Dear 123Greetings subscriber,
Are you done with your Christmas shopping? I just finished mine! Boy am I exhausted! I just can’t wait to give all those gifts and receive them in return. I love gathering around the Christmas tree and looking at the glow on people’s faces as they open up the presents. Don’t you? There are great days ahead people, let’s go check ’em out…
Computer Security Day [Nov 30]
My geeky cousin Steve went into hibernation after Thanksgiving. For the past five days no one could get in touch with him. The fella even switched off his mobile. I left messages online but no answer!
I thought to drop in at his house yesterday.
When Steve opened the door it seemed as if he had returned from battle. His hair was ruffled, his t-shirt had coffee stains and his pale looks told me that he hadn’t eaten much or slept in a couple of days.
“Steve!” I exclaimed, “Are you alright! What happened?”
Steve, letting me in, dropped himself on the couch and kept staring at the floor solemnly. Now Steve was never known for keeping his room neat but yesterday, it seemed as if a bomb had gone off or the mob had come in and searched the place like in the movies! CDs were on the floor, books were spread everywhere, and there were a bunch of tools like screwdrivers, pliers etc. all over the coffee table and couch.
As I tried to grasp the reason behind it, Steve had a big “SIGH” and declared after few minutes – “I am ruined!”
I blinked and stared at him without a word. A minute of awkward silence followed. Then he slowly turned towards me and said in a choking voice, “I have been robbed – my research papers, my programs, my photographs, music, games… everything! All my work is gone!!” And he started sobbing.
There was a pin drop silence in the room. I saw his laptop and everything was clear to me. The back cover of the laptop was open and the cords were coming out.
“Has the hard disk crashed?” I asked. Steve nodded in affirmation. Steve’s laptop is his life, his love, his everything. He just cannot do without it. Most importantly, he kept all the information about the aliens and other supernatural phenomena that he had been researching.
“You must have back ups on CD?” I asked slowly.
“Not of everything. I haven’t kept the latest photographs and music in the CDs. Above all, I don’t have any copy of the research work on aliens. And you know, I was making programs for video games on a freelance basis. I lost them too! I tried everything, but I can’t retrieve it,” said Steve hysterically.
Now, Steve is in big trouble this time. He should’ve kept the back ups of every important document in the CDs or in a pen drive.
I tried to console him, “Hey buddy, this is not the end of the world! I’ll give you the music and photos. And you can start your work on aliens and video games afresh. You’ve just started the research! By the way, how did it happen?”
Steve’s face got red in anger. “Those forums I go to. I clicked on an ad I just could not resist. I thought it would be a great program to check out about aliens. But instead I downloaded a malicious virus that attacked my whole system and nothing could be done! Ohh!” he said hoarsely and he almost started crying. Now he has to do his work all over again.
If you don’t want the fate of Steve, on this Computer Security Day don’t forget to scan your system and upgrade your anti-virus program. Make it a habit of keeping your most important files backed up. And never ever click on unknown links, especially if the offer is totally out of this world.
World AIDS Day [Dec 1]
A few days back Donna hurriedly came to my cubicle and handed me a pamphlet of a non-profit. “Bobby, can you please help me with some donations for my cousin’s organization?” she asked. Before I can ask her anything about the organization, she started explaining to me.
“You know Bob, my cousin is working in a non-profit organization that is helping HIV positive people and AIDS patients all over the world! They’re spreading awareness about the disease. December first is World AIDS Day and they are doing a campaign to get people like you and me to help. The organization also has branches in other countries where they help get medication and clinics. You know, AIDS patients are outcasts in their societies in a lot of other places. So, can you please…”
Before she even finished, I’d already taken out 100 bucks from my wallet. My buddies might criticize me for being stingy when we go out, but when it comes to a good cause I’m always there to help them.
Donna probably thought that she can’t even get twenty dollars out of me. She stared at me with disbelief. “Well, I don’t have much.” I said sheepishly.
