Tintin, Chacha Choudhary and I go a long way back. As a kid, I had read all the comic books of Tintin as well as Chacha Choudhary. And I never feel bored to read them again and again till date. However, its been a long time since I last read them. I think I will just buy the whole set, instead of borrowing from the library all the time.
Anyways, I had recently named by blog as 'bLogic' since I couldn't think of a better name. Its supposed to denote that blogs here will be logical (yeah, right!). So while designing the new template, I decided to include my childhood 'logical' friends - Tintin and Chacha Choudhary. How does it look? I still am working on the template and there are minor issues to be ironed out - like the image at the top is not clickable, comments don't accept hyperlinks, archives section gets curtailed while looking at a specific blog entry etc. Hope to get them fixed soon.
Coming back to the two superheroes, there are quite a few similarities between them. Tintin is the smart reporter who always smells rat somewhere and begins on his quest to foil the attempts of villains. He is accompanied by his loyal pet, Snowy. On the other hand, Chacha Choudhary is an elderly detective whose *brain works faster than a super-computer*. He too foils the attempts of many vicious gangsters and has solved many cases, many a times involving supernatural threats. Sabu is his accomplice from Jupiter planet, and it is said that *when he gets angry, a volcano on Jupiter erupts*. Hahaha. I loved all that. What is so down-to-earth about these men is that both are normal human-beings. They don't have super-powers like Superman, Spiderman, He-man whatever. They both use common-sense and logic to solve all their cases. This is what makes them so popular amongst all comic fans. They truly stand apart from the rest.
Tintin also had many humorous friends - Captain Haddock, Prof. Calculus, Thomson and Thompson (with a 'p' :-) etc. Tintin comic series, created by the Belgian artist Herge, is so renowned that over 200 million books have been published in 50+ languages. There are even 'Tintin Stores' where one can buy memorabilia. Chacha Choudhary was created by legendary Pran and published by Diamond comics. His comics are available at Rs.15 a piece.
There are people in this world who have the time to go over a movie frame-by-frame and spot mistakes/goof-ups/bloopers, if any. Thousands of films with mistakes have been identified and described in detail at MovieMistakes. Another good one is Slip-ups. If you know French, then you can try out this site too. I collected some images of goof-ups from famous movies:
Troy: Did you know that the Greeks flew via 'Air Greece' airlines hundreds of years ago? Brad Pitt knows.
Gladiator: Wearing a pair of jeans during Roman era was perhaps considered hip 'n' trendy. Romans were world leaders in selling gas cylinders by the way.
Pirates of the Caribbean: I don't want to explain these :-)
Amelie: When Amelie is talking on the phone, on the extreme left is a distant phone booth where Nino is standing in the shade. However in the next instant itself, its 'sun n shine'.
Some kung-fu movie: This guy is going to break the Swiss watch. Well, it could have been a cheap Chinese watch too.
Please pick up the damn phone!!
Star Wars: Ouchh! Watch your step...err..head! The rightmost trooper just got a big goosebump.
The Incredibles: Hellooo!...The shadow of the phone and its cord is missing on the wall behind. (Yeah I know its tough to make animated movies).
Dumb & Dumber: Aaah..I thought safety air-bags are attached to steering wheel. Maybe Jim Carrey likes to play with baloons.
I wanted to blog about this since quite some time, and so it happens that of all days, it turns out to be the Christmas day when I finally write about it. It perhaps has to do with the fact that I have 4 back-to-back holidays and hence lots of free time. Anyways, Merry Christmas and have a rocking year ahead! Here I go.
Indian Express, by all accounts, have repeatedly set examples of the role media should play in a nation's betterment. Their latest creative project was the India Empowered series, where they collected views of 126 prominent personalities. Christened "i.e." (which stands for India explained, India Empowered but alternatively, even Indian Express), all these eminent people were asked to share their vision for India. These people ranged from ministers to managers, scientists to sportsmen, actors to air-chiefs and they all talked frankly about things to be done to rise to the top. Since no one is going to ask me for my take on India Empowered, I will put down my views here and request my readers to share their views either here or on their pages if they feel so, so that I can link up. All you have to do is ask yourself the question "What is my vision of an Empowered India?". Here is my answer to that question, following which I have links to some of the best articles I read on i.e. website.
India empowered to me is ...
