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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Written by a close friend of mine.

'One pissed off rocker' narrates the doomed saga behind S.K. Somaiya's Rock show.

S.K. Somaiya had tried to organize a rock show on 16th December, 2005, with sad results. Three locally famous rock bands Xenon, Zephyr and Schools were scheduled to perform on the campus ground at 6.30pm, but for reasons known only to the organizers, it started only by 9.30. Being a die-hard rock music lover, I was willing to wait an eternity, but was annoyed at the unnecessary delay. The Fashion Show competition which was supposed to conclude by 6.30 exceeded its time limit by at least an hour. The pointless parade of the girls and boys on stage did nothing to soothe my anger. Being a girl, it’s difficult for me to stay out so late in the night and I kept checking the time and cursing my fate alternatively.

Then we got to know that, instead of Xenon and Schools, the show would have two other bands playing; one Old Monks and the other a new band called Revival. While Zephyr didn’t know what to expect, as they had never played this far in the suburbs. Revival were hoping for some moshing action. Pretty innocent fellows, I must say. Finally Zephyrs were given the stage and began their usual sound check. The band found it difficult to get their sound right, and most of the crowd, ignorant about sound check, started making fun of the proceedings on the stage.

But the night for dumb surprises was not over. The singer Vaishali Samant arrived. The unruly and wild crowd became very excited and started dancing when she sang Aika Dajiba. She left the crowd in high spirits and happy mood. But this only made things worse for the bands, which were a bit unsure of playing Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin in front of these Samant fans. Most of the crowd were unaware of rock music and were attending the show either to brag to their friends about or expecting some DJ to belt out some dhin-chak music. They kept passing obscene and rude comments about the rockers and soon the cry of ‘Go home’ went up. I have never been so embarrassed in my life. Why couldn’t they wait quietly? The crowd that night ruined the image of our college, I doubt if these bands would ever play in Somaiya again.

Once the bands started playing, many people left the pandaal and at the end of the show there were only about ten people remaining who actually enjoyed the music. Each band could play only two numbers, thanks to the lack of management skills and the fashion show. But anyway, the bands really rocked. Old Monks had this vocalist sounding exactly like Robert Plant. He belted out two Zeppelin numbers. While Revival had us moshing to Iron Maiden, Zephyrs ended the show with Sweet Home Albama. It was tragic that there was hardly anybody, who had had any inkling of what rock music is, and there wasn’t anyone who even tried to understand what it is.

The bad crowd and the delay of the show turned me off, but the show was worth all the trouble despite having some problems with the sound. After the show, my friends and me had a chat with the rockers, who assured us that they had enjoyed playing even though the crowd response was bad. And I know they were just being polite. With a handful people enjoying the music, there was practically no crowd at all. On a parting note, one has to open up oneself to the different forms of music available out there. Experience it all, to become wise enough to decide what kind of music is good for you and what is not. Check out what they are offering sincerely, and if you don’t like, just move on. Hope this message is taken in a positive sense.

Lastly, Rock and Roll ain’t noise pollution!!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Why Relationship Fail 2 – Lack Of Trust

