Photobucket had recently made a very dick move by disabling all third-party embedded pics unless I pay $399. I've been blogging for 13 years and have 2000+ embedded pics across 650+ blog posts, which are now all unviewable. I'm working on moving my images to a new host, so until then, please do bear with me if you cannot view any images on my older blog posts.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Chp 420. Goal United: Transfer Market

Bwahaha here’s another blog update nobody’s going to read, judging from my previous post, Goal United: Third Division :P

But I just want to put this out here too…

Now that the new season is starting for everybody, most people are trying to buy better players so that they will stand first in their league or not get relegated etc…

My advice? Unless you are planning to be the number 1 in your league and get promoted to the next division, DO NOT buy any players right now!

Because right now, the transfer market is CRAZY!

Everybody wants better players, and so everybody’s trying to outbid each other.

A normal midfielder of age21-23 and strength of around 3.0 was available for around 1 million a few weeks ago. Currently, people are bidding for such players to as high as 3 million!

I have almost 6 million is stash now, still deciding whether to concentrate on infrastructure or buy expensive players. But even if I’m going to buy better players, I will definitely not do it now, seeing all the craziness in the transfer market.

Money is precious, save it.

As mentioned in my previous post, I just got promoted to the third Division and I am currently the weakest player in my new league in terms of team strength and value. My plan right now is to use my existing players and play against the big teams in my league while setting team effort to 125% and 150%. Yesterday was my first league match against a player whose main 11 team strength was 36 (mine is just 30). I won! Lolz.

Yes of course, setting team effort to higher than 100% would mean higher chance of injury to my players, but that’s better than wasting a couple of millions on players who will not be that expensive in the next few weeks. That’s the risk I’m willing to take.

So that is my tip of the day :P

Wait. Hang on. Wait for the transfer market to cool down. Wait for all the other players to exhaust their cash reserves. And then, BANG, swoop in and buy top players at a much cheaper rate!

Cheers :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chp 419. Goal United: Third Division!


This post will be a bore to most of you, but I just want to put it out here :)

I’ve been playing Goal United religiously for more than a year now. It’s like a football manager game, but a whole lot more fun and exciting than the average such games.

At Goal United, I get to manage my players, train them, trade them, improve special skills and talents, buy better players, upgrade my stadium, manage my financials and staff upkeep, focus on youth team, arrange my formation depending on who my opponent is, strategize and think two steps ahead of other players, and so on… A day doesn’t go by without me logging in at least once.

I started from Division 5, and was the champion that very season. A season lasts for around three months, and we play 22 matches, twice against every other team in our league. This was the final table position then, when I completed my first season at Division 5. (The name of my team is BoomBoom FC, boom boom as in the sound a cannon makes when it fires. A cannon as in, the gunners, Arsenal FC)



Notice my players, and see how “basic” they were then…



I got promoted to Division 4, where I ended up third that season. Hence I didn’t get any promotion or bonus so I remained at Division 4 for another season. As I continued playing, I was still learning about the game on my own because Goal United, which is also developed by Travian Games,  maker of the popular browser based MMORPG game “Travian” that I used to play many years ago, didn’t have good support and guide. So last season as I played Division 4 again for the second time, I rocked! I almost had a perfect season without drawing or losing a single match, but the guy who was in second place played a very strong team with high effort and bonus cards when we met, and I lost to him at his home stadium by ONE goal :(

But the final outcome was pretty good…



Also, compare my squad now to the squad I once had when I was in division 5 and you will see a vast difference in talent and strength.



Apart from that, I have already mastered a few game tactics like Kick-and-Rush, Counter-attack, Defensive Wall and Offside Trap, thanks to the fact that I login everyday to train my players. I still have to master Pressing, Powerplay and Over the Wings tactics, but all in good time…

Now that I have been promoted to Division 3, I take a look at my current league and realize I am the weakest player! Lolz…



I am so going to get humped, starting tomorrow which is my first match of the new season. But I have around 5.5 million bucks in my savings currently, and I am still undecided whether to invest that in stadium development so that I will have more spectators coming for the match (hence higher income) or should I buy better players who will be strong enough to face the onslaught of these teams in my new league?

My main aim this season is to NOT get related and go back to division 4. Of course there’s no bloody hell I can win or be in the top 3 this season because of the strength of the other players in my league, but I MUST win a few matches so that I am in the middle order towards the end of this season and NOT in the relegation zone.