* Robust Infrastructure. I believe thats the key to progress. We need lots of good roads and world-class airports. If every small town and village is connected, ideas will flow, colonies will grow, businesses will flourish and employment will increase. We need to allocate more money to developing infrastructure rather than scandal-prone schemes like 'Employment Guarantee' scheme. Rest all will follow. Many top-shot guys have identified this crucial necessity, but it seems the work always gets stuck and delayed due to some unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles. Like the Golden Quadrilateral project or the Bangalore+Mumai+Delhi International Airport projects.
* Educate, Educate, Educate. We all know its benefits. Also I am in favor of merit-based higher-level education. No SC/ST quotas, no discrimination based on caste etc. atleast in private colleges. Unfortunately, the recent Supreme Court's decision was over-ruled unanimously by MP's who are on their way to pass a constitutional amendment. Its depressing to learn that they are still bothered with their votes and are sacrificing our nation for that. We need top-class researchers, scholars, artists and scientists irrespective of gender, influence and caste. So admissions should be plainly based on merit.
* Political parties working with the same discipline, efficiency and accountability like any private company's management structure. Politicians are bestowed upon great powers and responsibilities, not to abuse them for selfish purposes but to use them for nation's benefit. Because there are loopholes in checking the way they wield power, corruption creeps in. Every paisa they spend should be accounted, every task they do should be documented, every minute they spend (all this, ofcourse while on duty) should be recorded. This will mitigate corruption and restore people's lost trust in politicians. We NEED to restore people's lost trust.
* Change of attitude of the common man - "Chalta hai, kuch nahin hoyega, kaun dekhta hai?". This may be the most difficult thing to do, but not impossible. Our job is not just to vote and rest. We should transform ourselves first. We should pay taxes honestly, keep our environment clean, stop paying/accepting bribes, treat males & females equally, identify oneself as Indian and not based on one's religion/caste, and respect our nation. Respect your nation.
I have read less than half of the i.e. articles. These are my best from that subset, in no particular order:
Steve Jobs is the CEO and co-founder of Apple Computers, the company which has given us the Macintosh's and the iPods. He is also the CEO and co-founder of Pixar Animations, which has created animation films like Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles etc. - movies that have earned more than $3 billion. He grew up at a place now called Silicon Valley and he still stays there. On June 12th 2005, he gave a wonderful speech to the 2005 graduation class at Stanford University. I love the speech. Here it is in its entirety:
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
When I was a kid, I used to have fun predicting future using a thin book with torn yellowed pages, given to me by my grandfather. You have to close your eyes, slide your finger over a circle divided into 12 regions and choose one. The number corresponding to that region would lead you to a page that will predict your future. It was amazing. Later on, in primary school, my mom took me to some Dr. Mauli - astrologer, besides a regular doctor, although I learned later he didn't have MBBS degree! He looked at my janam-kundli (birth-chart) and my palm. For next 15-20 minutes, he studied these. Then, he predicted my future - I will study very hard. I will earn lots of money. I have a good chance of going to foreign lands. I will have frequent health problems. I should stay away from sea. I will die at 69. My married life will be blessed. I will have my own car and bungalow. At the end, my mom was happy. The doctor was happy - he got his 30 bucks. And I. I don't remember how I felt, but I remember asking him how can he tell all this?
He probably didn't answer me satisfactorily because I still have no answer to the question. How can one's palm hold a link to the future? How can the position of heavenly bodies in the sky at the time of your birth, forecast your future? How can consulting horoscopes guarantee success in married life? How can ENTIRE humanity be partitioned such that each person's day is one amongst 12 different types?
If one looks at how astrology has evolved, some of these questions might be answered. Amongst all unanswered questions before humankind like "Are we alone in the universe?" and "Is there a Supreme being?", we also have the billion dollar question - "Can we predict the future?". And we have been trying to predict since our journey on this planet began. But we have miserably failed. We all want to know our future - job life, love life, study life and so on. We want to know what would happen to this place, country, mankind 500 years hence. But the bitter truth is nothing can be predicted. Atleast not yet.
