You ever realise you can't use movement on hills to explain a situation in the positive?

You can't tell someone things are going to get better by suggesting it's all downhill, because that's...bad (?) - even though going downhill is such a joyous, carefree, low-exertion process. But, you also can't tell someone it's all uphill, because they'll just think you're scaring them by pointing out the obstacles they have to climb.

It's a conspiracy by the British I tell you. Why else would the most commonly used phrase to explain good times be smooth sailing? What else would you expect from a bunch of islanders whose love for seafaring helped them conquer half the world?


Intense Paranoia - Identification Method #55

Believing that coffeeshops use hidden odour-dispensing machines to pump out specially enhanced coffee perfumes.

It is the only possible explanation for why they smell so heavenly, but their products taste like clay that's been churned all morning.


Traditionally built.

What an odd little phrase. You know what it implies, or is supposed to - the person is on the heftier side of the average body-size spectrum. But it really doesn't make sense.

What does it even mean? Traditional for that family, that community, that country, that region? Does that mean that traditionally, hence historically, the de facto tendency for humans is to be plump? That our hunter-ancestors managed to bring down entire mammoths but could do so without being lean?

And further, does that mean that traditionally, there have never been naturally thin people? That thinness is an unnatural state brought on by too much exercise, a bout of anorexia, or a little hihellokaiseho with liver-related diseases? That the relative underweight nature of almost everybody running on one side of my family is not traditional, but we've instead been cursed/blessed for deed performed in the long-distant past by one of my ancestors?

Tosh. If you want to be PC, use well-rounded. Traditionally built indeed.


Talking of things that don't make sense - the insane (there's literally no other way to describe it) rush by people in this country to buy tickets for the scheduled MJ concerts.

At last count, all 50 shows were sold out. That's 750,000 people who thought it would be worth paying between £50 and £75 each to go listen to a man who could barely speak at the press conference held to announce all those shows, whose last hyped 'live performance' ended with him whispering faintly while surrounded (ironically) by a children's choir, who last had a semi-decent hit in 1993 (and I still say it was only because of that video with Naomi), and compared to whom I look like Fatty Fatzilla, the Fatman of Fattington.

20 quid says he 'collapses' days before the first concert, and calls off the whole thing because they discover some inoperable illness. Leaving him free to not renege on his contract, but keep all the money and pay off his debts.

How can people be so stupid, again? No wait. I got the answer to that when they re-elected Dubya.

I want to smack Federer for the outfits he turns up in at Wimbledon each year. He comes across as such a....have to say it....complete and utter prat.

Just play. Don't model for goodness' sake. I'm still getting over Agassi's neon shorts-over-tights outfit.


Talking of tennis - yay for the BBC. Live coverage of the matches, across multiple channels.

Also, yay for home-working and being able to watch them all.

Don't hate me, I'm a nice person. Really.

Trying to keep the plants surviving in the current heat wave we're having here (I don't want to jinx it by calling it summer) brought to mind an old thought.

For all the efforts being made to reduce pollution by cutting down emissions and preserving trees and burying carbon blocks underground, I wonder if anybody's thought of genetically modifying plant species so that they use more carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.

More CO2 absorbed = less atmospheric CO2 = lesser global warming = life sustainability for a few more years = yayness.

Yes, I know the composition of the atmosphere is a delicate balance and we can't have too much oxygen otherwise we'd all combust and whatnot, but this could be controlled by growing such plants only in designated farms (in pots maybe) and culling them when things get better.

Anybody know any bio-engineers?



Number of you = 1

How many people you know/you matter to = 1,500*

Number of others on planet = 6.8bn (approx)

The impact your absence would make to the world = 1,500/6.8bn = 0.00000022%

Number of discovered planets = 361

The impact your absence would make if all the planets discovered so far were inhabited = (1500/6.8bn)/361 = 0.0000000006%.

And so on and so on.

* Assuming for person of average life. Differences for CEOs, artists, inventors, and politicians.
* Eight solar + 353 extrasolar

Manual of Life - Little Known Facts #64

The more you eat regularly, the hungrier you get.

Your body can get used to getting by with just a cuppa in the morning, even though it so obviously needs more. And your stomach won't complain after a day or two, but will instead settle down into devising ways in which to stretch those few measly calories till lunch. It will also shrivel up in misery, causing you to think you don't need to eat, and that even if you wanted to, you would only be able to have a little bite.

