Saturday, December 20, 2008

Do you "whoo"?

No, not "who" but "whoo" as in "whoo hoo" without the "hoo". No idea what I am talking about? Well, you have not heard of the "whoo girls" then. What is a "whoo girl", you ask?

Let me illustrate with an example.




With that we come to the most crucial question of this lecture - "Why does a whoo girl whoo?".

Here's why.



Now, let's get back to the original question - "Do you whoo?"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Second Life Romance

Well, you guys know I am crazy, right? Then you won't be surprised to hear that I started yet another project to take over my already full, saturated, overflowing life.

Recently, a wife divorced her husband because he cheated on her. The girl he cheated with was not even real, she was an avatar in Second Life! This case for some reason came up in the news but there have been other instances like this. You can read about it in detail here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/nov/13/second-life-divorce

Now, you guys know already that I am quite a Second Lifer, as in I spend a lot of time in there. I have never been married there, nor do I intend to but it's still a lot of fun! If you want to see what's so fascinating about it, check out some really (not virtually) mind-blowing pictures here: 

So, while reading that, something clicked in my mind (no, there was no real click, just a virtual one). I thought about the fact that Second Life (lovingly called SL... well not true, sometimes it's used with disgust but still that's the official short form) has millions of users (seriously, more than 10 Million) and people come across each other, (just like in the real world) in stores, clubs, parties, interest groups and just plain walking down the street. 

However, there is a shortage of this walking-around-and-doing-life-stuff in Second Life. You login to SL when you want to do something specific and usually this is followed by going to the place where you want to go. This is done by "Teleporting" which is just as it sounds, very StarTrek - you disappear from here and appear there. So, no walking around, no coming across your neighbors or the cute girl who just moved down the block. 

Even when you meet someone it's not always ideal because even though you might like them a lot, there might be something called Timezone in your way. She comes online when I am already asleep (think Australia and UK), so no matter how much I like that girl, I would find it very hard to meet her other than in the dreams (call it 3rd Life if you like). 

Or worse. You really like her gorgeous avi, she has the legs, the hair, the these and those....but she's married! :( What you gonna do? 

So, having a website where one can actually search for people, nearby, single and interested in meeting others....I thought that would rock

And hence was born www.SLRomance.com.

With me, to think is to act; so even though the idea was conceived sometime Monday afternoon, the site was up and running before Monday night midnight. 

Do give it a go, I would be really interested to know what you think. 

EDIT:
Due to Trademark reasons I had to change the domain name. Now it's called SecondDating.com. Lots of re-work.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thought of the day - 31st Oct 2008


Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is
exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only
different kinds of good weather.
- John Ruskin

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Quantum of Solace



I have just realized, or actually been made to realize, that Quantum of Solace, the latest James Bond movie is releasing in UK this Friday not in November as I was thinking. So, Friday 31st of October, it's being lauched in the cinemas and me traveling on that very day from Zurich to London.

Well, it's too bad I can't watch it as soon as it's released but I am gonna watch it pretty soon for sure.

Now, if Hollywood wants to kill piracy this is the kind of movies they need to make. Even if it's available to download or even on first-class, genuine, right-from-the-producers DVD I would not watch it first on the small TV. First viewing will of course be on the silver screen and then of course I'd add the DVD to my collection.

Just for the record I really hate Daniel Craig but my love for the Bond genre is greater than my hate for Craig.




Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What is Booty Call?

I learnt most of my English from storybooks, comics and novels. The rest of it I got from movies and TV shows. :) There were many times when I could not look up something in the dictionary. I can give as example, the policemen's love of donuts, dogs' love of postmen's ankles and fire hydrants, city blocks, drugstores and so many other concepts that don't exist in India and you can't really find them in the dictionary.

Most of the time I learned their meanings from repetition or seeing them on the screen. I wish I had somebody to explain things to me like Alan explains the meaning of Booty Call to his son in this video...:-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Good Man's Potential

This is one of my pet peeves too, women picking men for their potential, trying to change them...I like Charlie's last speech in this clip.




P.S. I really hate this girl. Not her personally but all that she does to the cool Charlie. Really hate her!

How much can you read in a lifetime?

Well, I haven't done this, EVER, in a bookstore but I do think that bookstores remind us of our mortality in a more painful way than graveyards or crematoriums. There are so many books around in so many different categories and so many languages. And every time I go to a bookstore I think about how many of those books I'd like to read and how there's never going to be time enough to read all the books that I want to read.


Somehow that overpowering, overwhelming feeling doesn't come when you visit www.amazon.co.uk even when you follow link after link. I don't know why. Do you?

Watch the video and make sure never to do that yourself.

I doubt therefore I am!

Recently, I had to find the meaning of the word - agnostic. I knew at a generic, broad level that they were different in their belief system from atheists but I didn't know what their belief system actually was.

So as I say, I looked it up. And this is what I found out - an atheist goes right against the majority and says "There is NO God!". But the agnostic takes a big question mark and pastes it where everybody can see it and says "How the hell do you know if there is or there isn't, a God!".

Funny words aside, I believe in the quote, "Admire anyone who goes in the search of Truth, doubt anyone who claims to have found it."

Agnostics are right, there is not enough data to decide on this big question. For my money, I'd trust an agnostic sooner than a priest who leads me through a lot of mumbo-jumbo in order to "please" "God". I put those words in separate quotes for a reason. They  want you to believe that there is a God and this is the particular way of pleasing him. And you can't ask how they know this to be true...because that's questioning the faith.