My only worry is, two of my best players, Di Cola and Pallotta, both Italians, both defenders, are 28 and 29 years old respectively (every player age by a year every season, and once they turn 30, their skills and talents turn negative, hence younger players are more expensive than older players even if they have the same strength value).



With Di Cola and Pallotta becoming old, I have to buy players for their replacement. I already bought Trevisani, another Italian, for a large sum of money because he’s young and he has a charismatic personality, making him the ideal person to captain my squad but that alone won’t seal the deal. Von Rutkowski is another favorite player of mine, a midfielder who showed courage and leadership in times of trouble, who is slowly approaching his prime, but I have already bought his replacement, the young Korkmaz, who’s so far my most expensive purchase.



My 23-25 years middle order age group is kinda ok… nothing impressive but yeah, they played a huge role in letting me win Division 4 last season. I’m just disappointed that Datta and Sivakumar, two of the only four players remaining from my original team, are improving their strengths at such a slow pace, in spite of start almost every league matches. The only time I rest them is when I have a friendly or practice match.



Finally, my 20-22 years age group, the group that I am proud of the most. Being a hardcore Gooner, I think I have really passed on Wenger’s philosophy by concentrating on the youth. And that paid off handsomely. I have Korkmaz, who was my top scorer last season, and new Polish striker Zakajto who quickly adapted to Indian climate and became a penalty specialist. There’s Yemkov, my reliable goalkeeper transferred from Russia who was the reason why I had the least number of goals conceded last season, and our new captain from Italy, Trevisani. Apart from that, there’s also Saraf and Suchitra, two new players I promoted from my Youth Academy after a long observation. Not much experience, but they faced the old boys with much confidence and courage. These people are going to be the foundation of my team in the long run and I am really proud of them. In fact their overall strength of 15.8 is actually more than the 23-25 age group whose total strength is just 15.6

Ok enough of my team for now. Let’s look at my new league in Division 3.

Like I said, I am currently the weakest in this league, but I have 5.5 million bucks so if I decide to spend it on players, I am sure I can bump up the ladder. At the same time, I studied the squad of the other players, and looking at the strongest guy in my league, I immediately saw this…



Four of his players are already in the negative, five other players are on the borderline, and another five players approaching that borderline. This guy CLEARLY did not plan for the future. So, who knows, anything can happen and I may not get relegated this season after all.

Wish me all the best guys! :)

Also, wishing my Gooner friends Zara, Rha Ralte and Chhana COYG who started playing this game this season (Division 5) and hope they will have a good experience as I did and maybe we’ll all clash in the same division one day :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chp 418. Loneliness


 

“Just because I’m not alone, doesn’t mean I’m not lonely”…

That was on the Hallmark card I sent to my “girlfriend” back in School, a girl I just met twice, but somehow, we were a “couple”… I remember that line because I really loved it. Those were the days when we used to write letters on actual paper and put stamps on the envelope and then wait everyday for the mailman to see if she replied or not…

20 years later, she’s probably settled down now with a husband and three kids. But that line kinda made me think a lot. Are we really lonely in today’s world?

The other day, I went with three of my friends to our favorite watering hole at Bandra – Banana Bar. While I was out smoking at the terrace, our regular waiter came up to me and asked, “Sir, can I ask you something?” and I of course said yes. “Sir, the four of you are having such a great time, laughing and all, but you’re all just looking at your phones… it looks very funny from here!” Which made me realize… yes… it must be funny for somebody observing us, and unfortunately, that is how most of us are today.

We can update our facebook or twitter statuses and upload pictures and videos from almost anywhere now… keep in touch with old friends while we are with a different group of friends. Share what we are eating with friends or family on facebook, pinterest, instagram, or even create a tumblr or posterous blog for that purpose, making us feel as if our friends are right there with us even if we’re sitting all alone at a restobar.

Hell, even the most private moments like when we are in the loo, we are always connected. I’ve stopped reading the newspapers while I’m sitting on the throne, and instead browse through news sites or take part at discussions forums from my mobile. The other day, my colleague from office sent me a whatsapp message, “Hey, is that you inside the loo?” and I replied immediately by clicking a photo of my legs and rolled-down pants, “Yes”.

