people on the net who have written about how it worked to restore their phones. They have also written about their phones being in water for anything from a couple of seconds to a few minutes. (Mine had been soaking for an hour and a half, and I had blamed the long silence on my unpopularity).

I’ll know by tomorrow, if the tip works. But either way, I’ve got a lot to look forward to.
If the phone stays dead, I’ll have to get another one. It will be my second phone in 6 months, just like those early adopter types. Fancy that.
And if the phone pings back to life, I’ll be able to figure out the exact temperature in Taipei, and cloud status in Tokyo. And if I scroll up, I’ll even know what the weather is like in my own city. If that’s not smart, what is?