By Sanket ‘been there…done that’ Kambli

Last time I had written a feature on fear of commitments. Continuing on this trend, let us take a look at other reasons for a failed love relationship.
It can be regarded as a fragile element of relationships which needs continual nurturing. Guess what it is
This week we focus on trust, and how its absence can bring down a relationship.
Trust is foundational because it creates a safe environment for intimacy to grow. If your relationship is going to work you need to be able to trust your partner with your past, your present and your future. Trust is supposed to be an intangible concept, meaning its definition is not bound in boundaries of sentences.
People often will trust a total stranger before trusting an intimate partner because that total stranger cannot hurt them like they imagine a partner can. Tony Robbins (counselor) tells a great story about how we all trust every single day of our lives while driving our cars. The fact of the matter is--it takes a great deal of trust to drive down a road at 70 kmph with another car coming the other way at 70 kmph and only one white line separating the two of you. The potential for danger is great--you don't know that other person; you don't know if they've been drinking; you don't know if they'll stay on their side of the road. That, my friend, takes a lot of trust. When we trust someone, we are willing to enter into a trusting relationship we are willing to conduct ourselves differently engage in a wider range of actions, and also to be more open to a variety of experiences. To develop and flourish a relationship, trust is an important ingredient. When trust erodes, the relationship deteriorates. The behavior of other person, starts evoking a doubtful response from us, acting like poison, silently killing the relationship. Mistrust has a devastating impact on relationships and on the types and quality of conversations that will occur. One or two instances can raise important and lingering questions, which may remain in the background and have a silent but devastating impact on the quality of the relationship. In spite of being an inherent part of a relationship, it is unfortunately taken for granted. We may only become aware of its importance when we feel trust has been broken.
That is why it is said that, "Trust is the glue which holds relationships together"
But what is trust?
Alan Sieler (relationship expert) says, "It can be claimed that trust is simultaneously a bodily sensation, an emotion and a linguistic phenomenon (a judgment or an opinion). It’s a gut feeling that can be the emotional and bodily component of trust.
Generally trust is also associated with sincerity and reliability.
Trust allows you to reveal who you really are.
Trust opens the door to honest communication.
Once you've cleared up your communication, trusting your partner will help you to fight fair when disagreements occur.
Building trust takes time; you need to show your partner that you are trustworthy and that you trust them in return. If your partner has trouble trusting, you can do a lot to create an environment where trust can grow.
As advocated by, Susie and Otto Collins, the secret is constant communication, one moment at a time.
It's about practicing honesty and not hiding, no matter how painful the truth is. Think of two important people in your life who are part of your relationships network. One with which you have a positive relationship, and one which is not so positive. What differences do you find in your assessments of sincerity, reliability and competence for each relationship? What is different for you emotionally and bodily in these assessments? What is different about the quality of the conversations? What conversations and other actions, by both you and the other person, need to occur for trust to be built? What small steps are you willing to begin to take to have these conversations? Lastly, can we rebuild trust? This clearly depends on whether you and the other person are ready and willing to take corrective action. In other words, I may be able to let go of resentment, I may come to understand the other person and forgive him, but if I do not see evidence of his willingness to make changes, it may not be possible for me to trust him again. Clearly, rebuilding trust is a gradual process that can take weeks, months, or even years. If you are the type of person who is constantly running across clues that concern you, sit down alone and consider the nature of your trust. Do you actively believe that your partner is committed to the relationship and looking out for both of your best interests? Do you believe that, if your partner was feeling discontent or unsatisfied, he or she would come to you first? Or, deep down, do you believe your partner is capable of breaking your commitment to one another? If the latter is true, you are simply tolerating the situation and waiting for wrongdoing. This is not trust and that fact needs to be examined.

When Mumbai runs, the world will watch!!!!

