Saturday, June 30, 2007

Movie Review: Die Hard 4

Bruce Willis at his indestructible best saving America from a "fire sale" - the complete breakdown of governance and law and order through a coordinated attack on all the country's systems - transportation, utilities, law enforcement. That's Die Hard 4 for you.

When the US government ridicules one of it's brightest computer geeks for suggesting that they overhaul the country's computer security systems, he rebels, and plans to break into the US government's central data banks to deal them a severe blow, while raking in millions for himself. He enlists the help of all the country's top most hackers to come up with the necessary software through an online competition for the geeks, and then eliminates them, one by one, as his plan goes into action,

But one of them, in the care of Bruce Willis, survives, and the two get together to thwart the devilish plan before it is too late.

The movie has breathtaking action, though many times it would put even Rajnikanth to shame by its sheer preposterousness :) How about bringing down a copter by flinging his car into the air? How about a F 35 fighter jet, with hover capability, taking on a large truck, going after it with missiles, bringing down and entire web of flyovers - him walking away from it? Some awesome car crashes, some good close combat, a litte humour, and a very pretty daughter - the movie may be a little over the top at times, but definitely makes a good weekend treat!

Music with Lisa

A wet, rainy Saturday... empty roads, covered with green canopies of baby leaves... a light drizzle... the wind softly whispering to you... you know you are safe... you know she is with you... you can talk to her... you can let go... you know she will take care of you...

Lisa has been my best friend for 7 years... never letting me down... never complaining.. rain or sun, night or day, I know I can depend on her... she understands my fears, she shares my happiness, and she gives me strength when I am alone and scared... she takes me in her fold... telling me I will be fine... she holds on tight.. never letting go...

The undulating beats of her heart and she responds to your slightest touch.. she reads your intentions.. and responds... the soft, sensual motion as you ask her to turn... hugging the ground... yet letting go... caressing the ground with her soft ballerina moves.. yet, never losing control.. the soft rubber on the wet tarmac... the sweetest music in the world.. as she tells you, she loves you...

And you know, life's gonna be fine again...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Book Review: Freakonomics

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner is an interesting book that will make you think twice about the way this world works, before accepting any explanations.

For example, what has the best effect on reducing crime? Education, larger police force, tougher laws, or abortion? How much effect does parenting have on kids? Is parental influence stronger, or peer pressure? Do real estate agents really work for your best?

The authors believe that you can find out the answers to these questions, and every other question about how the world works, if you know what to measure and how to measure it! Yes, at the end of the day, it's all about numbers. The answers can be quite surprising! And long held beliefs can be proved wrong.

Let us take the example of crime in the US. In the 1990s crime had risen to such a level, that President Clinton gave the country a 6 year deadline to control it, else predicting the country would descend into chaos. Contrary to all expectations and predictions, crime suddenly started dropping, from a predicted 100 percent rise, to just 50 percent of what it used to be. One can assume this was due to higher police presence, but take the example of Denver and Washington DC. Both cities have a similar sized population, but Washington has three times the police officers, and eight times the murder rate! One can argue that the increased police committed the increased murders!

The authors describe, through measurements and statistics, how the legalization of abortion in the 1970s ultimately led to a decrease in the number of kids who would be born to poor, unmarried women, and it is this drop in population of the "crime-prone" population that resulted in the dropping crime rates in the US.

The authors present a few fundamental ideas:

1) Incentives - positive or negative - economi, social or moral - are the cornerstone of modern life. And understanding them is the key to solving every problem in life.
2) Conventional wisdom is often wrong
3) Dramatic effects often have distant, even subtle, causes
4) "Experts" use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda
5) Knowing what to measure and how to measure it makes this complicated world much less so!

Interesting book - definitely worth attention. At the least, it will make you realise that every coin has not even just two, but potentially a lot more sides!

Diet Diary

2.1 Kgs in around 15 days

Not bad, huh?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ripley's Believe It or Not: Diet Diary

1) I am losing weight - 700 gms in 10 days
2) I am losing weight - and here comes the surprise - from my right side!

