kurtosis

Aside

So I just mentioned this to the missus:

A thought just occurred to me: that ‘kurtosis’ is a fine name for a child.

I give you — Kurtosis Venkatesh Swaminathan. Kurtosis Singh. Kurtosis Ray. Kurtosis Naageshwara Sreeranganatha Reddy.

I know. It really really works.

Said kid would be called ‘Kurt’ for short.

‘Kurtu’, lovingly even.

Ah, but wait.

While ‘Kurtu baby’ or ‘Kurtu baba’ is a fine “pet” name.. it also sounds suspiciously like ‘Kirtu’.

As in, Kirtu.com1.

Plan: canceled.

1. Regular readers of this site will recognize this highly NSFW link to those esteemable writers of the classic ‘Savita Bhabhi’. With a still-active paywall, which means their business model is actually working quite well.

p.s. It’s not a “true” entry to The Weekly Writing Challenge; Power of Names, and I hit ‘Publish’ without actually reading what theirs was this week (seriously, what a coincidence!). But it’s close enough to the topic, so I’m counting it.

when and..

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“…When?”

Her question looms.

********

Clare looks exasperated. “You’re really going to make me regret doing this, aren’t you?” Stuttering, hemming-and-hawing, John — clearly even more off guard than usual — reacts in what is now classic “John” fashion. The thinking-on-his-feet-after-putting-them-in-his-mouth.

Which, when I say it out loud, really doesn’t make a lot of sense.

“Well, you see, what I’m trying to say… well… what you’re not letting me tell you… if you think about it….” John is fighting a losing battle and he knows it. He sneaks a glance: Clare’s face is still and inscrutable, just as it has been since they had found their seats.

Come to think of it, women’s faces are generally inscrutable… especially to the men in their lives. Moi? I think she’s going to take pity on him.

“You know, there is really only one question I have to answer…”

********

They take their seats at the table, across from each other. The barista had been pretty quick about getting their orders ready: always a relief. I would call this café noisy, but the two of them? They appear wrapped in their own little cocoon. A cocoon probably resounding with the clink of coffee spoons hitting cup-edges. Stirring is an art — do it well and the blended taste can really hit the spot. Do it badly… and honestly? Few people can really tell the difference.

Except those who hate the clinking of coffee spoons.

She looks up at him; he remains steadfast in not looking up. He hasn’t taken his eyes off his coffee cup since he sat down. That she already knows what he wants to say is not helping. At all.

“You should just say what’s on your mind, John. Not beat around the bush. Not avoid conversations worth having.”

He looks up, his face a mask of surprise. Our heroine has the air of Sherlock Holmes accurately predicting Watson’s thoughts without the latter saying a word.

He opens his mouth… a long pause.. then, “I was just thinking about what you said when we came in… here.” John says this slowly, still stirring. It’s clear he’s searching for the right words. And in the process, saying nothing at all that is of any relevance. This is what men do when they’re trying to think out loud. A lot of things said: none of them with any real meaning.

“Enigmatic indeed, my dear John. But you should know better… only one of us should talk in conundrums.” She has a small smile playing on the corner of her lips. The one you have when you’re toying with your quarry. When you know what is to come, and are relishing the foreplay.

It strikes me that I should probably clarify that Clare too, is no stalker or serial killer. Or, y’know, something worse.

She sighs. It is partway the sigh of someone expecting more. It is also that exaggerated sigh you let out when you’re trying to drive home a point. Is she really expecting better? Hard to tell. Clare looks at him, and an expression best described as ‘understanding’ flits across her face. She knows why this conversation is taking so long. And why this conversation may never go anywhere, if the man was left to his own devices.

Women hate that.

********

John pushes the door to the café open, head bowed… almost as though he finds his shoes fascinating.

I can tell you his shoes are not interesting at all.

He is not taking her hints. Of course, he may also be completely clueless that hints are being given. Clare pauses as she is about to enter the café to study him a moment; a semi-smile flicks across her face. She’s thinking back to that day they first met on the street and she threatened him with pepper spray. Something had caught her attention then… and here they were 2 years later. She knew what he wanted to say; she had figured it out when the thought had first come to him.

