The Evolution Of Spam

A long, long time ago, when I got my first email ID on Yahoo, like the rest of the world, I was warned about something called ‘Spam’. I was told that bad people will mail me asking for my personal details and then, before I could realize it, they would steal my identity and all my money from the bank. They would sent a virus through an email and kill my computer and make my life miserable.

Of course, none of this actually happened. It was just my mum’s way of instilling fear in me.

The very first spam mail I got was from a guy claiming to be ‘Princess Charlie’ and he wrote to me about investing my money in a time-sharing apartment in Nice, Italy. This was way back in 1998. I still remember this mail because I’ve saved it. Or maybe because I haven’t opened my Yahoo mailbox very often after I created it, like the rest of the world.

A few years later, the nature of spam mails changed dramatically, and unknown people (or robots) started sending unbelievable amounts of hyperlinks in each mail. Things that read: “Click here for free antivirus! Click here for free viagra! Click here for free sex!” and so on. I remember one particular email that went on for three pages, and the entire body of the mail was hyper-linked. It was ridiculous.

Then came the African scourge. Millions of people were killed by their own family members and the lucky few who survived, got access to a computer and an internet connection and mailed everyone on the planet asking for financial help. One particular mail was heart-wrenching. A woman mailed me, claiming to have survived a bush fire in the Sahara Desert. The fire claimed her three kids along with all her money and documents. Her relatives, seizing the opportunity, drove her out of her own house because she didn’t have the documents to prove it was hers. So, she mailed me, of all people, asking for help and a chance to start a new life. Moron that I am, replied to her mail: “Are you a hot chick?” I never heard from her again.

Spam Culture

Then came the Age of the Unclaimed Bank Account. It turns out that a lot of very rich and very dead people had bank accounts in Nigeria, of all places, and the bank manager invariably turned out to be a very generous man. I have mails from at least a dozen such manager asking for my help in transferring million of dollars of a dead guy’s assets into my country. If only I had enough money of my own, I would invest it in a Nigerian bank and die peacefully in a place crash (that would be reported in a popular news site), knowing that my millions were in the hands of such generous souls.

And now, today, we are in the Age of the Lottery. Kind, generous people all over the world are entering your email ID and Phone Numbers in unnamed lotteries as we speak and within the next few days, “…your number will win a billion GBP in the LuckyLoser Sweepstakes!” Congratulations!

Maybe its time we started a new spam trend. Maybe we should hurl abuses are total strangers just for kicks. Or death threats? Nah, might get arrested for that. Think of something new and spam-worthy, and put down your ideas in the comments here. Best one gets a free spam kiss from me.

Image Courtesy: Blogwaybaby.com

Advertisements

Ode To A Lost Savior

He came in the middle of the day,
When it was bright & sunny.
He took up the post, tough as it may,
And vowed to protect me, from death and tyranny.

For 1300 days he did not flinch from danger,
Through pain and suffering, hurt and anguish,
To hell, blood, scratches and tears, he was no stranger,
Nor was the dungeon where was stored to languish.

He fell for me, took a bullet for me,
He held my hand through love and hate.
Many a time, my own immortality he did make me see.
When I had accepted mediocrity as my fate.

He would have endured much more.
Of life’s toughest roads and hurdles.
If only some loser so sore,
Had not stolen my savior when he hung on my bike’s handles.

Dear Helmet,

Wherever you are, I hope you are good. I admit I didn’t always take good care of you. I have abused you much and never ever given you a proper wash. I assure you that when I threw you at that hot girl at the bar in 2009, it was purely an accident – I was aiming for the gay guy next to her. Of all the things I’m sorry about, I’m sorry I took you for granted. You have saved my thick skull from many a crack and I am deeply indebted to you for that.

For all your selfless acts of bravery and courage, having you stolen was the last thing I should’ve have done. I hope you find a good home for yourself.

Keep writing to me from time to time. I do miss you. And if by chance I pass you on the streets of Bangalore sometime, be prepared to see an awesome deathmatch where I pummel your current owner to submission, break his hand for stealing you and bring you home in glorious victory.

Until then, I am always –

Deeply Grateful,
Nikhil

PS: On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how LAME do you think the post is? Let me know in the comments section.

PPS: I don’t care what you vote. I miss my fucking helmet.

Leos Of The World, Unite!

…not to fight crime or anything, but just to instill a sense of purposelessness among people born around the same time in a year. I was doing a bit of research into sun signs and what they mean for different people. I started by doing a bit of reading up on all the different sun signs and the common characteristics that people of a particular sign share. It was interesting to note that every single article or website I read had almost exactly the same information. Leos are supposed to be like this, Geminis are supposed to be like that, and so on.

What was more interesting to observe was that people model their behavior on the basis of what they read about their sun signs. I know a guy who was very shy and used to stutter in school. A few years later, he was a member of the Bangalore Toastmasters Club and was giving speeches all over the city. I ran into him last week and asked him about his miraculous transformation. He said, “I’m a Leo, bro. I’m supposed to be this aggressive and leadership-oriented guy.”