By Sanket ‘stunned by length of the half marathon itself’ Kambli

Marathon made it its entry into the minds of many Indians, with the Mumbai Marathon 2004. And the marathon is back in Mumbai, and is set to capture our imagination once again. The city's showcase to the world, the third edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, slated for Sunday, January 15, 2006 was officially announced by Mr. Jaspal Bindra, General Manager - South East Asia and Mr. Neeraj Swaroop, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank - the title sponsor, in the presence of Shri Suresh Kalmadi, President of the Athletic Federation of India and Indian Olympic Association, Prashant Ruia of Essar, the Associate Sponsor, the key visionaries, whose contribution has put Mumbai on the global sporting map. "We are very happy to see the scale, the community involvement and the participation by national and international athletes achieved for the event. It is remarkable to be touted amongst the top 10 marathons in the world in a short span of 2 years" said Jaspal Bindra - GM, South East Asia, Standard Chartered Bank. "Being part of the Greatest Race On Earth (GROE) has further added to the international appeal and participation by the top ranked world athletes", he added. Neeraj Swaroop - CEO India, Standard Chartered Bank said, "The increase in number of participants will allow us to accommodate and engage more people with the event. I'm sure that we will provide even a greater experience this year." This year the organizers of the events, Procam International, have decided to increase the total number of entries that will be accepted vis-à-vis the first two years, this is because, in the second year many marathon aficionado turned away as running places were filled up much before the final day of registration. The race categories for the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2006 will be as follows:
Full Marathon (42.195kms)
Half Marathon (21.097kms)
Dream Run (7kms)
Sr. Citizens' Run (5kms)
Wheelchair Event (3.5kms)
A maximum of 3500 running places will be offered for the Full Marathon, while 6000 places will be available for the Half Marathon. The Dream Run will house 12,500 participants and 2,500 places will be set aside for the Corporate Challenge. 3000 entries will be permitted in the Senior Citizens' Run. 100 entries will be accepted for the Wheelchair Event, the total number of participants exceeding 27,500, which is over 2,500 more than the first two years. USD 210,000 worth of prize money is at stake. And if anyone thought that this would be just a national affair, they are fairly wrong, there will be over 130 GROE teams participating, compared to 61 teams from last year. The Nations Teams will have representation from 32 countries, including newcomers from Japan, China, Jordan, Finland, Ukraine, Denmark and Switzerland -- making this a truly global event.
The people of Mumbai and India broke all records by their unprompted and uninhibited retort to the charity drive, which is a vital initiative of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.
The first year saw Rs 1.5 crore collected for charity, a figure that leapfrogged to Rs 4.5 crore in 2005.
Give India, the official Charity Partner to the Event is confident of comfortably crossing that figure this time around.
Here we should give hats off salute not only to the organizers but also to the volunteers who sweat to make this event a success.
And all those who volunteer to run for a cause and provoke others to contribute for a cause, be it, businessmen or college students, has brought to the fore their social conscience. Many may be skeptical of this approach, but like they say where there is a will, there is a way. And in keeping with the tradition of this proverb, the organizers have incorporated a senior citizens and wheelchair category. This event is surely a symbol of various facets of our indomitable spirit, whose facets include charity to endurance.
The 3rd Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon to be held on January 15th, 2006.
Title Sponsor: Standard Chartered Bank
Associate Sponsor: Essar
Supported by: Government of Maharashtra
Under the Aegis of: Athletic Federation of India
Promoted by: Procam International

The Fair and Handsome ploy

By Sanket ‘who thinks fairness creams are sick’ Kambli

An advertisement on FM radio 98.3 men shocked me. The ad spoke about how men need to have their own fairness cream. Yes! I am talking about the Men's Fairness cream. The fairness fetish is spilling over to the guy’s side. Already there have been blatantly persistent attempts to downgrade women of dark complexion. And now these over smart marketing noses are spilling this fairness fetish over the other side. But should we really blame the marketing executives who are just doing their jobs, when it runs in our culture that fair is beautiful, these guys are probably only making not so few bucks out of the inferior complexes that we have inherited from the society. Why is it that, many of us forget, that one can be beautiful even if one is dark, and unattractive even if one is fair. So why do we lay such a premium on fair skin. Still, many spend hours trying to lighten their skin and wishing that they had lighter skin, and thousands of rupees on products that claim to lighten our skin. More damaging than the time and money spent, is their inbuilt belief that they are in some manner inferior because they are not ‘fair’. For some, this complex dissipates as they grow older and wiser, discovering numerous abilities and talents, but unfortunately, others never seem to be able to let go this feeling of inadequacy. And it is not surprising that, when you take a look at any matrimonial ad, and the text will in all probability say ‘looking for a convent educated, fair, beautiful girl…,blah, blah.....Then why wouldn't a girl, or say, a guy, with dark skin will want to lighten it?