Given the importance and the associated power of being able to forecast the destiny, it is not surprising that people over the centuries have 'acted' as if they can. No wonder, they would have got instant fame and recognition. If not amongst millions (like Nostradamus), then maybe amongst scores of local people. I am not trying to attack your 'family' palmist or your personal astrologer or tarot-card reader. I am attacking the logic behind their so-called divine revelations. Lets take the palm of our hand. The lines in them have nothing to do with your future. If you look at the bold lines on your hand closely, right now, you will notice that you can bend your fingers and fold your palm at exactly these boundaries. These lines also occur at the bottom of your feet, armpits and in fact most of the joints. Hell, they even occur on the palms of gorillas and other apes. The lines are part of our constitutional makeup. Asking questions like "Why do we have lines in the first place?" is no means to justify that they are present to indicate one's future. Perhaps the old and wise saying that "Your destiny is in your control and not some Creator" which in other words can be understood as "Your destiny is in your hands", has been literally taken by palmists to mean "Your destiny is in the lines of your hands". And so they gave names like the heart-line which runs across the palm, and the life-line that extends towards the wrist and so on!
The categorization of all humans into 12 types (the 12 zodiac signs) has to do with the fact that the sun's path through the sky crosses 12 constellations (the path is called the zodiac belt). No marks for guessing that these constellations have stars which resemble lion (Leo), fish (Pisces) etc. The zodiac belt is also the belt through which the moon and 5 other planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - traverse. If you add up these 5 planets with sun and moon, you get 7 bodies (In fact, the seven days of week correspond to each of them - 'sun'day, 'mo(o)n'day,...''satur(n)'day...others correspond to Greek and Roman gods). Anyways, the point is - if you have ever looked at yours or someone else's horoscope, you will always read things like 'Jupiter's influence is strong' and 'The position of Venus here indicates you will get lovely wife' etc. You will only read about the influence of the 5 planets and the sun and the moon. You will NEVER ever find description of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Why? Because they were discovered recently in 1781, 1846 and 1930 respectively and are not visible to naked eye. So does this mean that since astrologers couldn't see these planets, they are too far away, insignificant and hence don't influence your destiny?
This whole concept of the position of the planets at the time of your birth, predicting your fate is all so Bull. These bodies sure exert some form of energy on us, however miniscule it may be, but it in no way determines your romantic life or how much money you will make. Some people argue with the fact that tides are caused by sun and moon and since our body is made up of 60% water, they affect our moods and character too. Scientists say this is not so. Tides are caused in seas and oceans because they are huge masses of water and they are pulled towards moon from one end, while earth's gravity causes it to bulge at the other end. The water in our body is much less in quantity and local internal forces are far more powerful than gravitational effects of the moon.
Union HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi during the Vajpayee govt. made an outrageous decision of making Astrology a science course offered in Indian Universities (with BSc. and MSc. degrees). His decision caused an uproar. It indeed used to be offered as a course in ancient times. But Dr. Joshi perhaps forgot which century is this. I wouldn't object to courses in astrology, but associating it with Science is an insult to science and science-graduates like me. So meanwhile, people still look at horoscopes to find a prospective match or hold movie muhurats (opening day) on special days in special months or name their TV serials/movies starting with 'K' or even scour books & newspapers and visit card readers with divine parrots, I am over this crap since long; since the time Dr. Mauli didn't answer my questions perhaps. It amazes me to see so many people honestly believing in all this stuff and then blaming their stars for everything that happens to them and thus unknowingly, failing to solve problems by 'reasoning' and failing to accept responsibilities.
By the way, just for the heck of it, here is my horoscope for today:
Difficult day mostly since mind would be under some pressure or the other. Atmosphere at home could be tense while some anxiety could play on your mind throughout the day. Better to postpone important issues for the future. Thereafter till tomorrow: Pensive day mostly with thinking predominant. Most important issues get deferred to some other day while outlook is romantic. Children could be the focus of attention.
If I die at 69, someone please come here and add a comment that I was wrong my entire life. :-)
Have you ever dreamed of making your own movie, but didn't know a thing about how to go about it? Well, I can suggest a simple inexpensive way of making your debut as an amateur director, and if people appreciate your work, you can might as well try your hand at making professional movies passionately (but don't forget your godfather :-).
I made a time-lapse movie several months ago using a cheap $5 webcam and a computer (Good webcams are upwards of $50). For the uninitiated, Time-lapse movies are those movies where the camera is stationary and clicks the subject every 'x' seconds. For example, you must have seen those "fast-forward" movies of the sun moving quickly across the sky or people zipping through busy city streets or the blooming of flowers etc. Blooming of a flower is a very slow process for the human eye, but if you take its picture say every 30 seconds and fast-forward the entire set of say 700 pictures, you get a nice little movie for a blooming flower. Remember movies are nothing but set of pictures taking advantage of the persistence of our vision. If you recollect the flip-book from your childhood, you will know exactly what I mean. Adding music soundtracks or dialogues to the background of a movie is child's play.
