Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Short Vacation

We are going to Southern California for a short vacation. Will be back by Monday. Will try to write a post on our vacation.

Meantime, after the huge success of Endhiran, the studio has leaked the opening scene/trailer of Rajnikanth's next film. Enjoy!

Latest News:
Paul the Octopus, World Cup Soccer Guru, has died. He was 2 ½ years old. May his soul rest in peace.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

By the Water Cooler

Popular writer, Parul Sharma, has a contest. Any one can write a post telling a story/anecdote based in an office. The winner will get a free autographed copy of her latest book, By the Water Cooler. (Last date to enter the contest is October 31, 2010.)

So, here is my entry to that contest.

I work for a multi national corporation which has more than 275,000 employees. I work in California. Our headquarters is in New York. This happened couple of years ago. On a Friday, two minutes before 5 PM, I got a call. The caller said he is from the CEO’s office and the CEO wants some information about a particular client and that too within 15 minutes. (I thought this guy is using CEO’s name to get the information in the last minute.) I was irritated. My employees have already closed their desk and ready to go home. I told the caller that if the CEO wants it very badly he can call me and please give him my number.

After 10 minutes, my phone rang. I could see in the called ID, our CEO’s name CB. I picked up the phone and said hello. The caller said: I am CB. I am very sorry to bother you this late on a Friday evening. A dinner meeting with the President of this client company has been arranged in the last minute. I am meeting him for dinner in another one hour. I need to get some background about this Company so I can have some intelligent conversation with him. Can you please help me?

I was stunned. The CEO of one of the largest companies in the world calling me and politely requesting some information and apologizing for the last minute request. I told him not to worry and the requested information will be faxed to him within the next 20 minutes. I faxed the information within 15 minutes.

Again the phone rang. Our CEO himself on the line. He thanked me profusely for faxing the necessary information.

When the annual bonus was given out at the end of that year, I was very well taken care of. I then learnt that the CEO had called my VP and told him to “take care” of me during bonus time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Frozen Memories

(As a comment, I wrote a few words about frozen memories in another blog. Our blogger friend A asked me to write a post on frozen memories. So, here it is.)

Before I started to write my own blog, I wrote this post as a “guest” in Insignia’s blog. I am reproducing that post (with Insignia’s permission).

We immigrated to USA long time ago. Even though we visit India frequently, our memories of India are frozen at that time we left. Since then every time we visit India, the changes, good and bad, give us shock. For example, an ordinary Kancheepuram silk Saree now costs Rs.7000.00. Even though we can very well afford, my wife says “my marriage saree” was less than that. When we go to a restaurant in India, our mind automatically think about the price we paid before leaving India for the dish we are ordering . But it is not shocking to the people who live in India because they grow every day with that change.

This frozen memory happens to all of us. Say we had a friend in school. We have not seen him/her in the past 15 years. Our memory of that friend is still the same as we saw him/her the last time. If we see him/her now, we will be shocked. In school, he had a nice thick curly hair and now he is bald-headed. She was a cute little beautiful girl next door and now she has 2 kids and weighs 185 lbs.

Going back to the place we visited long time ago is also the same. The last time we visited Delhi was in 1997. We visited again one year ago. I was pleasantly shocked to see the Los Angeles style freeways. The toll plaza at Gurgaon looks more or less the same as the toll plaza at the San Francisco Bay Bridge. In 1997, the Ring Road from Moti Bagh to Safdarjang Hospital to AIIMS to Defence Colony to Lajpat Nagar was crowded and congested. Now there is a smooth freeway.

In the past 300 years, lot of Indians have migrated to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Fiji Islands, and West Indies. Their memories are also frozen at the time their forefathers left India. In those places, those Indian origin kids learn about Indian traditions and customs from their parents and grand parents. They, in turn, learnt from their parents and grand parents. Therefore, those Indian origin kids think as Indian traditions and customs what was practiced 150 years ago in India.