Bend It Like.........S. K. Somaiya Football Team

By Sanket ‘not a fan of david beckham’ Kambli

By the time this article goes to print, the final match to decide the best college football team of Mumbai University may have been already played.
And irrespective of the result, this team of S.K. Somaiya should receive more than a standing ovation for the feat they have already achieved. Because; this is the first S. K. Somaiya football team, to enter the finals of this event, which began in September. They bettered their last year’s performance, when they managed to reach the semis.
And I wouldn’t be surprising to see them stun everyone and lift the cup by winning the final. This is because; they have stormed into the finals of this tourney carrying the tag of underdogs, all along. An all their detractors who think they are just a motley crew, who got lucky, are completely wrong. This prolific team put up explosive performances to register convincing wins (say, 3-1 against Xaviers), with only one drawn. And these performances came against local football powerhouses like St. Andrews, Khalsa, Rizvi, Xaviers, and Thakur.
This attacking team which has players playing at club level is equally good at defending, with just one goal let in, in 5 matches.
Up front this team has Kunal Prasad and Sonu Thapa, while the midfield playmakers are Amit Yaday, Omkar Sawant, Mohnish Bhambre, and Vivek Yadav. And before any opponent striker dreams about getting a one-on-one with their goalie Nitesh Thakur, will have to go through their wall like defense consisting of Gautam Sardar, Sumit Ghavale, Navin Sadul, and Sachin Shinde. And this team has got good bench strength of some tenacious players like John Paul, Ramesh Peddy, Jude Nunes, Srikant Mokal, Prem Yadav, Vishal Prasad, Elvis Colaco, and Subhash Singh.
The credit of canalizing, the youthful exuberance of this team into a winning combo, must go to, Prof. Ravikant Sangurde.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Birds of feather, ‘flu’ together


By Sanket ‘not a doctor’ Kambli

We all have heard of the great avian flu. But the details are not known many, other than the fat that it is flu! Bird flu is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. Officially its called, Influenza A (H5N1) virus – also called “H5N1 virus”. Wild birds are reported to carry viruses in their intestines, but usually don’t get sick because of them. But because of its contagious nature, domesticated birds, including chickens, ducks, and turkeys, can get very sick and eventually die. But the simple question here is, do bird flu viruses infect humans?
And I have got some answers ready for you. World Health Organization (WHO) maintains situation updates and cumulative reports of human cases of avian influenza A (H5N1). Bird flu viruses do not usually infect humans, but more than 100 confirmed cases of human infection with bird flu viruses have occurred since 1997. So since we know they can affect us, let us look at some of its symptoms.
These symptoms range from typical flu-like symptoms (say, fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress), and other severe and life-threatening complications. The symptoms of bird flu may depend on which virus caused the infection. Symptoms apart, let us see how these dreaded viruses reach into our systems. Infected birds shed flu virus in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Vulnerable birds become infected when they come in contact with contaminated excretions or surfaces that are contaminated with excretions. It is believed that most cases of bird flu infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. The spread of avian influenza viruses from one ill person to another has been reported very rarely, and transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person.
And about treatment, studies done in laboratories suggest that the prescription medicines approved for human flu viruses should work in preventing bird flu infection in humans. However, flu viruses can become resistant to these drugs, so these medications may not always work. Additional studies are needed to prove the effectiveness of these medicines. In spite of all these details, the risk from bird flu is generally low to most people because the viruses occur mainly among birds and do not usually infect humans. However, during an outbreak of bird flu among poultry (domesticated chicken, ducks, turkeys), there is a possible risk to people who have contact with infected birds or surfaces that have been contaminated with excretions from infected birds.



Monday, November 21, 2005

It’s Contagious! Still, spread it.

By Sanket ‘smile guide’ Kambli

"A smile is a window on your face to show your heart is at home"

"Life is like a mirror, we get the best results when we smile at it."

"Don't go for the looks, it can be quite deceiving. Don't go for wealth even that fades away -- go for someone who makes you smile because only a smile makes a dark day seem bright. Hope you find that person."

"Never frown, because you never know when someone is falling in love with your smile."

