gautams blog dot com

a little bit of this. a little bit of fact


gautam dev

Writer / Photographer / General plodder about-er

3 Very Short Stories


I was a money lender in my last life. I took gold, jewels and sometimes even food from poor people when they were down and out. I once even refused a dying man money because the two candlesticks he came into my shop with were old and worthless. He begged me to think about it and said he’d come back the next day. In the evening I scraped the green paint from the candlestands to find they were solid gold underneath. I hurriedly stuck the green paint back and decided to give the old man a few rupees for them when he came the next day. He didn’t show up. Neither did he come the next day. Or the day after that. I melted down one candlestand and used the money to build myself a huge mansion. When I died, I was sent back as this parking meter because God thought taking money was what I was best at. Incidentally, the old man did return. He demanded his candlestands back. When I told him I just had one left, he used that to kill me.


I am about a hundred years old. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in a small iron casting workshop run by a very old man. From there I was sent to the local park where I spent many summers under an old oak tree surrounded by squirrels, woodpeckers, mountain quail and grouse. I have seen murderers, lovers, beggars, old men, soldiers, priests, prostitutes and even one presidential candidate discussing his election strategy. Many years later the park made way for a large shopping mall and I was sent to Bangalore, India by the Rotary Club as a gift. Here too I’ve seen my share of murderers, thieves, ladies of ill repute, beggars, lovers, honest men, wise men, oafs, dolts, fools, atheletes and ofcourse the politician who discusses his evil intentions in great detail. One thing I can tell you for sure – people are the same wherever in the world you are. Another thing, always check for wet paint before you sit on a park bench.


When I think back and reflect on the amount of wine I’ve drunk I shudder with guilt. I’m sure I’ve imbibed enough to have made a thousand enemies, broken at least two hundred laws, rubbed up thousands of people the wrong way, hurt at least a hundred waiters, defaced ten kilometers of public property, pissed on thousands of walls, made many dozens of women blanch at the thought of me, dropped and broken thousands of glasses and driven scores of people off the road. But when I look at the crimson wine again I think of all the workers who earn their livelihood toiling hard in the fields just so the grape gets to a factory. I think of all the dreams that would be shattered, homes broken and educations ruined should I stop putting my lips around the rim of glass holding this juice of the earth. So I feel it’s better to let their lives bloom than me be selfish and worry about my bloated liver.

The language of garbage men

Garbage Man

Air mail: Garbage thrown at the truck from windows above.

Bale the truck: Squeeze the movable wall near the cab end of the truck body against the blade that pushes the garbage into the truck body. It compacts the trash as tightly as possible and can allow an extra ton or so of trash to fit in the truck.

Banged: Disciplined. If you get banged, someone above you in the chain of command has filed a written complaint about you.

Blood money: Overtime for working snow once the novelty has been replaced by the relentlessness of too many hours and no days off.

Body bags: The big (120-gallon), long garbage bags that come from apartment buildings with compactors. They look as if they could hold a body. Also called sausage bags.

Bumper cars: Mechanical brooms.

Can man: How many workers are available to staff a particular need. Phrased as “What’s your can man for today?”

Coned: A litter basket that’s overloaded and overflowing, such that it resembles an ice cream cone.

Disco rice: Maggots.

Fruit wagon: Collection truck.

Gate work: Lifting garbage cans and garbage bags over the gates that stand between a home and the street.

Gold-chain garage: A garage with many workers of Italian heritage.

Hook: Someone within the bureaucracy, usually of higher rank, who can do you a favor or help you out of a jam. A person with good hooks has a lot of juice.

House of Pain: Nickname for the Bronx 7 garage, where the average weight on the day shift is sometimes as high as 20 tons.

Junior flip: New hire.

LODI: Line-of-duty injury. “He went LODI” means he is away from work because of an injury sustained on the job.

LUV truck: Light utility vehicle; a small pickup truck, also called a haulster.

M’on back man: The person who guides a driver while the driver is backing up a truck (short for “Come on back”).

Mongo/mungo: (N .) objects plucked/rescued from the trash; (v.) to take objects from the trash.

Nanny goat route: An especially hilly route on collection or recycling.

On the arm: Unpaid labor. For instance: “Are you being paid for this work?” “Hell, yes, I’d never do it on the arm!”

Picking up: Where you work. Someone working in Greenwich Village around the university would say, “I pick up N Y U .”

Rocket: A written complaint (as in a foreman telling a sanitation worker, “If you don’t clean your route today, I’ll give you a rocket”).

Ro-ro: Roll-on/roll-off truck, used for some kinds of containers.

Sitting bull: Back in the day when there were three men on a truck, the driver never got out and never helped load; he was called the sitting bull.

Stealing a street: Driving down a one-way street the wrong way.

Tiffany: A particularly neat and tidy job of collection or sweeping. “He did a real Tiffany on that stop.”

White elephant: Collection truck.

Courtesy: Robin Nagle, anthropologist-in-residence at New York City’s Department of Sanitation since 2006.

The mother of all zooms


Weighing 16kg and measuring 880mm in an overall length and there is just no comparing optic to match this lense in its basic spec.

Italy’s La Stampa, published two images showing photographer Dylan Martinez with the 35-pound Nikkor 1200-1700mm f/5.6~8.0s P ED IF lens.


