Of working from home, Apple and #firstworldproblems

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Image reproduced with permission from author Andy Singer. Find more of his humorous stuff at:

http://www.andysinger.com

My husband recently took a job working from home for a startup company based in London. We live in Jacksonville, Florida. While this may seem like nothing in today’s hyper-connected world, which is shrinking into one tiny village, (while at the same the universe is said to be expanding at the speed of light—go figure) those very same technological advances liven up my otherwise boring, empty nest life in ways I would never have imagined.

London calling: He gets calls on facetime all the time from his boss. As all technophiles know, Facetime is to long distance callers as shiny objects are to nerds. But sometimes, he is not quite dressed for work, and holds the phone at crazy angles so only, and only his face can be seen. It is facetime after all—not DressDownWeektime or IDon’tFeelLikeTrousersTodayTime. The day when he will be careless with the camera angle in his sleep-deprived startup mode is inevitably looming in the near future. Sorry Russell. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

Apple procreates: Apple products should come with a warning that they multiply like rabbits. From the lone ipod, my own collection—and I am slow when it comes to jumping on the latest technology, has grown to an impressive collection including but not limited to: my ipad (donated by hubby when he bought himself  an ipad 2), iphone, and Macbook Air. I have to mentally check things off as I move from kitchen to lanai to living room to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything in the essential home travel kit of phone, charger, ipad for reading books, Macbook for editing and other stuff I can’t do on ipad, landline phone, and my glasses without which all of the above are useless.

So imagine my glee as I sat across Raj, working on my latest article, and he let out an exasperated sigh.  The cause? Imagine if you will, a guy sitting at a desk surrounded by: an Apple desktop, a Mac book Air, his iphone and ipad. Imagine most all of his meetings are with people across the pond, and over the phone. Sometimes Skype gets in the mix too, along with facetime, imessage, gchat, chatter and just plain old conference calls. It’s reminiscent of Kothavalchavadi. Or (I imagine) the New York stock exchange. I think fondly of the days when just getting on a bridge for a conference call was considered high tech. What blissfully ignorant naïve fools we were!

So, back to the calls—continue the journey into the nightmare scenario: all the devices have two calendars: iCal and Outlook. All his devices are always synced. All meetings have reminders. (Do you see where I’m going with this?) It’s literally like a fire drill before every call—as he goes about dismissing the frantic beeps from 8 programs that he has a meeting. He has a meeting. He has a meeting.

I think the day will come when when he won’t need an Admin Assistant (he doesn’t have one now, but wants one.)  Or a wife.  Unless technology can come up with a way to serve idli/dosas and coffee along with reminders. So I believe I am safe. For now.

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Anatomy of an affair

There she is …svelte, sexy and slim, the seductress.  I remember the days when he used to look at me the way he looks at her now.  Always within his reach, never went anywhere without me.  Yes, I was the ‘other woman’.  I remember the wife looking at me with such hatred every time he came home with me cooing in his ears.  It was a blatant affair.    I was the sexy one compared to his tired old wife – grungy, frumpy, tired and angry.  I was new and shiny and he was always at my beck and call.   He gave me his undivided attention the moment I demanded it.  He left family dinners to be with me.  He took me on his family vacations.  I was the last thing he looked at before he slept and the first thing he reached for when he woke up.

But now, all that is history.  I have been relegated to the background, replaced by her –  newer, shinier, sexier, slimmer, vibrant.  He is totally addicted to her.  What is worse, the tired old wife also seems to be in love with her!  There they both are, in bed, with her!  While I gather dust,  alone in my misery.

You smile now, you vixen!  But your day will come – in six months, a newer other woman will emerge to replace you, the i-slut, the iPad!  Don’t worry – I’ll save you a place in the dusty shelf that is the graveyard of outdated technology.

The blackberry

Note:  This entry inspired by 3 guys at a recent dinner lusting over the new iPad 2 of the host.  One of the guys being my husband. 

Totally Random Post

2000 hits on my blog as of today – 10/13! yay…

Watching a little bit of the Chilean miners being lifted out of the mine they’ve been stuck in for 60+ days – first question pops into my head is: What did they eat?  Caroline, my cleaning lady, who was watching it with me, told me they survived on 2 teaspoons of tuna, a cracker and sips of water every 8 hours for the first 17 days, and after that they were sent food.  They looked fresh, shaven, clean as they came out. 

