Sober, Straight or Sarcastic

It had been a long day, and a lot more of the same. I was happy I was heading home, but the walk back always reminded me of things that I had left behind, and things that seemed incomplete. An insufficient meal that I had to leave halfway in order to m…

To Know Nuff

Nuff and I were back on a roof. A new one this time, closer to the tree cover. More isolated, more cactus juice. 
Nuff: “What do you say when people ask you to describe yourself?”
“What do you mean?”
“You know, in interviews or at dinner parties, when they ask you to tell them about yourself”.
‘Oh, I was told to have something prepared for that. They do a nice spiel on how important it is to frame a good answer to this one. I go on about my education, my interests and my hobbies. Standard dribble”.
“Well, how the hell else would you make sense? You’ve got to have a good two-minute blurb prepared. I never did, but apparently it works. Some of those guys at the interviews have them down perfect to the pauses and the smiles”.
“Yeah, it’s not even funny anymore. But why do you ask?”
“I sat in on one of those interview preparation talks”.
“You? I thought you despise interviews, You aren’t even looking for a job. You’re just crashing here, annoying me when you’re bored”.
“No, not really. I think they don’t fulfill the purpose, but that question got me thinking”.
“What doesn’t…? Well, go on. What would you say?”
“Hmm, give me a minute”.
He sat up, took a swing from the juice bottle, and straightened his jacket. He seemed to be taking this seriously.
“Go on, ask me the question”.
“…. what?”
“Say what one more time, I dare you”.
“…. huh?”
“Ask me the question man. Damn!”
“Oh. Yeah, well, how would you describe yourself?”
“Ask it like you mean it”.
He was serious. I took a swing of the juice myself, and looked him dead on. He smiled, and stood up.
“Nuff, how would you describe yourself?”
“Thank you. That question never made sense to me – I couldn’t imagine what I could say to convince you that you would know me at the end of my answer. Truth is, I don’t know myself. Truth is, I may never know. Truth is, there aren’t any silly questions, only silly answers. But it’s not in me to give up. So what can I say?

I could tell you that I’m an engineer, an entrepreneur, a businessman, a son of my country, an only child, a consultant, a mercenary, a negotiator. I could tell you how my parents dying left me absolutely dashed at the prime of my formative years. I could tell you how I left all of my belongings, my job and my home to wander the world in search of a purpose. I could tell you that I learned many things, and that I can do much more now that I know.

But I would be lying, because a man is not what he knows. Because there’s a difference between what I know and what I believe. That difference lies in proof. I am nothing without proof, and my actions are proof of my word. Proof is the law for my kind, but it is no law for all.

So how should I describe myself? I say to you, Sir, to decide for yourself who I am. All I can say is, I am not the calamities I have faced. I am not what I know. I am not what I say I am. The proof of what I am is what I do, and what I can do for you. 

So if you would indulge me, my name is Nuff, and my actions prove that I want to change this world”.
I was speechless.
“That made no sense”.
“Only silly answers? There’s proof right there”.
“I gotta admit though, I’d give you the job”.

“Yeah, because if I’m the recruiter, I’d have your resumé in front of me and I’d see that you have some solid experience and that you can code excellently in six languages”.
“There’s that, too”.
“And that you’re a dropout. 3-point shot for the win”.
He laughed.
“But that’s a good answer, eh?”
“Hmm, maybe”.
“Shut up. The answer lies in the attempt anyway. Have another swing”.
“Why not… to know Nuff is to know yourself”.
… and to laugh with him is to admit you don’t.

Discrete Discernment

Nuff wasn’t feeling as he’d usually feel. The weather was being fickle, and he usually enjoyed that.”How can you possibly stay in a place that’s sunny all the time? I need an ambience of temperamental-ity.”He’d asked for it. Over the last two weeks, th…

How Little That Means

Nuff was particularly nostalgic today. I couldn’t blame him. It was his parents’ wedding anniversary. They had passed away a few years back, and a whole lot of who he had become after that encapsulated what he’d gone through facing up to what had happe…

Most of the Time

Desire spreads her armsWaits there for a day She’ll forgive a frownThere’s nothing you can sayNothing will turn her awayShe isn’t leaving townA morphed sun-lit maskShe’s smiling underneathA haunting gravityShe’ll never let you sleepIt’ll tug insid…

I Know You Are

So Nuff’s been around for a few days. He’s gotten the lay of the land rather well. It wasn’t easy though, showing him around. He’s always asking silly questions,

“Why are there so many fountains around here?”
“Why on earth do you have closing times on this gigantic library? It’s cruel to make students come all the way here to refer to archaic material they can’t check out and can’t finish using in one sitting, only to haul themselves back home every morning at 1 am.”
“There were more fruit trees around the last time I was here. They probably want you to buy your fruits now. No free lunches, eh?”
“Center of Silicon Valley, and insufficient street lighting… I guess no one wants to mug all these rich kids? Give me one week in this place…”
“Is that a skunk on the children’s playground? Talk about animal cruelty…”

His mind works in mysterious ways.