And speaking of private moments, there’s this really funny Japanese dude on Instagram that my colleague Emma follows, who updates his followers with pictures of the women he’s currently sleeping with! Lolz. And the caption goes, “Hi. Today I am sleeping with Izanami. She is from my office.” or “Hello my friends. Today I am sleeping with Masuyo, we met at a pub last night. She is a very nice girl.” and you see a photo of him with the particular girl under the blanket waving and smiling cutely at the camera. And don’t be surprised by this, because we already have serial entrepreneurs like Cindy Gallop who are trying to socialize sex and make sex a part of social networking.

Social networking and easy connectivity have really changed our attitude and perception. We have become more impatient. Remember how a few years ago, we would call the girl’s hostel from a local PCO booth and fix a date, and then we would be there at that time and place to meet the other person? If the other person hadn’t shown up yet, we would just wait and wait, patiently. And then mobile phones became affordable for everybody and suddenly we would sms each other “Where are you now? Where are you now?” every goddamn minute if the other person’s running a bit late.

Now, it’s all about GPS. We track each other from our phones to know where the other person is in real-time! What happened to all the patience? And what happened to the feeling of being alone? One look at my Google Latitude and I see my friends everywhere across the city, some moving, some static, some together (if you know what I mean), and some close to where I am, suddenly making me feel like I have company because my close friends are nearby.

When people asked me (back when I was staying by myself), “You live alone?” I would reply, “Yes. But funny thing… I never feel alone.” …which is true because my phone never stops with all the notifications. Man is a social animal, and today’s technology has really bridged the gap between long distance and real-time. Now that I have moved in with two roomies, things are STILL the same. “Somebody just rang the bell, can you please open the door coz I have a freaking hangover” was my tweet to my roommate, separated by just a wall. “Here’s a pic of the breakfast our cook made for us this morning. I’ve uploaded it at Yelp and gave it 4 stars. Are you coming out of your room to take a look?” was another message sent to another roommate.

And even when I am staying all alone in this new house, it just feels like all my friends are right next to me. “Oh you’re watching that movie on hulu? Let’s sync our streaming so we can watch it together” messaged a friend of mine thousands of miles away. And then we would activate our skype just to know we’re watching the movie together, or even take it to the next level by inviting other friends online and having a group video chat with them at G+ Hangout. Sometimes we would even sync our music playlist through last.fm and other such software/devices so we know we are listening to the same stuff, or even host a radio channel for our friends so they can listen to our collection in real-time.

With 4G coming soon, things are even going to be easier and faster than this. Look at the gaming world even now. Most of the games I play from my mobile today are MMOs – Massively Multiplayer Online games, such as MMORPG, MMOFPS, MMORTS etc. I can play many games with my friends or even strangers across the world while I’m staying all alone locked in a dungeon (just a figure of speech because I’m sure there won’t be any signal inside an actual dungeon :P ). Remember 20 years ago when we were writing letters to our sweethearts, the only way we could play video games with our friends was if they were sitting right next to us?

Maybe today’s mushy hallmark e-card should read “Just because I have all these friends on facebook, twitter, G+, whatsapp, BB, instagram, skype, etc… doesn’t mean I am not lonely”.

Now, that would be a killer slogan, tailor stitched for the romantic youth of today.

Cheers.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chp 417. Sex Education

It’s a known fact that young girls are advised by their mothers about sex, menstruation and all things related to that at a very early age, because of the obvious reason. But when it comes to young boys, we all know things are not like that.



The other day I was catching up with an old friend of mine who now has a 12 year old son (and no, my friend is of the same age as I am… Dude just happened to get married off early - Arranged marriage), when the topic moved to sex education. When was he planning to tell his son about the birds and the bees?

His immediately reaction? “Hell no, not now. It’s still way too early!”

…which kinda made me chuckle because by the time I was 12, I pretty much knew everything about the forbidden three lettered word. That’s the “advantage” of being brought up in a boarding school. The age of adolescence clearly overlaps the age of innocence in most hostels.

I was in a hostel from Class 1 in Mizoram. And then when my folks felt I was prepared enough, they moved me to a hostel in Calcutta when I was in Class 3. And class 7 onwards I was in a hostel in Tamil Nadu.

So when I was 12 years old, let’s see, that would be the year 1992. Class 6, St. Thomas Boys’ School, Khidderpore. Yup, that was the year our hostel warden (Aunty Rich) raided my trunk and confiscated my collection of debonair and chastity magazines!