Is she going to help him out? I wonder…

Clare sighed again. I know that sigh. She’s going to put him out of his misery.

Just a little push.

“It’s never easy to figure out how to ask someone to marry you, is it?”

Written in response to the Daily Prompt: Write Here, Write Now. Also, the concluding part to ‘If and When‘.
p.s. If that didn’t make sense, all I can say is…
Four Sections.
***********
There are.

if and when

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I think someone once said that life could be encapsulated in 2 letters.
If.

********

There she went.

And him, right behind her.

Lest you believe the erstwhile hero of this story a stalker, I must assure you he is nothing of the kind. No, seriously. He’s not going to just quietly follow a random girl that he sees on the street with no purpose in mind.

That said, our hero has actually lengthened his stride, and hurried ahead. Maybe, you would think, just to get a glimpse. In a completely not stalker-ish way. Or maybe not.

Or…

In fact, if one was to take a mathematical view of this situation: the chances of seeing her in the next 3 minutes can be modeled as a simple probability distribution with variables that include…

..um, hold on to that Gaussian. He’s spotted her. There she is.

She looks amazing. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. I can wax and wane prosaic about her looks and her gait and her face and her fashion… wait, do I mean prosaic? I’m gonna need to Google this one, folks.

In the meanwhile, our hero has caught up with his quarry. Before you ask, no, he’s not a serial killer, either. His looks? Does he even superficially deserve this creature that he has caught up with so quickly? I guess he’ll do. He’s no Sylvester Stallone, which doesn’t really mean much as Sly is, like, 600. A very bulked-up, ripped, and hormone-injected 600 at that. That said, I don’t see anyone else coming along who can carry this story forward. And as I said, our hero is not a killer or a stalker or, y’know, something worse. He’ll have to do.

It also appears our man is not one of those geeky tongue-tied heroes who will end up committing some sort of terrible gaffe in breaking the ice. He’s forging ahead. Fearlessly. The opening gambit…

“Wanna talk?”

These words hit her just as she realizes that someone arbitrary has caught up and is addressing her. Her face clearly conveys “Huh?” while her feet start the process of getting away from random-creepy-dude-approaching-her-on-street-and-asking-about-talking.

“You know, talk? As in conversation, a tête-à-tête, banter… something like those two dogs…” It appears our hero hasn’t actually checked whether said dogs are playfully gambolling together or going at it. Like really horny dogs are wont to do. I won’t say ‘bunnies’, as they are after all dogs.

Awkwardness ensues. She’s averting eyes. She’s speeding up. She’s close to running away. Or taking out pepper spray. “Ahem.. well, I’m.. um.. sorry.. that’s not.. well.. you see.. the idea was that.. ah, crap.”

A real wordsmith, our hero. I don’t see this ending well.

She’s stopped. Maybe she found that pepper spray.

“Do I know you? I should hope not, given your tact and conversational skills.” A little bit fearless, our little lady. But she’s being sane about it. Not too close to him either. Her response brings a rueful smile to his face. Or maybe that is more of an ingratiating smile.

“Well, it got you talking to me.”

Unfortunately, our hero is no pretty boy who can pull off this line with the requisite swagger. The line does seem to have hit a nerve with our lady, though. “If that was an effort to somehow hit on me, you’re pretty sucky at this. In fact, if that was an effort to generally socialize with another human being, you’re extremely sucky at this.”

Game, set, and match, I should think.

His ingratiating smile remains plastered on his face. “Maybe I should start over… I’m John.”

I will say this for Johnny boy: he doesn’t waste much time trying to make an impression. From her expression, I think our heroine is of the opinion that he hasn’t spent much time developing his brain either. “I assume that is supposed to imply that I introduce myself. I’m trying to figure out why I’m standing here talking to you at all.” John’s trying to think on his feet now. I really hope he has something more going for him than just  vaguely stalker-ish tendencies.

“You clearly don’t remember me, but we’ve seen each other around campus. I think you’re in my class. Thought of saying hi so many times before this butneverreallyhadthechance.”

