January 29, 2010

Pirates of the movie industry..

Just today when S was watching a series of videos on Indiaglitz, I eavesdropped on an interview by Karthi, the star of the recent movie, Aayirathil Oruvan. It was basically a plea to stop piracy and avoid the flooding of bootlegged copies of the movie on CDs and Internet likewise. And it sparked this entire blog and a worthy discussion at that.

Of course anyone with the slightest scruples of morals would agree that it is indeed unfortunate for the producers who dished out all that money in making the movie to not get their fair share from the movie watchers. But you know what? All of that makes sense if you were pretty petty sitting in India with a million theatres available to see the movie, and still chose the slow internet + download-cap ridden broadband to sit and download a lousy copy of the movie to see it at the comfort of your home. Indeed I know of no one who does that. On the other hand, bootlegged CDs and DVDs are a real problem. What's shocking in some cases is that the print is pristine. Practically as good as what the late "officially-released" versions are likely to have, indicating that the leak is somewhere high up the order, alongside the copies being distributed to theatres for shows. And that comes down to trusting the wrong people, which is up to the distributors.

On the other hand, I am certain that less than 10% of the people want to see a shaky handy-cam footage of a movie on a CD that cost 30 bucks (Indian rupees) anyways rather than pay a bit more and hit the cinemas or wait further for a decent copy to turn up. But the real conundrum lies with the actions of people living away from immediate access to these movies. Eg. People like me. What do we do? None of these movies release here in Paris (Hindi and Tamil alike) unless they are of exceptionally big banner (read Rajinikant). And hence the pseudo-Indian market is strewn with copies of the latest movies, weeks after the release. So are we morally wrong to buy them as the only opportunity to watch the movies? Or is it worse downloading a semi-decent copy of the movie before all the copyright infringements pounce in and wipe them off the Internet? In this case, is it the fault of the distributors for not catering to scattered audiences across the world or is it ours for wanting to see them with the best solution to the earliest-possible-time-cum-least-cost problem?

All the same, I know of people with extremely high morals who would never buy music unless it was the original CD, and the likes of that. I must admit that my ethics aren't on that kind of pedestal as far as the entertainment business is concerned. It was like I was trying to explain to S. It isn't that I go looking for opportunities to "pirate", but I don't unconditionally stop them either. In other words, if someone invited me to watch a downloaded version of a brand-new movie, I wasn't going to call in the cops and raise hell. Unfortunately I guess most of us are in the same page. Which brings us to the other big issue. Are we at fault for downloading these movies/songs or does the blame solely rest with the people who first obtained pirated copies and put them up for download? For a wafer-thin argument siding "us", if it wasn't freely available, we weren't going to do anything phenomenal to find it, are we? Another of those grey areas in the context of right or wrong. And since this topic relates to something we've all done or seen done in the past, I'd like to hear from the rest of you on where you stand in this whole issue from the moral viewpoint and otherwise. Anti-piracy? Prove it.

January 24, 2010

Proof that it's Kaliyug

Birds getting "divorced"! What more evidence did you need? Here's the news article - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/gloucestershire/8477351.stm

What's the world coming to?

January 22, 2010

The GMail search engine..

We all know that Google has become synonymous with search engine. Indeed an entire verb has evolved and now, "googling it" is practically the doorway to information. But recently I have used GMail as an effective search engine - for my friends. Those of you on my Gtalk would've seen the now-familar, "Someone, where are you?" status message under my name. Call it bizarre, but I have had responses to these statuses. Either the "missed" people or closed friends have responded, either enquiring welfare or giving me location information, both of which was deeply appreciated. See? Mission accomplished. Thanks, GMail.

On a different note, I have been trying to wean myself this past week from addictive GMailing. And I daresay that the first step to succeeding is to remain logged off from chat throughout the day. First step? Check. Next Step? Only check email at random intervals. Am working on that... After all, mountains can't be scaled in one day by foot.

January 21, 2010

The Lazy Susan earring organizer

Ah so it was one of those days where I was trying to find places for some of the things I had and just find some other things. So I ran across this lampshade which I hadn’t hoisted up on the bulb in one of the rooms and I figured I wasn’t getting around to it any time soon. And just then, I couldn’t find one of my favorite pair of earrings. And all of a sudden I decided to put the 2 together. Sure, S thought I was nuts when he saw me piercing the earrings I could find on the lampshade, but only until he saw the finished product. Here’s your first look.


Well, so the centre spindle of the lampshade rests on an empty wine bottle. And so, guess what? it spins freely and just like the displays in stores, I can check out everything to choose whatever I want to wear. The other upside? I can put them back the right way each time. Of course I have to keep this thing near my bed because I am less likelier to take off my earrings any other place.  But anyhoo, here’s another look at this resultant piece of an hour of joblessness.