This healthy curiosity, this capacity to doubt everything, that's what makes us an intelligent race.

I think I am going to convert - from an atheist to an agnostic!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Google Office

That's the kind of office and office environment that should be made available for creative workers.

Take a look at Google's Zurich office.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7292600.stm

GG - A friend everyone should have

I was looking for something else when I found this. It's funny.




A google Office Worker gets lucky

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

An Effort - An Adventure - A Beginning

You didn't think I was just going to sit still, did you? So, finally after spending a truckload of time and money, I lauched my websites. I call them City Portals!

The idea for these websites kind of developed over time. I started working for a software giant in the year 2000 and in 2001 I had to go to the US for work. When I started living there I found that the best way to find anything in the new place was to search for it on the net (Google was not yet so popular so Googling was not a word). That method was quite successful in finding a lot of things from directions to deals on cellphones. Later, I moved back to Delhi and after a couple of years I moved to Poona.

Now Poona was again a new city and I needed to find a lot of things there starting from a house. To my dismay I found that my tested and tried method of searching on the net did not work in Poona. Simply because the few sites that were available had very little relevant information, mostly touristy kind of information and most of the time had not been updated in years! Over the first few weeks in Poona, after a few dozen searches I realized the sad truth - Poona was not online!

I don't know when the idea actually took form in my mind (but most great ideas start like that) but slowly I came to realize a fact following from the sad realization - If Poona was not online, I will need to take it online!

Easier said than done, right? Right! Even though I had the necessary web designing, web programming and online research skills, I did not have the massive amount of time that would be required to create a data-centric web portal that can be really useful to the general public. On top of that it has to be updated, constantly, otherwise it would fall into the same trap of presenting information that nobody could use.

Well, to cut the long story short, I hired some professionals, got the site developed and ApnaPune.Com (lovingly called APC) was born.

But what about Delhi? When I was trying to bring Poona city online, how could I forget my hometown, my city of birth - New Delhi? So, MeriDelhiMeriShaan.com (loving nickname - MDMS) was born to keep APC company.

On my birthday this year - (22nd of August for those of you who don't know), we launched both the sites, bringing them 'live'! Now, I am proud to say anybody can go to one of these sites and do a simple search to find out what movies are playing in the city on which theatres with their addresses, phone numbers and even user created reviews of the movies. There are many other categories in which information is available, readily and in a comprehensive manner.

The major source of my pride in the guarantee that the INFORMATION WILL ALWAYS BE CURRENT....as there is a dedicated team of people behind each site, people who collect information from the real world and put it online for anybody to search and use. This for me is the beginning of a dream! One day, every city in India will be online and part of this chain.

I encourage you to check the sites and let me know what you think. They are both geared towards the cities that they serve but we have created them in a way that they can offer something interesting and useful to any visitor no matter where they are coming from!

The links are:
www.meridillimerishaan.com
www.apnapune.com

Friday, October 03, 2008

It's the journey

I have recently come to realize that the journey is usually more interesting than the destination. It's true of the metaphorical journey of life and so many other journeys. For example, the journey to success; it's a long road paved with hardships, tough choices, hard work and depressing situations. But if you look back on it, you know you enjoyed every moment of it. I bet making your first million would be a million times better than bigger deals that you just get used to. (I don't know yet, I'll let you know when I make that first million.)

Or take a simple journey to a holiday spot. When you are going, you are excited, thrilled with the prospects of skiing, hiking, swimming, fishing...or whatever make you jump with joy. When you are coming back your head is full of memories (usually good) and you are looking forward to getting home and relaxing in the familiar environment, a soak in the hot tub or a meal at your favorite restaurant. No matter how good or bad your vacation went your journey is usually exciting.

The point is, we usually look back at our journey, esp. this journey to success, with fondness
and something akin to nostalgia. Most times we can also enjoy the journey when we are living it. And when you are able to do that, life becomes such joy!

That was my 2 cents. Do share your thoughts on this.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Power of One!

Never say you couldn't achieve anything because noone was there to support you. Did you dare to start?



It reminds me of this sher from Allama Iqbal -
"Main akela hee chala tha jaanib-e-manzil magar,
Log saath aate gaye, kaarvaaN ban.ta gayaa".

(I had started alone towards the destination,
People kept falling in step with me and procession was thus built.)

(Originally seen here - http://sagargoswami007.blogspot.com/2008/09/great.html)

Monday, September 22, 2008

No Sorry No Thank You

In the blockbuster, record-breaking movie 0f 1989 - "Maine Pyar Kiya" Salman Khan says to Bhagyashree, "Dosti ka ek usool hai madam, No Sorry No Thank You." (In friendship, no sorry no thank you).

Sounds nice and romantic, yes? Yes. A lot of chumps, including me (I can chump with the best of them!), fell for it and thought it was such a great principle.

Now, think about it seriously without the glamour of Bollywood behind it. When you make friends with someone, you don't do it for a moment, you want it to last, hopefully, for years. With both friends being human (alien friendships and other relationships are outside the scope of this textbook), there are sure to be some misunderstandings, one might hurt the other, incidences not exactly pleasant. So, what you are saying is that you might hurt your friend, emotionally, maybe even make them cry (esp. if she's a girl) and NEVER say sorry? Hmmm, kind of a cad, aren't you?