Well anyway, Nuff is a coffee nut. So he’s always looking out for that next great brew. I showed him the places that sold coffee around, and in a couple of days he’d been to all of them already.

“The cafes around the campus all sell coffee at ridiculously high prices. Come to think of it, they must all have joint ownership, or be part of the same parent holding. They’ve jacked the rates up in tandem.”

That was true.

“The bookstore, however, sells coffee at 50 cents a cup.”

I already knew that, but I asked him how they managed that.

“Well, its probably run by the University. So they aren’t particular about the quality of the coffee, or anything else there, for that matter”.

I asked him what he thought about the coffee.

“The bookstore coffee was terrible. So terrible, that I think you’re paying 50 cents just for the take-away cup. If you took your own cup there, they’d probably pay you to drink in it”.

So much for that. I asked him which place had the best coffee.

“I’m going to stick to the bookstore cafe.”

I didn’t quite ask why, but I found out soon enough.

We went up to the bookstore cafe one morning, and it was during classes so there weren’t many people about. The girl at the counter seemed rather bored, but she stood up as soon as we stepped in. She was rather pretty.

“I got this”.

Boy, did he.

“Hey, what would you like?”
“I want your best coffee. What can you get me?”

He gave her a wide smile. I didn’t really see him do that very often, and I still can’t place what happened next.

“You were here yesterday as well, weren’t you? I still wouldn’t recommend anything here, honey.”
“If I brought you here, what would you have?”

I was a bit taken aback. That seemed rather blunt, and before I could step in and say anything…

“Oh, you would’t be bringing me here for the best coffee now, would you?”
“You’re right, I wouldn’t.”
“You’d be taking me someplace far nicer.”
“I would, wouldn’t I? This wouldn’t do you any justice.”
“Yea, you would.”

This was absurd. She was blushing, and he’d done nothing at all.

“Why don’t I take you to a place where there’s really good coffee?”
“I’m fine, thanks.”
“I know you are.”

Now this was just ridiculous. Nuff was grinning like a nutter elf.

“I still want coffee now.”
“I’m off in an hour.”
“Hmm, sounds reasonable. That better be good coffee, if I’m going to have to wait for it.”
“I brew it myself, in my dorm room.”
“I’ll see you in an hour then.”
“Meet me outside. I’m Erica.”
“To good times and great coffee, Erica.”

He gave her another smile, and simply strolled out.

I was left standing there, holding 50 cents in my hand for the coffee.
“Erm, I’ll take a medium coffee, please…”

Nuff didn’t come back till late that evening. I asked him if the coffee kept him awake.

“Spicy coffee does that to me, yeah.”

Nuff makes new friends really well. He was settling in.

Nuff said – “I’m bringing the ‘cool’ back to ‘masculine’.”

What a nutter…

Enter: Nuff – Stage Left

We have been tracked down by strange days
They are here to destroy those casual joys
The hostess is grinning, her guest list is sinning
Back to the madness, a game of two boys

Nuff was finally visiting. I was genuinely surprised that he’d actually made it here. He always made wild promises.
“I like to surprise people”.

He liked to surprise people, he said. So much for that being true. I still wouldn’t bet on him, though. Consistency isn’t a natural trait as far as he’s concerned. But then again, defying this and becoming uncharacteristically dependable (and therefore, more consistent) JUST to surprise me isn’t beyond him either.
Nuff was in-between assignments. He had about a month to spare, and in his own words: “I was in this hemisphere anyway, so it seemed like a good idea to drop by”. I didn’t want to remind him that he’d always be “a hemisphere” away, but I think that’s what he meant anyway.

So I went to the airport to pick him up. I didn’t have to wait long. He wasn’t flying first class, but I knew what he was like. He’d have charmed the pants off (many times, quite literally) the air hostess (and once, quite literally, the air steward – that’s another story), so he would have been amongst the first few to get off the plane. Also, he never checked his bags in. 

“Waiting for your own bags to come to you on some antiquated delivery chain is a redundant and blasphemously stupid indulgence in self-flaggelation. Shame on you”

That’s what he told me the last time we travelled together, anyway.

So there he was, on the lower parking level of the airport. Sunglasses, a smile and a cigarette – quintessential Nuff. “You’ve lost weight – Stanford’s been kind to you, you chump”, he said, throwing his backpack into the backseat. “It’s been a while man, good to see you too”, I said, handing the aux cable of the car stereo over to him. He was extremely particular about the music playing while he was around, so I knew better than to play something he wouldn’t like. It was always easier to avoid the arguments, and to simply give him the controls. He had impeccable taste in music anyway; the control freak in him made sure of that. Very soon, we were off, with my favorite Stoned Daffodils song fueling our drive forward. It seemed like we hadn’t been apart for the last seven months at all. I was glad he was back.