His team was waiting to capture the new pope at Saint Peter’s Square. The so-called “Mother of all zooms” has 18 elements in 13 groups (3 x EDs), 2°-1°30′ angle of view and minimum focusing distance of 32 ft.

Benday Dots and the artist Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein

“Lichtenstein was more app than artist; the Frankel of one-trick ponies.”

Frankel, unbeaten in his fourteen race career and was the highest-rated racehorse in the world. Frankel’s record of nine successive Group 1 wins is unsurpassed and has been equalled only by the U.S.A. filly Zenyatta. Frankel’s performance in the 2000 Guineas has been described as “one of the greatest displays on a British racecourse”.

Benday Dots, a printing process named after illustrator and printer Benjamin Day, is similar to Pointillism.
Ben-Day dots were considered the hallmark of American artist Roy Lichtenstein, who enlarged and exaggerated them in many of his paintings. the man who reinvented modern art, the man who first decided to make paintings that looked like comic books.

Twitter Tools


Recommended Tools:

1. Hootsuite
This is the app every b6usiness on Twitter should use. It’s also one of the few third-party apps I’ve gladly shelled out extra to upgrade to get the pro features. With Hootsuite you can post to multiple social media networks at the same time, enjoy built-in link shortening, and view such things as pending tweets, mentions, etc, in a customizable interface. The ability to schedule future posts is a particular favorite. I found the bulk uploader to be a bit clumsy, but otherwise this is an essential social media tool. Period.

2. Manageflitter
The Twitter interface doesn’t offer optimal tools to manage the list of those you follow, especially if you follow more than a couple of hundred people. Manageflitter allows you to sort this list in a more robust manner than Twitter itself. You can see who hasn’t tweeted in ages, who tweets too much for your tastes, who hasn’t followed you back, and about any other option you can think up. Another new feature is allowing you to post to your Twitter profile via Google+. Once you use Manageflitter, you’ll be hard-pressed to give it up.

3. Followerwonk
Recent changes to Followerwonk have made it slightly less user-friendly, but we still recommend Followerwonk for finding targeted profiles to follow. What they offer is the ability to do much better searches than Twitter itself. So for example, if you are a small business looking for people in your area to follow, Followerwonk will allow you to find them with their powerful search tools much easier than similar searches within Twitter.

4. FollowFridayHelper
If you haven’t learned the value of shoutouts and follow Friday (#FF) mentions, you’re missing out on gaining new followers. When a person mentions you in a #FF or shoutout, you are more likely to follow them back. So when you send shoutouts, you are likely to gain more solid connections and followers in return. But when you follow 2000 people, how do you know who to include? That’s where FollowFridayHelper comes in. It will analyze your tweets and mentions and suggest people best suited for a #FF mention. Simple and easy to use, this is a great tool.

5.Tweetcaster(Mobile app)
I’ve tried several Twitter mobile apps, and this is by far my favorite. It has a beautiful interface and allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts. So I may receive notifications for my business or private Twitter accounts, all from the same app. There are even some advanced search tools that beat many desktop Twitter apps.

Popular Twitter apps NOT recommended:

1. Truetwit, This app seeks to reduce fake followers and spammers by offering a validation service. Though it seems to have good intentions, there are a couple of reasons I don’t like it. First of all, unlike most of the other apps which connect via your Twitter login, this one requires you – and anyone who wants to follow you– to sign up. Next, most people don’t care who follows them, so why go through such a service to restrict that? Further, if you’re concerned about spammers and followers, you can merely select “Protect my tweets” in the Twitter options to require authorization of followers. It seems like Truetwit’s value doesn’t fall much beyond Twitter’s built-in capabilities. Finally, anyone who tries to follow you with Truetwit enabled will receive a message that they must sign up in order to follow you. I know that when I see one of those Truetwit direct messages, I delete it and forget about following that person – and I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment. So while you may have less fake followers (which isn’t really an issue for most people), you very well may have less real followers as well. Not a valuable trade-off.

2. FllwrsAgain, the idea is good – sort of like Manageflitter, where you can keep track of who follows you and who doesn’t. Fllwrs doesn’t have as many features, and will post the dreaded “so-and-so unfollowed me today [checked by]” – and this message is why I dislike it. The concept of posting unfollowers makes you sound like a Twitter crybaby. I unfollow people all the time – usually because I find their tweets to be irrelevant or uninteresting – but I don’t particularly like them announcing it all over Twitter. Plus, when you announce your unfollowers, aren’t you also announcing that you’re losing popularity? Maybe they unfollowed you for a reason – do you want to announce that?

3. Twiends, This one doesn’t even sound like a good idea. You basically follow Twitter users on Twiends to earn “seeds” which you can then spend to “buy” follows on Twitter. The few times I tried it, most of the followers were fake or spam profiles, and a large percentage of those ended up unfollowing me shortly thereafter. Those that I had to follow to earn my seeds were not people I’d normally follow, and I ended up unfollowing them as well. I found it to be a waste of time.

The price of creativity


A woman asked Picasso to sketch something on a piece of paper.

He does, and says, “That will cost you $10,000.”

Astounded, she said “You took just five minutes to do the sketch,” she said.

Isn’t $10,000 a lot for five minutes work?

 And he responded, “The sketch may have taken me five minutes, but the learning took me 30 years.”

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