Having said that, I and my best mate Fazil, in about 20 years of friendship we have had some arguments but we have never done that kind of hurting where you need to say sorry (touchwood!). The most we fought was on the motorbike journey to death (or almost) into the Himalayas but that was the effect of having low oxygen flow to the brain and everybody was fighting with everybody over absolutely nothing.
But we still acknowledge kind words and kind acts with thank you and it's common courtesy that maybe more important between those you consider close.

Well, what do you think?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friendship - How close, how true....er...how long?

This is a well known ghazal by Ahmed Faraz, and it's always been on my list of favorites especially the last sher, the maq'ta, but just read it again and found a couple of sher's I hadn't heard before.

Dost ban kar bhii nahii.n saath nibhaanevaalaa

dost ban kar bhii nahii.n saath nibhaanevaalaa

vahii andaaz hai zaalim kaa zamaanevaalaa 

ab ise log samajhate hai.n giraftaar meraa 
saKht nadiim hai mujhe daam me.n laanevaalaa 

kyaa kahe.n kitane maraasim the hamaare is se 
vo jo ik shaKhs hai muu.Nh pher ke jaanevaalaa 

tere hote hue aa jaatii thii saarii duniyaa 
aaj tanhaa huu.N to ko_ii nahii.n aanevaalaa 

muntazir kis kaa huu.N TuuTii hu_ii dahaliiz pe mai.n 
kaun aayegaa yahaa.N kaun hai aanevaalaa 

mai.n ne dekhaa hai bahaaro.n me.n chaman ko jalate 
hai ko_ii Khvaab kii taabiir bataanevaalaa 

kyaa Khabar thii jo merii jaan me.n ghulaa hai itanaa 
hai vahii mujh ko sar-e-daar bhii laane vaalaa 

tum taqalluf ko bhii iKhalaas samajhate ho 'Faraz' 
dost hotaa nahii.n har haath milaanevaalaa 

I love this one - 
"mai.n ne dekhaa hai bahaaro.n me.n chaman ko jalate 
hai ko_ii Khvaab kii taabiir bataanevaalaa"

I'll translate just one, it's very melancholy/downright sad,

[I have seen the garden burning down in springtime,

now, who can interpret this dream for me? ]


Don't say it, I know it's much more beautiful in the original.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Confidence - Plan - Results

People sometimes express surprise at my over-abundant and most times unreasonable confidence. They ask me where I get it. Well, I watch things like this. Watch this clip below and tell me you are not impressed by his sheer confidence.




Okay, that might have sounded stupid. Confident but stupid. But he has a plan.



Of course, now you are curious about what happens to his plan, does he succeed? Or is he crushed by a cruel Universe? Watch here.






When you want something with all your heart, and try your best for it, the Universe conspires to get it for you. Never doubt that.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Singh is King - Title Song

This is also a nice song...well, as modern songs go.



Singh is King Title Song FULL VIDEO -SINGH IS KING

Singh is King - Teri Ore - Video Song

While we were traveling from Goa to Bombay recently (a loooooong, long journey) we listened to the audio CD of Singh is King and this song - Teri Ore - emerged as a favorite of all. It sounds really good when you are traveling but picturisation is not as sweet as Shreya Ghoshal's voice. Still, it's a nice song. Watch.



Teri Ore - (Singh is Kinng)Katrina Kaif and Akshay kumar(full Song)

Flocking to flock

I just had to test this new browser called Flock. This is based on Mozilla Firefox and is meant for social networking, blogging etc. etc. So I said, "Well, let's see what a browser will have for a blogger when I already have ScribeFire for Firefox 3.0?"

So here's the first post. I am going to embed some pics and videos just to test.

Nope: Can't post a video. With ScribeFire I can.



Well, photo upload is slightly better. But we'll see how it handles Picasa for photos.

For tags also ScribeFire shows me all my available tags, this just gives me a blank line to type in. Well, we'll see which one to use based on what other goodies this Browser offers.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, September 08, 2008

I am back

Well, not sure if anybody cares, but I was on vacation in India for the last 3 weeks and now I am back. So, you'll be seeing more posts now. Some of them video posts for sure.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Movie Review - Singh is King

I just posted a review of the latest Hindi movie I watched - Singh is King. Yes, it's my own website that's hosting the review. Feel free to take a look around. :)

http://www.meridillimerishaan.com/Entertainment/specmovie2.php?movid=71

Thought of the day - 22nd Aug 2008

"When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should the bolder."

Friday, August 08, 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Thought of the day - 7th Aug 2008

" When the floods come, Fish eat Ants. When the floods go down, Ants eat Fish. Time Matters. Just hold on and let time pass by. God gives everyone opportunities."

Monday, August 04, 2008

Thought of the day - 4th August 2008

"Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears."


Wonderful thought! Brilliant, whoever said it!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Big bite of elephant.



For some time now, I have been planning and learning (slowly) and trying different approaches to get better with this flying this but one doubt always remained - what if I can't stomach it? I can learn it, it's just technical stuff, the mechanical stuff also I can master with practice but let's face it, I am scared in roller-coasters and the reason I decided to be a pilot (one of the reasons) was to face the fear of flying. What if it's too much for me to handle?

So I decided to spend some moolah on a real flying lesson. And guess what it's all going to be alright! It was a small Cessna 172 SP (I mean it was a small plane called a Cessna not that this one was small for its breed), but it is a small plane hardly any elbow room with two people in it. My instructor flew it most of the time, but I did get a feel of the control for a little while. It's not bad. It's quite a nice, thrilling feeling to be up there looking down at the world like a map or (let's face it) an aerial photograph. :)

I enjoyed it enough that I would want to go back up again if I could afford it.

