Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Why behalf?


Why do people do or say things on other people's behalf?  What about bewhole?  This whole half assed business is disturbing I tell you.

And if they did go and do something on someone else's behalf what happens to the other half?  As to the quality of halves which one is the better one?   Gents to be polite always introduce their spouse as the better half.  But then that could simply mean they themselves are the best half?

There are so many other halves out there at this point that there is no point in even discussing it.  But yet here we are.

Doing just that.  Speaking of the haves and have nots they too have their share of halves.  Which means the have nots have effectively a quarter.  Of whatever it is.

Which leads to the haves getting three quarters.  See four quarters make it whole.  No wonder there is disparity and a whole bunch of tension around having.

But when it comes to have and to hold there is no guarantee people will do the latter.  The most important part of the promise which is 'to hold'.  Any one (to paraphrase my favorite comic, Seinfeld) can just Have.  It is much harder to Hold on to a have.


So hold on to whatever half you have been dealt for no one knows when you may get ejected from your quarters.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Selling Education


To sell out crowds.  LOL.  Not quite.  In fact the opposite.  Cold hard truth.  In bay area aka Silicon Valley the pressure is apparent and present.  How to get in to an elite Univ or College without fail when you have straight As.  But wait -- what if I do have a stellar academic profile.  That is not enough.

Today we sat in on a session (myself in full disclosure to get material to write another blog) hosted by an Asian entrepreneur that talked about his and his team's unique value add offering to a child in school.  As in anywhere between middle school and high.  We are talking kids as young as 12 who literally had all their permanent teeth come in a few days ago. 

Thus begins the new age of grooming.  Used to be brides (some in their teens) were prepared and still are in many parts of the developing world to find a suitor and get them wed.  From diet to beauty it is all a choreographed sequence with hopes to ensure a good home for the new bride to be.

This is no different.  In the race of life today's world is collapsing on the very notion of a child growing up to enjoy childhood.  Instead it is replaced by a maddening race to finish school when you are 15 and college by 18 so that you can make your first million by 25.

WTF?? Maybe.  But to a lot of zero and first generation Asian migrant parents in these United States (and in some cases for their kids) it is the default.  The business model of these agencies touting to get your son or daughter into Stanford or an Ivy is basically built on relationships. 

We are different as we teach you offense not just defense.  Suddenly 100 iphones went up and took picture of this profound message displayed on the slide during the narrative.  I kid you not the attendee population was 60% Asian, 45% Indian and 2 Jewish couples.

These tutoring centers as they are branded no doubt to earn some favorable tax break are nothing more than a handshake machine.  One handshake with so and so, assuming you have what it takes (4+ GPA and near perfect SAT + a string instrument or two mastered with a recommendation from an established doctor or startup C level dude) is a network mixer that allows you a shot at a conversation with the dean of admissions to get selected into the elite schooling apparatus of America.

These academies as some are called will mention that they do not view it as a transaction but a way to engage with you to make the whole exercise worth your time (and theirs).. the sooner you enroll the earlier their meter starts.

To me the very fact this type of academy / tutor/ business exists speaks volumes of the state of the education system and the world that these children will enter.  No doubt we are not spending a red cent on this business idea.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Sign language


To an Indian ia lifestyle choice is to broadcast unsolicited advice to others.  No matter what the venue or the occasion the average Indian whether from the north or south will unabashedly dole out his perspective, recommendations and critique regardless of decorum.

What decorum?

This advice takes the form of hilarious to foul language or yelling from roof tops or streets to putting up signs to admonish any random reader of said signs.

One such appears in a local Shiva Vishnu temple of the bay area.  The attendees (aka devotees if you asked them what they would prefer to be called), at said site which is a sprawling campus by the way, tend to park their vehicles and wander in with shoes which are left in myriad locations around the perimeter of the temple. 

Since the Indian tradition advises removal of dirty footwear outside God's home these accouterments get left behind like a trail of bread crumbs from the parking lot all the way to the very threshold of the lord's abode.

The sign to prevent this blasphemy reads " DO NOT LEAVE SHOES ANYWHERE".

It is in double quotes and all CAPS.  Yes.  And while one can see the paradox of the statement the end result is ironic creativity in where the said footwear is found.  Today I spotted a dude retrieve them from a rose bush.  Very clever.  While not apparent to someone watching he quietly retrieved the same after some crowds dispersed without having to walk to the room where there is a shoe stand.

As I was leaving the temple parking a sign told me 'no right turn'.  Also in CAPS.  What did I do?  Guess?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Truth in Advertising


Is there truth in advertising?

This is the modern day yoda question.  I just finished watching a docu/mocumentary about advertising paid for by a bunch of advertisers.  It was titled - POM Wonderful presents - the Greatest Movie ever sold.

