Monday, August 24, 2015

Photos: The view from top of Durdle Door

Durdle door is part of the Jurassic Coast and is located in Dorset, England. After parking the car, I walked down the tourist track to reach Durdle door. Before I reached the pebbled beach to view the natural limestone arch, there is a platform in the middle of the cliff. This platform gives you a spectacular view of the sea. The sea is like a chameleon. Depending on her mood, the sea has shades of green or blue.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Movie Review: The November Man

The November Man is an adaptation of the novel written by Bill Granger. There is a series of books which details the adventures of CIA operative Peter Devereaux. I haven't read the series. The series occurs during the tail end of the Cold War ear considering the year of publication. Pierce Brosnan and Roger Donaldson unite after Dante's Peak. The genre is a thriller, an area where Pierce Brosnan is comfortable.

The movie opens with a quick introduction of Peter Devereaux(Pierce Brosnan) and his new protege David Mason(Luke Bracey) before the former retires from the spy world. Before long, he is called back from retirement to bring back an asset from Moscow. This time around, there are surprises. Devereaux is on the run with former protege hunting him. The key to the mystery lies with a refugee case worker named Alice Fournier(Olga Kurylenko).

When the movie is adapted to the screen, there are changes to the timelines. The cold war was over long back. The Russian oligarchs or cheap replica of Russian bureaucrats are the favorite Hollywood villains for movies set in Eastern Europe. Give the movie the darker tone and there is a shadow of misery everywhere. There is no way this movie can work past the cliches. Despite this, Roger Donaldson succeeds in capturing our attention by setting a pace for the movie. He doesn't give us time to think due to the speed at which events happen on the screen. 
Moreover, he has Pierce Brosnan as the protagonist. As the settings have a James Bond hangover, Brosnan is in familiar territory. On top of it, we are all waiting eagerly to watch Brosnan reprising a role that has shades of the man who has the license to kill.

This movie is perfect for a forgettable evening. You watch this on an unremarkable evening where there is nothing else to do.


Language: English

Genre: Thriller

Rating: **

Photos: The majestic mountains of Snowdonia

Though the summit of Snowdon mountain was foggy, the sky was clear in other parts of Snowdonia in Wales. The roads wound through the mountains. The grass on the mountain was green interspersed with brown. The combination gave a rugged look to the terrain. This picture was the last one of the wonderful day and also the last of this series.



For other pictures in this series, please follow the below links

Tags: Photos, Wales, Snowdon Mountains

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Reframe your mind using positive thoughts

Norman Vincent Peale have written a book on positive thinking. He advises on chanting positive thoughts to influence outcomes in life. To bring about positive changes in life, he advises on recanting positive affirmations throughout the day. These positive affirmations use religion as crutches. If we disregard the religious overtures of these affirmations, the main question becomes visible. Are these techniques effective?

Recently, I was reading Tina Seelig's book named "Insight Out" when I came across the answer. Tina refers to what most of the behavioral experts endorse. Reframe your mind. By chanting positive affirmations, you retrain your mind by giving it a new frame of reference. This process helps in looking at events in a different way. The best example she quotes in her book is by Mauricio Estrella. I am quoting it verbatim below. Mauricio used a simple technique to reframe and retrain his mind. He decided to use passwords that will propagate positive thoughts and retrain his mind.

Letting all the frustration go, I remembered a tip from my former boss, Rasmus. Somehow he combined to-do lists with passwords, and I thought to use an augmented variation to that.
I'm gonna use a password to change my life...
My password became the indicator. My password reminded me that I shouldn't let myself be a victim of my recent breakup, and that I'm strong enough to do something about it.
My password became "Forgive@h3r"
During the rest of the week, I had to type this password several times a day...
In my mind, I was reminding myself to "Forgive her". That simple action changed the way I looked at my ex-wife. That constant reminder that I should forgive her led me to accept the way things happened at the end of my marriage, and embrace a new way of dealing with the depression that I was drowning in.
In the following days, my mood improved drastically. By the end of the 2nd week, I noticed that this password became less powerful, and it started to lose the effect. A quick refresh of this "mantra" helped me. I thought to myself I forgave her as I typed it, every time. The healing effect of it came back almost immediately...
One month later, my dear exchange server asked me again to renew my password.  I thought about the next thing I had to get done.
My password became Quit@smoking4ever.
And guess what happened. I'm not kidding you. I quit smoking overnight.
One month later, my password became Save4trip@thailand.
Guess where I went 3 months later. Thailand!