Idea: Needless to say, before venturing out to make a movie you need an idea, else you will end up wasting time and money like so many Bollywood movies. Like I said, shooting sun's or cloud's path through the sky, filming a busy street, capturing bloom of a flower or motion of caterpillar etc. are good themes to begin with. A simple illustration that I will love to do will be to fetch a Hibiscus bud, put it in a bowl of water at night, train your webcam on the bowl and go to sleep. If illumination was good enough, you will end up with a cool movie in your portfolio.
Equipment needed: A webcam or digicam and a computer. Some digital cameras have built-in time-lapse mode where you can set the interval time between two shutter-clicks and it does the rest automatically. However, if your digicam doesn't, then not a problem. Just get a tripod and manually click a picture every 'x' seconds until your battery dies out or you think its now enough (If no tripod, then keep the camera on stationary surface and ensure you don't alter the camera's position while clicking pics). If you have a webcam, then obviously it has to be connected to a computer to take a pic. But if you want to make movies on city landscapes or motion of clouds using webcam, you will probably need to go out and hence need a laptop. The webcam software usually has features for clicking the cam at pre-defined intervals (or motion-detectors), so you don't have to stay there while taking pics. You might ask - How many images to take? It depends on your digicam's memory or hard-disk's free capacity and also the subject's rate of state-change. If storage is not a major issue, then take as many pics as you can, say every 30 seconds or 1 minute. You can always eliminate extra images, but cannot generate new images later. And a resolution of 640x480 is more than enough. By rate of state-change, I mean that maybe clicking every 2 minutes is okay for capturing flower boom, but for sunsets, 30 secs is probably a good interval.
Post-production: If you use a digicam, then transfer all your pics to your computer. For a webcam, they already are. Now make sure they are sequentially numbered. By default, they will be. However if you delete some images, then do take care of this necessity. Next step is to feed these images to appropriate movie-making software. There are tons of such software applications. If using a Macintosh, you will need QuickTime Pro and iMovie (if you wanna add music to your movie). QuickTime Pro directly takes a folder of images, asks the frame rate and generates a movie of your desired format (.mov .avi .mpg etc). Using iMovie to add your favorite music to the background is very intuitive. If you are on a Windows PC, you can use Windows Movie Maker or download several free tools like GIF animator etc. Google it and Get it. (I have not made a movie on Windows but it should be very straightforward to use such tools. Trust me.) How to select correct Frame Rate? Frame rate means the number of images (frames) you want to show to your audience every second (If you select say 1 frame per second, it becomes the standard picture slideshow). There is no such thing as correct frame rate. It depends on how many images you clicked and the length of your soundtrack (you dont want to cut short your music once the movie is over, do you?). So try few different values for frame rate and see what suits best. Motion films normally use 24 fps (frames per sec). I used 12 fps.
Demo: Ok so I made a time-lapse movie as you know by now. My idea was to initially capture a *typical* day in my life - get up to the mental shock of an alarm, quickly get ready, drive to work-place, do what I do, drive back when clock ticks 5, watch movie, have dinner and doze off. But since I can't film at all the places I want to, this movie ends up mostly showing how "rash" I drive. I planted the webcam on the inner windshield of my car, held it to place using tapes, and kept the attached laptop on my lap, no - on the other seat. For the portion of the movie at my ex-residence, all I had to do was turn on the motion-detector of the webcam software. If you are wondering why I have no bed, its because I was a poor student then, so I slept on a sleeping bag (Now I am probably little less poor :-). If you have seen Madonna's video for Ray of Light title song, then it will probably explain the reason why I included that song as background (Hey, I have given credit to her so no copyrights issue and all, ok). And finally, about the quality of my movie, well thats what you get when you have a cheap webcam and superior directing skills :-) Remember, I am showing you 12 pictures every second in this movie and its about 5 minute long so I took ~3600 pictures. Btw, I don't drive rash and there is no pornography in the movie :-)
Right-click here and download the original movie. You will need QuickTime to play it. For beginners like us trying to make a movie, go here. For seeing professional time-lapse movies, click here.
PS: 1.) Sorry about the large size of the movie. Can't help. 2.) My laptop is back sooner than expected. Woohoo...