This happened last month. We were invited to a cocktail reception in a friend’s home. The host and hostess are from Malaysia and speak Tamil at home. They have never visited India. As soon as we entered their home, the host shook hands with me. The hostess started to fall on my feet (to get my blessings) and half way through I stopped her. She said she is delighted to receive me because her grand parents told her that it is auspicious and good luck if a “Brahman” comes to the house. I smiled and said I am not that kind (old, pious, learned, knows 4 Vedas) of Brahman. In fact I have come for a cocktail reception. She said “I do not care. All I know from my grand father that it is auspicious and good luck if a Brahman comes to the house. Therefore, I need your blessings”. (I was thinking in my mind that after few more drinks, I would start blessing everybody. Hahaha.)

Memories are not only frozen but passed on to the next generation also.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Latest Office Buzz Words

There are new office buzz words coming out every day. Here are some new ones I came across recently. (May be you have heard them before. I am the one who gets the news always late.)

Space = Industry or Field. Example: I am in the manufacturing space.

Brand = Put a good face on. Example: OK, we did a terrible mistake in our manufacturing process. How should we brand it?

In Transition = Change from one state to another. Example: Since the downsizing, I have been in transition.

End of the Day = Uncertain point in the future but everything magically works out well. Example: At the end of the day, the CWG is a grand success.

Go Offline = Don’t bother me now, preferably never. Example: Could we go offline to discuss this irregularity?

Transparent = Open about the facts. Example: We have been transparent about the tax increase.

Bandwidth = Money, staff, computing capacity or other resources. Example: "She lacks the bandwidth to compute compound interest.

Human Capital = Human Resources, previously known as Personnel: Example: Human Capital is on the third floor.

Footprint = Impact, formerly ecological, now applicable to anything. Example: Uncle John’s rear end had a significant footprint on our sofa.

Throughput = Not your conclusions, but the mind-numbing numbers and facts you chewed over to get there; information generally demanded by a micro-manager who won't believe that you did the work. Example: Don't tell me what you've decided about this problem; I just want your throughput.

If you have know some latest buzz words, please let me know. Thanks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Latest Popular Ads

Latest popular advertisements have a few things in common.

They are unique.
They are funny.
They look home made amateur video (to the casual eyes).

Please take a look at the latest Samsung advertisement. It has become very popular. Nothing special. A young kid dancing solo on a mat joined by her teachers, and then the entire town.

Other advertisement that has the same formula is the popular Levi’s “Walk Across America”.

And then this Dodge commercial starring a monkey dressed like daredevil Evel Knieval.

Hope you enjoy these three ads.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day

Columbus Day is being celebrated today in the United States. This day commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. USA celebrates this day each year on the second Monday in October. This day became a national holiday here in 1937.

The Italian-born explorer had set sail on August 3, 1492,* backed by the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He intended to chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia; instead, he landed in the USA.

In my opinion, Columbus was a politician. Here are my reasons:

When Columbus started out he did not know where he was going. When he got there he did not know where he was. When he got back he did not know where he had been. And he did it all on other people's money.

Agree with me?

* I had a typo. I had typed 1942 instead of 1492. "A" was kind enough to point out this. I have made the correction. Thanks A.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What is next in the Airline Industry?

Continental Airlines has decided to test a “self boarding” plan. This plan will be tested at the Houston Intercontinental Airport. When the passengers swipe their boarding pass, a turnstile door will open to allow the passenger entry into the airplane. This automated boarding does not require the human touch. But there will be an attendant on hand to deal with any customer service problems.

Continental Boarding Pass

Looks like they are going to test an anarchy rule. Right now the passengers are called by row to board the plane. With this “Do It Yourself” boarding plan, all passengers will make a dash through the turnstile.

A Transportation Security Administration spokesman said that they are "determined it does not impact the security of the traveling public." Thanks for the encouraging words. Thanks a lot Ms. Janet Napolitano.

Self-boarding has been around at foreign airports for a few years. As of 2009, 14 airlines worldwide were using self-boarding gates.

What is next in the Airline Industry? As usual, while doing nothing most of the day every day, I came up with the following rhetoric questions:

We serve our own drinks in the plane?

Self load our luggage?

Vending machines replacing flight attendants?

