New Theme Now

Finally changed the theme for my blog. It was a tough decision to take, as I have kept on hearing that you have to maintain a level of consistency, which also includes not changing your theme very often, so that readers feel at ease.

However, I had my own reasons for considering a change, and though I had initially chosen the theme ‘Chunk’ after lots of search and research, but my needs have changed, and so I also need a theme that meets them. Also, this is the first time I have changes since the start of the blog, and so it is not a frequent change. As a memento, here is snapshot of my blog with the old theme.

my old theme snapshot

(I had to activate my old theme again, take a snapshot and then activate it back again to the new one to take this snapshot. Given the amount of hard work that was involved, it is a true memento)

I have kept in mind not to make a change so drastic it will look as a totally different blog. The background is now grey instead of white, and I now have a sidebar (Hooray!) instead of the footer bar, which was a back ache, as people had to scroll all the way down the blog, to follow or check the archive. In fact the need for a side bar was the prime motivation for me to think for a change.

The design and layout still exhibit minimalism, which is something I have a personal preference for, and so I have made sure it retains.

What else? Hmm, I guess that is it. I thought I owed a side post for the change (unlike Facebook – those guys sometimes hit changes in the face; no notice, no gradual progress, straight, in the face.)

The right time to post your blog

“The right time to post your blog”

This often deludes many a blogger as almost every blogger wants to hit the web space with their post when the onlookers are the most in number. Be it for self-satisfaction of having a greater audience or for those ad-money, you would like to have a formula to hit at the right time. And that is what I was searching for, when I came across an infographic from KISSmetrics (see below) that deals with the question.

The science of social timing

The science of social timing

However I would like to add two pointers before you start acting on the information you gained from the above infographic:

1. Check timezones

Always, along with the social timings, also consider the geographic locations of the people who visit your blog. Most blog sites’ statistics also show where do you get the most hits from. WordPress does. In case your blogging platform does not provide this information, you have to settle for an assumption.
The reason this should be a concern is because you should try to be inclined with the social timings of the timezone which gets you the most hits.
When you have hits from multiple timezones and want to shift your audience from the majority you have currently,  consider shifting your social timings according to your favorite ones.

2. Schedule your posts:

It is always awesome to have contents to post, on a regular basis. However bloggers who work with contents that are random wont necessarily be blessed in a frequent fashion, and for such bloggers it is better to keep on writing whatever content comes in their mind in the form of proper blog posts and instead of posting them right away; save them as drafts.
The infographic gives you a good baseline that you can use to schedule your posts. Fix a frequency and then keep stacking new posts as drafts. Schedule drafts to your accord, so that during the times when you have an out-flow of ideas you can keep stacking your drafts and schedule them to be posted one after the other as per your schedule.
This way when you are in a writer’s block or you are just too lazy to think or write; your blog will still have posts coming on a regular scheduled basis.
If your blogging platform does not allow to schedule posts for later, do it manually.

3. Experiment and wait

Play around a little. Not too much, but a little. You have got the exact times when people and certain activities are the most active from the infographic. Try playing with these times a little bit here and there.
See the hits for about a week or may be two and then try a different schedule. Do not stray away too much from the standard times, as these times are collected from data of actual usage. And when you find the best schedule – Eureka!

Pour it out

almost no heart

I wish I could pour my heart out,

but,
but I fear,

if like my eyes, will my heart yield nothing.
Will my heart look as dry as my eyes,
Should I just try and stop to surmise.

Will it speak my emotions, or will it just blurt.
Should I not risk and keep it closed, or should I evert.

I fear if I have lost what it takes to pour your heart out.
i fear that I may just be devoid of emotions.
I am left with stories now, lots of them.
But with just words and punctuations

No breaths, no tears, no laughters
A story so inanimate
So dead
I will be scared to read it, I am, because,
I may doubt myself after it’s read

I better not pour my heart

Though, stories there are many, that can still be told.
But I doubt if I have a heart that can still be poured

Carriage wheel

carriage wheel

You are but one wheel,
one wheel among many;
the many that a carriage bore.
The carriage has a goal,
a place it has to reach;
you roll as the other wheels roll.
Some buds crushed
some still saved,
you tread as how the carriage goes
So tight and so secure,
pits and bumps, you endure,
Still rolls, the carriage wheel rolls.
Oh wait, there’s a doubt,
among many but not out.
A doubt that the carriage wheel bore.
Is this path that you tread,
the path you desire?
Does the doubt speak a dream
of a goal you aspire?
You will be shifted from here,
unscrewed and then screwed,
to the front when the front is all tired.
Decide for now,
for now you have time,
Do the dreams you hold
come in line with those of your sire?
If no, then a risk,
a risk, oh! its there
to unscrew and set yourself free.
A new wheel will come,
your shaft will be taken.
and you, left alone and free.
Neither tight nor secure
With a path in your mind
Roll, you may roll,
Some tumbles, some falls,
But a risk you have taken,
A risk to be apart,
It may be so foolish,
So foolish a mistake,
Or it may end up wise,
A wise choice to take.
Think, decide,
the path you like,
Be sure, don’t doubt,
for there’s always a risk,
A risk that waits,
for every carriage wheel to take.

