Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A suspicious girl

Falling in love is a great experience. But trusting your loved one is a tricky business. Does abundance of love creates suspicion as a byproduct?

Recently, two lovers were involved in a texting contest involving things which aren’t even remotely serious to the outside world but deemed utmost important to them. At the event kickoff, the boy was inside his temporary humble abode, a glorified studio apartment, and the girl in her apartment. After a few minutes, the texts emanating from the girl turned ugly with accusations. The boy was unable to understand the reason behind the sudden outburst!

When the dust settled, the situation was clearer. When the texting began, the boy was cooking. He texted the girl about his culinary experiment. Unbeknownst to the boy, the girl decided to surprise the boy with a visit. She continued to text him without revealing her intentions. When she reached the boy’s room, she placed her ears to the door instead of knocking on it. She heard the boy chatting on the computer with a girl.

The anger did not last long and they are back together. Will there be other outbursts? This questions is better unanswered. But what causes suspicion? Any ideas?

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Tags: Musings,Boy,Girl,Suspicion

Monday, April 25, 2011

Paris Walks – Champs-Elysee Clemenceau to Ternes

Picture 034 On Easter Sunday, I quietly walked on the little known streets of Paris. The streets were devoid of hustle and bustle like the major tourist traps. I chose to get down at Metro Champs-Elysees Clemenceau and walk towards the north side of Avenue des Champs Elysees. The walk ended at Metro Ternes. In the 2 hours of leisurely stroll, I saw the residence of the French president, 3 museums, 2 churches and a park. I also saw a house built in the Chinese style with pagodas. Being the only house with a different architecture than the neighbors, this Chinese styled house stood out.

Picture 025 To the north of Metro Champs-Elysees Clemenceau is the Theater Marigny. Had the travel guide not mentioned this, I would have ignored this building. It is hidden among trees. The significance for an uninformed traveler would be the benches in front of the theater. They can always rest here. Further north, to the theater, is Palais de l’Elysee, the residence of the French president. There are guards in blue uniforms at various places around this palace. The guards do not allow you to walk on the footpath close to the palace. They also cleverly and leisurely step outside your way when you are photographing the palace except for the guards at the front of the palace.

Close to this palace, there are two other buildings of importance – the building housing the Ministry of Interior and Hotel Bristol. Even though you cannot see inside of the Ministry of Interior, this building will interest the World War II aficionados. This building served as the Gestapo headquarters during the war.Hotel Bristol is where diplomats and dignitaries stay during visits. It makes sense because it is close to the president’s palace. The street, on which this hotel is located, is lined with Mercs, BMWs and Range Rovers.

Picture 039 Further up, there were three museums. Out of the three museums, Musee Jacquemart-Andre had a long line of visitors in front of it. The other two museums – Musee Cernuschi and Musee Nissim de Camondo - were open but not crowded in front. There were also two churches - St Philippe-du-Roule and Cathedral St Alexandre Nevsky. The latter proved crowded and also pleasing to the eyes. Facing the latter church was a Russian restaurant. The smell originating from the restaurant made me hungry.

The walk also led me into Parc de Monceau. Being a sunny day, the park was crowded. There were a lot of people running in the park; kicking up dust. Then there were people sleeping on the grass, picnickers with food spread out in front of them and couples practicing Tai-Chi, yoga or stretching. When you exit the Park through the Avenue Van Dyck, Arc de Triomphe is directly in your line of vision.

The walk ended at Ternes. At Ternes, there were flower shops and cafes.

Tags: Travel,Videos,Paris

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Books: Sacred

Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are kidnapped and brought in front of Trevor Stone. An year back, Trevor’s wife was killed in a carjacking incident. However, Trevor survived the attack and subsequent destruction. Now, he is beset with major health problems and has only a few more months to live. Trevor’s daughter Desiree had difficulty dealing with the resultant grief. Everyone around her has a short life – her mother, her boy friend and her dad, now. After months of unsuccessfully coping with this, Desiree has disappeared. Trevor wants Kenzie and Gennaro to find what happened to her. When Kenzie and Gennaro embarks on this quest, they realize they are up against a devious and an evil mind.

Dennis Lehane follows up the Kenzie-Gennaro series with this which is also the third book in the series. Like his prior works, the writing is brisk and engaging thereby making this an easy read. Unlike his earlier book where social inequality and human bigotry are addressed, this has lesser scope as far the villainy is concerned. Overall, this is not impressive as the other two books in the series. Nevertheless, it takes your mind elsewhere giving you the much needed relief.

Picture Courtesy: Bollywood Hungama

Tags: Books,Dennis Lehane,Patrick Kenzie,Angela Gennaro

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Movie Review: The Mechanic

Arthur Bishop(Jason Statham) is a professional hit man who works for a secret organization. He leads a secluded life in an undisclosed location hidden by forests and rivers somewhere in Louisiana. Arthur is usually provided assignment and subsequent payments through his mentor and friend Henry MacKenna(Donald Sutherland). One day, Arthur is given an assignment to kill Henry. Recently, Henry had led a failed mission. On investigating further, the secret organization has found bulk payments made into Henry’s account around the time of the failed mission.

Now, Arthur is convinced about Henry’s involvement in the crime. Arthur easily circumvents the security precautions taken by Henry and kills him. Being very close to Henry, Arthur has to live with his action and consequences. When he sees Henry’s estranged son Steve McKenna(Ben Forster) going down the path of self-destruction, Arthur could not restrict himself as an onlooker. He decides to mentor Steve. Steve has the right skills for the job. But he turns out to  be extremely unpredictable. So, Steve’s nature and the secret behind Harry’ death ultimately leads to a lot of complications in Arthur’s life and work.