Though I was happy for him, I was frankly astonished at his explanation. He had modeled his behavior completely based on something he read about his sun sign. Okay, the guy was an idiot to begin with, but now, he had become a popular idiot. His fame roused my jealousy and my curiosity.

I was speaking to a close friend of mine who believes in sun signs to an extent. She’s a cusp between a Virgo andΒ  Libra, and for some strange reason, of all the men she’s dated, she find a Sagittarius guy most compatible. This was a surprise because according to these websites, since she’s a cusp, she’s supposed to fall madly in love with a Leo guy and live happily ever after. It was also surprising because she dated me for a few months too, and decided that the Sagittarius guy was better! That was a bit disappointing, but I guess you win some and you lose some. She also feels that Geminis are the worst kind of people to be in a relationship with. I second that motion, because both the Gemini chicks I’ve dated turned out to be strange ones.

But then, there’s this other girl, who’s a Leo, and she’s had the worst possible luck anyone can ever have. She’s been in and out of relationships, she’s been close to killing herself and hasn’t had any luck in her non-existent career. And she attributes all this to her character and says, “I’m headstrong and adamant. I like things done a certain way and I can’t stand it being done any other way. Don’t blame me, blame my stars.”

As for me, I like women. Period. I don’t really go into details of their sun signs and their astrology. If I am able to have a good, intelligent conversation with that person for 10 minutes without flinching, grimacing or searching for topics, then I’m set. Nothing else matters, as my friend James Hetfield said once.

So, the point of this whole exercise was to find out whether or not people model their behavior based on what they read about their sun signs. And I guess they do. Most people do, some don’t and others don’t give a damn.

Of course, being a Leo has its advantages. It gives me a ready excuse to blame away my eccentricities.

PS: The use of the word ‘chick’ as a synonym for women has been allowed by the douche bags at Websters. So, if anyone takes offense, sue me.

Need vs. Want

It seems everyone around me is doing it. People I least expect to do it are doing it and it makes me feel a bit left out. No, they aren’t doing it, in the literal sense of the phrase. They’re getting tattoos done on their bodies, and I thought I should get one myself.

The funny thing about making up one’s mind about body modification is the fact that no matter how much one jokes about it, it has to be taken seriously. A tattoo is a permanent thing, and to take it lightly might result in being stuck with the mistake forever. Yesterday, I was having a very mature conversation with a close friend of mine (who used to blog before she ditched the country and ran away to hide under the Queen’s skirt in the United Kingdom). She told me that she’ was getting a tattoo on her back, under the neck and asked for my suggestions about the words.

Selfish bastard that I am, I somehow managed to turn the conversation thread into whether or not I should get one and if I did, what it should be. It also got me thinking later if it’d be a mistake to get one. I consulted another friend of mine who’s crazier than most crazy people, and she said that I’d be crazier than her if I got a tattoo. Now that’s not the kind of branding I want for myself. Another argument against getting a tattoo is the fact that I only want to get one because I’m bored in life and want to do something insane, and that I don’t really NEED a tattoo. In the past, when life got to monotonous,Β I have quit my job, I have gone on long vacations, I have gone on a spending spree, I have moved houses and I have slept with random women. This time, none of these options seem viable.

The counter-argument to this is I’m feeling left out and desperately want to be part of the tattoo’d crowd.

Now, 48 hours later, I’m still vacillating about this. Should I get one? Or should I just let it be and latch on to some other passing fancy? Help!

Cartoon Courtesy: http://www.cartoonstock.com

Writing For Money?

I opened my inbox this morning to find an invitation to a blogging contest hosted by Indiblogger. Along with Yahoo! Real Beauty, they were hosting a blogging contest with the following announcement:

What does real beauty mean to you? Is your perception different from what most people imagine beauty to be? Let us know and win the biggest prizes in the Indian blogosphere, ever!

They were offering a prize money of Rs. 100,000Β  for the best blog on the topic of ‘Real Beauty’. I was stumped.

Naturally, my mouth watered at the prospect of making easy money and I opened my editor on WordPress and started writing. Three sentences in, I hit a block. I just couldn’t write anymore. I sat at a different table, I used another computer, I smoked, I had lunch, I tried to plagiarize, but I just couldn’t finish writing it. Every now and then, a tantalizing thought came into my mind about all the goodies I could buy with the prize money, and I smacked my lips, hunched over my computer and tried to type a word. In vain.

Absolutely no thought came to mind. In all the vast writing experiences I’ve had in my life, I couldn’t draw on any one of them for inspiration. I just could not write an article all morning. It was weird. I had never had such a strange writers’ block in my life. True, I’ve had a few, and I haven’t been able to write anything for months on end, but all those were times when I had no motivation. Today, I had the biggest motivator in the world – easy money! And yet, I couldn’t write a word. I knew I had to write, I knew there were words on the tip of my fingers waiting to get transcribed on my keyboard, but I just couldn’t get them out.