Oh and one side, I’ve clipped my hair accessories. Oh, a win win all the way!

Oh BTW, do you know that the phrase Lazy Susan has an interesting story? You can read it here. Cheerio!

January 20, 2010

Short circuit

Ever wanted to cower in the corner and pray for the dark forces to take you? Well, you’d probably understand that feeling if you’ve ever done circuit training at the gym. After my first evening at it, I am kinda wishing it was the good old days of comparatively easy-peasy Total body Workout Wednesdays at SD. This was pure hell. The only time I was truly relieved was when I was at the last lap of the 3-repetition circuit. And that was of course knowing that it would all be okay soon. That I would soon breathe normally again. And that I may just survive.  I am never going to see a pot of yogurt the same way again and think – oh it’s just 45 calories if this is the way I have to burn it. Lol. Talk about learning things the hard way. Ah well, the joys of burning all those calories only engulfs you when you step out to the freezing cold and don’t feel it. Every cloud has a silver lining. Of course people like S view the cloud itself as a silver lining in this pretext. Here’s hoping perceptions change and I enjoy gymming as much as he does (I bet that’ll happen once the bathroom scales and the mirror start talking to me). That should put the fuse on this short circuit, shouldn’t it?

MindBlogging goes global..

I check the visitor map for MindBlogging periodically just to see where the word has spread. Today I had a nice surprise in store. Here, see for yourself!


Thank you all for visiting even in this time of sporadic posting! I promise I have 3-4 posts sitting as drafts just waiting for completion. And I am getting to it. Meanwhile, as always, keep visiting and keep commenting. Xoxo.

January 14, 2010

I swear........

Not everyone is an "emotional" person. By that I mean that not everyone is prone to express their emotions in the most obvious of manners for all to see. For instance, some people are easy to be provoked to tears/tirades/laughter etc., but some others are not. I, for one can reflect either extreme as I please and according to situation. But by default I think I am a more expressive person. My face/eyes give away my reaction before it's vocal. However, this isn't what I am talking about here. Some emotions drive us more strongly than others. And identifying it may help us focus it in a more desirable manner than leading to detrimental effects. For some people it's sadness... some others it's jealousy. But for me, it's anger/rage. It's my most palpable emotion. Sometimes I feel so strongly about something that I can almost feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins and me wanting to explode. Thankfully I've started streamlining it. To address the immediate problem, I've realized that a slew of well-chosen expletives/ghastly profanity against the situation really really helps. And no, thinking it does not have the same effect as verbally expressing it, no matter how un-ladylike it maybe. In fact I think I read a news item on BBC a while back, which said that this was a scientific fact that swearing actually takes away pain. They meant physical pain but it also addresses the psycological side to some extent. And it has another advantage. You don't end up breaking something to vent out your frustration and since it's all verbal, as long as it's not against any one person in particular (and they hear it), no harm done! Ok so you've made your "peace" with the situation by swearing it away, but there is still all that extra energy that your body is feeling at that time. Put it to use. Often I get a lot of work done if I was pissed off at something. Consequently inadvertant train delays/broken-down equipment yield some of my most-productive desk work. Funny, yet true! Anyone else on the same train of thought? Voice up!

January 10, 2010

The case of the missing atta bag..

This is one of those real-life mysteries to which the solution lies only in conjuncture but with no sure-shot evidence whatsoever. So, it being a lazy Sunday morning, I finally conceded to the loud grumbles of our famished tummies at 11:30 in the morning to try and make something quick for lunch. A quick peek into the fridge confirmed the worst. All I had was a couple of bell peppers and some peas. I had potatoes and onions elsewhere and so I thought I’d whip up a random subji and make a couple of parathas each for S and me. I washed the bell peppers and placed my onions and potatoes together with them on the cutting board. I decided I would make the dough for the parathas first so that while I made the subji, the dough would get some “sitting” time which makes the parathas come out so much better. And so I took out my conventional dough-kneading bowl and set it on the counter and leaned over to reach out for the bag of Pilsbury atta. Only it wasn’t there. Don’t you just hate it when that happens to you? You always leave something somewhere and the next time you look for it, it isn’t there. Needless to say, I was completely bamboozled, considering that the Atta bag was the one fixture in it’s own corner on the floor (I keep it there owing to lack of any storage space whatsoever in my minuscule kitchen). What ensued was a hunt, a clean sweep of the kitchen and the hall even… and no atta bag. The bag in which the Pilsbury atta bag sat was there, but empty. Also missing was my measuring ladle. And so I racked my brains. When did I last make something with it? It was one of the weeknights for dinner. Thursday I guessed. When did I take out the trash last? Also Thursday. Did I accidentally throw it out? And so I recalled my garbage –throwing sequence. No, I only had one trash can for the kitchen and yes, I threw out only one garbage bag. Of this I was certain. In the disbelieving wake, I continued to rummage the already-checked cabinets and the obviously empty floor and under the sofa and what not, irking S in the process and with no result or explanation. The only only possibility was that the dudes who came to check the exhaust on the kitchen’s heater unit yesterday thought they were cleaning up when they picked up their trash and my atta bag and left. This is only an assumption of course and there’s no telling it did happen. And if it didn’t, it means I have no explanation left. Hmph.