I am already behind my schedule to complete articles I was supposed to write. And in this hectic situation, the last thing that I would do is, smile. But, as the topic I have to write about is smile. Lets just smile and begin. Most of us think that a smiling person is a happy person, but how many of us know that just by smiling we can relieve stress and feel happier even for a moment? It is said, “Laughter is the Best medicine" and science has enough proof to indicate a high positive correlation between humor and immune system benefits, but research has also shown smiling to be of benefit as well. Facial expressions really reflect our inner feelings and making a simple smile can change our mood. Social Psychology has shown that facial expressions do reflect our inner feelings, and changing our facial expression can help to change our feelings too. It has also been proven to lower heart rate and produces less stressful and rapid breathing. When we smile, it produces the emotion most closely related to it, feeling happier! For many people, a smile is difficult. Some think it is rather impertinent to smile at strangers, but it is impertinent to stare. There are occasions when it is not appropriate to smile, but actually very few when you come to think of it. Most of the times, a smile can immeasurably improve our lives. Business is conducted more easily, relationships are confirmed, feelings expressed — all with a smile. A good smile may make you more attractive. As long as you have good teeth behind that smile, then you’re good to go. Otherwise, you might want to work on the closed mouth smile. A good smile will brighten the days of others. A good smile exudes confidence, while a weak smile may only show insecurity. If everyone’s talking in straight faces, a good smile can help to lighten the mood. While there’s nothing wrong with serious conversations, it’s always good to lighten up once in awhile. Want a totally free, simple way to boost your spirits and your health with no prescription needed? Then you want to laugh and smile as much as possible. As simple as it sounds, laughing and smiling, in other words allowing you to get swept away with overall good humor, is beneficial to the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, muscular system, central nervous system and endocrine system. Smiles are contagious! So spread some smiles!

Fear of Commitment in Relationships:


Collated by Sanket 'fear guide' Kambli

This is one fear, which won't find any place on AXN's Fear Factor Show.

This phobia was experienced by someone close to me, eventually pushing me to explore it, and I was able to gather quite healthy material. Check it out.

Relationship expert Toni Coleman says.
We hear it all the time.
"He just won't make a commitment."
"She just wants some space right now."
"I'm not sure if I'm ready for a serious relationship."
"I'm just under a lot of stress right now."
"It's not you, it's me."
"I can't focus on a relationship right now because of my overloaded schedule."

And we all accept these reasons.
Mostly because, either it keeps away the real truth or maybe we are confused by our feelings, and response from the other person.

What does having a fear of commitment really mean?
It simply means what it says. For some reason you, or someone you are involved with, isn't ready to take this relationship (or any relationship) to the next step.
Commitment phobia definition– this is the fear and avoidance of having to commit to anything, but especially relationships.
But before venturing further, what could be the possible reason a person cannot sustain or commit to a long-term relationship






Here are a few collaborated ones:
    1. They are perfectionists. No relationship is ever perfect. Sally says, “I know there are no perfect men out there, but somewhere there is a man who is perfect for me.”

    2. They are lust seekers. The new relationship brings chemical high. Three years is usually as long as this high can be sustained.

    3. They are hunters. The thrill of the hunt is the best part. A guy laments the end of his last relationship then says, in an excited tone of voice, “That’s it. I’m in my hunting form again!”

    4. They are happy being single. They have built a life around being single. They have friends, social activities, and a lifestyle that would no longer exist with marriage.

    5. They can’t commit. They may or may not know this, but a long-term relationship is out of the question for them.

    6. The fear of being controlled.   Do you have strong feelings about having anyone control your life?  Do you come from a family in which one parent dominated the other?  Did your parents try to control you?  Do you hate being with someone who tells you what to do?  In a relationship, somebody else is going to have some power over your life.

    7. Trapped.  What if you make a commitment to someone and you end up feeling trapped?  What if you end up feeling “tied down” and you can’t get out?  What if another person’s presence, needs, ideas, personality and vision impinge on your territory, crowd your space and take away your freedom?  

    8. The fear of giving up sexual freedoms.   Some men and women are afraid of losing the option to choose others.

    9. The fear of being bored to death.  What could be more claustrophobic than the feeling of being entombed in a dull, ordinary marriage?  Some people equate commitment with boredom.

    10. The fear of physical or emotional limitations.  People who make a commitment to each other agree that they will make certain accommodations for the good of their relationship.  But accommodating another human being can make one feel boxed in and uncomfortable. This can produce a kind of emotional claustrophobia.  For example, you might think that if you become a committed couple you have to take all vacations together, go to all parties together, spend all weekends in shared activities together, present a united front to the world, and so on.

