Wordless Wednesday: How To NOT Lose Weight!

How To NOT Lose Weight
Here's more in "Wordless Wednesday"!

Father Of All Tags

Garima, of I for an Eye, tagged me this time. This one truly is the father of all tags I've ever done! Phewww!

Ten how’s:

1. How did you get one of your scars?
When few of my classmates got adventurous in our school chemistry lab, and started playing with acid! (Full story in the link.)

2. How did you celebrate your last birthday?
My friends organized a surprise party for me on a beach in Goa! Complete with drinks, food, music and deliciously hot hunks!
LOL! Just kidding! Spent it right here at home… just the ‘Dad’ and the ‘me’! [Sighhh!]

3. How are you feeling at this moment?
Like Jim Carrey in Mask! (“SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSMOKIN'!” “Ooh, somebody stop me!”)
Alright then, I confess! I’m feeling bored… yeah, bored enough to do another TAG! Hmphh! But say, did you guys know that Jim Carrey is also a Capricorn?

4. How did your night go last night?
Wish I could say – “smokin’ hot!”
[Another sighhh!]

5. How did you do in high school?
Total crap! Was a complete nerd! Never bunked classes! Never broke any rules! Most un-cool! Senior school was different though! [wink]

6. How did you get the shirt you’re wearing?
You mean this tee specially autographed by John Abraham? Oh I won it –- along with a date with JA himself -– at this blogging contest organized by SaReGaMaPa!
Ok fine! I’m lying again! My sister got it for me from Delhi!

7. How often do you see your best friend(s)?
Once upon a time, there were best friends. Now, there are just memories… :(

8. How much money did you spend last month?
Let’s see… 13 Belted Cows (for 1,000,000 each) and 8 Saddleback Pigs (for 300,000 each)… 15.4 million in animals. Then there were a lot of new decorations – let’s take a lump sum of 500,000. And then there were the seeds… So all in all, I’d say a little over 16 millions. (I'm talking about FarmVille, silly! Hahaha!)

9. How old do you want to be when you get married?
Oh do we have a choice about this? Is there a time machine that my groom and I can book to travel to the year we’d like to get married in?

10. How old will you be at your next birthday?
Fifty. :p
Did anyone buy it? I suppose not! [Sighhh again!]
Anyway, what is it with girls always trying to appear younger than they really are? I, for one, wish I could be 50 tomorrow! Perhaps it’s got something to do with Capricorn’s “reverse aging process”. Read Linda Goodman to understand what that means.

Nine what’s:

1. Your mother's name?

2. What did you do last weekend?
Went to the Zoo, had a long ride on an elephant, fed peanuts to the chimps in the cage, had the lions teach me how to roar, measured the neck of the tallest giraffe there, tried to count the spots on the leopard’s back (unsuccessfully), and got my orange bar ice-cream stolen by one of the monkeys running free!
Heehee! Kidding again! Diwali cleaning was going on in the house last weekend! :p

3. What is the most important part of your life?
My First Love.

4. What would you rather be doing?
You mean right now? Well, if I had anything better to do, would I be doing another tag?

5. What did you last cry over?
When I made ‘aloo-baigan’ last time. I had reminded myself a dozen times that I would cook the dish with Panch-Phoran instead of regular cumin seeds, ‘coz aloo-baigan tastes (and smells!) heavenly with Panch-Phoran, but when the oil heated up, I automatically went into my “default” cooking mode, and added cumin seeds instead, only to cry out a second later - “Oh noooo! Not again!” Almost every time I make aloo-baigan, I forget to use Panch-Foran instead of cumin seeds! Huhh!
(Picture Credit: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/)

6. What always makes you feel better when you’re upset?
An action-packed movie -– like the Die Hard series perhaps, or Oceans, or the Bourne series. In fact, Sandra Bullock’s movies are also usually great entertainers!

7. What’s the most important thing you look for in a significant other?
No jokes on this one. He should treat me like “the” one -– should make it absolutely clear, by his words and actions both, that, without any doubt, I am the special someone in his life.

8. What are you worried about?
Right now, with Diwali just around the corner… clothes!
[Sighhhhh] I hate shopping!

9. What did you have for breakfast?

Eight you’s:

1. Have you ever liked someone who had a girlfriend/boyfriend?
Hell yeah! Even married ones! What to do! The heart is like a butterfly, and there are so many nice flowers around!
[Doesn’t this sound like a “male” pick-up line? I knew I took birth in the wrong gender!]