My iBook's hard drive has crashed. It all began when I woke up Saturday morning and started my laptop, trying to check the cricket score on cricinfo.com. My laptop aged 1.5 years, apparently landed up in a situation called 'kernel panic' - freeze upon boot. After several failed 'reset' attempts, I started getting errors like '/etc/master.passwd - No such file or directory'. I did some googling using my room-mate's laptop & tried a bunch of work-arounds on my machine including resetting PRAM and NVRAM, but in vain. Then I decided to call up Apple Technical Support. After walking through a few other fixes, it became clear that I will have to back-up my hard drive and then go for a fresh install of Mac OS X. Now that can be done only at a retail store. So I drove 26 miles in the friggin' cold, only to discover that my hard disk cannot be backed-up due to hardware error. Well, as of now my laptop is under repair for 5-7 business days. My hard disk is going to be replaced, a new OS will be installed and all my data (I repeat - all my data) will be LOST. I had the option to recover data from the *dying* hard disk, but it was proving too costly so I decided, with a heavy heart, to let go off all my pictures, songs, movies, documents and applications (sigh). It still is going to be a costly affair, but its necessary to get back on track. So no blogs for some time.
In retrospect, I think my hard drive failed because of my improper use. If you are reading this and use a laptop carelessly like me, then follow my advice. Don't lie on bed and use your laptop. Buy a proper table & chair. On soft surfaces, there is not enough ventilation and the disk gets all heated up. Don't move your laptop while a time-consuming task is being performed. A hard drive has revolving parts and any motion causes disturbance, loss of data and extra 'reads' for the head of the hard drive spindle. The more the sounds coming out of your hard disk, the more 'read cycles' for the task. Finally, keep backing up your data on CDs/DVDs, even though you have it done before. You never know when either might run out (yeah, I know that line is from Baz Luhrmann's "Wear sunscreen"). If you follow my advice, you will save $290 or such.
I love images which don't need any explanation or captioning. Images that speaketh for themselves. Images that catch your eye. Images that fire your imagination. I am always on the lookout for such witty images. If you think you have some, then feel free to send along.
*Source for some of these images - MSNBC. Rest of them - public sites. (but not like Sandeep Chowta's case :-)
Not once in recent times have I been so heartbroken. And by the time you understand why I am heartbroken, you will find that you yourself are heartbroken. Ok enough of that. But seriously, what do you do when you discover that some of your favorite Hindi tunes which you liked to hear and hum along, have been *blatantly* copied. We all knew about Bollywood themes being lifted from Hollywood counterparts, but what about songs. Well, so it happens that I found this authentic website which has a galaxy of songs, both the copied and the original (alongwith their dates of release in many cases). I was shocked to discover that Indians have been fooled and betrayed since 1950's. Songs from 1950s like "dil deke deko", "jab koi baat bigad jaaye", "chalti ka naam gaadi", "babuji dheere chalna", "gumnaam hai koi" etc. and the more recent hits of 90s like "Qayamat se qayamat tak", "Kaho naa pyaar hai", "Gupt", "Dil hai ki maanta nahin", "Akele hum akele tum", "Hum hai rahi pyaar ke", "Ishq", "Duplicate", "Mann", "Maine pyaar kiya", "Hum" etc. all have copied tunes !!!
It was well known to many that music directors like Anu Malik, Rajesh Roshan and Bappi Lehri were copy-cats. But they have many more companions. Anand Milind, Jatin Lalit, Nadeem Shravan, Sandeep Chowta, Kalyanji Anandji and whole lot of others. Apparently, Sandeep Chowta got many awards for his *brilliant* music score for Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya. When he was confronted by some journalist regarding originality of his songs, he replied he lifted the tunes from a "public website". Yeah, right! How about at-least crediting the original music director, forget violation of copyrights? As if its not enough for Bollywood tunes, our music directors have gone ahead and copied tunes for advertisements too. So next time when you see the advt. for "Maggi Maggi Maggi" or "O Siyaram" or even "Hey Bubbly Oye Bubbly", remember what I said. I can only trust A.R. Rahman now amongst all Indian music directors.
Find out all about how you have been fooled for years. You will need Real Player to listen to the songs. Here is the site.
Is that sound familiar? If you are an Indian, chances are very high that you have heard it. In fact, you will see countless people making that sound everyday. It doesn't matter where in India you are. The unmistakable red spray that comes out after making that sound is ubiquitous in India. Yes, I am talking about spitting and the PhD earned by most Indian men in the art of spitting.