No, I am not kidding! I swear I verified every possible way. My body seems to be burning fat from one side, forgetting the other! And as a result, the tire around my waist seems to be deflated on one side only :)

I knew you wouldn't believe it....

Time Capsule

There was an interesting news item yesterday about a time capsule that was opened in Tulsa, Oklahoma, US after 50 years - but the organisers were disappointed to find that the concrete vault built to withstand nuclear attacks couldn't keep out moisture, and the beautiful 1950s Plymouth Belvedere car had been converted by rust into a pile of junk. Sad.

Reminds me of my own attempts at creating time capsules - I used to collect "interesting" stuff into a school compas box, and bury it into the garden, waiting for it to turn into treasure one day. Unfortunately, my curiosity and greed always took over, and the treasure ended up being unearthed a couple of weeks later - needless to say, I never got around to selling it to a museum!

Interestingly, just yesterday, I found this box of coins - 2 rupees, 1 rupee, 50, 25 and 10 paise, and even a 1 paise coin in it. Now that's probably what the museum is looking for!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Healing Fats!

Contrary to polular belief, you don’t need to be concerned with the quantity of fat in your diet, rather you need to be concerned with the TYPE - and saturated fat is not the real enemy. Saturated fats, found mostly in animal products like butter, cheese and fatty meats, are not as dangerous as you may believe. Saturated fats offer a number of health benefits and play many important roles in the body. Some vegetable oils (coconut and palm) also contain saturated fat. Coconut oil, therefore, is a particularly healthy choice.

Trans-fatty acids, formed through a process called "hydrogenation", are found in processed foods and fried foods. Trans-fatty acids are much worse for you than saturated fats. Not only can they raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lower HDL (good) cholesterol, but they have also been linked to heart disease.

Healing fats are oils that contain Essential Fatty Acids.

What Are Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)?

The word 'Essential" is used because they are something our body can not produce, we must get these Essential Fatty Acids from outside (from food or supplements). The essential fatty acids are two of the most important of all the essential elements, ranking right up there with protein, as protein and the EFAs work hand-in-hand with each other. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) - are the building bricks of our health.

What does EFA accomplish in the body?

EFAs are involved with producing life energy in our bodies from food substances, and moving that energy throughout our systems. They govern growth, vitality, and mental state. They hook up oxygen, electron transport, and energy in the process of oxidation. Oxidation, the central and most important moment-to-moment living process in our body, is the `burning' of food to produce the energy required for life processes. EFAs are also important in oxygen transfer, hemoglobin production, and control of nutrients through cell membranes. They markedly shorten recovery time from fatigue. And EFAs are also key in preventing damage from hard fats. EFAs are anti-sticky and tend to disperse them. EFAs play a part in almost every function of our body, far too many to list here.

What is hydrogenated fat?

Hydrogenation is a way of making vegetable oil harden at room temperature. Small particles of nickel or copper are added and the mix is heated to very high temperatures under pressure for up to eight hours while hydrogen gas is injected. This process destroys the essential fatty acids in the oil and replaces them with deformed trans fatty acids. These trans fats formed by hydrogenation are unnatural and as a result the human body is not well-equipped to deal with them. They also compete with essential fatty acids for absorption in the body. This blocks or delays the work of the essential fatty acids, creating deficiencies and imbalance throughout the metabolism, including fatty deposits in the arteries.

Use only cold pressed (expeller pressed) nonrefined oils, (keep refrigerated) and non heated and not exposed to the light or air. No margarine (margarine is made from hydrogenated fats, and refined oils, that why it is hard). Margarine is one of the worst foods you can eat. No Hydrogenated Fat ( HF ) (HF is made from trans fatty acids). Use no oils from supermarkets , they are heated and refined (EFA are removed). The most dangerous fats are typically found in margarine, shortenings, and heated oils.

The important Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio

The goal is to increase your intake of the omega-3 fats found in fish oil, and reduce your intake of omega-6 fats.