Naturally, my next question: What did they do for a toilet? Caroline was stumped – didn’t know. 

I always wonder if I would turn into a carnivore if I were stranded in a desert with only meat to eat, or in a boat with a tiger, hyena and a zebra (…a la Life of Pi).   Would survival trump lifelong vegetarianism?

Started a new book ‘The Little Bee’ by Chris Cleave.  Rave reviews on amazon.com, my friend who lent it to me is undecided as to whether she likes it or not.  The story is pretty intense, and I love the style of writing.  Reminds me  a little of Arundathi Roy and David Sedaris.  Sad without being ‘in your face’ melodramatic.   Still haven’t reached the ‘beach incident’ which all the reviews are talking about, supposedly a horrific one.  Am a little bit scared to read it.  As I get older, having less and less tolerance for disturbing things.

Watched ‘The Social Network’ over the weekend with Raj.  (well I did warn you…this is a random post…my thoughts jumping all over the place).  Great movie, fantastic writing!  After reading the reviews, was expecting to really hate Mark Zuckerberg, founder/CEO of facebook.  And did hate him for some part of the movie, but at the end, found myself almost empathizing with him, and feeling sorry for him.

Jesse Eisenberg who plays Mark Zuckerberg, epitomizes the essential geek.  Great casting! Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay rocks!  Adapted from Ben Mezrich’s 2009 nonfiction book ‘The Accidental Billionaires’.  More info here.

The last scene was quite painful to watch where he keeps refreshing his facebook screen after sending a friend request to his ex.  Made me think we’ve all been there (desperate and lonely) at some point in our lives, in some way, shape or form – maybe not necessarily on facebook.   The movie is a fictionalized account of the creation of facebook, and its founders and has made a lot of assumptions.  But to think the guy who created a world of 500 million friends could be lonely, and not have a single friend…

On a related note, read somewhere that in this internet age, when we think of a person, we think in terms of ‘packets of data’ rather than visual, physical image (“x is tall, dark and handsome”).  Instead, what may come to one’s mind may be something like ‘relationship status: single,  likes seafood, 102 friends”.  Isn’t that curious?

Done with my rambling….back to my book.

Lolayee…oh lolayee…

Last year, our family acquired a minivan with a GPS. An interactive, voice-sensitive high-tech gadget. Bill, who owns the dealership, was all praise for it. “You will never ever get lost with this thing” – this was intended for me, who has been known to get lost in my office parking lot.

So we came home, and wanted to take it for a spin with the family. I could tell R was itching to use the GPS. We were going out to eat and decided we would use the GPS to tell us where the only Olive Garden in town was located in the only main road. But first, we had to name it. So we came up with Lolayee, inspired by Robin Williams’ Lola in the movie ‘RV’ – the GPS lady in his RV.

The conversation with Lolayee went along these lines:

R: Restaurant..
Looking around at us with a proud smile after he activated it.
Lola: Rear A/C on.
R : O-live Gah-rrrr-den
Lola : Radio on.
R: now getting a bit louder: REST-UH-RONT OLIVE GARDEN.
L: Rear speakers on (music was now blaring from the backseat)
R: Come on, Lola you can do better than that.
L: Radio 92.1
R: Shut up, Lola.

We were all now confident the problem was my husband’s accent. So I tried, and managed to turn on every appliance in the car.

The kids, having been born here, sniggered. And tried to talk to her.

S (my daughter) : Mall
(Of course….that’s where SHE wanted to go)
Lola: Rear power on.
A (my son) : OLIVE GARDEN
Lola : Locating 93.1

And so it went on for another few minutes, and by this time, we had reached the restaurant.
And gave up the effort. As for the way back, let’s just say that if we had depended on her to get back home that night, we would never have made it.

Since then we have tried to talk to her, trying to coax her to give the right answers, but with similar results. Hmmm….maybe we were asking the wrong questions.
These days, Lolayee simply sulks. We just rely on the keypad to tell us where we are going and how to get there.