Archive for June, 2008

Ray of Hope for the Disabled

While reading through Reader’s Digest, I came across story of a quadriplegic (a person who has both arms and legs paralysed) Craig Cook. Though I thought it a shame that Craig’s fiance left him after he was paralysed in a car accident where his friend was driving, it was heartening to know that he could find a happy companion in Minnie, a capuchin monkey.

As I read along I realised that there are two-year training programs for these capuchin monkeys so that they can be companions to people like Craig in need. Helping Hands is the organisation that trains these capuchins and provides them as companions to the disabled. Yes, you read it companions and not pet. Here are few excerpts from this article:

When Cook applied to Helping Hands in 2001, it was illegal to have an exotic animal in a home in California. The only helper animals allowed were dogs for the visually impaired. Helping Hands went to work to have the laws changed for Cook, and in 2004, he became the first person in the state to receive a service monkey.

Continue reading ‘Ray of Hope for the Disabled’

Movie Review: Sex and the City

Ok, I admit it is tamer and less gutsy than Sex and the City (SATC) soap episodes. The movie is about girlish vanity and their ongoing search for the perfect man in their lives. Yet movie was fun to watch. There were moments we were in splits.

This movie may not be upto all Indian tastes (I am referring to some prudish line of thoughts in my country.) It is refreshing to watch some female bonding after having a heavy dose of male bonding movies. No wonder movie theater had more of female audience. At a funny scene, women who were strangers before the movie would feel camaraderie with the one sitting next to her and in general. 🙂

Movie takes off from where last season of the SATC (6th season) ended. Girls are now 40+, with two of them settled with their beaus. Samantha is the only girl out of the four friends who has retained most of her brashness. She still tells her man non-nonchalantly, ” I love you. But I love myself more.” This could be one of the most effective dumping lines. 😛

Miranda, the corporate lawyer is as logical as she used to be. Charlotte is onto motherhood, living her favorite dream. Samantha nymphomaniac appetite has not decreased. I am not writing anything about Carrie Bradshaw, you would better find about her from the movie. You can see the familiar sight (from SATC episodes) of all four designer-clothes clad friends lamenting, gossiping around a dinner table. They still stick to each other through thick and thin. A Louis Vitton bag is still the most prized possession. Malono Blahnik and Jimmy Choos still find their way into their conversation.

The only obvious difference between SATC episodes and movie is that men are no longer easily “disposable” and girls are no longer polygamous. Yet there is much to watch for: love, hurt, friendship, labels, infidelity (yes), fears, loneliness and emotions. All in all, very watchable and laughable. 🙂

Rating: 3.5/5 (Mostly for laughter it elicits)

Movie Review: Sarkar Raj

Sarkar Raj was a disappointing movie for me and my friends. Perhaps this comes as a surprise to you, but this is an understatement for us.

Amitabh Bachchan posted a review on his blog (he posts negative reviews to answer back and positives with flourish) that said Sarkar Raj proves Amitabh, Abhishek and Aishwarya are consummate actors! I pity the critic, whoever has started thinking that Aishwarya is a consummate actress should get their critique skills checked. (Note: the critic in question is TOI’s Nikhat Kazmi as per Big B’s post.)

One of my friends always said that if Aishwarya were ever given a power-packed role of a tough business woman in a movie, she would do justice. Well, Sarkar Raj has such kind of opportunity, she fails to deliver. She was the top-most disappointment of the movie as she had a fair role. Her dialogue delivery is pathetic, portraying tough business woman is not just about wearing crisp designer business suits (that contrived, deglamourized look) and speaking with harsh edge. She needs to learn more nuances.

The second disappointment is the lack of conviction in the movie’s story. Spoilers ahead.

You suddenly don’t understand how benevolent Subhash Nagre (Godfather styled aka Bal Thackeray) suddenly changes his mind about fate of 40, 000 people when his son demurs (his trust on son’s judgement bigger than hit of 40, 000 people?)…You don’t understand why Shankar Nagre is all wow for powerplant without any homework? Movie tried hard to convince that both father-duo (Thackerays) always aim for hit for Maharashta. Some of the dialogues were interesting like when villain says about Subhash Nagre was neta ke behesh mein gunda (a goon in disguise of leader). Bal Thackeray, do you concede that? You must, if you permit it. 🙂

Aishwarya-Abhishek relationship in the movie is another unconvincing thing. Tanisha Chatterjee is done away with in a very-obvious death scene. (I had predicted just as scene started to my friends). Michael Corleone aka Abhishek too dies very cheaply in the movie. You can’t digest it (after he had so convincingly tracked down shooters of his own father in Sarkar). And then Subhash Nagre rises to avenge his son’s death, makes few phone calls, and busts the conspiracy around his sons death. Truth was just few phone calls away, why didn’t so consummate Maharashtra-hitashi leaders do some homework before?? Anyway, point where Amitabh Bachchan take reins in the movie is worth a watch, he gives a stellar performance. Abhishek was average as script didn’t have much for him this time.

Camera-work is crisp and focuses more on close-up, shot in dark-lit sets. A Ram Gopal Verma characteristic is to focus the camera on tension in the face, to capture the twitching of the cheeks. Aishwarya couldn’t have done this, so soon after desi Micheal Corleone dies, she has tears on her cheeks eternally. They just never stopped, it was irritating.

Also, irritating were chants on Govinda, Govinda in action scenes. I also missed Kay Kay Menon in this movie. What worked for the story was the twist it had, but it was short-lived, saved for the climax.