The primary sources of omega-6 are corn, canola, safflower and sunflower oil; these oils are overabundant in the typical diet, which explains our excess omega-6 levels. Avoid or limit these oils. Omega-3, meanwhile, is typically found in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and fish oil. By far, the best type of omega-3 fats are those found in that last category, fish. That's because the omega-3 in fish is high in two fatty acids crucial to human health, DHA and EPA. These two fatty acids are pivotal in preventing heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. The human brain is also highly dependent on DHA - low DHA levels have been linked to depression, schizophrenia, memory loss, and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's. Researchers are now also linking inadequate intake of these omega-3 fats in pregnant women to premature birth and low birth weight, and to hyperactivity in children.

In summary,
1) Consumption of fish oil is highly encouraged as a key ingredient in improving your health. Extra virgin olive oil is great too. Coconut oil is also great, if you use the fats for frying.
2) Do not use refined or hydrogenated fats - these contain trans-fatty acids that are the real problem! Avoid margarine, avoid sunflower.

Udo Erasmus' book, "Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill", is recommended reading!

Olive Oil for Cooking!

Another strong recommendation - switch to Olive Oil for cooking.

Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is - freshly pressed from the fruit.

The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels.

Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.

But while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed. Olive oil is clearly one of the good oils, one of the healing fats.

Expensive, and takes a few days of eating to get used to the different flavour, but switching to olive oil might be one of the best decisions you will ever take!

Green Tea

A diet suggestion for everyone - whether or not you have weight control problems. Have green tea. Any time you feel the need to take a short break and have something, don't reach for that heavy milk-and-sugar tea of coffee from your office machine. Instead, keep a pack of green tea sachets with you. Get hot water, and dip one in it for 1-3 mins, and then have the slightly flavoured hot water. No milk, no sugar.

Scientific research in both Asia and the west is providing hard evidence for the health benefits long associated with drinking green tea. For example, in 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent. University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.

The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke. To sum up, here are just a few medical conditions in which drinking green tea is reputed to be helpful: cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol levels and cariovascular disease.

In November, 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.

Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay! Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque.

So what is green tea? What sets green tea apart from other teas is the way it is processed. Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized. By contrast, black and oolong tea leaves are made from fermented leaves, which results in the EGCG being converted into other compounds that are not nearly as effective in preventing and fighting various diseases.

Any disadvantages? Only one - insomnia, because it has caffeine. But hey, remember, it is only 30-60% as found in coffee, so unless you have never had coffee, and as long as you don't have the tea just before you go to sleep, you will be fine!

So, what are you waiting for? Go grab your green tea, today!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What Life is it, If There is no Time to Stand and Stare

Can you guess where this is?

Next time you drive around our city, take a moment to stand and stare and you will be amazed to see how beautiful it is...

Movie Review: Fantastic Four, the Rise of the Silver Surfer

It seems to be the season of sequels. ROTSS is packed with lots of fantastic animation, some pretty funny moments, and the beautiful Jessica Alba, and does a good job of providing some great entertainment, perfect for a lazy weekend.

For those who do not know the Fantastic Four, it worth going to the trouble of seeing the first movie where these 4 normal people are afflicted with a strange cosmic energy that gives them their fantastic powers - one is blessed with the ability to extend and twist and bend himself almost limitlessly (aka the Boom Boom Boomer guy - did they copy the concept from our chewing gum guy? :)), the second has the power to create tremendous force fields and become invisible, the third is converted to a "rocky" creature with tremendous strength, and the fourth has the ability to convert himself into a roaring, zooming comet-like ball of fire.

The movie contains some pretty cool SFX - the opening credits scene, tracing the journey of the Silver Surfer to Earth, is one of the best ever I have seen. The solidification of the sea off Japan, the draining of the Thames river, and the helicopter crash is very well done.

In the sequel, the fire guy comes in contact with the Silver Surfer from outer space, bent on destroying the earth on behalf of his master, and this encounter gives him the ability to switch his energies with those of the others. And at the end, he uses ALL the powers of the Fantastic Four to fight the enemy - but finally it's Jessica's caring nature and sacrifice that convinces the Silver Surfer to fight on behalf of the Earth, and repel the advance of the outer space "gobbler and destroyer" of planets.