2. Have you ever had your heartbroken?
Ohhh yesssss! Everyday it gets shattered into a hundred million pieces! I pick them up all up and put them back together, only to have it broken yet again! See that’s how I became so good at solving jigsaw puzzles, you know!

3. Have you ever been out of the country?
Went on a school trip to Nepal once. So yes, I have been out of the country! :D

4. Have you ever done something outrageously dumb?
Hee hee hee! :p Not going to answer this one… nope, no way!
Oh alright then, just one incident. In fact, this happened during the trip mentioned in the point above. There were 6 girls on this trip... 4 were from my sister’s batch, and my best friend (at whose wedding, I got locked in the bathroom) and I were the seniors. One of the junior girls was having trouble with her suitcase; it simply wouldn’t unlock. So she asked for help. I took the key from her and tried it in the lock – no go. Tried the other way – still didn’t work. The suitcase looked vaguely familiar. The rest of the girls also gave it a shot. The suitcase still looked very familiar. And then it was my turn again with the key. At last, lightning hit me! It was MY suitcase! And all of us (including dumb ol' me!) had been trying to open it with HER key!

5. Have you ever been back-stabbed by a friend?
Nope. Never.

6. Have you ever had sex on the beach?
Noooooo yaaaaaar!
[sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh] :(

7. Have you ever dated someone younger than you?
Haven’t done it so far, but I guess I might live to see the day yet, considering the fact that I’m still single, at almost 33! :p

8. Have you ever read an entire book in one day?
Oh yes. Loads of books. Even finished off more than one book in a day! I finished off the entire Twilight series (4 huge novels) in 6 days. So you all can imagine my reading speed!

Seven who’s:

1. Who was the last person you saw?
Wish I could say “the guy who played Jacob Black in the Twilight series movies”! But, alas… it was just Dad! :(

2. Who was the last person you texted?
Ummmm… will have to check the cell phone. Hold on… Ok it was our landlord.

3. Who was the last person you hung out with?
My friend B. Both of us were “hanging” out in my balcony, and broke the clothesline with our combined weight. [ROTFLing at my own dumb joke!]

4. Who was the last person to call you?
Will anyone believe it if I say “Amitabh Bachchan”? No? Well then in that case, I’ll go with “sister”.

5. Who did you last hug?
Meeeeeee! :D I really like life-sized teddy bears, you know! :p

6. Who is the last person who texted you?
The friend B above.

7. Who was the last person you said “I love you” to?
Now this is something I really don’t remember. If I’m required to give a 100% honest answer on this, I’ll have to go through the Sent Items archives in my Outlook Express, as well as all the comments I’ve left on various blogs, AND the so many lengthy conversations on Facebook! Oh and my cell phone’s message folders too! Not possible!

Six where’s:

1. Where does your best friend live?
Which one? You see, I've had a whole list of best friends.
The one in my early childhood used to stay in my bathroom years ago. Now I have no clue about his whereabouts.
My middle school best friend, with whom I wrote this poem, is in the US now.
My senior school bestie, with whom I went to Nepal, currently lives in Bangalore.
And my newest best friend, whom I met through this very blog, lives in New Delhi.

2. Where did you last go?
Eh? I just went to the loo, if anybody is interested in knowing about that! What a vague question!

3. Where did you last hang out?
At some relatives’ place here, but I didn’t break any clothesline there!

4. Where do/did you go to school?
In Kanpur.

5. Where is your favorite place to be?
Just one place? Not possible again!

6. Where did you sleep last night?
In the tree house at my farm in FarmVille! How silly!

Five do’s:

1. Do you think anyone likes you?
Of course! Any doubts about it?

2. Do you ever wish you were someone else?
Ummm… not really. Although I do wish I had legs like Sonali Bendre! :p

3. Do you know the muffin man?
Now I do… thanks to my friend Google! :D The Muffin Man!

4. Does the future scare you?
Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Depends upon what train of thoughts I am on.

5. Do your parents know about your blog?
Yeah, Dad knows about my blog, and also that I’m working on this marathon tag right now. He’s usually too occupied with the TV though, to check out what crap I write here!

Four why’s:

1. Why are you best friends with your current best friend?
Read the post linked in the answer to the previous question on my best friend.