I took a couple of bad photographs and two small, useless videos while I was up there 2000 feet above the ground. But hey, these are not from youtube, they are mine, a record of my very own adventure in the air, so I like'em!




This one is what I saw outside the plane:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Will you marry...

Just cos it's a comedy show, doesn't mean it doesn't apply to real life.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cheers-The Kiss of War

I watch this American TV show "Cheers". I started watching it about 7 years ago when I was in US and it's done the usual journey of "Why the hell are they promoting it so much" to "Boy, I love this show!". So, now that I finally have all the seasons I am watching it from the beginning. And some scenes are so funny that I just can't help thinking "I should share it.". But you know me, I am too lazy for this. Finally, I came across this scene which was incredibly romantic and really funny at the same time. Plus it reminded me of myself. After all what is Ted Danson, just a slightly more handsome version of me? LOL.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the scene so much that it compels you to comment.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thought of the day - 17th July 2008

Nothing is impossible to achieve but not everything is required to be happy!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

In Zurich

Okay, so I am in Zurich today, but while I would like to impress you with my jet-setting lifestyle this post is not about me but about Zurich. I don't really have time to write a long post about my first (actually second) impressions about Switzerland or Zurich but I do want to share two observations with you.

One is about the immigration or passport control officers. They are weird. They actually smile! Not the forced or official smile but a geninue welcoming smile that I received from this passport control person. Not even Indian immigration officers smile at people, even if the passengers are Indian. And American immigration officers let you feel that they are giving you the key to the paradise by just letting you enter their fair country. But this man wished me a "nice stay" without the grumpiness that I seem to remember from my immigration check at the Philadelphia airport. Don't ask me why or how but he transacted the business in a businesslike manner and still made me feel welcome. Enough said.

Second, this place is so very beautiful. All of it! Without going anywhere, I just took a few pictures from my hotel room. Look at them and tell me if you don't agree!




Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Short Circuit 2 - Clips

3 video clips from Short Circuit part 2. I like this Indian guy also, even though I think he's not really Indian but born in US. They have gone very heavy on the Indian accent, too heavy, but funny, very funny.

Johny5 arrives in the city to help Ben build toy robots.



Johny5 goes for input in a big way.



Ben and Johny5 have a heart to heart talk about life.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Movie Review - Short Circuit

Recently watched, or re-watched, these 2 classic movies "Short Circuit" part 1 and 2. I was planning to post some clip from it, but both the movies are so hilarious and full of jokes and funny situations that it was hard to pick. So, I actually posted 5 clips, just random selection.

Here we go. The robot "no. 5" escapes the authorities and gets back to the girl who is her only friend till that time.



She lets him stay there and next morning he makes her breakfast. Hilarious.



The third one is slightly later in the morning when the girl's bf comes over to capture No. 5 with a rifle.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Thought of the day - 27th June 2008

“The finest gift you can give anyone is
encouragement. If everyone received the encouragement they need to grow, the
genius in most everyone would blossom and the world would produce abundance
beyond the wildest dreams”

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thought of the day - 23rd June 2008

"Courage to start and willingness to
keep everlasting at it are the requisites for success."

I love Firefox!



I love Firefox!

The first reason of course is that it's not shoved at me by Microsucks, and then there are many others. One strong reason is add-on's, they are developed by normal people and they are so useful. In this shot you can see how many of them I have installed and active but this is kind of trying out phase, usually I have 2 or 3 that I consider quite essential like a download statusbar, fast video download - to download youtube videos, and google toolbar, of course.

This post is from one add-on called Scribe Fire I have used it before, but now it's new and improved and can handle images easier.

That's my reason to love firefox. What's yours?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Book Review - Matt Helm - The Threateners

Just finished reading this great Matt Helm book "The Threateners". Instead of doing a review I added my comments to its Wikipedia page.

Take a look if you feel curious about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Threateners

Thought of the day - 20th June 2008

"Burning desire to be or do something gives us staying power, a reason to get up every morning or to pick ourselves up and start in again after a disappointment."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thought of the day - 18th June 2008

Our future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.”

IF...

Ah, the joys of having like-minded friends! Melody did a post on this very inspiring poem of Rudyard Kipling called "IF...". You can read the full poem on Mel's post

I am just going to talk about my favorite words from it:

"If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"

Look at the way he uses each word for maximum effect. The "unforgiving minute", how true! Every minute that passes never comes back! It's very unforgiving in its nature, doesn't matter what you do with it, or you do nothing, it's gone. In the next line he uses "sixty seconds" instead of "minute", if you are determined, every minute you have sixty chances to accomplish something.

I don't know who he's talking to but he is not promising anything less than "Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it", talk about big dreams! I love the way he thinks!

"And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!", Again, the words are quite moving, he talks about being "a Man" as if it's something to be proud of, and it is! Man is God's partner in the creation!

'nuff said!

Thought of the day - 17th June 2008

"Anything can be achieved in small, deliberate steps. But there are times you need the courage to take a great leap; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps."


I have used it before in another form, but this is one of my very favorite thoughts.

Ask and ye shall receive!

I recently watched this movie called Evan Almighty which is the sequel to Bruce Almighty.
I had already read the review on another blog (the one in my favorite blog list - Electronic Cerebrectomy) and it was very accurate.

My own review in short:

For one thing, the title is not accurate, in Bruce Almighty Jim Carey becomes God, well deputy God so the title fits, in this sequel, Evan gets an assignment from God with no special powers, so he's not really almighty.