An auto-rickshaw driver will decorate the road besides his auto while he is waiting for his customers. Thooo. A taxi driver (and even private vehicle drivers) will roll down the window of his vehicle at a red-signal or a traffic jam (sometimes even while in motion) and deliver his shit. Thooo. People waiting for local trains will chew their gutkha and dutifully offload the mouthful onto the tracks. We all are accustomed to seeing the disgusting paan-spits on walls, stations, roads, cinemas, wash-basins, posters and even national monuments of historical significance. Perhaps most of us who are born and brought up in India are so used to the spitting act that we ignore it and consider it normal with our 'sab-kuch-chalta-hai' attitude, if not participate in it. It is only when I got a chance to see other societies in the world that the magnitude of this menace reared up its head. And its not just spitting - peeing on the walls, throwing garbage on the streets or outside your home - all these are a common sight in our holy(!) land. I myself might have thrown some small tit-bits of paper unconsciously (or thinking no-one is seeing me) if I had always stayed in India. Now I would never. And for such reasons, I think it would do India a world of good if every citizen gets a chance to stay in a developed society for some time. But that's unrealistic. So many of us were taught 'Community Living' subject right here in schools, so few of us observe it sadly.
But what is it with the hyper-active salivary glands of Indian men? Although females too equally share the blame for polluting the environment; spitting, I believe, is more associated with men. In my quest for more info., I found that the practice of eating paan after lunch/dinner is inscribed even in our ancient historical texts and was a common routine for kings. In fact it seems the traditional paan of betel leaf, containing nuts and condiments, is indeed anti-bacterial and acts as mouth-freshener. (According to popular belief, Queen Noor-Jahan advocated its usage amongst females by saying it reddens one's lips). However recently, many paans contain tobacco, lime paste (chunaa) etc. and this is exactly the stuff which is addictive and causes oral cancers. The advent of readymade packets called gutkhas from Pan Parag, Manikchand etc. has displaced even the betel leaf and they are now the movers-and-shakers of this money-minting tobacco industry.
Recently the Jharkhand government, in a desperate move, put up pictures of Indian deities on the walls of buildings so that people atleast don't spit there. The results were disastrous and not in-the-least surprising to me. While at a station in Mumbai, I kept staring at the person who spat on the platform. He looked at me in the eye for some time and without blinking, with his head held high, continued with his work. It was me who bowed my head down, in shame. The problem is such people don't even realize that they are spitting on the nation's dignity. Why do we show respect for our country only while singing National Anthem and patriotism only during a cricket match? How can we say our India is shining when our attitude itself is clouded?
If I were asked to solve this problem of spitting, I would faint because frankly, I am looking at tying up mouths of millions - its not just paan-chewing babus from UP, but practically people across all cities and villages irrespective of religion, sex, age, caste, creed and class. However, I never give up so easily and hence I have come up with some possible deterrents (I am sure some of these must have been tried; if not appoint me as Union Health Minister). One realistic solution I think is to increase the cost of gutkha; make it totally unaffordable for common man. Just printing "It is hazardous to health" is clearly not working. Banning gutkha wont work too, as is always the case when high-demand things are banned; people will always find alternatives and indulge in underground (grey market) activities. Second, plaster all government hospitals and clinics with pictures of people who have suffered oral cancer and other diseases due to chewing of tobacco. Advertise it on a war-footing on TV. Third, ban Manikchand, Paan-Parag and such from sponsoring cricket matches and filmfare award functions. The fact that this continues to go on is ridiculous. Fourth, educate children about the ill-effects of paan and gutkha. I think educating the adults of current generation is not going to work; their habits are deep-rooted. By educating the next generation, we can atleast hope to see a significant decline after 3-4 generations. And of course, erect more loos and plant more garbage bins.
To end this huge critique, I will quote the brilliant words of Ex-municipal Commissioner of Bombay, Mr. Tinaikar:
We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity. When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come along and work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away. - Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. - When New York becomes insecure we run to England. - When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. - When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government.
To be slightly off-topic and at the same time, not promoting the sale of paans, I found this website Paan.com where you can order paans online. They are made by a supposedly-renowned paan-maker called Muchhad in Mumbai. He has figured out that Indians will not buy it online so he sells it for $8-$10 and the order should be in multiples of 10. Poor tourists!