Simon West directs an updated version of Charles Bronson movie of the same name. The movie works  due to two factors - ubercool Jason Statham and the bad boy Ben Forster. Jason looks lethal during the action scenes and performs them with an attitude as if these scenes are naturally without any efforts. Watch him shooting while running away from his chasers on the rooftop. Ben’s Steve is a restless man who wants to push the limits. He successfully conveys this restlessness. Watch him when he carries out his first hit, disobeying all what his mentor taught him and taking on a man who is double his size. The movie is a visual delight but does not provide any emotional connection to the characters.

Watch it only for Jason Statham and Ben Forster.

Language: English

Genre: Thriller

Rating: **

Tags: Movies,Jason Statham,Ben Forster,Donald Sutherland,Simon West,Thriller

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Refusals, Walkouts…

My friend refused to report the status of his tasks to another team member when his manager asked him to. He has his own reasons for doing so. According to him, the other team member has the same number of years of experience as my friend. I differ in this point as I know the experience levels of both! The other team member is couple of years older in the industry and the technology than my friend.

Interestingly, this is not a one-time incident that I have come across. A few months back, a dear friend and a team member had complained to me about the bad old days. During those days, a young gun ,fresh out of college, was in charge of gathering the status of day to day tasks. Overburdened by the anarchy and subsequent stress associated with the everyday work, my dear friend got angry, protested and walked out of the meeting; all because the young gun was asking for status. But then, the young gun was assigned the task of gathering status by the big boss! 

In my opinion, the age factor should not come into picture at all. If you think a person is not capable of doing a task, you are free to raise concerns. But refusal and walkouts, is that justified?

Picture Courtesy:

Tags: Musings,Status

Professional degree and location…

My friend has put his professional degree at the tail end of his display name on gtalk! A lot of hard work has fuelled the acquisition of this professional degree. There are no doubts in my mind regarding this. But why does he have to constantly display it in an informal environment? A curious me quizzed him.

He explained the theory behind it! He had signed up on Orkut a while back. After browsing for friends, he found his old classmates on the social networking site. He sent them invites through the social networking site. A majority of his old classmates did not accept his invite. One day, he added his professional degree to his display name and also updated the current location rightfully to the Big Apple. Voila! His circle of friends increased dramatically from then on. The earlier hesitant ones added him as a friend.

Does professional degree and location matter in friendship? I’m still not convinced! What about you?

Picture Courtesy:

Tags: Musings,Professional Degree,Location

Monday, April 4, 2011

Movie Review: Sucker Punch

After her mother’s death, Baby Doll(Emily Browning) accidentally shoots her sister while trying to stop her stepfather from harming them. After her sister’s death, her stepfather admits Baby Doll into a mental asylum. In the mental asylum, her stepfather also arranges a lobotomy operation for Baby Doll by bribing one of the orderlies. The orderly fakes the signature of the asylum’s psychiatrist Dr Gorski(Carla Gugino). While waiting for the surgeon to perform the lobotomy, Baby Doll enters an imaginary world created in her mind.

In the imaginary world, Baby Doll arrives at a brothel. The brothel’s manager decides to presents her to someone named “The High Roller”. But Baby Doll plans to escape from the brothel, with help from an old wise man(Scott Glenn). In order to escape, she needs five items. The first four are a map, fire, a knife and a key. The fifth item is a mystery which will be revealed to her at the right moment. Baby Doll enlists the help of four others to execute the escape plan. The four others are Amber(Jamie Chung), Blondie(Vanessa Hudgens), Rocket(Jena Malone) and Sweet Pea(Abbie Cornish).

Zack Snyder directs this confusing and disappointing action movie. The movie captures the fantasy flight of a young girl just before she meets doom. As a result, the world created by the young girl is very abstract consisting of dragons, dead men powered by steam, mechanical objects etc. Zack films these scenes with great detail and care, providing us some interesting visuals and great camera work. But the movie is reality combined with a dream within a dream. The link between reality, dream and the dream within a dream tends to be too abstract and confusing. Of the performances, there is nothing to write about.

Skip it.

Language: English

Genre: Action

Rating: *

Tags: Movies,Emily Browning,Carla Gugino,Scott Glenn,Jamie Chung,Vanessa Hudgens,Jena Malone,Abbie Cornish,Zack Snyder,Action

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Books: Words that Work

Frank Luntz, the political consultant and pollster, writes about the important lessons from his professional life in this book. The favorite mantra for Luntz is “It is not what you say, it’s what people hear”. The mantra has worked successfully on many occasions in his professional life. In order to make people hear what we have to say, he formulates ten rules of effective language. After describing the ten rules briefly, Luntz picks up corporate and political stories as case studies attributing their successes to the ten rules of effective language. Towards the end of the book, he also provides a sample of words that work.

As a book, this is a disappointing read. The rules are described in the first chapter. The rest of the chapters are devoted to case studies from the corporate or political arena. These case studies deal with the ten rules at the same time instead of one rule at a time. This makes the reader to focus on multiple things while reading a chapter which ends up in confusion and loss of interest. But in all these chapters, Luntz follows his fourth rule diligently. The rule number four says “consistency matters”. Throughout the book, Luntz consistently tells us “It is not what you say, it’s what people hear”.

If you come across the book, read the first chapter, make a notes of the rules and do not go any further. The first chapter matters. The rest of the chapters provide a slow torturous ride.

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Tags: Books,Frank Luntz

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