Regardless, these commitment-phobic men and women enter relationships but their anxiety eventually leads to the end of that relationship.

Well some psychologists have even sketched a few symptoms.
It can express itself in all kinds of different ways, but typically sufferers may exhibit any of these:
    * Being overly critical of the other partner in the relationship, and/or the relationship as a whole.
    * Annoying / hurting the other person, thus sabotaging the relationship, even if it’s considered to be working well.  An example of this might be consistently turning up late for things – whether with apologetic excuses, or not.
    * Being scared of getting noticed, because the other person might want to start a relationship.  In fact, they'll often reject other people from the word go, so that a relationship barely gets off the starting blocks.  The feeling behind this, can be to protect themselves from even the prospect of allowing others’ to get too close.
    * At the other end of the scale, a commitment phobic, may be flirtatious and appear to want the attentions of other interested parties, desiring even a longer-term physical relationship.  But, eventually the fear can, and often does, win out and the other person gets pushed away, leaving broken hearts in its wake.
    * Fearing being swamped by others, and thus losing sight of who they feel they really are.
    * Unable to face or explore the prospects, issues, or thoughts, of living together, or getting married.
    * Some commitment phobics may want to find Mr. or Miss Right and get married, but will often have somewhat unrealistic ‘ideals’ over possible suitors.  Often friends and relatives notice and will often make comments like: 'you're being too picky', and ‘Mr. /Miss Perfect’ just doesn’t exist.'
    * Sometimes they'll fall in love with other people who just aren’t interested in forming an intimate relationship.  The reasoning behind this can be that the commitment phobic has, (deliberately, or otherwise), chosen a person who can’t/won’t, form a lasting relationship, and so they are ‘safe’ from having to make that long-term commitment.
    * There is also the type of sufferer who enters a relationship, can’t commit, then leaves at some point, only to return sometime later, before leaving yet again.  This yo-yoing can happen time and time again leaving hurt, bewilderment and distrust in its wake.
    * There can be the avoidance of having to commit to anything.  This can also involve jobs, tasks, timekeeping, as well as personal relationships / friendships.  Interestingly, it can even involve undertaking treatment for the commitment phobia itself.


Let us look at steps to overcome fear of commitment as provided in the book,
“He’s Scared, She’s Scared” by Carter and Sokol (M. J. F. Books).

Ø    Recognize your fears and know how you act when you are afraid.  Fear of commitment is about fear.  Fear of being stuck, trapped or tied down; fear of losing options; fear of losing freedom; fear of losing control; fear of dependence; fear of being bored; fear of leading an ordinary life; fear of making a mistake or repeating a mistake.  Be very specific in examining precisely what it is you’re trying to avoid of protect yourself from.
Here’s a good way to do this:  Starting with parents and other relatives, think about all the people you know in long-term relationships.  Make a list of what it is about these relationships that makes you uncomfortable—and that you don’t want to duplicate in your own life.  Then think about all the people you know who have lives or jobs that you consider settled but dreary.  Make a list of everything you consider negative or stultifying about their lives.  Then think about how these fears might be determining your behaviors.   Have any of your choices in your relationships been extreme reactions to some of these fears?
Ø      Learn how to make small commitments and small choices.  What are the non-romantic choices in your life that paralyze you?  Making firm appointments? Deciding what to wear?  What to eat?  Which organizations, if any, to join? Which interests to pursue?  Which movie to see?  What type of computer to purchase?  Which car?  When to take a vacation?
Start with the commitments that you perceive to be less intimidating and begin to take small steps in overcoming your conflicts.  As your successes accumulate over time, challenge yourself to take on slightly more ambitious commitments.  Don’t torture yourself with unnecessary pressure, but keep building slowly.

Ø     Stop acting on your conflicts, by running away.   When we are unhappy or dissatisfied with a situation, a person or a decision, sometimes it seems as though the only way out is to run away or to do something similarly outrageous.  As humans we have been gifted with the ability to communicate with one another.  Use that gift.