And no, I wasn’t the only one who “peaked early”. A lot of my friends had such magazines back then, hidden between their bed sheets and mattresses. I just happened to be the unfortunate one who got caught. With a dormitory shared by boys of different age groups, facts about sex and the female body parts were frequently passed on from seniors to juniors.

Hehe… I was shitting in my pants when my mom flew down from Mizoram to take me home for the summer vacation. Aunty Rich must have told my mom everything, but my mom never said anything to me. Eventually, I changed schools after that incident. We applied for admission at Montfort Anglo Indian School, Yercaud, down in Tamil Nadu and I nailed the entrance tests.

When I was in class 8 there, one of our subjects for English was Macbeth. Our teacher, Sir Aldrin, was just reading the part:

Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,


…when I raised my hand because I had a doubt.

“Yes Kima?” he asked.

“Sir… so far we have learnt that… the Macbeths do not have any children…”

“Yes…?”

“So how could Lady Macbeth lactate if she didn’t have a son or daughter?”

The whole class erupted in laughter and Sir Aldrin asked me immediately, “And how DID you know about that?”

…which put me in a really tight spot because I couldn’t exactly tell how I knew (and of course years later I found out some women can indeed lactate even if they haven’t given birth due to stress, hormonal imbalance or pituitary tumor, but that’s a different story).

And in class 9, Stephen, who was the only Mizo classmate I had, his parents gifted him a book called “Boy’s Talk”, which had everything about sex education, advised from a very religious point of view. As we all went through the book, we just laughed and laughed because we already knew all the things the author was trying to tell in a very calm and understanding tone, lest we get shocked or something…

See, that is hostel life. Our folks do not have to give us uncomfortable lectures about sex because we learn about it from our friends and seniors. Of course we usually started off wrong, like when we all assumed women have four holes, one for poo poo, one for pee pee, one for making baby girl, and one for making baby boy. But then our seniors showed us pictures and videos, enlightening us. And then later, we would return that favour by showing the pics and vids to our juniors. And they in turn became the torch bearer of such dark knowledge. Circle of life indeed.

I’m not saying learning about it that way is a good or bad thing. But a hell lot of us graduated without having any proper sex ed, and yet, we all turned out ok.

So how did you learn about sex (and I am not talking about your Biology classes). When was the first time you became inquisitive about the opposite sex and wanted to know about the things adults do to each other in bed? When did you start questioning your sexuality? Did your folks ask you to sit down because they have something important to tell you? Or did you learn about it from a sleazy magazine or Nancy Friday novel on your own? Or was it a senior from school who enlightened you?

Let me know in the comment section below, I’m mighty interested in knowing about your experience.

I’m also tagging all my regular blog friends and you can blog about your experience in your next post with the tag #myfirstsexEd in the topic name, and put a link back to my post in your post and I will then put up your link on this very post (comon, this habit of tagging blog friends and asking them to write about a particular topic was very popular back in 2005-07).

Remember, it’s all in good fun. Plus it will give you something to write about if you have a case of the writer’s block. Cheers.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Chp 416. What I really do for a living


This is just another of those personal blog updates about me, but I think I have to put it out here because I have come across too many people asking me what exactly do I do for a living when I tell them I’m a copywriter at a digital advertisement agency. And of course I don’t blame anyone for not knowing because the digital industry is still quite new.

When there is lack of knowledge, it is quite understandable that people end up assuming something else.

I still remember back in 2004 when I got my BE degree in computer science, my friends and family in Mizoram called me up all the time and asked me to fix their broken computers and printers or reinstall Windows for them! Urrmmm… that’s not what we were taught. In fact I’m sure many of the toppers from our batch who got offers from Cisco, Microsoft, Infosys, Wipro etc. wouldn’t even know how to assemble a PC from scratch.

And when I got into IIM-Bangalore in 2005, my dad was utterly disappointed at me for doing a diploma course because the course degree was not even recognized by AICTE. “If you want to get a real MBA degree, I’ll ask one of my old friends to help you get admission in a proper college”, he told me. :) But one good thing about that misconception was, when I dropped out a year later, my dad, who by then had learnt about how prestigious the IIMs actually were, couldn’t reprimand me for quitting because I reminded him “hey, no big deal Pa, it’s just a diploma course” :trollface:

So now, coming to the present… who what do I exactly do?