“Oh Bob! You are a darling!” she shouted with watery eyes. She was so happy and overwhelmed. Then, she leaped and gave me a big bear hug. She gave me a red ribbon to wear on AIDS Day and rushed to the other cubicles for her collections. Then, I started surfing the net, looking for a gift for Aaliyah.
Make A Gift Day [Dec 3]
Last year, on Make A Gift Day, Aaliyah made the best gift for me. A collage filled with our photographs and memories. It was in the morning that she called me up asking me to meet at her place in the evening. “But, let’s meet at the pub,” I argued sleepily. “No, let’s meet at my place. We will have dinner together,” said Aaliyah sweetly.
“Is there going to be something special?” I asked hopefully. She paused for a moment and replied, “Time will tell.”
Well guys, I waited eagerly for the night. WINK! I didn’t know what it was. I looked at my PDA and see if it was our anniversary or her birthday… Needless to say, I was nervous. What if I was supposed to show up with a gift???
At night, we had a candle lit dinner. Aaliyah cooked all by herself. And I must say, the food was DELICIOUS! I asked her, “So, where’s the surprise?”
“Here it is,” she replied presenting a gift that’s nicely wrapped. I couldn’t wait to see what she had bought me. I opened it up instantly! And well, what do you know! It wasn’t a gift that couldn’t be bought! It was a photo collage of us through all these times that we’ve been together.
You bet, I was surprised!!! It must’ve taken her ages to put it together. She said, “I thought I should give you something I made for a change.” It was in a trendy dark wood frame. It depicted pictures of when we started going out up to the present day. All the Thanksgivings, Christmases, New Years. I can see all the changes in the seasons – springs, summers, falls and winters… I was really touched. I was also surprised at the stages that we’ve crossed together. I was breathless and out of words. Just then, with a big smile on her face Ali said, “Well, do you like it?”
“Yes, of course Aaliyah. It’s the best gift you ever gave me. I’m so lucky to have you.” Then we hugged, and I gave her a kiss on the forehead.
You maybe stressed out with all the shopping and gifts to get but think about it for a moment. You can always make gifts. The person who receives it will know that it came straight from your heart.
Hanukkah [Dec 4 (sunset) – 12 (nightfall)]
Nowadays, I’m hiding from Megan. Sometimes I have to run to the men’s room or dodge under my desk. I usually have to restrain Kong on to bark too! I’ve had enough of being the guinea pig of chef Megan! She’s been experimenting on me with her cooking. Are you confused? Or are you surprised with Megan’s sudden interest in the kitchen? Well, we were too. Megan, who’s definitely well known for her fondness of food, has been spending her time experimenting with different Jewish recipes to give her new Jewish boyfriend, Seth, a surprise home coming Hanukkah. And she zeroed in on me, poor Bob, to give a review on whatever she makes!
“You see Bob,” Megan told me a week ago, “the way to a man’s heart is his stomach.” We were sitting in my cubicle and I was tasting gefilte fish… Megan’s first attempt at making Jewish cuisine. After having the tasteless food item (I think she forgot an ingredient or two!) I had doubts whether she would be successful in her mission at all with her abilities. But of course, I didn’t want to disappoint her.
“Well, with a little practice, you can improve,” I said. What a big mistake!!! From then on, she started chasing me with her meat balls, fish dishes, and all sorts of cakes! I don’t even know how to give a review without hurting her feelings! Now, I am a BIG foodie, but I love good food and certainly don’t want to get sick!!! I am seriously worried about the future of her relationship if she is going to serve the same quality of food that she is giving me now. God save her!
And the only other person who can save her is Kelly, our cooking expert pal. I think I need to talk to Kelly to help Megan avoid any disaster on Hanukkah.
Do you have any solutions for me? Have you dodged your friends too? How can I tell her to improve her cooking without hurting her feelings? Lots of questions I need to figure out!!!