Created and directed by Morgan Spurlock who is a comic, film producer and director.  This movie was fun to watch.  When I was in my MBA program I had to decide a subject to major in and I chose not to pick Marketing.  Why?  Some innate idea that prevented me from pitching in to help others pitch.  What I do not know but just this wonky notion of why should anyone pitch anything to anyone?

Well I guess to that extent I am a sell out.  Only a little.  You see I started an experiment recently that my loyal readership will have noticed and that is the annoying ads scrolling on the right banner and the bottom of this blog.

I did not have any ad space prior to a month ago for the many years I had this blog but as I said I am experimenting to see if this drivel that I dole out actually gets any eyeballs to make me quit my day job.

I know you as my loyal readers already have the answer.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A hike in the east bay hills


Despite some wild fires burning north of us and the wind gusts blowing south I decided I was going to go and complete a hike I had been planning to do for months.

The result of the wildfire was that the entire surrounding area in the east bay hills was lit up in a dull orange haze as if the light was filtered from a stained glass.  The air quality left much to be desired but the wind kept the air cooler.

I set out after lunch from the parking and passed some old growth Oaks, among other native species.  As long as I kept in the shade of the larger trees I was actually comfortable and cool.  Some had lived a full life and since given up and gone flat..



I startled some deer in the open meadow when I walked down one of the trails that was not in the shade.





A creek that runs through the hill was bone dry except where the omnipresent shade did not let the surface water dry out.  Cows could be seen slaking their thirst on the dribs of moisture left in the shallow areas.

I did a mile by myself and came back to the parking lot in time to join a naturalist from the local parks department who was about to take some families with little children out to explore nature.

I decided I could play the role of a kindergartner to great acclaim.  A sense of wonder and curiosity.  One thing the walk with the naturalist taught me was how to spot a poison oak.  Contrary to its name might suggest this Oak is not a massive tree but a shrub and can often grow along paths and trails and cause a skin rash if not careful to avoid it.  In the fall it turns color and can be spotted as a three leaf setup that is going red.

Poison Oak surprised the hikers



Bay leaves were fragrant
 Another native species she identified for me was a Bay tree.  The leaves are bay leaves.  Crush them and they smell somewhere between eucalyptus and a native Indian herb used in cooking also called bay leaf.  This is stronger odor but the oils released after crushing are actually quite fragrant.

Thermals help the Vultures



Also spotted an occasional fossil showing some sea shell imprints for millions of years ago when this land was buried under sea water.




CA Buckeye
Passed by California buckeye with its pods hanging like ornaments and then finished the hike spotting some wildlife including a red headed woodpecker, some turkey vultures high above as well as a Say's Phoebe.


It was a good few hours of solitude amidst the forest and its inhabitants before taking the curving road home.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Rewatching - The Guns of Navarone

As time passes you find new authors to read.  But there are some who leave an impression in your mind.  One such from yesteryear was a Scotsman called Alistair Maclean, who wrote the book titled 'The Guns of Navarone' about a heroic attempt by a ragtag team of Englishmen, Greek and who knows what to blow up strategic guns operated by the Nazis on a fictitious island off the coast of Turkey.  The book was written circa 1960 and a film was made by Columbia Pictures shortly after.

Starred Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn among other stalwarts of the era.  I watched it on DVD after some four decades of having watched it as a kid in a theater in India.  Now I paid close attention to lot of things including the fact that all the maps used in the film were created by a Cartoon production company in the UK.

The dialog is engaging without being glib.  A line from one of the chief's to his butler is "men can do great things during times of war with courage and ingenuity but it would be so much better if they could do it in times of peace."

The film went on to be a then box office hit grossing many times than its production budget.  Without too much high tech and theatrics this film still captures a viewer's imagination and keeps one riveted till the end as the guns of Navarone are destroyed.

A morning walk

The kid had a race to run.  As aging parents we decided we would go walk.  So dropped the kid then went and found a quite neighborhood to take it slow.  Take pictures along the way.  People watch.  Have a chai.



Crisp weather with a slight breeze.  On the peninsula amidst lush manicured landscapes.  Sun playing with clouds.  People walking dogs.  Some attempting Chinese meditation techniques while some exercising out in the open.

Before long time to go get the kid back and see if lunch was on the agenda.  It was.  Back down the hill to a Thai place.  Delicious red curry with some fried shrimp and other accompaniments with lots of chilli and basil and other tropical spices.


In the city named after the Foster family.  Who invested here and put down land fill and mud to create something out of muck and marsh of the bay.   Seriously expensive real estate.  If you can call it real.  It is for some large and small corporations who have their base here.

One of them is a Japanese conglomerate with a large presence in gaming which just launched a Spiderman themed game.  So they had a large prop that looked like an arachnid hanging in a web outside their offices.


Why behalf?

Why do people do or say things on other people's behalf?  What about bewhole?  This whole half assed business is disturbing I tell you...