The movie is quite predictable. Once you find out that God wants Evan to build an ark, there are no further twists or surprises. However, the speed of the movie keeps you from getting bored. The climax is also kind of predictable.

The cast is ok, Jim Carey has more silly faces for weird situations than this guy (I hate Jim's silly faces but I have to admit he's one of the most expressive actors in the business and has a fabulous screen presence, kind of like Hollywood's Govinda :) ), this guy is just ok. Lauren Graham as his wife has been more effective and showed him up kinda. I don't think anybody would debate it but Morgan Freeman as God is the best. He has that coolth, that charisma to pull off a superlative role like God Almighty. His sense of humour aided by the special effects is fantastic.

The video clip below is from the movie when Lauren Graham leaves her husband because he's being such an ass and is enroute to her mother's house, I think. This is the best scene from the movie, in my humble opinion. Believe in God or not, (I don't) but the lesson in the scene is very useful and equally applicable irrespective of your beliefs.

Just to give you an additional context tip: in the beginning of the movie, Lauren Graham had prayed for her family to be closer.





[P.S. Can't help but mention an example of Seek and ye shall find...my free video editor Avidemux which is a simple and effective video editing tool was not able to handle this movie for some reason, it played the movie without sound. So, I looked for another one and the new one, called Virtual Dub, another free tool, is even more powerful and useful. It makes smaller movies. So, you'll keep seeing my video posts, from FSX and otherwise. :) ]

Monday, June 16, 2008

Virtual Good Work

You know my time-wasting, just-for-kicks pastime Second Life, right? Well, unlike me some people do a lot of good work there. One of them is my friend Jaxi. She does profile pictures for people and devotes almost all her time to it. Today she won a contest with a picture of hers so I thought I should share that with my readers.

Here is the link to that, just a take a look at that picture, isn't that amazing,?

http://blog.koinup.com/2008/06/sl-portrait-contest-announcement.html

Thought of the day - 16th June 2008

“Dreaming is wonderful, goal setting is crucial, but action is supreme. To make something great happen you must get busy and make it happen. Take that action step today that will put you on your path to achievement."

I hate Dean Martin!



Pipe down! It's not about Dean Martin, it's about my favorite novel series - Matt Helm!

For an introduction you can go here - http://www.matthelmbooks.com/intro.html
but I am going to do it here anyway.

Matthew Helm, code name Eric, is an agent, a secret agent, something of the kind that James Bond is but more hardened, more down to earth quite practical. His task more often than not is to kill people. Yes, you heard me right, he kills people - people like enemy agents, or U.S. agents who have joined hands with the enemy or any conspirators, bad guys...anyone that his boss says to "remove". His is not to ask.

Funny thing is even though Donald Hamilton, the author, emphasizes the point of portraying Matt Helm as a mindless or rather opinion-less killer, in the books he is not just a callous murderer. He is also a philosopher the way we analyzes and theorizes about things without seeming to, he's also a detective as he tries to figure things out during his missions, he is quite human in the way he feels about people and things, yet quite professional in his work. It is not often that he goes against the orders even if they go against his feelings or opinion.

The narration of the books is always in the first person which makes it easier to identify with this superhero. Speed of the story is always such that it keeps you turning pages.

Matt's boss, a man known only as Mac, is shown to be an older gent, quite ruthless in his approach towards his work, and a human calculating machine in Matt's words, but that makes the little rare, human things that he does, stand out more and lend a unique touch to the situation.

The agency Matt works for remains anonymous, throughout the 27 books of the series (no, I haven't read all of them, some of them are hard to find, but I am on my way to do that), but the agency has been named variously as titles of several of the novels e.g. "The Silencers", "The Removers", "Murderer's Row", "The Wrecking Crew" etc.

More than once I have wished while reading a Matt Helm novel, that they had made it into a movie. 4 of the books were made into movies, but not properly. They just borrowed the names, the plots were completely out of line from the originals and just taken a point or two here and there. Actually, there was no plot at all. I saw that after I bought the DVD set and watched them. It was a few years later though, that I learnt that the movies were made as a spoof on James Bond movies. As such they disgrace both James Bond and Matt Helm. The movies are good for nothing more than cheesecake, they are full of beautiful girls but otherwise completely useless.
I hate Irvin Allen for producing these stupid bunch of movies and I hate Dean Martin for mocking my favorite secret agent Matt Helm.

If I had money and knowledge of the field, I would make these books into movies myself, so much I love them. The plots are quite good and the story laid out in enough detail that you won't have to work too hard to produce a screenplay. Well, according to Wikipedia DreamWorks has a project underway to make the Matt Helm books into movies but no release information is available for that. Well, hopefully they'll do it properly this time and hopefully very soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Search and ye shall find...me!


Today when I searched for Sunil Goswami on Google (My Firefox Google toolbar is set to search Google.co.uk by default), I found that all 10 results on the first page were mine. I am going to record this momentous victory with this post.

In the screenshots you can't see all the 10 results, so just trust me. :) Or do a Google Search.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I love technology!

What is technology, just a number of digits, electromagnetic pulses, graphics, programming, embedded, mobile...blah, blah and more blah! It's all crap, meaningless drivel until.....yes, until it comes to play a part in your life. Until you can watch a movie 1000 times clearer and watch it again without rewinding it you don't care what a DVD is. Until you can play a game that looks like it's going to come alive right out of the screen, you don't give a hoot what a graphics card is. Until you can talk to your kids studying on the other side of the globe in real time, you don't care a damn how telecommunications is changing the world.