January 8, 2010

The digital photo conundrum

Ok, moment of truth. How many of us have thanked technology for coming up with digital photography? Almost all of us I bet. Every household now boasts at least one digital camera. All the uncles and auntys are totally familiar with the USB cable and picture transfer, all the way to the uploading of the images on the internet and web-sharing as well. The good old days of film roll are now obsolete and so are the first digicams that had floppy disk/zip drive memories. Now's the age of miniaturization, what with the advanced memory devices which started out at SD and have gone well and beyond micro-SD to built in large memories too. Everything's as perfect can be.

I have a confession to make. I am not entirely satisfied with this arrangement. Back at home in India, we have a huge cabinet stuffed with picture albums that document the childhood of my brother and me. It has all those trips we made as a family, those birthdays, those family outings, my brother's upanayanam, our Kuwait days, and what not. And sifting through these pictures every vacation is a trip down memory lane for me. And though I can do a similar thing on the laptop, sifting through folder after folder of saved photos, I don't do it. And even if I did the warm glow of memories isn't as strong. I don't know why. There's another problem in this. In the days of the film roll which restricted us to 36 pictures per roll (with a charge for development and approximately Rs 5 per "maxi" print), we were judicious in our usage of the roll. And hence every photo was thought out and worth it. Come the digitial era, of course we are thankful for it eliminates the mental tension of waiting for the photos to develop - Was the film inserted correctly? Will Ihave a blank roll? Were too many pics blurred? No tension at all. Instant previews. A bit blurry? No problem. Take 3-4 pictures extra just to make sure you got everything right. You can always delete the ones you don't want later. But hang on a second... how many of you actually go through all the pictures and delete the ones that don't need to be kept? I do. And it's a tedious process. Add to that "selecting" a maximum of a 100 photos from a folder of well over 500 per trip to share with family and friends. And then "working" on them - brightness, contrast, blah blue... And then adding comments to these pictures (ok that's not mandatory but somehow people got very attached to the comments I give under each picture and so now it's no longer an option)... and uploading everything. It's all a big abuse of digital memory and I am only one of the million doing this. And after this tedious process, I kind of lose the interest to sift through those pictures again for a long time. And that's true of every trip/occassion. And so when you think of wanting to relive some of those memories, more often than not, you end up going to your own Picasa album of the event (it has a more concise set) than to the real folder which has one too many extra pictures.

And what about prints? Are you one of those very few who take select prints of your trip just for the keeps? Or is it the one odd blow-up or the personalized calendar? If you are like most people it's the latter. Thanks to all of this... when my laptop crashed and lost a good deal of pictures from recent trips, I experienced no tremendous grief. I still had the Picasa albums... and so what if they weren't the real high quality? I wasn't doing anything with them anyways. Sad but true. I'd love to hear what the rest of the world thinks on this whole conundrum. So if you have something to say, say it!!

January 6, 2010

Good tidings to one n all....

Happy New Year to everyone out there! Well I am almost a week into this new year before debuting the first post this side of 2010... And though I've had a bunch of posts (many negative) to start out with, I decided I wanted to start the year on a positive note unlike what I did last year (not that it had any dramatic repercussions). So here's looking on the brighter side of things...

The cold is abating a bit and though we have a couple of more months of cold nights to withstand, things are looking up... the days have become longer and that's good news. The thesis (cross your fingers everyone) should chug along soon once I have a few stumbling blocks removed from the way. Plus I want to finish my long-standstill book (wish me luck!)

This year I made no resolutions considering that I suck at keeping them anyways. But S n I have decided that this is the year for travel (so look out for exploits), the year for exploration, the year for the carefree merry enjoyment (well apart from what the thesis permits me of course).
However I'd be just as interested in knowing about all your new year resolutions, if any and how keeping them up last year went. So, speak up and all you missing commentors, come back!

Apart from this cheerily sunny post, watch this space for my cribsheet, which includes cussing the makers of the Avatar game and my own personal body heat which is coping up with the cold outside by having me exploding in mouth ulcers and kirikkattis (boils in the eye).