For a writer, the biggest hurdle he will ever face is himself. If he has some principles in life, then no matter what he does, he can’t break them. But that’s not me! I have absolutely NO principles in life. I’d sell my liver for more alcohol. I should be the last person to be facing a writers’ block.

Writing for money is something half the world does. I was a journalist before I decided to ruin my life, and I used to get paid for whatever I wrote back then. I wrote two books and I certainly used all the money I got from the sales on alcohol and other vices. I have done if before. Why should this time be any different? Then, the answer struck me, like a slap in the face from an ex-girlfriend – this time was different because this was a contest. I have never written for any contest before. THAT was my unwritten rule back when I had a few remnants of principles left over. I had vowed never to take part in writing contests because it wouldn’t be fair to the other participants.

And incidentally, that was when I had my illumination. “Real Beauty,” according to me, is a person’s ability (audacity?) to use vanity as an excuse to explain his shortcomings in life.

Phew, I just tricked my brain into entering the contest.

Encyclopedia Of The Eternally Lazy

People like me who are eternally lazy need a ready-to-use encyclopedia, something that is easy to use, easily indexed, heavily archived and doesn’t involve moving more muscles than required. Google Search beautifully fits into this category, so much that a whole meme is based on Google Images. Apar tagged me to do this a long time ago, and very subtly, she reminded me that it’s still pending.

The objective is to type the answers to all these questions in a Google Image Search field and pick an image from the first page of hits. Quite an interesting assignment – it’s very misleading in it’s simplicity. πŸ™‚

Here goes:

1. The age you will be on your next birthday…

25!
25!

2. A place you would like to travel to…

the dark side of the moon!
The dark side of the moon!

3. Your favorite place…

toilet humor
The Loo...

4. Your favorite food…

anything edible
Anything Edible!

5. Your favorite pet…

hot dogs
Dogs!

6. Your favorite color combination…

any color that blends in
Any thing that blends in!

7. Your favorite piece of clothing…

hiking boots
Shoes!

8. Your favorite TV show…

small wonder
Small Wonder!

9. First name of your significant other…

crazy
Crazy...

10. The town in which you live…

bangalore
Bangalore

11. Your first job…

Anal-yst!
Programmer 'Anal'yst!

12. Your dream job…

relaxation therapist
Sleep Therapist!

13. A bad habit you have…

rationalizing alcohol consumption
Rationalizing Alcohol Consumption!

14. Your worst fear…

i will never have her back
... is that I will never have her back!

15. What would you like to do before you die?

Grow Old...
Grow Old...

I hereby kill this tag right here…

Skeletons In My Closet!

CartoonStock.comI will risk being ridiculed as a clichΓ© when I write this post, but I have to get my fingers moving over the keyboard. I am suffering from a serious bout of writers’ block nowadays. I can’t seem to convince myself that I must write to keep my mind spiraling down into an abyss of mundane work. I’ve been putting in twelve hours of work everyday now, for the past few weeks, and that has taken a toll on my writing. I have been accused of neglecting my blog, neglecting all the beautiful people on my Gtalk list, and not giving enough time to myself.

So, I decided yesterday (while I was in the middle of a beautiful dream) that the best way to get over this block is to start by revealing ten deep, dark secrets about myself – the skeletons in my closet – for the whole world to see and judge and hopefully, have mercy on my poor soul and forgive me for all my cupidity. Er.. I mean, stupidity! πŸ˜€

1. Stuffed penguins freak me out! (As a kid, I used to watch Pingu and cry, and almost killed a friend of mine for forcing me to watch Happy Feet!)

2. I am homophobic – I don’t like the concept of homosexuality! (No offense to anyone, it’s just my personal belief that nature did not intend that to happen!) πŸ˜€

3. I like it when people scream at me. It’s probably not subtle masochism but the fulfillment of an innermost desire to annoy others! πŸ˜€

4. I am in love…

5. I like playing chess with people online, because that way, I can cheat by using Shredder Chess! πŸ˜€

6. I once burned my dad’s feet with a hot serving spoon intentionally, when I was six years old, because he refused to buy me chocolates! πŸ˜€

7. I think I’m from another planet, but I’m not sure of the facts…

8. When I’m alone, I fart loudly and smile to myself! πŸ˜€ (I will vehemently deny this fact in court, if it comes to that!!)

9. Till very recently, I did not know the difference between the kind of work a Prime Minister does and the kind of work a Mayor does! (Thanks for the enlightenment, Shefaly!)

10. I don’t bathe on weekends! πŸ˜€

Phew.. Took me half an hour but I did it! I wrote something! Yay! πŸ˜€

P.S. This was also a tag by Vishesh. I’ve got a couple of other left in my drafts, which I’ll be posting soon.

P.P.S. Ms. Charming Girl, you were exactly as I had imagined you would be. Thanks for meeting me last night…

(Photo Courtesy: CartoonStock.com)