Movie doesn't rate as Fantastic, but definitely worth a watch.

News for The Week...

1) Rakesh Maria, the guy who cracked the Mumbai Serial Blasts case is Mumbai top cop - and the fruits of his labour are sending the criminals into labour right now!
2) India might soon have her first woman President - the US still doesn't have one!
3) Teenagers in the US will have to pull up their pants, or get fined - no more will we have to see those underwears in full glory and pants held in place by sheer will power!
4) India might soon get F1 - do we really need it though, with over 1500 crore needed in investments!
5) I have lost half a KG after around 2 weeks of diet and walking - and I am feeling great about it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Quote of the Day

It's not important that you know what not to do, it's more important that you do not do what you are not supposed to do. Siddhesh Bhobe, inspired. :)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Diet Diary

Some more updates from my Mission Diet...

1) Started having green tea in office - pure tea, fresh from the gardens, in a dip dip pack, without sugar, without sugar free, without milk - aahhhh, it's heaven! Green tea is a very good antioxidant!

2) Walking upped to 50 mins a day, at around 4 kmph. Always after dinner, between 1030 to 1130, followed by a hot steam bath (before getting back to blogging :))

3) Olive oil for cooking.

4) Lots and lots of fruits.

5) Addiction to - try it out, you get awesome diet data on every possible food in town! Also, a habit of checking every food packet for dietery information.

6) Light breakfast in the morning, usually some juice and fruit, to get the metabolism running.

7) Cut down on eating in restaurants, and if indeed, then prefer grilled/tandoori fish.

8) Still no Pepsi. And now no ice cream.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Movie Review: Shrek 3

When the king of Far Far Away, the kingdom of the fairy take characters, dies, Shrek goes in search of Arthur, the heir to the throne. Meanwhile, Charming captures the kingdom of Far Far Away with his witches and villains. Shrek comes back, only to be captured and sentenced to death, before Arthur and his other friends rescue him and they convert all the villians and witches to good people! Shrek and his wife finally retire back to their swamp and raise a family...

The animation is fantastic - and in the opening scene, you start off believing it's not an animated movie after all! The detailing and emotions on the faces of the characters are so well done, you would be forgiven for thinking it's real after all. The legs of the Merlin are another example of some lovely rendering.

For me, the Puss in Boots takes the cake. He's cute, he's naughty, he's a smart ass - and you just fall in love with him! Seeing Cindrella, Rapunzel, Snow White and other characters in one movie was like reading a Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew two-in-one thriller :)

I haven't watched the previous two Shreks, but I thoroughly enjoyed Shrek 3.

Link to CNBC Interview

You can watch my CNBC interview on Google Video at this link

Worth Remembering?

Ever wondered how your brain chooses what to remember and what to discard? How seemingly irrelevant encounters with irrelevant people, who pass your way just once in your life time, are etched in mind forever, while entire relationships are easily discarded and dispensed with?

I have many of these seemingly irrelevant memories, permanently etched - some in black and white, some with audio, some flashes of conversations...

The number 4777, reminding me of this person who ended up being a good friend later - her bike was numbered 4777. More than a decade later, 4777 never fails to remind me of her! A conversation with my uncle, when I asked him to give me four words in English ending with "dous" (tremendous, hazardous, stupendous and horrendous) - and when he couldn't, teasing him about him being an English professor but not being able to answer my question! A 4-day science camp when I was in the 9th standard. Getting my finger hurt in a chest of drawers - and telling myself - I am now going to have a sister - yes, I was less than 3 years old then, but I can still feel the pain in my finger when I think of it - I know the exact spot I was standing, and the exact position I was looking from. The day I topped the board exam, when I met my neighbour in the morning, and he wished me, telling me I had topped - he was just a clerk, but he knew before most others did - and I did not believe him! Rushing back home from the beach, my parents, me and my sister, the four of us on our Bajaj scooter. My first accident when I tried my brakes a little too hard to see if the scooter would skid - and yes, it did!

