Play that Song, Train

Where have I heard this before? It took me only a short while to identify the familiar tune.

I do not know how to play the piano but this is one song I can somehow bang out after a lot of practice. “Heart And Soul”, written by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser – the one every learns when they first learn to use all their fingers to play the piano.

I learnt this song because I wanted to see what playing the piano would be like but the idea proved too ambitious for me because my hand-eye coordination, I realized then, was crummy. Still is.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear it on the radio with lyrics. It seems Train got permission and collaborated with the original composers to do this. Nice!

Sharing: A poem about Technology 

This should be something only those born in the late seventies and earlier can fully appreciate. 

Autographed and in Rare books collection @ Powell Books, Portland

Remember WhenJames Huggins

A computer was something on TV

From a sci fi show of note.

A window was something you hated to clean

And ram was the cousin of goat.
Meg was the name of my girlfriend

And gig was a job for the nights.

Now they all mean different things

And that really mega bytes.
An application was for employment.

A program was a TV show.

A curser used profanity.

A keyboard was a piano.
Memory was something that you lost with age.

A CD was a bank account.

And if you had a 3 1/2″ floppy

You hoped nobody found out.
Compress was something you did to the garbage

Not something you did to a file.

And if you unzipped anything in public

You’d be in jail for a while.
Log on was adding wood to the fire.

Hard drive was a long trip on the road.

A mouse pad was where a mouse lived.

And a backup happened to your commode.
Cut you did with a pocket knife.

Paste you did with glue.

A web was a spider’s home.

And a virus was the flu
I guess I’ll stick to my pad and paper

And the memory in my head.

I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash,

But when it happens they wish they were dead.

James S. Huggins’ Refrigerator Door

[Country] [One Distinctive Feature]

 I did this one day last year when I was pondering about our 2016 trips. Under ‘things I want to explore in a country’, I started scribbling out food items, cultural practices and the lot. I got bored doing it alone and roped SJ in to see if we are going to play Snap! on the answers we blurted out with the playlist of countries. 

It turned out that we weren’t too far off. There are 196 countries ( or 202 depending on what you count), and there is still a long way to go on our list here. I just might try to do all. 😝

Portuguese Fado

Argentinian Tango

Swedish Fika

English Tea

Spanish Siesta

Chinese Opera

Australian Outback

Korean Kimchi

Turkish Whirling Dervishes

Japanese Sakura

Peruvian Ceviche

Finnish Santa

Italian Mafia

Indian Curry

Russian Ballet

Austrian Music

African Safari

German Sausages

French Cuisine

American Freedom

Egyptian Pyramids

Thai Monks

Dutch Canals

Belgian Chocolate

Taiwanese Street Fare

Qatari Souks

Arabian Nights

Brazilian Mardi Gras

Indonesian Massage

Swiss Cheese

Mauritian Sugarcane

Sri Lankan Tea

New Zealand Sheep

Hungarian Goulash

Estonian Skype

Maldivian Whales

Liechtenstein Stamps

Norwegian Fiords 

Arctic Circle

Antarctic Freeze

Polish Dumplings

Greek Temples

Mexican Salsa

Canadian Maple

Death Star Waffles

3 months and over 30 assignments later, my first post will be about waffles. Not the usual variety, but the ones shaped like the Death Star. 

The Waffles  

I am certain the company that produced this should ride high on the fervour of fans who, in anticipation of the upcoming Star Wars prequel, sequel, movie, cinematic extravaganza – I am not sure which, will pay all kinds of money to make this for breakfast the day they watch Han Solo appear on screen again. 

I would if I could. But they don’t deliver to my part of the world. Bugger. 

I have one last essay standing between me and freedom. Or maybe two, since I might just write a nice long one to North Pole to report how good I have been and why I might deserve a Death Star waffle maker.

Separation Anxiety of the GB kind

I have been without my 4G access for a week and it has been torturous.

Spotty WIFI signals were what got me through this trying time. Though I had to search for one everywhere I went, and key in a userid and password set every single time I wanted the Internet, I did it.

I got myself into trouble in the first place – by using up all 4GB of my monthly allocation within three weeks. That is a bit more than a GB a week on surfing, streaming, blogging and whatsapping. To exceed this limit is to burn a nice hole in my pocket, so I made the painful decision to shut off all data coming through and just live with WIFI. Gahhhh!

It was not a big deal (I keep telling myself) but I felt handicapped.

The habit of staring intently at a smartphone is something that is surprisingly difficult to rid. When in a train, on a bus, while waiting or eating; At a restaurant, in the car, or even when walking. Why one needs to be entertained while walking is beyond me. Yet, I am guilty of all of the above. There are just so many things to look at!

One hand brandishing a phone, the other armed with coffee. We rather type when we can talk and LOL when we can laugh. We do it so much that we have to be told to put our gadgets away in a basket before entering certain places. Or to silence them in others. When we get them back, we launch our apps again, get busy updating, look for directions to the new coffee place, eyeball the shops enroute and do 21 other things simultaneously. Running an empire probably takes less multitasking than this.

My addiction to being tethered started with a smartphone 7 years ago. I don’t like being without it. I cannot imagine what it must be like for a child born into world one day in the future, where having a connection is as natural as eating and drinking, to go offline.

They’ll need a cure for a new separation anxiety. I am sure of it.


My List of Travel Moments

Inspired by others, I wanted to also pen down a list of the things that evoked or provoked a reaction from me. I don’t want to limit the number to a top ten type because this list will go on as long as I can travel. 😊

1. Striding past immigration at the Departure Hall. As soon as my thumbprint gets the green light, Freedom! Yeah! Even if it is for only two weeks.

2. When the plane lands at the destination. All the months of research, preparation and anticipation were for this moment onward.

3. Getting upgraded. Oh the glee. You do little dances in the elevator on the way up to your nice room when you think no one is watching.

4. The first shower after too long a flight. Ever wondered why the immigration officer at Arrivals sits on an elevated platform? All the better to see you with? IMO, that is the only way to be as far from you as possible without being seemingly impolite.

5. Kindness of strangers. There must have been a time you were standing at an intersection in a strange country and giving the map you have half a mind to crush the evil eye. A stranger comes up and offers to help you find your way – and you feel safe enough to follow, and chat along the way. In Sapporo, as if thorough advice wasn’t enough, the locals went out of their way to escort us to our destination. Amazing.

6. Discovering that you will not get diarrhoea after you unintentionally drank water from the tap. Yep, you can travel on knowing full well that your bowel movements are safe and in order.

7. On the same subject: The first clean, flushing washroom after a series of those that require you to put on bandit headgear to go near, and say a prayer before you head in. There are perhaps only a few bathrooms around the world that can make you run out faster than those you have the fortune to use in the backwaters of China.

8. Finding Sriracha sauce in places where there is no such thing as chilli sauce. I like my food spicy. So whenever I miss it while traveling, I hunt down a Thai or Vietnamese eatery and just almost always find my Sriracha.

9. When you go around like a local on the public transport system. You brisk walk decisively across the station, weave in and out of the human traffic, and towards the platform for the 10.27am train to get to the gothic cathedral by 11.38am so you can hear the choir boys sing at noon.

10. When all you are thinking about is the time you should wake up for that nice breakfast the next day.. The bliss of being just idle.