So, to make a long story short, science and technology for its own sake is what people like Einstein can get excited about (and may be a few million geeks) but the ordinary person, the so-called layman (I don't what he lays but that's what he's called) only gets excited about it when he can see the change that it makes in his own life. That application of technology never ceases to amaze me no matter how many times I come across the examples.

One time I was cooking something and I went to grab the handle of the frying pan while it was on the stove and I found that the handle was much less hot than it should be. Made of special metal, no doubt. That made me utter one of those "wow, this is so cool" things.

Recently I came across a similar item. It's called Virtual Reality glasses. Strictly something for the gamers of this world. I can do better than describing them by showing you the video demo of this amazing product. Take a look.

Thought of the day - 13th June 2008

Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nice thought

Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they will never cease to be amused.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Eat or live

You are going to let the fear of poverty govern your life and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not live.
- George Bernard Shaw


Mr. Shaw was a wise man. This is my standard answer when anybody starts lecturing on saving money. I'd rather have life full than my bank account.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Landing 3 - Still alive

If you still didn't get bored looking at those landings, here's another one. I think it's a little better but that's just my opinion. :)

Surviving a landing

Well, this is not much better but the plane lands on the runway and nobody dies in the landing so I am okay with. Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing, as we airmen say. :)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Gearbuster Landing

You want to know what I am up to these days? In my attempt to eat an elephant I have been practicing flying on FSX. Look at this video to see how good I am. This is all my work, I did the landing, I made the video, I uploaded it to YouTube. I am quite fond of watching videos on YouTube but this is the first time I have uploaded one. It sucks but it's mine. :D

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thought of the day - 23rd May 2008

I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving -- we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it -- but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
- Oliver W. Holmes

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thought of the day - 19th May 2008

"Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen." ~Peter Marshall

Sunday, May 18, 2008

More advice for Vista haters

Sometimes you feel like you are surrounded by money-hungry, self-serving coroporations that want to take over your life and don't want to leave you the freedom of taking decisions even though it's your money they are feeding on.

What pissed me off on Friday night was that I went through hell trying to install XP on my Vista laptop because of the SATA drivers. HP doesn't provide SATA drivers for XP because they don't want to piss off Microsoft (popularly known as Microsucks), so finally I got those from another site and used nLite to slipstream them into my XP installation as described in my previous post.

Then I could not find the video card drivers for my nVidia card for XP. That really made me mad. I mean if you pay 100's of pounds for a laptop you expect the manufacturers to support you in using it for anything more than a paperweight. Well, guess what, they are your friends only if you follow their advice/orders/recommendation to use Vista. So, nVidia, the makers of the graphics don't provide drivers for it at all. HP, the creator of this wonderful laptop do have the drivers, BUT for Vista, if you are so crazy as to not want the crap Vista on your machine then you are on your own.

Well, thankfully, there is a way out of this anarchy. Just like the creators of nLite, there are these people at http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/ solve the problem for you. These wonderful people take the drivers made by the money-hungry manufacturers and modify them so that they can be installed on more machines. And believe me, that process of downloading the modified drivers and installing them is not only easy and effective but also well-documented so anyone can do it.

Again, I just wanted to share this extremely useful resource with everyone, the ranting was just incidental! :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Vista Sucks - Downgrading from Preinstalled Vista to XP


[ Click on the picture to read the interesting story behind the real sign!]

Okay, my blog is not a technical blog, but it is my blog and I write about things that I feel passionately about. This issue of Windows Vista is close to my heart and I feel very strongly about it. My readers would know that I experimented with Vista a year or so back and quickly uninstalled it. Vista is just pure crap - it's slow, it's laggy, it's a fascist OS that tries to run your life, it's full of Spyware as I read in an article today and of course, I hate anything that the marketing guys try to shove down my throat. Microsoft has been trying to push Vista like it's the last word in OS while it's so totally shi**ty that people who are not even software professionals or power users hate it and want to get rid of it!

Last time I had to simply reinstall Windows XP back on my laptop and it worked. This time it was harder. I had bought a new laptop, HP Pavilion DV9695ea, and it came with Vista pre-installed on it. I knew this and had no intention of keeping it that way. I had my Windows XP CD all out of storage ready to go into action...

I started the process as soon as I got home. Inserted the XP CD into the drive and started the installation. After a few minutes I got the message "No hard drives are installed in your system", with my only option being pressing F3 to exit the installation.

Houston, we have a problem!

Problem - M new laptop has 2 hard disks both have SATA interface and my XP CD didn't have SATA drivers. I learnt this after I saw the message "Windows did not find any hard disks installed in your system" message from the installation program about 10 times!

So after sifting through about a 1000 posts on about a 100 forums I found the solution. Thanks to all those guys who take the time to read and respond to somebody's problem . I am giving the solution here in simple form, so when some unfortunate Vista-victim searches Google, there is one more place to go and find the solution, esp. without having to dig through so many posts.

First of all, I could not "Disable" the SATA option in the BIOS because there was no such option there. So, this is what I did:
(All of this from my previous computer as I had already deleted all partitions from the new one leaving it inoperable, which I preferred rather than risking to connect to the Net from Vista!).

1. I downloaded the SATA drivers from HP's site, I could not find for my exact model but these were for Intel processors so that worked for me. Here's the link:
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=US&swItem=ob-54270-1


2. I copied the whole contents from my Windows XP Pro CD to a folder on my Hard Drive.

3. While that was going on I downloaded a program called nLite from here.
It's a freeware and a damn good program. Kudos to those guys!