Pilot-less planes like the Air Force? Or

Self Flying Flights? Passengers will take turns flying the plane to its destination?

Bring our own toilet paper?

Should Steve Jobs and Apple sell the airline an iAgent?

I was talking to a friend of mine about this new procedure. He wisecracked: Don't know about you, but I have always self-boarded. They never carried me to the plane.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Romantic Engagement Proposals

Passengers on a Delta flight were treated to live entertainment, when a man in love managed to convince the pilot to pop the question for him.

When she went to the airport to pick up her boyfriend, a Navy Officer returning from a tour of duty, she didn't expect to leave with so much baggage. Her future husband was the last to come of the plane. But every other passenger greeted her as they exited, with a bouquet of roses.

Forget flowers. Say it with dolphins. For their four-year anniversary the couple treated themselves to a day with the good-natured mammals. This surprise proposal was sweet in part because it really was a surprise. Also, dolphins kiss.

Paul McCartney concert in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. In the audience, a man proposed to his girl friend. Paul saw that. He immediately sang the famous Beatles’ romantic song “My Love” to the delight of the couple. How many music personalities in this world would do such a thing impromptu.

Monday, October 4, 2010


We saw Endhiran movie last Friday. I don’t want to give a review here. Lot of people have already given their reviews. I want to write here what went through my mind while watching the movie:

Rajni started his movie career as a villain. If this is his last film, he will end his career as a villain.

This is a regular Tamil masala movie with comedy, songs, dance, romance, and fights. While I am enjoying this for entertainment, suddenly I see this super quality special effects which are certainly better than any Hollywood films.

The reverse is also true. While I am enjoying this super quality special effects which are certainly better than any Hollywood films, I am brought back to the real world with comedy and songs.

A. R. Rahman music? I think he has done a better job in other films. One stand out song is Kilimanjaro.

Cinematography by R. Ratnavelu is excellent.

Director Shankar failed in the second half. The whole movie is focused on special effects and Rajni only. No good story. The good turns bad and the bad turns good. The good gets trashed in the end. I did not feel so connected in the second half with the story.

Last 45 minutes will give hard core Rajni fans a thrill of a lifetime.

We saw this movie in San Jose, California. Rajni fans are Rajni fans wherever they live. When his name was shown on the screen and whenever Rajni walks (in his own unique style) the whole theater went bonkers - shouts, claps, whistles, and more shouting of “thalaivaaaa” (Oh my leader).

The movie was disconnected for 4 times in the first 15 minutes. I think the theater’s projector did not work well.

There was English subtitle on the screen. But the English lines were delayed by about 6 minutes. Therefore, non Tamil speaking audience could not follow the screen and the dialogue.

Good to see quite a few Japanese in the audience and a lone white woman.

Sunday morning read the following in the web and other magazines:

A song-and-dance sequence (Kilimanjaro) was filmed in Machu Picchu (A very favorite place of a friend of mine.)

Special effects were done by Stan Winston Studio which provided the animatrics for films like Jurassic Park and Avatar.

All the stunts have been choreographed by Yuen Woo Ping, the Hong Kong based action director who created the high-adrenalin stunts of classics like Kill Bill and Matrix.

Slate, an American magazine wrote about this movie and Rajni, on September 27, 2010. The following is the title and the beginning paragraph:

SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth!
The biggest movie star you've probably never heard of.

Jackie Chan is the highest-paid actor in Asia, and that makes sense. But the No. 2 spot goes to someone who doesn't make any sense at all. The second-highest-paid actor in Asia is a balding, middle-aged man with a paunch, hailing from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and sporting the kind of moustache that went out of style in 1986. This is Rajinikanth, and he is no mere actor—he is a force of nature. If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth. Or, as his films are contractually obligated to credit him, "SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth!

I agree.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Games Begin

Today, October 3. The Commonwealth Games Begin - At the cost of many, many billions of dollars.

But this lady does not care. She is concerned about feeding her hungry, crying child.

(We saw Endhiran movie this Friday. Wanted to write my view on Endhiran. But I thought this is more important than that movie. Will write on Endhiran in a couple of days.)