But - if you do begin to eat regularly, your stomach will be more than happy to point out that it always did require so much. And just to prove its point - and just to get back at you - it will quickly expand back to its original size, and then keep expanding. This will cause you to keep filling it, but will still leave you with some space (it's larger no?), thus causing you to feel peckish, thus causing you to eat more.

You will then become fat*.

* Assuming you're an average person, and does not exercise enough (or often enough), and eats all sorts of unhealthy processed junk, and are not born with lucky genes.


A reversal

1-6, 3-6, 0-6.


A wish fulfilled

"I don't have yearly wish-lists, but if I did, I'd want Federer to win the French and Roddick to win at least one more Major (preferably this year)."

One of my friend often accuses me of being just a Federer fan. Untrue. I appreciate other players. I admire Roddick's attempts to reinvent himself, I admire Nadal's almost-insurmountable will not to accept that he could be facing defeat, and Safin - well, every sport needs a character.

And I love a good contest, which is why I was a little sad that Federer lost Wimbledon, but not heart-broken. Because Nadal deserved that victory, and somebody needed to bring Federer down a peg (I mean, blazers with crests? Seriously?), and the game needed a rivalry.

But there's a special joy in seeing Federer win. Not because of him as a person, but because of what he's returned to the game. Delicacy, artistry, and a one-handed backhand - all in an era which seemed to be destined to be ruled by big-serving power-baseliners.

And besides that, for reminding future players that you don't have to be slamming serves down to hit a high percentage of aces - just accuracy. And that you don't need to scream and grunt while hitting winners - just timing and placement. And that whatever people may insinuate and the media may speculate, if you believe enough and hope enough, you can still succeed. And that you can win and still be a nice guy, to the extent that even your rivals want you to win the one tournament you haven't.

Some Facts

I don't get bothered too much about the whole 'greatest' debate. There are so many differences in the eras of every sport, and tennis is no different. The whole pro vs amateur problem of the early days, the differences in surfaces and racquets and balls. Pointless. One of the greatest is enough.

But just two stats -
1. This was the 20th straight Major that Federer's made the semi-finals of. The next best is 10 straight. And.....he's not done yet.

2. For all the talk about how he's lost his touch and he's on the decline, his record in the Majors since the start of 2008 (arguably his worst period in six years) reads like this - SF, RU, RU, W, RU, W. In comparison, Nadal (who has been the most dominant player in that time) has this record - SF, W, W, SF, W, R16. Nobody else even comes close.

People should get some perspective.

Bonus Stat:
Majors won, as a percentage of Majors taken part in -
Federer - 35% (14/40)
Nadal - 30% (6/20)
Sampras - 24.6% (14/57)

Not-so-perfect Destiny

Still, I bet he's wishing it had been Nadal on the other end, netting that last ball into the net.

Ah well, maybe it will still happen on Centre Court.


Fun times

He hated leaving parties.

Not because he liked them so much. Although he did. But even if he was having a miserable time at some unplanned gig at some random person's house which had a table offering only soggy crisps and just three beverages of unexciting potency, he still hated leaving parties.

Because he always wondered if they were only waiting for him to leave so that they could start talking about him. No...gossiping. No no...bitching. Backbiting. Mocking. Sneering.

It didn't matter where the party was, or how many people he happened to know there. The moment it became more than close friends having dinner, and turned into a bunch of people hanging out and bringing other unknown folk, he couldn't help but feel that the minute he waved his last casual-cool goodbye and stepped outside, the laughter and the ohmygawwds and the headshaking would begin.

And so he began staying later and later. It became a battle of patience and nerves - him against those who he felt would be the first to initiate the giggles. He learnt to eat a little before the party, so that he wouldn't be forced to get out just because the last straggly carrot stick had been devoured. He began to read up on things - on art and sport and current affairs and architecture and music and books - because when it was just you and three others, it was hard to hide behind a pretty smile and endless discussions about who would win in a fight between Batman and Bruce Lee. He learnt to ignore the pointed yawns of his hosts, or the repeated comments about what a long day they had had (what did they mean by that anyway - it wasn't as if they lived in Narnia where time ran differently) - as long as there was one other guest, he refused to leave.

Inevitably, people realised this and began leaving early - or rather, earlier than they would have if he hadn't been at the party. It was either that or end up being stuck in a conversation about whether Dali's vision was weirder than Escher's and Gaudi's combined.

He realised this, but he didn't care. He wouldn't give them the chance to make fun of him behind his back. He would not be broken.

And then, one night, he wondered if they had begun to leave early only to meet elsewhere and make fun of him.