Happy New Year 2006
Tintin & Chacha Choudhary
nice new layout :-)
Thompson with a p as in psychology...
yea like the layout quite a bit!!
Happy New Year, Mitesh!
Oh wow are these real or did someone just do some ched khani and put them up?
I havent seen any of the above movies so I dont know if they were actually there in the movie! If they were my god those are some slip ups!!!
Enjoyed the pst:)
As far as I see, I think they are real. All those websites list them as blunders. I have seen many of these movies, but had never observed the bloopers before.
Hey it was fun and i really feel that the person who identified them is much greater. we all see them but we do not mentally record them maybe. Salutes to you guys.
On "A Knights Tale" the first scene where "Sir Ector" is holding a shield which bares the "Three phoenix's" which don't exist until he dies and William "Sir Oric" takes over.
Hey Mitesh. You have covered the India Empowered Series pretty well...
The sad part is after the Symposium at Delhi, there are not more articles on India Empowered. The vision is there, but no plan of action...
@EvenStar: Last Sunday's IE had this in one of the articles: On Tuesday, December 20, as the first milestone of this newspaper’s ‘India Empowered’ initiative, a conclave of ideas took place in Delhi — inspired by 126 pieces on the theme, written by eminent Indians. The journey is far from over. But yeah, you are right. Its the action that matters. Hope all these people practice what they preach.
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
Thats a very inspirational speech. Wish we had speeches like those here on graduation day...
Astrology - An insult to Science
Hahaha I wonder M3 are u taking a dig at me through that???????LOL
Anyways yea I agree u cannot blame ur fate or stars or whatever bull these astrologers say, but I do believe in time of a person, that he has to go through good or bad phases in life as everyone does and astrology can predict that time!! But no certainlly i dont believe in match ur horoscopes and marry for a great married life(we all know what sham that is, considering the way women in urban or rural india are treated everyday and its the fear of society that keeps them shut).... Parents tend to do more and believe in such stuff for their kids, probably coz they want what is best for their child and this just helps them know that they are gng to be fine!!
U know the day I knew this was crap, and that to listen to such ppl and course ur life that way is bull is when one person I knew, was told byhis horoscope tht he wld marry and become this great ias officer with 3 kids!! He died at the age of 28,unmarried and just a graduate!! So well then what else is left to believe in?
But yes i do think that star signs are pretty accurate if u read them and equate them with the people in ur life who u know belonging to that sign more often than not they fit it to a T! Anyways this thing will never go away at all and i think if we had kids probably we wld check their horoscope too atleast once, just for the curiousity of it and yea I think I am interested in tarot reading, coz they that is just telling u how things look, I dont think a tarot reader tells u how to live ur life, rather probably just explains ur life!!
But man going to ur native place and visiting these family astrolgers really can leave u low and dry!He always tells my parents, she needs to do this this this and I never do anything and next year he goes, she has got double dosha now do this this and this and I still never do anythign,thank fully my parents dont force me! But i wonderthen why do they consult him in the first place?LOL
@Adrasteia: No this blog was not directed towards any particular person, but instead towards all followers and believers, irrespective of race, color, religion or gender. ... i wonder then why do they consult him in the first place... Exactly. The astrologers have succeeded in achieving one of the most difficult things..to captivate the minds of billions of people and ensuring that they remain loyal ad infinitum. And all they have to do is throw in *highly abstract* good and bad statements, that they keep repeating every 12th person on an average. In effect, what they have done is - they have identified that we are weak and don't know our future BUT are eager to know our future and want some person to comfort us by giving a glimpse of our future, and it doesn't matter even if not all things the astrologer says comes true. Astrologers know that what they say is ham. They do. Because they predict their own lives too and privately, they will admit that prediction is not possible. This is my belief and conviction.
Steve Jobs is an incredible man, a real come-back kid. Happy New Year.
@Kush: Perhaps you meant to comment on the next article :-)
Please note that Real Astrology is not about Star Predictions or weekly reports are asking you to marry a peepal tree !!!
If you are skeptical, give me your date, place and time of birth (or any of your friends/relatives telling just whether it is a male or female).
I can give some predictions. You can verify those
Then what are we here for??? lets leave everything onto planets and we sit duck and wait for things to happen. you guys will realize it when you would love someone dearly and then the pandit knocks your senses off by announcing that she ain't good for you, forget her. find a better match and your parents go, oh no, we want the best for you, forget her as if she/he is an unhealthy food from an open stall for you. i better suggest you folks to get the horoscope of all the people you meet beforehand in your life...you might fall for the wrong person...