Using the internet, I arrange escorts for politicians and VIPs in Mumbai, running a brothel of Eastern European and Russian girls. 

Nah, just kidding. :P

No foreigners in my brothel actually, because they’re kinda expensive. My girls are all Indians.

Nah, gotcha again.

I work in a digital ad agency by day, and fantasize about running a brothel by night.

Ok that is the half-truth. :D

I work at webchutney, which I may have mentioned a couple of times in my past posts. I started as a copywriter trainee, to junior copywriter, to copywriter, to senior copywriter all in less than four years. Here are a few myths people have about me that I have to debunk (these are replies to actual questions people have asked me before):

1. No, my work is not about checking if a product or advertisement has violated any copyright laws. I’m a copywriter, not a copyrighter (if ever there was one).

2. No, I do not spend my time copying texts for other people. Copy + Writer = yes, I can see the logic behind your assumption, but no, that is not what I do :)

3. No, the amount of actual writing I do is extremely less. Digital media and Print media are quite different. Print ads are more copy rich and visually rich. Digital ads aren’t like that. When was the last time you ever saw a static digital advertisement filled with text?

4. No, just because I work in a digital agency, I’m not the dude who spams you with junk mails like how to enlarge your penis by a few more inches. :P

5. Yes, some of my past work did involve creating some of the marketing emails you may have received in your inbox or spam folder. But all my clients were high-end, with an exclusive mailing list. If you received a mail from Gokulam & Sons, promoting their computer accessories at 20% discount, then that was not from me. But if you received a mail from, say… Barclays Bank rewarding you with a holiday in Seychelles for spending more than 10,000 credit points, then yeah, it was probably me who created and sent that mail to you. But again, all this is just a very small percentage of my actual work.

6. No, my blogging has nothing to do with my work. In fact most of the top copywriters in our industry do not even blog. I blog purely out of passion (though it really helped me in getting this job because my blog was like a resume).

7. No, I cannot create a website for you. I mean, it will take me some time to do that as I know a little bit of this and that, but that is not my core expertise. In a digital agency, there are three main verticals – the client servicing & business development department (these are the pretty people who deal with clients directly, interact with them and build up relationships or suck up to them, get briefs and feedback etc which they then pass on to the rest of us. They are the poster boys and girls of our company), the tech department (these are the guys who do all the coding and programming and all things geeky, the behind-the-scene guys, the ones who can actually build a site for you, using just one hand), and then there’s the creative department where I belong. We are the freaks and vagabonds of our company, the ones who brainstorm all day and come up with ideas and strategies for a pitch or campaign. Our department consists of copywriters, designers, illustrators, visualizers, animators etc. Creativity is mandatory here.

So I hope things are clear now. And like I said earlier, I do not blame you at all if you don’t know what copywriters do. In fact, when I first joined this company as a copywriter, I didn’t even know what copywriters were supposed to do! [read the hilarious confession here]

And that’s not all. Working in the digital industry, the internet is constantly evolving. Hence we need to constantly change or adapt to the changes. The copy style, the design style, the technology, everyday, something new comes up. I really feel that the work a digital agency copywriter is supposed to do cannot be defined. Hence the reason why my current designation at webchutney is “Creative Trailblazer”. Yeah it’s a made-up designation, because most of the work I do is different from what many mainstream copywriters do. 

Apart from brainstorming and coming up with new ideas, I work mainly on copy (the text and content that appear on a site/banner/mailer). I’m also actively involved in strategy building, research marketing, sitemap and wireframe designing, I’ve even designed a couple of websites myself, done video directing & editing for clients, handled their social media accounts (facebook & twitter updates), and even handled the backend maintenance for some of our clients all on my own. And right now, I am working on a game project in the role of a Game Producer, and I have my own gaming team, both here in our Mumbai office and Delhi office. So… yeah… it’s hard to explain what I exactly do in just one word :) Hence – Trailblazer :)

The main point is, at least I have pointed out the things that I DO NOT do. :)

Let me know if you have any questions about my line of work at the comment section below. This is how a simple me makes his humble living here in bustling Mumbai.

And oh, last but not the least, there’s one more myth I wish to debunk – No, I am not making any money from the popular Mizo community site misual.com that we run. Me and all the other admins of misual.com are not taking in even one single paise. We do not have Google ads running, nor are we accepting any advertisements. That is how we decided it should be and that is how it is. Cheers :)