4. There are guides on that site for nLite but it's pretty intuitive with tooltips. Using nLite I re-authored my XP installation to include the SATA drivers which I had expanded on my hard disk.

5. nLite can actually burn the installation back to a blank CD. Very impressive!

6. Turned on the new laptop, inserted the re-authored installation into the drive and it booted from the CD and installed like it was born with SATA support.


That's it! End of a 29 hours long nightmare!

Thought of the day - 16th May 2008

I love this one -

"Chase your passion, not your pension."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thought of the day - 15th May 2005

"It's going to come true like you knew it, but it's not going to feel like you think."
-Rosie O'Donnell

Monday, May 12, 2008

Eating an elephant!


Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One spoon at a time!

No, no, that's not my way of saying that I have turned non-vegetarian. I am still quite strictly vegetarian other than having an occasional omelette, but I found this English expression quite funny and very apt for what I am about to tell you.

I suddenly got it into my head that I want to be a pilot!

When I took my first, very first, plane journey to US from India, I was quite excited! I loved the feeling of taking off, being airborne and even landing. It was a good landing. But since then I have lost count of my plane journies (nothing phenomenal there, most people do after 6), and during all these air voyages I have had some unpleasant experiences. No, nothing too bad, nothing extraordinary that would get in the newspapers, just simple stuff like weather turbulence where the plane drops for 10-20 seconds at a time straight down and you start looking for something to plug into your mouth (like a shoe) just so you can keep the heart down ; or the landing where the pilot brakes hard immediately after the rear wheels touch down like he's riding a bicycle. Stuff like that has made me kind of...well, not afraid of flying but kind of apprehensive, even during takeoffs and landings, normal ones.
So acting on the age-old wisdom of "face your fears" I thought I'd go for some flying training. Which is kind of weird coming from me as I don't even like roller coasters. That heart-in-your-throat feeling is not very good! Other than that though, flying training in England, (I am sure, everywhere), is quite expensive. I can't afford it! It'd be a huge project for me to take up. The best idea for a huge project, if possible, is to take it in small steps - so I am starting my training from the computer. There are several programs available that simulate the flying experience, some of them free like FlightGear, most of them paid like Microsoft Flight Simulator, arguably the most popular of them all. It's marketed as a game but it is in fact so accurate in its simulation that people do, all over the world, use it as a training aid, before, during or after their real flying training.
Then there are books available for real as well as simulated training which help you understand the concepts and acquire the related knowlege. And believe me there's an enormous amount of knowledge to acquire, it's not just holding the stick (the control column) and moving it back and forth!
During my research on the topic (you are right, it started from www.google.co.uk) , I found this community or rather communities of people who fly a plane on the computer and then online, using software programs to interface with other pilots and even real, live ATCs! I was amazed! Look at www.vatsim.net if you are interested! So, that's the next step of my training ladder. Then there are other things to do, until, step by step I build up my skills on the ground and hopefully also my fund for my real training.

That's why I call it by the funny title, breaking a huge task into very small, minute, doable parts and then tackling them one by one. That's how you eat an elephant....one spoon at a time!
Edit: Thought I'd put a picture there to spice things up. It's a beautiful picture and courtesy of fellow VATSIM pilot Jordan Jafferjee.

Thought of the day - 12th May 2008

"Disconnecting from change does not recapture the past. It loses the future."
-Kathleen Norris

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thought of the day - 8th May 2008

Uncertainty will always be part of the taking charge process.
- Harold Geneen

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Thought of the day - 7th May 2008

He who lives with his memories becomes old.
He who lives with plans for the future remains young.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Thought of the day - 6th May 2008

Success is the child of drudgery and perseverance. It cannot be coaxed or bribed; pay the price and it is yours.
- Orison Swett Marden

Friday, May 02, 2008

Thought of the day - 2nd May 2008

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

- John Quincy Adams

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thought of the day - 29th Apr 2008

"In terms of being late or not starting at all, then it's never too late."
- Alison Headley

Monday, April 28, 2008

Things you hear in airplanes

On a Continental Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude And will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

Heard on a Southwest Airline flight. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing and if You can light 'em, you can smoke 'em."

On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have."

"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane."

"Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, alone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"

After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted."

From a Southwest Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard Southwest flight 245 to Tampa. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."

"In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."

Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."

"Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."

"As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."

And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"

Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City: The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was Quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt."

Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the flight attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

Thought of the day - 28th Apr 2008

Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.
- Goethe

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thought of the day - 25th Apr 2008

Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have you had?

- Henry James

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thought of the day - 24th Apr 2008

There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth -- not going all the way, and not starting.

- Buddha

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thought of the day - 23rd Apr 2008

Maybe the most any of us can expect of ourselves isn't perfection but progress.
- Michelle Burford, O Magazine, 2003

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thought of the day - 22nd April 2008

I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: 'Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have - When he gives everything that is in him to do the job he has before him. That is all you can ask of him and that is what I have tried to do.
Harry S Truman (1884 - 1972)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thought of the day - 21st Apr 2008

It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.

- Moliere

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mughal-e-azam

This is one of my favorites scenes from one of my favorite movies. This movie was made way back when, in pre-Independence India, in black and white. Recently, it was colored and the music was improved to the current technological standards. No, the movie was not re-made, could not even if they tried, so much of the cast, including the heroine are dead, but they colored it, using technology and a truckload of dedication and patience. That's what we do in India these days! And people still ask me if it's true that it's possible to come across an elephant on an Indian road.
Well, that's true too!