John is babbling. Ever had that feeling of impending doom, that feeling that whatever is going to happen next is going to be complete and utter…

“You really have a sense of timing… John, was it? Stalk a girl down a relatively lonely street, and start with a seriously terrible line. Most people would have screamed in pepper-spray induced-agony by now.” Despite what this woman is sounding like, I wouldn’t trust her. Her hand is still inside her bag. Any sudden moves, Johnny.. and… “Well, yeah.. I really shouldn’t have startled you like that. But you’re still talking to me, so.. say, your name is…?”

This guy is seriously blundering his way through this.

Hold on… she’s smiling. I can’t believe this fool’s luck, but she’s actually smiling.

And what a smile to be on the receiving end of.

John, predictably, gets a tad flustered. “Um.. ah, well.. I.. thought.. you.. walk…” Holy Jesus Christ. This guy? Seriously? “With verbal abilities like that, who would not want to talk to you?” I think she’s just ribbing him. Well, I hope so. For his sake. Her hand is outstretched. “It’s good to meet you, John. I’m Clare. Maybe I’ll see you around sometime?”

Yeah, I think this is weird too. Why is she not ripping him a new one? Or even running away? John, of course, is looking like violins are filling the air with music. Like birds are singing. Like life is for laughter and joy. Like the air is filled… his fingers touch hers. He’s smiling. “Nice to meet you too, Clare. Maybe we can talk some more over coffee?”

That’s a pretty gutsy move, given the way this encounter has gone down. She’s going back to looking uncertain about him. “I guess…” Her voice trails off, and you have to hope that Johnny boy takes the hint.

“When?”

********

I think someone once said that life could be encapsulated in 2 letters.
But that it began and ended with 4.

To be continued…

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Cliffhanger! I’m open to suggestions on how to resolve this. Of course, I have my own resolution… which is now posted here: when and…

hello, 2014

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Even as I starting typing in this box, I got to thinking about what I would remember 2013 for. 2012, was of course stupendously epic on multiple fronts — something I should probably have talked about in January 2013 🙂 Well, ’nuff said about what is now 2-year-old news…

What do I want to say about 2013 specifically, then? A pretty big “life checkbox” got ticked this year, together with which came the realization of all the different ways I’m supposed to have grown up by now. How does it feel? Pretty amazing. Unfortunately though, a pretty big “death checkbox” was also crossed off… and despite my better sense telling me otherwise, it is hard to believe how things have gone down. How much I wish I could have been there. And how quickly it all happened1.

Skipping away from such thoughts, I guess my big takeaway from 2013 is my realization that I need to make the time to do <fill in something I complain about not getting to do nowadays>. Trite realization I guess, but for far, far too long I wished? hoped? that life would be nice enough to open up the time I need2. Very much au contraire, mon ami. Life has the glorious ability to fill up all the time you have available with whatever it can. I’m still not great at properly allocating time, and have a major tendency to push off to-dos until they cannot be pushed any longer… but I’m learning to look at things differently. That being-a-Dad/having-a-family thing? Shockingly great motivator that ensures that there is always a chunk of time that cannot be given over to work3. Hopefully I can take that forward into the many other activities that have suffered in the absence of time for them.

This space, of course, didn’t see much of anything in 2013. For those who came in late, it is now spluttering and coughing its way into its 10th year of existence. Among other things, I guess a post describing fatherhood in some way is pretty mandatory in the blogosphere. 16 months in, I can’t freeze on an angle to take. Yes, it doesn’t seem that long to me either.

Speaking of blogging, I clicked around the different stats that WordPress so kindly makes available to us bloggers. This site has clearly become the hub for… erm…

Search stats Q4 2013

Yep, Asia Carrera lovers are hitting up this page, and probably getting a little disappointed by the content. It is, of course, one of only 3 pages indexed by Google which have that relatively innocuous photo. Another page that’s very popular? One of my many posts about Savita Bhabhi4.

A good place to end as any, I guess. And yes, I know have managed to get 2 posts out in 2 weeks, where there had been 2 posts out in the 11 months before that. Assuming we don’t want to jinx it, lets leave it there.