2. Why did you get into Blogging?

I used to read the blogs of some of my orkut "friends". At the top of every blog, there was a bar that said “Create blog”. I wanted to find out what would happen if I clicked on it, so I did. It asked me to login using my gmail ID, which was simple. And then I followed the rest of the wizard, and “miss_teerious” happened. Of course, then I wanted to find out how a post would show up on the page, how the various widgets would look, change of templates, etc etc. And this curiosity has brought me this far!

3. Why did your parents give you the name you have?
Ahhh! See there was a movie called “Kadambari” that was released in early 1976. Both my parents were extremely fond of its music... so much so, that they used to listen to its LP record on repeat mode! After my birth, my mother was spending hours hunting for “bombastic” girls’ names in big dictionaries (pre-internet days, remember!) Eventually, one day, my parents just looked at their favorite music album, and realized what better name could I have than “Kadambari”! (Of course, if they'd known back then that it would be shrunk to “Kaddu” in school, they might have chosen differently! :p)

4. Why are you doing this survey?
It’s been sitting in my “to-do-list” for like ages now… I figured I just had to strike it off there!

Three if’s:

1. If you could have one super power what would it be?
Stronger and more diverse clairvoyance. At the moment, I believe I only have a mild level of claircognizance/clairsentience, but it would be good if this skill becomes so clearly defined that I have no reason for any self-doubts ever.

2. If you could go back in time and change one thing, would you?
Oh yes!
(Maybe I should change the answer above to “Time Travel” then ???)

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could bring 1 thing, what would you bring?
Writing material.

Two would-you-ever’s:

1. Would you ever get back together with any of your ex’s if they asked you?

2. Would you ever shave your head to save someone you love?

One last question:

1. Are you happy with your life right now?
After finishing such a bumper tag, who wouldn’t be happy! :D

Here's more in "Tags (or memes)"!

A Proposal No Girl Could Refuse!

Ahhh! Now this is truly a proposal that no girl could ever say 'no' to! This is a video someone in my Facebook friend list shared some time ago. Worth publishing here! :D

P.S. - If my life was a cartoon show, you would have just seen hearts floating out of my dreamy eyes!

. . .

Here's more in Videos!

Top 5 Blogger Widgets for Increasing Pageviews

Once again I have been playing around with my blog template! It's amazing what all you can do if you know a bit of CSS! Even though there are thousands of free blogger templates available now on the net, knowledge of CSS allows me to add literally any new feature to this classic old blogger lighthouse template. And this time, my focus for all the recent changes was to increase pageviews of my blog.

The basic idea behind getting more pages viewed by your readers is to make your content more visible. And since I don't sport any advertising here on my blog, I have all the space available for showcasing my content in various possible ways. These are the widgets that make my top 5 list for increasing pageviews on blogger.

1. Related Posts Widget

There are some third party JavaScript widgets for adding a related posts footer below each of your post -- with or without thumbnails, whatever way you prefer -- but, I have found the LinkWithin widget to work fine for me. You can check it out at the bottom of this post. It lets you configure how many related posts you want to display -- I have set it to 5 because I'm using a wide display template.

2. Summary Posts on Main Page

Up until now, I used to display full posts on my main page. The drawback was that my posts are usually quite lengthy, and it used to make for a lot of scrolling on the part of my readers. Also, even though the average time on my site was pretty decent, the bounce rate was very high. In simple words, "bounce rate" just indicates how many visitors left without clicking a second link within your blog while they were here. Having summary posts on the main page gives me the option of displaying more posts to my readers. They can scan through the excerpts and click-through to read whichever article they like. More choice for them, more page views for me.

3. Popular Posts Widget

You don't need to look for any third party widget now for adding a Popular Posts section in your blog. The widget is there in official blogger gadget list now. You can configure it to show the popular posts based on the page views of last 7 days, 30 days or all time. You can also select whether you want to show a thumbnail or a post snippet along with the post title. I have kept it as a simple link list here, as you can see in the sidebar.

4. Recent Posts Widget

It is always good to let your readers know what you have penned down recently. I find it very annoying when some bloggers don't let you see anywhere about their new posts. I do a lot of random blog surfing when I'm free. And if I see a clearly visible list in the sidebar, displaying the titles of the recent posts on that blog, chances are that I would check out another post or two. I don't have this widget here because I have set my blog archive to show post titles. Adding another Recent Posts widget would have just led to redundancy. But for bloggers who like to have a drop-down archive or monthly compressed archives, this widget is a must. This widget is also available within blogger now. Just click on "Add a Gadget" and then "Featured" on the left.