Ø      Make a commitment to being fully accountable in all your relationships.  If you say you are going to call, call.  If you make a lunch date, keep it.  If you say you’re going to visit, do so.  With everyone you know, become totally reliable.  Don’t always give yourself 101 ways out of every situation, no matter how trivial.  Obviously sometimes conflicts arise, and even the most important plans sometimes need to be changed.  But this should be an exception in your life, not the norm.

On a parting note, hope you all benefited from my compiled write-up.
Anyway feedback and opinions are always welcome.

Smokin’




By Sanket ‘not delivering pizzas’ Kambli


Yeah this write-up hasn’t got anything to do with Smokin’ Joe’s or even for that matter a pizza. Some researchers at The University of Minnesota have made a startling revelation, at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting, in Baltimore, USA. They found that some products are not good alternatives for people trying to quit smoking. The products they were talking about were smokeless tobacco products. Products like moist snuff and hard snuff lozenges fall into this category. According to their research, people trying to quit smoking should stop thinking about these products being good alternatives. They also found that medicinal anti-smoking products such as a nicotine patch are a much better aid in helping people kick the habit. Stephen Hecht of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center said, "Collectively, these results indicate that most smokeless tobacco products are not necessarily a safe alternative to smoking and are inferior to medicinal nicotine products with respect to carcinogen exposure," "Smokeless tobacco products should not be considered an acceptable substitute for cigarette smoking, especially when relatively harmless medicinal nicotine products are available," Hecht said. Fellow researchers at the University of Florida, added, smokeless tobacco may encourage some teens to start smoking, as according to them, the use of smokeless tobacco did not increase smoking-cessation success rates. "Based on this evidence, we feel that the use of smokeless tobacco is rarely a successful strategy for smoking cessation in the U.S. and may actually be a risk factor for starting to smoke," study lead author Scott Tomar said in a prepared statement. "There is insufficient evidence that using smokeless tobacco is effective, feasible or acceptable as a smoking-cessation strategy in most populations." Every year, millions of Americans try to quit smoking, and millions fail. "When we talk to smokers across America, only one in five are using the counseling and medicines we know will increase their likelihood of success," said Dr. Michael Fiore, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and founder of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. Studies have shown that when trying to quit smoking without help, the chance of success is only 5 percent. They say what smoker’s need most is a comprehensive quit plan, which should start with counseling. They also said that smokers who use telephone counseling when they're about to quit are two to three times more likely to succeed than those who don't get this help. Many help lines send out quit smoking guides on coping skills, dealing with stress, withdrawal symptoms, and (perhaps most important) the use of medicines. Many smokers mistakenly try to avoid using nicotine replacement products. Researchers say smokers today have more tools to help them quit than ever before. If only they would use them.
(Facts sourced from a report "World News Tonight." for ABC News' filed by John McKenzie)

For You – another poem by Sanket Kambli


I was walking alone
on this path called life
thinking this is the way
to go anyway
 
Then I saw someone
felt like an angel
closer I went
a look to take
 
Then I saw you there
knew what they call
this thing called
love at first sight
 
always I had dreamt
of meeting a women like you
but felt that dreams
never come true
 
a beat my heart skipped
eyes didn't care to blink
time had stood still
ears eager
 
then i had a fall
and that was a deep fall
I fell in love with you
completely
 
I don't want to go
on this path called life
without you
by my side
 
my life without you
cannot be called life
the picture is perfect
in your presence
 
time you are not near
I don't want to stay here
want to sleep and
see you in dreams
 