There were kids in our party: adults were disappointed and kids could not fathom what was happening. (Actually we had brought kids along to watch the comedy Mere Baap Pehle Aap. When we missed the show for latter, we decided to watch Sarkar Raj. ) All in all, this movie did not work for us. But I have read several rave reviews about it from every other blogger other than me, it just shows perceptions and reactions to a movie are different for each one.

My rating: 2.5/5 (mostly for Amitabh Bachchan’s performance)

The Expansionist Meme

Sulz first tagged me for this meme. I got so late and then Nova tagged me today. Finally, here it is.

Please thoughtfully consider the following, and choose one item for each of the categories below. (Be sure to describe your reasons for choosing)

One religious work from a non-familiar tradition you’ll read:
Bible and Koran both. I did read parts of Bible.

One music video–that you like–from your “least likely to listen to’ genre:
I rarely listen to Ghazals. I feel kinda dragged listening to them (Did ya smirk inwardly think I do not have ear for music? Well, you are right. 😛 ). But I do want to listen ghazals by legendary Madan Mohan.

Notes to MyselfA book from a genre you almost never read, that you have read, or you will read (promise!):
I never read self-help or inspirational books. But I read two: Notes for Myself and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Notes for Myself was good but latter was hogwash for me. Sorry Robin Sharma.

Somewhere you’d never thought to go on holiday/vacation, and why it might be fun to go there?
Andamans. But I have a feeling its going to be more fun that Goa.

A specific food you’ve never tried, but will because of this meme, honest!:
Rasam, I have heard it is too sour. I have never tasted it though. I will see what to have with rasam though.

A sport or game you really hate, or haven’t tried yet, but are willing to give one more go:
Table Tennis, I don’t hate it though. But this is one game I would like to give one more go. When I was about to finish school, I tried my hand at it and then never again got opportunity to play it.

A style of dance you probably won’t try (we won’t make you promise on this one):

A career job you don’t feel you’re suited for, and why:
Any job related beauty and make-up, I suck at it.

An item that’s “thinking out of the box’ for this meme that hadn’t been included:

How come this meme forgot movies and politics. What about a question like “A politician you wanted to teach a lesson, but couldn’t?” But I am sure, you had several names in your mind.

It’s there’s one thing in life you wanted to do, and will do because of this meme, what will it be?
Snorkeling and jumping from a flying aeroplane/chopper. I can go for snorkelling in Andamans, air plane diving can be done in Thailand, Australia or other places.

I tag readers of this blog: Harsha, Nikhil, Vimal, Suda and Debjit to do the meme. Rest all who I think would have done this meme have already been tagged, so no other names. 🙂

Best regards,

World Environment Day!

June 5 is World Environment Day. This year’s World Environment theme is to have a low carbon economy. The slogan is: Co2: Kick the Habit.

Few days back, I had also found a cute, kids game called Toxic Town. It tells you all the sources of carbon emissions including innocent ones like cow’s fart. Have a look at the game by clicking the image below.

One of the important mantras of a great environment is Recycle. So I decided to recycle my five old posts on Environment. (I know that was a cheesy introduction, that was to make you smile. Now you did! ) Some of these posts (like ragpickers) are really close to my heart.

My first Go Green Post: I included a photo feature from TIME and a google video of Al Gore‘s controversial documentary An Inconvenient Truth. In the comments section, I found Shromon who then promised to write this post about how carbon credit works.

Blog Action Day Post: For Blog Action Day, I wrote a collection of links for green games or other games that taught children about green environment.

Ban that Bulb: This post was written to encourage the use of CFLs instead of incandescent bulbs. Check out the stats for bulbs in Delhi in the post. Avoid zero watt bulbs too. Sometimes, when my folks bring that bulb home, I quietly change it. Don’t keep chargers and TV cables plugged in when not in use, they too use electricity. I included this amazing Common Craft video that tells you why CFLs are beneficiary in long run.

Hail Our Ragpickers: This is my favorite post, one that I wrote for my other team blog Its A Free World. You would be surprised to know how these kids are mistreated when they keep our cities clean. This old post, still generates comments from some citizens who are willing to pitch in. You can find out the links to related NGOs in the comment section of this post.

World Earth Day post: It has four videos about environment from One-minute video Environment contest.

Streamload/MediaMax/LinkUp: Cheats and Offenders on Web

Fraud by Online Storage Company

I am sure, sometimes you would have wondered about backing up your files online. You thought, in case you lost files or delete files from your computer, you could stack it away safely to access it in future. If you did that, your data is in danger as mine has been lost by a online backup and storage Web site. You heard it right, I have LOST all my data due to unscrupulous online practices.

I researched well about all the available online and storage options. Here is a post from Techcrunch’s blog that says: “Streamload is the most aggresive on pricing – offering a full 25 GB free to every user.” Here is another post from Lifehacker going ga-ga about it.

Naturally, I signed up for Streamload that had by then become Mediamax. I backed up all my pdf documents online and kept deleting them from my PC and laptop to avoid the clutter. A BIG mistake in hindsight! 😦

A few days back, I try logging into Mediamax to upload more files. Mediamax had now changed to Linkup. I was surprised as I had received no information. I thought perhaps that was fine. But imagine my rude shock, when I read on home page that ONLY accounts for paid users had been moved to the new Web site! For free usage upto 2 GB (compare it with earlier free offering of 25 GB), we needed to signup again for a new account with Linkup. What about all my FILES in Mediamax? LOST!! Continue reading ‘Streamload/MediaMax/LinkUp: Cheats and Offenders on Web’

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