5. Random Posts Widget

Apparently, the Random Posts widget was also added by Blogger at some point of time, but it isn't showing in my "Add a Gadget" now. Maybe they have removed it. Maybe it's there in Blogger Draft. I don't really know. Anyways, I found it at Blogger Plugins -- there is a button at the end of the post that lets you "Add to Blogger". It is supposed to inherit the styles etc. from your own blog, but for some weird reason, it wouldn't pick up the styles of my blog. Also, it uses prefs for styling instead of CSS. So I couldn't change the code internally. However, I found a direct JavaScript widget at Blogger Stop, and that's the one I have used here, with some additional styling of course. You can try them both and see which one works best for you.

So friends, in my opinion, these are the top 5 Blogger Widgets for increasing pageviews by making more of your content visible to your visitors. Of course, a lot of new stuff is happening in the blog world every day, so perhaps this list might change in the future. But as of now, I'm pretty happy with whatever work I've done here. If anybody needs any help in installing these gadgets/widgets/features to their Blogspot blog, shoot me an email. All my contact options are more visible than ever before now. Oh by the way, I removed the Yahoo Chat and the Shelfari Bookshelf -- they weren't being very productive these days! :D

How To Get The Most Out Of Facebook Privacy Settings?

(This post was written by me for the latest issue of Kadzilla's Lounge.)

Unlike Orkut, Facebook provides a lot of Privacy settings at various levels. At the time of writing this article (i.e. September 2010), it gives the members almost complete control over the visibility of their profile to different sections of people on the internet. And, if utilized effectively, this control can really help to leverage a person’s online profile, because Facebook today is no longer restricted to interacting with friends, family and known associates. It has entered into social networking too, even though it was not the original intent of the developers.

Anyways, Facebook keeps making a lot of changes in its Privacy Policies and User Interface. So, as of today, Facebook Privacy Settings can be accessed by clicking on “Account” on the top-right corner of your Facebook page, and then selecting “Privacy Settings” from the drop-down menu that opens up. This is what you get (you can click on the images to see larger size):

The link “View Settings” lets you modify the default Basic settings for your Facebook profile, and the link “Customize Settings” lets you make changes to Custom Settings. Trust me – you definitely do NOT want to keep the default Privacy Settings of Facebook! Let’s have a look at the Basic Settings first.

Ideally, the first 3 options (“Search for me”, “Send me friend requests” and “Send me messages”) should be set to “Everyone”.

  • In today’s scenario, even potential employers like to have a look at your Facebook profile before they decide to shortlist you for an interview. So if the “Search” option is disallowed, you may give the impression of being a non-social and unfriendly person. (Maybe even overtly paranoid!)
  • “Friend requests” can be restricted, but again, you might miss out on the opportunity of a valuable contact because you made yourself so inaccessible.
  • And the option to “send messages” should be available to everyone, because there may be occasions when someone just wants a quick exchange with you, not necessarily leading to a “friendship”.
  • The 4th option (“See my friend list”) should most certainly NOT be set to “Everyone”. If you do that, you are leaving a way for hackers to impersonate you more easily.
  • “Education and work” set to “Everyone” will obviously help old classmates and colleagues to locate you. The other 2 settings on this page are as per your choice.

Coming to Custom Settings on Facebook now, we have a longer screen. So I have taken 2 screen-shots of it.

Screen 1:

Obviously, most of the settings in this screen should be “Friends Only”. However, as you can see, I have left some as “Everyone”. The idea is: Go through your profile from a third-person’s perspective. If you see anything that might actually be a point in favor of you, for the kind of networking you have in mind, then make it public. Otherwise leave it to “Friends Only”.

Screen 2:

Once again, everything here SHOULD be “Friends Only”. One important point: Make sure that you leave the “Friends can post on my wall” setting checked. It is really annoying when someone in your friend list wants to leave a quick “Hello” or a “Happy birthday” on your wall, and finds that it is disabled!

And there is an “Edit album privacy” option circled in red in both the pictures above. Clicking on that link will let you set privacy settings for each of your photo album on Facebook.

There is a further in-depth setting level provided by Facebook (other than Friends, Friends of friends, Everyone, Only ME), with which you can create custom lists (School, Office, Family, Games etc), and you can set parts of your Facebook Profile visible to only specific lists. But we’ll cover that in detail next time.

In the meantime, please share this article with all your Facebook friends, because, as I have seen over the last few months, most people still use the Default settings of Facebook, which is dangerously public.

You can use the blue Facebook “Share” button on the left. The other sharing options are also given below.