1. I just scanned my post from the end of 2011, and in addition to the loss in the family, another thing that is in correspondence to that time is my India trip, or the lack thereof. 4 years and counting now…

2. Or that I would be able to just “create” the time I need. I have been able to in the past anyway. Basically, I gave up sleep. Or free time. Voila, time just got made.

3. Incidentally, also a way to find out how much you can do for a baby in a groggy, sleep-deprived state. My kid, clearly knowing of my late-night-ways, first chose to wake up every morning at 3 am for “play-time”. Nowadays, she just wakes up and is ready to attack the day at… 5:30-6 am. Every day. I used to say to the only way I can be sure of being up at that time is if just never slept. Something, someone, somewhere has a sense of irony.

4. And yes, I realize that by including these words in this post, I’ve probably further cemented my PageRank as an authority on these 2 subjects. And to think of all the time we spent on Galadriel’s PageRank for… well, you know.

post #3 for 2013

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Yep, you read that title exactly right.

I posted twice this year. Once for the big three-o birthday. And once for a story that was worked out in my head the minute I saw the poser.

Lets compare my other spaces this year: 589 tweets. ~50 Facebook posts. 24 Instagram shots.

As Kottke rightly put it: the. blog. is. dead. In the context of which, mine has hit the rock bottom of life support. Clearly blogs and blogging in all its forms have been eroded, split away into multiple other “specialized” forums that exist today. Earlier this year, my partner-in-crime declared his blog shuttered. Heck, I used to find it hard to follow everyone on my blogroll on a weekly basis1. Of the 50-odd sites that I used to link to, 13 remain.. of which 4-5 occasionally post. 2 of them are actually Tumblrs, which are somehow different from blogs, I think.

Does this mean that no writing happens at all? That would be harsh. I do write, as much as I remember to, in a private local space. Guess this blog is too public to be home to those details. Its more of a daily.. well, to be honest, more like a bimonthly.. log. One of those things you do coz you want to document stuff about your kid. Yep, I’m that kinda dad2.

Is there really nothing I can burden this space with? As far as readership.. well, that has now moved to the many other social forums that people find easier to dip into and out of. Short thoughts/asides? Twitter. Arbit GIFs/links? Tumblr. Life status updates? Facebook. Photos? You name it.

Which leaves long-form, introspective writing. I used to have a tradition of reflectively writing on anniversaries, new years, birthdays, in addition to the regular posts on how I don’t post any more. The birthday one may be the only thing that sort of lives on.. but next year will truly tell whether it stays or not. Writing for the sake of it seems a tad, shall we say, idealistic. Yes, it gets you better at it.. but as time moves on you feel a need to ensure that everything has an end-goal, an objective.

I thought it was well known that blogs don’t need objectives and goals. Least of all personal blogs like this one that have suffered barely 3 posts this year. And yet, I..

Must decide if this space has an objective any more.

..and If this space should officially go on hiatus3 in its absence.

1. Which led down the rabbit hole of RSS readers, and even reviews of RSS readers. One thing led to another, and here I am 8 years later, paying for an RSS aggregation service in the wake of Google Reader’s death. Bazqux.com is highly recommended for a quick interface, Google Reader-y interface, and interoperability with every possible RSS reader client/protocol out there.

2. Heck yeah, footnotes. Nothing like trying something new to believe things could happen. If you click the footnote number that is at the start of this footnote, you’ll go back up top. Enjoy!

3. Typing the word ‘hiatus’ bummed me out unbelievably. Didn’t think this meant that much to me.

la porta

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The door to your house/flat/apartment/abode has come unstuck in time. The next time you walk through it, you find yourself in the same place, but a different time entirely. Where are you, and what happens next?

Her hand trembled.

As the rounded door handle clouded with the reflection of her palm, he reached out and steadied the ever-so-slight shaking of her fingers.

She hadn’t even realized that how shallow her breathing was until his fingers closed around hers. Deep breaths, slowly now, time to open her eyes… she firmed her grasp on the door, turned the handle, and…

***************
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