I have been writing a diary since the early eighties - did not finish some of the earlier ones, but have every single day of my life recorded from 1st Jan 1987. Reading the diary is an awesome experience - it's like one sentence somewhere can just open a torrent of memories in such amazing vivid detail! Wouldn't it be awesome if we could somehow record and "render" our memories - wouldn't that be close to immortality?

A Pant Worth $67 Million

(From ABC News...)

A Washington, D.C., lawyer is suing an area dry cleaning business for losing a pair of his trousers. The business owners claim they have his pants, but he's pressing ahead with his suit.

A $10 dry cleaning bill for a pair of trousers has ballooned into a $67 million civil lawsuit. (Yes, you read it right - $67 million! And CNN reported yesterday that he has reduced that to something like $54 million!)

He says that he has endured "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort." He says he was unable to wear that favorite suit on his first day of work. He's suing for 10 years of weekend car rentals so he can transport his dry cleaning to another store.

"People in America are now scared of each other," legal expert Philip Howard told ABC News' Law & Justice Unit. "That's why teachers won't put an arm around a crying child, and doctors order unnecessary tests, and ministers won't meet with parishioners. It's a distrust of justice and it's changing our culture."

The ABC News Law & Justice Unit has calculated that for $67 million Pearson could buy 84,115 new pairs of pants at the $800 value he placed on the missing trousers in court documents. If you stacked those pants up, they would be taller than eight Mount Everests. If you laid them side by side, they would stretch for 48 miles.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Movie Review: Ocean's Thirteen

Sequels are generally a bad idea, unless it's the Ocean series.

Ocean's 13 is awesome. George Clooney just gets sexier as he gets older. His on screen chemistry with Brad Pitt almost makes you jealous, and when he smiles that mischievous smile of his, eyes twinkling, aah... George Clooney!

The plot revolves around Danny and his team taking on the challenge of pulling off an impossible casino heist to get even with Willy Bank who cheats their friend Reuben. It's complex and has a dozen different sub-plots in it, which packs the movie with loads of excitement. Pay attention to the dialogues - the humour is subtle, and very smart! The end is fun, but you cannot help but wish it went on and on...

A must watch!

And till then, see you till I see you!

Me on CNBC TV18

I got my 2 mins of fame on CNBC TV18 today - an episode on The Future of Software Development, where I talked about the challenges of project management, the need for integration, and how a tool like Microsoft VSTS can make all the difference. The "sound bites" were shot a few days back at Persistent.

See my earlier blog for more details :)

The episode will be telecast again tomorrow at 6.30 pm

Interestingly, this wasn't my first appearance on prime time :) I appeared on MTV way back in 1997 with Cyrus Broacha, when he visited IIT Bombay and found us in the mess and asked me something about food - I do not remember what gyaan I gave him back then :)

We also appeared on a local Goa News Cable Channel, when our Narkasur band was the center of attraction. See this blog for more.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Post number 200


Quote of the Day

Sometimes it's not the "what to do" that matters, it's the "what not to do". Siddhesh Bhobe.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Diet Diary

Here's my progress report so far :)

Days: 6
Stopped white bread, rice, sugar - only brown bread or roti
Stopped Pepsi and ice creams
Cut down on eating out
Stopped coffee in office - replaced with water
Brisk walking 45 mins a day
2 Cod liver oil tablets twice a day

Weight lost: 0 gms

Sunday, June 03, 2007

How to Eat Less and Enjoy More

1) Slow down the process - if you eat around 70 calories of the right fats (six walnuts, twelve almonds or 20 peanuts) around 20 mins before a meal, you can trick your hormones into believing you are already full. Remember, ghrelin reduction takes about 20 mins to kick in, and 65 calories to stimulate. When you sit down for your meal, you would have already started the process of being "full" and you will eat much less. That is also the reason you should eat slowly.