The Rolling Stones



It's a nice book by Robert my-favorite-sci-fi-author Heinlein. What he does best is create a fiction and have it connected, and I mean very well connected with reality. In this one he has explained the title and the philosophy on the last-but-one page in Hazel Stone's words -

"The race has been doing it for all time. The dull ones stay home - the bright ones stir around and try to see what trouble they can dig up."

I'd like to be in the second category. I'd very much like to be a rolling stone.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A hot test

This is a test from Google Docs.

Thought of the day - 17th Apr 2008

Thought of the day - 17th Apr 2008

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

- Robert Frost

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thought of the day - 16th Apr 2008

Thought of the day - 16th Apr 2008

“The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.”

- Lloyd Jones

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dreaming - the sleeping kind

...or maybe not so sleeping kind. I have had this interest in lucid dreams since I read Patricia Garfield's book on the topic. I have had some semi-lucid to lucid dreams in the past, simply by accident and they are fantastic. So once again I have come back to this topic and these days trying to work up to them.

No success yet, but my efforts are not all-out so success will be slow, I understand.

No, I am not going to describe what lucid dreams are. Go Google! :-P

Thought of the day - 15th Apr 2008

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thought of the day - 14th April 2008

Real glory springs from the silent conquest of ourselves.
- Joseph P. Thompson

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The other girl - Laughter Challenge

Parizad Kolah, the original inspiration to watch The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, er...I mean the original anchor girl.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thought of the day - 10th April 2008

"Young is the one that plunges in the future and never looks back."
- Milan Kundera

The Golden Age

I am getting pretty sick of people saying "Ah! Childhood was such a golden age!", or "When we were younger, life was so good!" No, it was not! Not by a damn sight! At that time you were sick of those things that bothered you at that time! But right now those things don't bother you so you look at the things that bother you at *this* time and think of the past as a good period.
 
Looking at me, you may find it hard to believe but I was myself a child once. I still remember a lot of my childhood, boyhood and teenage just like everybody, or maybe a little better because I remember both parts, the good and the bad. When I was a child, my constant troubles were a lack of control, the grownups had all the control, they had a say in everything and only they had any say. I could not control what I wanted to wear, where I wanted to go or how much to play or what to eat.
 
In boyhood, this problem intensified, I got some control and that made me even more acutely aware of the control I didn't have over so many things. Worries about school work, home work, exams, grades and so many other things came into my life. Sure I had friends and a number of other things to enjoy but I am telling you why it was not a golden age.
 
In teenage, the problem of control over one's life gets worse as you start fighting for control. To add to this are the worries about your future, college or job. Plus by this time the whole thing about love, sex and romance start coming into play to complicate everything. Just like any other age there are fun things to enjoy in teenage as well, but it's not the best or the only good period of our life.
 
Now comes the present time. I have a lot of worries, majorly the job and finance. I am responsible for paying my own debts and finding my own work. And that's not all I am responsible for, I have to get out of bed every day, wait, that I had to do to go to school too...hmmm...well, I have to work. But studying in school was not always a picnic, it took work. But now I am more aware of the global problems like pollution, global warming, terrorism in the world, falling governments and all of that. But to be honest, it was all there before too, I just didn't know about it. And does a risk become less risky if you don't know about it?
 
Now, since I am the one responsible for finding work for myself, I am the one who can choose where or what I want to do. I can read what I like I can go to the movies 7 nights a week if I want, I can stay up as late as I want, I can decide what to do with my life. I can waste a whole night playing video games if I so desire. (Statutory note: Does not apply to married men!)
 
So, the equation as I see is this. Responsibilities and rights both increased with time and now I am left more responsibilities and more power over my life. So basically what you are mourning for when you get nostalgic about childhood is that age when you had less knowledge, less power and less responsibility for your life. Well, for all I care you may enjoy that nostalgia as long as you want. For me, I had a great childhood, a really enjoyable boyhood, a fantastic teenage and an amazing youth, but I am not going to mourn any of that, I am too busy enjoying my present.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara

You know how sometimes governments try to propagate their own agenda with er...propaganda (pun intended)? There was such an effort a few years back by the Indian Government, and the agenda was to promote national unity and broadcast a message of goodwill and cheer among the diverse masses of India. Yes, it was a good agenda.

As part of this they got some musicians together and created a video clip. The clip was both simple and profound (most times you will see this connection. There was a two line well, song or couplet or whatever you may call it, that was sung throughout this presentation, but in different languages, using the same tune but varying the instrument based on the culture/language being represented on the screen. I am not going to describe the whole thing since that's why I am uploading the original video but I'll translate it for those of my readers who don't understand any of the languages in the clip. I myself understand only a couple of them.
They are singing, literally translated:
My note (musical note, not banknote hehe), when merged with your note (again musical note) becomes our note.
The rivers of notes, from every direction, flow down and merge into the ocean,
they turn into clouds and fall gently down as rain.

That's it. But the musical composition is quite haunting (not in a scary way) and recently when I downloaded this clip, purely on a whim, I found that I still remembered some non-Hindi parts of it, the parts that had been etched in my memory without an effort because I had seen it so many times between TV programs as a filler.

But on the whole, I liked how it presents a nice message with nice music. Simple yet profound.

Watch it if you have the patience for most people, even most Indians won't understand most of it, but it's still watchable. Do tell me if I am wrong.



Oh one more thing, prominent personalities of India appear throughout the presentation, mostly, I suspect with the langauge of the region they belong to.

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