Mauricio's story is simple and thought-provoking. We are all forced to change our passwords every few days in our organizations. Rather than thinking about the biggest problem we are facing, we could adopt this style of formulating passwords. A friend of mine implemented a slightly different way of Mauricio's example. He swore a lot while exercising. He did it when he had expended all his reserves of energy and needed a sudden boost. This technique was not working out. When he came across Mauricio's story, he decided to think positively while energy levels sank. As a result, he felt a sudden burst of energy flowing through him. This was in stark contrast to his earlier experience.

Now, are you ready to try out Mauricio's technique? Tell me how this worked out for you when you have tried it out. I am interested in knowing.

Tags: Musings, Norman Vincent Peale, Tina Seelig, Mind

Friday, August 14, 2015

Scrambling for the back bench

I am attending training sessions this week. The training provides a good opportunity for shared experiences and networking. On top of the above benefits, the training also allows me to take my mind away from the pressures of professional life. It is the right time to pause and reflect. In a way, it is an experience to revisit the school days. But there is also a marked change from what we experience in our school days.

If you remember the school days, the front rows used to get filled faster. The early birds and the studious ones used to occupy the front benches. The students who wished to stay below the radar used to go for the middle rows. The latecomers often dubbed as inept and lazy ended up in the backbench. They were the social misfits, at least according to our limited world wisdom. If you are in the backbench, you often encounter the wrath of the teacher too.

There always has been a surefire way to attain the backbench. Create mischief in the class or come late to the class. This week, I realized the equation has changed. I was neither early nor late to the class. But I found the rows at the back to be filled already by the time I reached. The front rows were empty. As a result, I had to pick one in the front row. To get a 30,000 ft view, you need to be as far as possible from the stage where the action is happening. But a scramble for the nosebleed section is something I couldn't comprehend! The irony was you come in early to get a place in the back row,

Tags: Musings, Training, Back Bench

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Photos: Trekking the Snowdon mountain

There are two options to the summit of Snowdon mountain in Wales. The first option is the easiest. Take the train. The second option is harder than the first. You have to trek up the mountain. But you cannot show up one day and expect to climb all the way without any preparation. A friend of mine abandoned the exhausting climb midway. While in Snowdonia, I took the first option. On the way down, I noticed many trekkers walking down the mountain. I am not sure if they were able to reach the summit. Their walk suggested they had a good time.

Tags: Photos, Wales, Snowdon Mountains

Monday, August 10, 2015

When you are in Falmouth, you should have an early dinner.

Falmouth is a small city in Cornwall, UK. In case you wind up in this city, there is one thing you should know. All the restaurants close by 10 pm. The city center is a blink-and-miss. The city hosts a harbor, and you can find a variety of boats anchored in the harbor. Consequently, you let your believe there is a certain kind of life associated with this city. If you tread in the line of thought, you will be fooled easily.

This weekend, I was in the city trying to find a place to have dinner. The first place featured Pizza and seafood. I ignored the first and focused on the second. Unfortunately, the lady at the counter apologized saying there are closing the kitchen and those seated remain the last ones to be served. In a way, this behavior reminded me of restaurants in Montmartre which refuse to take any more clientele after a certain time. There is a difference. In Montmartre, they neither want people to wait indefinitely nor want to hurry the existing customers. Here, they want to close the shop. And the time is only 9 pm.

I decided to walk through the city center. After rejecting the little choices I had, I came across a Thai restaurant. They had one reservation and if they showed up there would not be able to entertain us. At this point, I was curious. I asked the person at the counter. "Do restaurants close early around here?". The person nonchalantly replied. "Yes, unless it is an Indian restaurant. They are open until midnight or even until one a.m.". At this point, I choked. Until now, I wasn't able to figure out if it was a veiled insult or innocent remark. 

A group seated at the table right next to the host overheard my request for a table. As they had finished their dinner, they decided to take an early leave so that the restaurant could accommodate my family. The food was good. I soon forgot about the bitter taste. I trust it was an innocent remark. To be frank, the only restaurant that was open till one a.m. was a pizza shop. Probably, it is run by Indians!

Tags: Musings, Falmouth, Dinner

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