2) Fibers are great because they slow down the process of food moving from the stomach, and make you feel full longer and hungry lesser. Thus, in addition to decreasing insulin and controlling blood sugar, fiber also reduces calorie intake. Start with 1-2 grams and slowly increase to 5 grams. Oatmeal, cereal, whole grains and fruit, are great sources of fiber. Preferably, take it in the morning for breakfast.

3) Take smaller portions on your plate.

Obesity isn't only about Food!

Some wierd causes of obesity:

1) Deodorants - some of them contain chemicals that disrupt metabolism! Avoid those that contain aluminium or polychlorobiphenols.

2) Air conditioning - Your body can lose fat trying to make you warm or cool - avoiding the AC can be a great way to lose fat!

3) Stopping smoking - Nicotine helps the fight against fat!

4) Your mom - nothing you can do about it! The older she was when she gave birth to you, the more likely you are to become obese.

Interesting Fact

Your small intestine is approximately 20 foot long. Given the folds and the crevices, the absorption area is 1000 times that!

Movie Review: Raqeeb

Pathetic script at the start. But if you sit through it, and through Tanushree Dutta's fat thighs, you might just enjoy the suspense towards the end!

The Day A Mobile Conked Off...

A sleepy, normal Sunday in June 07, in the bustling metropolis of Pune, India. A DISK (double income single kid) family has just wrapped up lunch, and is preparing for the afternoon siesta - you guessed right, the family is Goan, and the lunch did consist of fish curry rice, followed by mangoes.

12.35 pm: He picks up his cell, notices that it is dead. Damn! What if someone was calling him? He quickly sets up the charger, and plugs in the phone. And tries booting the cell - the cell flickers on, but hey, something's wrong! There is no welcome message, the cell switches off instead!

12.36 pm: He is beginning to panic. Flickes the switch on a couple of times, rams the charger pin in so hard, the phone squeals in pain (OK, that was an exaggeration), and tries again. No luck!

12.38 pm: A dozen more tries later, this time having tried playing with the battery, and the SIM, and his daughter's barbie doll, he accepts that his cell is dead!

12.53 pm: 15 agonizing meetings have passed by. He is starting to get more and more jittery. What about all those tele marketing calls he must have missed? What about all those "download kijiye aur jitiye" SMSes that would be vying for his attention? And what about all those friends who would be dead worried by now? Remember, at an average of one SMS every 5.5 mins, he should have sent atleast 3 by now!

12.54 pm: He begs his wife to lend her phone for 5 mins. She refuses.

12.58 pm: He begs again, this time she relents. After all, 5 mins is less than her mean time between SMSes.

12.59 pm: He makes a note of important cell phone numbers, and then tries messaging his friends. It's a hopeless situation - he cannot make sense of the Samsung UI! After all, he has been a Nokier all his life!

1.03 pm: Close to a state of desperation and depression, he hands back the Samsung. Life seems very bleak now.

1.07 pm: He has a brainwave. He goes online, and sends out a spurt of SMSes through mail! Thank god - atleast his friends won't fret to death now!

1.25 pm: He has had enough. He dresses up, takes out his car, and goes mobile hunting.

1.35 pm: He has checked every possible shop in town - but remember, it's a lazy Sunday and everyone has downed shutters! He cannot believe it - shouldn't cell phone replacement be part of every town's disaster management plan???

1.46 pm: Dejected, and demoralised, he is back home. Clueless. Scared. Worried. Sad

1.56 pm: Another brainwave! SOS!!! Out goes a flurry of SMSes in the world wide web, calling all samaritans for help! Can you lend me a spare cell phone?

2.03 pm: The first offer of help! His friend lives just around the corner, and offers to lend him her spare phone.

2.07 pm: He has the spare phone in his hand. He switches batteries, and lo and behold, his cell switches on!

2.08 pm: The first SMS goes out... life is back to normal.


A mentor is someone you trust and admire and believe in - only as long as he does and says what you want him to do! The moment his advice and action go against your wants and needs, he ceases to even be a friend :)

Putting in 110 Percent

Had a discussion with my friend on this the other day - while I may have blogged about this before, wanted to put in a quick comment again...