Distraught soul(cuz my parents are too much into horoscope)
Hey Mitesh, That was an excellent post. Even if the astrologer gets 69 right I don't think he should get the credit. Any Tom, Dick and Harry can hazard a guess. If coincidentally it comes true, so what? I could guess 71 and if that really happens does that mean i can look into the future?
my horoscope(kundli) says tht i will have 2 marriages..LOL ..but its not funny :( ...i m dipressed :(...neway thanks for the forum ...i hope all this horoscope matter is not true :( ..
Ok this is way toooooo techie for me!! I cant download all that stuff Howbig is it?? Unfortunately mtnl has slapped me a limit
Yea if it was in India ur lappy would take approx 1 month to come back...
cheers Welcome back to blogging
Is it too techie? I had tried my best to simplify the language. The movie's size is 55MB. sorry. Its made of 3000+ images of high resolution. So no wonder.
Hey Mitesh - A pretty neat first attempt!! Enjoyed watching it .. Look forward to more such attempts.
Dash Crash Boom Bang
Nice tips for the laptop :) My computer harddisk makes curious whrrr noises at times!
BTW, it is not Baz Luhrmann's "Wear Sunscreen". I am so tired of reading this all over, I will write about it soon.
Well, do you mean to say it was Mary Schmich's article in the newspaper originally and thats why its not Baz Luhrmann? Thats true, but it was Baz who made it world famous, right?
Aaw thats sad!!!
I amused to my Pc crashing all the while!!!
And whats this baz lurhrmann vs mary schmich....care to explain??
To put it crudely, Mary Schmich had published an article in Chicago Tribune called "Wear Sunscreen" and Baz Luhrmann brought it into the entertainment world by making a song out of it. The song basically belts out tips on "how to live a good life". You have to grab the song and listen to it. Its good, trust me.
the third picture looks very familiar. hmmm. *thinks hard* :)
Yeah I find it the best. Thats why it adorns my home-page :-)
What????? I am shocked!! Those are my fav tunes and they are all ripped!!!
Oh god, I almost thought that we have brillaint composers!! Dont tell me jab koi baat...its an awesome tune! Well yea only rahman seems to not lift tunes, but u never know when he will to jump into the choo choo train of copying!! But rahman aah he is a class apart, and I think shankar,ehsan and loy are somewhat managing to go close to him
Rahman's music is magical. I have a lot of respect for him.
I and my friends were equally shocked.
Such irresponsible musicians should not call themselves "COMPOSERS". The worst part of the whole affair is that these Indian musicians will go down in history as plagiarists...who cheated an entire generation. Even the likes of R.D. Burman, I realize now, were petty musicians.
Which one would you choose?
This is a brilliant idea
I think we women shld have loos with faces of pitt or george clooney...But then again i wonder would i use that loo???
Nice concept though
Let me assume what u wld choose the one who is clicking the snap?lol
:-) Yes I think I would choose the one with the camera. Or maybe even the one in black. The second one from left is also not bad. Aah, I am so confused. :-)
This is awesome! where did you find it? I wonder who thought of this idea...
Mitesh, a very well written post! Are you aware of the 'Say Chee' campaign started by the Indian Express? That was a long time back. You were supposed to say 'chee' when somebody went 'thu'! It failed miserably!
Thanks evenstar. I wasn't aware of Say Chee campaign and I can't even find it online.
About the quote from Mr. Tinaikar that I mentioned in my blog, it seems few statements were part of President Kalam's speech. Since according to Commandment 4, I cannot go back and edit the blog, I will mention the correction and my apologies here. This is the website which incorrectly attributed the words to Mr. Tinaikar and this is one of the many website's that quote Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
The chee thing, was something that was tried by almost everyone that I know but it faded away! I too remember saying chee whenever i saw such a thing and I think it used to work,coz the person doing it would go beetroot red, but would that stop him from doing it again would have depended on if he had t hat treatment everywhere!! I think it was a brilliant concept just not well publicised and executed! For if everyone really did it, then i am sure it would disuade people frm messing public places, but yet it wldnt solve the purpose of those eating such crappy substances and we would still have loads of them that would eventually contract some sort of cancer!
the campaign was a failure thanks due to some pathetic people we have in our country. Anyways I was enjoying myself saying Chee to almost every Tom, Dick and HArry.