Intelligent vs Intellectual

 intelligent vs intellectual

I don’t know how often people confuse the two words – Intelligent and Intellectual – and nor do I have a tabular representation of their differences. What I do have is a perspective about it, which in itself, my friends, is what I think, is a differentiating factor between intelligence and intellect.

Lets first take a look of the Google definitions I have found for both the words. I have included, from the list of definitions, only the ones that interest me.

Intelligent: Having or showing intelligence, esp. of a high level
Intellectual: A person possessing a highly developed intellect
– Google Search

Okay those definitions are not actually the ones that interests me. What interests me and what can get me closer to my perspective, is the definition of the intangible assets that the above definitions speak about – Intelligence and Intellect. Back to Google definitions,

Intelligence: The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.
Intellect: The faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, esp. with regard to abstract or academic matters.
-Google Search

Alright, time for me to talk. Let me be direct and without any more prologues.
I define these words as:

Intelligent: A person who possesses enough or more than enough knowledge, through acquisition or creation, relevant to a certain context or contexts.
Intellectual: A person who possesses perspectives about the knowledge that he has acquired or created, irrespective of the context.
– SJ

You can have an intelligent person who is not intellectually sound and also the reverse holds true.

When I am on a table full of physicists and I start speaking about the religious mythologies with their scriptures and their stories and their legacies, I might sound like a less intelligent person to the lot, even though my knowledge in what I am speaking is up to the mark of many religious scholars. However if I can bend and twist the same knowledge according to my perspective about the knowledge I have about religion and let them know what I think it means, or what I take from it, I am suddenly an intellectual. A particular knowledge may be not relevant on the table, but the perspective suddenly finds its own relevance.

Similarly, if I start puking out the facts that I know about physics, the modern research, the past legacy of physics in front of the same group, I am this intelligent guy who knows what he is taking about. I am at the right table. But if someone asks me what my view are about a certain implication of a certain theory and I give the look of a dumb-founded cat, they might just get the hint that may be I am not that intellectual after all.

We constantly are doing this differentiation, though not consciously all the time, but we do. A person with intelligence and intellect both, about something, is usually the one who is revered. You miss one of those things and you are half way there, but not quite complete. This incompleteness is strikingly evident at many group discussions, debates and public meetings.
However, this difference will be obvious enough only to people who themselves are intellectual; not just intelligent; and of course not to the people who are neither. This is because it requires an understanding of perspectives, of different facets, to distinguish such factors – a quality possessed naturally by the intellectuals.

Now I do know, that this may be a definition that is no where directly highlighted or mentioned, but this is what I believe their definition is, and this is how I can differentiate the intelligent and the intellectual. Just a perspective it may be, but some perspective none the less.

I would also like to follow up this discussion with another blog post showcasing a hypothetical group conversation where we can clearly identify and isolate both of these qualities.

Finally, before leaving, let me present a paraphrased version of my own definitions:

The intelligent knows,
the intellectual has his perspectives.
-SJ

The rule of three tries

 the rule of three tries

When you create rules and principles for yourself – sometimes to change something and sometimes to make things less messy – you always end up having some rules, which may not necessarily make any practical sense but still would be something that will help you in some or the other way. One such rule that I have set for myself is “The rule of three tries.”

Simply stated, for anything emotional or potentially emotional, if I am supposed to attempt to do an action which requires a reaction from the person in front to end the interaction in a solid non-confusing way, if I do not get a proper reaction at the first time, I will try only two times more; after which I completely forget about it and never try again.

I know for a sentence starting with the phrase – Simply stated – that was a way too lengthy statement; but it kind of summarizes it all.

Consider for instance, I like someone and I would like to ask them out. I would ask them once. If no proper response is given, I may ask another time in a similar manner or maybe I will change something this time. If still no response; there will be one last attempt. These attempts does not have to be consecutive and may have too large or too small gaps in between them, but after the third attempt there wont be any more tries from my side. And this rule is applied similarly, for asking a friend for a hang out, asking your colleague to accompany you for lunch, calling someone, or anything that can come in the genre suggested by the definition that I had mentioned before.

Why such a rule?
1. It helps me move on faster.
2. It helps me stay less confused for a particular thing.
3. It helps me to keep my self-respect and dignity far away from things at stake.

Why to have any rules at all?
It helps me be less connected to things. When you have rules that define the way you interact with something, any outcome will be less associated with emotions and attachments and you can be living those moments like you are playing a game.
The best thing about a game? You “usually” do not die for real.

Is there any con of this rule?
Of course there is. There has to be a con to a rule which is made to interact with human beings, takes into consideration no human factors and is just based on a count.
The con is pretty clear, you cannot be right about the third attempt being the right one to move on. There can be a variety of reasons why three attempts are not enough. In the instance about the date, the person might have been going through some emotional phase and may have needed sometime or you may have not been approaching her in the right manner. There can be many reasons.

But the very purpose of making such a rule is to free myself from thinking about it much. I do modify and improvise, but after the third attempt it might be for a different person. Sounds a bit robotic, mean and wrong. Well, it suits the purpose.

Will I be improvising my rule?
May be. The rule started out to be asking just once. Its three now.

Don’t you think that you might one day piss somebody because of behaving on the lines of this rule?
Possible. But I will apologize if I feel I am wrong and wait for her to forgive me. I will apologize, three times.