What is important is that you give in your 110 percent to everything, not take things lightly, not let go of your focus. What is NOT ok though, is to expect quick results! Get impatient! There is a difference between working hard, and expecting hard! Success will come to you, as long as you have focus, commitment and work hard. And at the end of the day, when you put in your best, that's the sweetest success by itself!

Friends and Best Friends

Some senti stuff that was forwarded to me... thought it was nice! And so true!

Friend: calls your parents by mr. and mrs.
Best friend: calls your parents dad and mom.

Friend: never asks for anything to eat or drink
Best friend: opens the fridge and makes herself at home

Friend: asks you to write down your number.
Best friend: they ask you for their number (cuz! they can't remember it)

Friend: borrows your stuff for a few days then gives it back.
Best friend: has a closet full of your stuff

Diet 101

In the next few posts, you will get a good introduction to dieting... simply because I chanced about this great book on Dieting (YOU on a Diet), and well, not that I really NEED a book on dieting, or a diet for that matter :), but hey, you know, one should ALWAYS read new things!

OK, OK, first, let us get some basics right, and some myths shattered!

1) Don't watch your weight, watch your waist! Every body has it's own ideal weight, and that depends on a lot of factors including bone density! The metric to watch, therefore, is your waist. For women, the ideal waist is 32.5 inches, for men, 35. This should be measured at the belly button.

2) Starving yourself is the WORST form of dieting. Why? Because the moment you start starving, the body takes this as a sign that famine is on the way, and starts actually building up fat stores in your body!

3) When you lose weight without exercise, you lose both muscle and fat. When you build weight without exercise, you accumulate only fat! Hence people who try losing weight through crash diets, give up after some time, and add a lot more fat!

4) A high protein diet (chicken and fish) can help you reduce weight. Your body needs to use carbohydrates (excess of which is stored as fat) to break down proteins.

5) The hypothalamus in the brain is the area that looks after your wants and desires (hunger, thirst AND sex :)) Sometimes, drinking lots of water and having lots of sex can actually satisfy the body's hunger pangs! I am serious!

6)There are two chemicals in your body that affect your eating and dieting - CART (cocaine amphetamine regulatory transcript) and NPY (a protein called Neuropeptide Y). CART stimulates hypothalamus to increase metabolism, reduce appetite and increase insulin to deliver energy to muscle cells rather than be stored as fat. NPY has the opposite effect - it decreases metabolism and increases apetite.

7) CART and NPY are driven by two hormones in your body, leptin which influences CART, and ghrelin, which influences NPY. As you grow older, there are lesses leptin receptors in your hypothalamus - which means you feel less satisfied after eating, and hence tend to put on more weight. When you have stress, you have more of NPY and you tend to eat more! Get the connection?

8) Ghrelin works every couple of hours, sending hunger signals to the brain. Leptin is more long term. Thus, if you can get your leptin levels higher, you can beat those pangs easily. That's also another reason why smaller regular meals can actually help curb weight - it negates the build up of hunger pangs and it stops the body from accumulating fat deposits.

9) Nuts are excellent as regular snacks - they make you feel satisfied and kill your hunger pangs. On the other hand, High-fructose corn syrup, usually found in soft drinks, do nothing to address your hunger pangs, and make you want to eat more and unable to shut off your apetite.

That's all for diet 101 - watch out for a lot more in the coming days! And yes, watch your WAIST!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean 3

Why would you watch POTC 3? Only if you are a die-hard Johnny Depp fan. Or, if you are completely in love with Kiera.

As in POTC 1 and 2, Jack brings some brilliant moments to the movie - but you have to sit through 3 long, mostly boring hours, of tentacalized, barnacalized and slimy creatures, and grimy pirates. The visuals - well, let us just say that in this day and age, this much is expected. The script - brilliant with Jack, long winded and boring otherwise. The plot - too complicated, and seriously, the movie is twice as long as it should have been!

Try and avoid it, you will not miss too much!