“So Nuff, why’re you here? I wasn’t expecting you to write anytime soon, much less visit”.  He put his cigarette out. I recognized that look on him. Something had clearly brought him here, and when he knew that I knew something, he’d always look me straight in the eye like he was daring me to push on through. “It’s her, isn’t it? She’s finally bent you sideways. I told you this would happen”.

Nuff clearly didn’t like what I’d just said. “I’m going to get into the minds of your children one day, and I’ll make them make you sorry you said that”. He was joking, of course, but he was clearly upset.

“Oh don’t start with that now. I’m onto something, aren’t I? She called me two weeks ago, explained that she’d landed that nice internship here. Frankly, I didn’t expect you to tail her down here so soon”.

“I’ve just got here and I’d prefer to pretend to listen to what you’ve been up to, rather than talk about this right now. So spare me the analysis, Puff Daddy”.

“Is that what she told you?”

“Well well well – looks who’s finally dropped a pair into a sack!”

“That’s definitely something she told you”.

He laughed, and he really seemed like he meant it that time. I hadn’t seen that smile for a while. “It’s good to see you again man. It really has been a while”.

He sat back, and his OCD-inspired music kept us in good spirits for the whole drive. I was glad he was visiting. This was going to be really good fun.

Nuff said – “You’ve been talking trash to the garbage around you long enough anyway”.

Self-Referential Conditioning

Nuff: On setting examples – Part 1.”I learnt two things while growing up: don’t be evil, and never get caught.”I still remember the day I heard this. A good friend (Nuff, of course) was explaining his outlook on life in general. We were alone, and he s…

Help Me, Nuff

Dear Nuff,

I am a middle aged working mom, and I’ve been married to my husband for 8 years. We have a lovely 7 year old daughter, and things were fine until September last year.

My husband got laid off when his company bought over another company, and they went through a “creative restructuring” to “maximise employee efficiency”. In other words, being told he wasn’t indispensable to a company where he’d been working for over 9 years struck him pretty hard. He refused to leave home for weeks, and did nothing but sit and stare at his computer screen all day. I thought I’d give him a month to work over his depression, but he didn’t seem to get any better.

I’ve been busy with a new contract at my office this past month, so I’d asked him if he would take care of our daughter during the school break. He agreed, but that’s when the problem started. I’d get back late everyday, only to find my daughter unwilling to talk to me or look me in the eye. I thought this was only because I wasn’t spending as much time at home, so I promised myself I’d spend the weekends with her. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I figured out what was going wrong.

I left home at 7 that morning as usual, and decided to take my iPad with me to work. It was low on charge, so I thought I’d use my iPhone’s car charger to juice it up. I was a few blocks away when the iPad gave me a message saying that charging was unsupported with that charger. I decided to head back home real quick to grab my iPad power adapter.

When I got back home, I crept in to my bedroom to see that my husband had put on my underwear and some of my makeup, and was parading around the room trying to “strut his stuff”. My daughter was sitting in front of him, following him keenly; a look of bewilderment and confusion on her face. He was trying to imitate my voice, and saying things like how I used my “booty” to get a promotion, and how I “sucked balls” to keep from being fired. He proceeded to use a tube of face cream to imitate fellatio, and my daughter just sat and watched.

I couldn’t take it anymore, and I rushed out of there as soon as I could. I can’t face my husband anymore, and I can’t figure out if and how I should bring it up. Is he insecure? Does he hate me for keeping my job? Is he trying to turn my daughter against me? Please help me Nuff – what should I do?

A concerned soon-to-be-single mother


Dear iPad user,

The iPhone and the iPad both use the 30-pin connector to charge their batteries, but there are differences in the battery capacities. The iPhone/iPod Power Adapter is 5V, 1amp (5×1=5 watts), while the Ipad Power Adapters are 5V, 2Amp (5 x 2=10 Watts). So an iPad might charge using the iPhone’s Power Adapter, but it’s going to be way too slow. Car chargers for the iPhone are already strained delivering the required wattage as is, so it’s almost certain they won’t be able to keep up with the iPad.

The fastest way to charge your iPad is with the included 10W USB Power Adapter. The iPad will also charge, although more slowly, when attached to a computer with a high-power USB port (many recent Mac computers) . When attached to a computer via a standard USB port (most PCs or older Mac computers), the iPad will charge; but only in sleep mode. Make sure your computer is on while charging iPad via USB. If iPad is connected to a computer that’s turned off or is in sleep or standby mode, the iPad battery will continue to drain.

Take good care of your Apple accessories by keeping their unique charging requirements in mind.

Nuff said – Do unto others before they undo you.

to be continued.