Jul 29, 2004



One of the funniest blogs I have ever seen. I'm classifying it as a blog even though Maddox (the author) doesn't mention `blog' anywhere on the site because it follows the general blogging convention, chronologically ordered, `article'-style posts on the same page/site. So, Maddox, has a hobby: maintaining a blog wherein he criticises possibly anything and everything that comes to his notice. These include such diverse topics as Honda civics, The Matrix revolutions, and George W. (suprise surprise :-) Bush. The main themes of his blog seem to be criticism and ridicule, which I admit I quite enjoy because I have something of a cynical streak myself.

Now, Maddox has received quite a lot of mail from readers, and has posted some of them on the site, with replies. It seems people just can't get past the fact that he is criticising things, and that he should stop. This seems to me absolutely analogous to the American right trying to take Howard Stern off the air because, they argue, he is `offensive to listeners'.

Now, my point is: if people don't like what is being said, why the heck do they read it/listen to it? They don't have to. Maddox or Stern aren't taking over their radios/computers and forcing the drivel down their throats. They can easily tune the radio to another channel, or go to another website.

It seems people have this tendency to proactively take offense at things which they come across, even if they themselves aren't directly being insulted. For example, Maddox isn't going to people's homes and telling them what to do; he is posting his own opinions to his own website -- and people are subsequently emailing him and telling him he is wrong/a dipshit/an asshole/whatever.

Jul 27, 2004

I got a Gmail account

I can hardly believe this. I've been invited to sign up for, and I have signed up for, Gmail. I for one thought you had to be a much more regular blogger to be invited to Gmail. Imagine my surprise when I signed in to Blogger.com and found the invitation.

Of course, I've read about the disadvantages of the Gmail account -- potential security issues, totally unsupported 1000 MB of storage that I could totally lose any time in the future, and so on. But on the whole I'm glad I signed up. It's very impressive. They've used JavaScript in a very standards-compliant way and have done amazing things with a Web page. Perhaps things that have never been done before with public Web pages. I could be wrong. Blogger.com has some pretty nifty features approximating to Gmail's, and Hotmail looks pretty cool too. I've heard that Outlook Web Access (hell, I've seen OWA) is liked a souped-up version of Hotmail.

But Gmail is the first I've ever experienced that's so ... well, nifty. And the conversation grouping feature is a masterstroke.

The only thing I don't like about Gmail (here it comes!) is its poorly-integrated address book. Sure, you can import contacts from your local CSV files, but after you have set up the contacts, you can only email one person at a time from the contacts window. And in the message composition window, there is no mention at all of any contacts you might have.

Uh, scratch that. It turns out as you start typing anything in the To: box, a little window listing possible email address or name matches is popped up for you to choose from using the arrow keys and then Tab or Enter. Nifty!

But an earlier gripe still remains. There's no way to quickly select (i.e. with check boxes or some such method) a whole bunch of contacts to mail to. And I haven't seen any mailing list facilities. That is, no way to create a contact that sends the message to multiple addresses.

All in all, though, I feel I'll really come to appreciate Gmail's power as the emails accumulate in the account and give Gmail a chance to show them to me in an organised manner.

Married life and Ferraris

I was going to post something like this yesterday but the browser crashed and I lost that post. You'd think I would have learned my lesson and be composing this and other posts offline on a text editor from now on but this is just more convenient.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I was watching Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson's show on MTV (Newlyweds, I think), and thinking about how married couples interact with each other. Well, actually I got to thinking about that later, because I was taking in the antics of Mr Lachey.

It was Valentine's Day and Mr and Mrs Lachey were getting ready for their romantic evening together in, ahem, different ways. While she bustled around the house setting up the dining and watching the Italian chef prepare the meal (main dish: lobster which the chef snapped in half with his bare hands while she looked on in horror), Nick drove off in his apparently newly-delivered Ferrari to do some golfing with someone who could only be his brother. (Aren't they in the same band together?) Drove off to golf, mind you, in a Ferrari. Dressed in slacks and other casual wear. No. My brain cannot digest this.

In the evening, they had their romantic evening -- at home, with background classical music performed by a hired mini-orchestra. Gifts and kisses were exchanged. Love was affirmed. All so musy-mushy it made me want to cry -- thinking a time might come when I'll probably have to do this stuff.

I know I'm no way near ready to get married. First off, I'm only 19. But that's just physically. I just cannot cross that gap yet to do what married couples have to do, I'm not mentally ready. And I can't see how I will ever be. I just don't have the patience to finesse a woman into telling me things in more or less straightforward fashion. But in the future -- who knows? I've come a long way already in terms of patience and getting some control over my emotions. I just hope I keep some kind of a grip on reality when I have to act soppy or romantic or whatever.

But back to Nick and Jessica. While I was watching the show I wondered why in the world the husband left his wife at home on Valentine's Day to go golfing in his new Ferrari with his brother. If I were him I'd do something like go off to Paris for a couple of days and stroll around the parks and cafes and whatever. Then again, when they signed up to do the show they might have agreed not to leave the country or something, I don't know.

Then as I saw that they had planned all along to spend the evening at home together, I realised that Nick had needed to go off for a while to prepare himself for what lay ahead. I can totally understand. I'm a guy. I guess everyone gets ready for something like this in their own way. Probably Jessica's way was to do what she was doing in the house. Cooking a bit, decorating, setting up.

It can't be easy for two adults to profess their dependence on each other. Not everybody can make it look as easy as Chandler and Monica do.