Want to see this world
do many things here
but never without you
by my side
 
I want you to know
I can really show
My love for you
is not fake
 
I love you now
I will love you always
I can only love
you more

Table cricket




By Sanket ‘stumped by the idea’ Kambli

What is Table cricket?
Table cricket is growing in popularity
You might not think of cricket when you see a table tennis table, but Doug Williamson of Nottingham's Trent University did.
Williamson is the chief designer of the game of Table Cricket which provides an opportunity for youngsters with severe physical or learning disabilities to play competitive cricket.
The ECB have backed it as part of their development plans for disabled cricket.
There is even a national championship contested each year with the final played at Lord's after ten regional tournaments have selected the leading contenders.
HOW TO PLAY
The game is played on a table tennis table or similar sized surface area with side panels featuring nine sliding fielders.
A plastic ball is bowled by a ball launcher at one end of the pitch, while at the other the batter has a wooden bat.
Teams consist of six players, with each individual innings lasting two overs, regardless of whether the batter is given out or not.
Every time a wicket is lost five runs are deducted from the team's starting score of 200.
Two, four or six runs can be scored if the ball is hit in-between fielders placed on the side panels.
And wide deliveries are punished with four runs awarded to the batting team.
# There are a number of ways that a batsman can be dismissed, including: Driving the ball over the side or rear panels counts as a dismissal
# If the batter is hit on the fingers, hand, arm or body by the ball then that is deemed to be lbw
# Striking the ball back to the ball launcher results in a caught and bowled chance
# If a legal ball goes off the table at the batting end of the table, the batter is bowled
# Or if the ball is hit in that direction then it counts as caught behind
Avoiding the 'caught out' zones on the side panels requires good shot selection and placement.

Read This, If You Feel Down And Out.


By Sanket Kambli
This was forwarded to me by my friend, read it, especially if you feel down and out.
> The third difference between optimists and
> pessimists is that optimists
> see events as external, while pessimists interpret
> events as personal.
> When things go wrong, the optimist will tend to see
> the setback as
> resulting from external factors over which one has
> little control.
>
> If the optimist is cut off in traffic, for example,
> instead of getting
> angry or upset, he will simply downgrade the
> importance of the event by
> saying something like, “Oh, well, I guess that
> person is just having a
> bad day.”
>
> The pessimist on the other hand, has a tendency to
> take everything
> personally. If the pessimist is cut off in traffic,
> he will react as
> though the other driver has deliberately acted to
> upset and frustrate
> him.
>
> Remain Calm and Objective
> The hallmark of the fully mature, fully functioning,
> self-actualizing
> personality is the ability to be objective and
> unemotional when caught
> up in the inevitable storms of daily life. The
> superior person has the
> ability to continue talking to himself in a positive
> and optimistic way,
> keeping his mind calm, clear and completely under
> control. The mature
> personality is more relaxed and aware and capable of
> interpreting events
> more realistically and less emotionally than is the
> immature
> personality. As a result, the mature person exerts a
> far greater sense
> of control and influence over his environment, and
> is far less likely to
> be angry, upset, or distracted.
>
> Take The Long View
> Look upon the inevitable setbacks that you face as
> being temporary,
> specific and external. View the negative situation
> as a single event
> that is not connected to other potential events and
> that is caused
> largely by external factors over which you can have
> little control.
> Simply refuse to see the event as being in any way
> permanent, pervasive
> or indicative of personal incompetence of inability.
>
>
> Resolve to think like an optimist, no matter what
> happens. You may not
> be able to control events but you can control the
> way you react to them.
>
>
> Action Exercises
> Now, here are three actions you can take immediately
> to put these ideas
> into action.
>
> First, remind yourself continually that setbacks are
> only temporary,
> they will soon be past and nothing is as serious as
> you think it is.
>
> Second, look upon each problem as a specific event,
> not connected to
> other events and not indicative of a pattern of any
> kind. Deal with it
> and get on with your life.
>
> Third, recognize that when things go wrong, they are
> usually caused by a
> variety of external events. Say to yourself, “What
> can’t be cured must
> be endured,” and then get back to thinking about
> your goals.

Old Age Home: An Analysis


               

By Sanket 'old enough to be young' Kambli

"Don't be too hard on your parents, you may find yourself in their place..." wrote the famous English writer Compton Burnett-Dame Ivy
‘Respect your elders’ is what we are all brought up with and often, we tend to define our Indianness with this maxim.
Before introducing you to this topic let us take a look at the build up to this topic:
Life Expectancy is improving.  A silent revolution has occurred in the last 100 years - unseen, unheard, and yet so close. The biggest achievement of the century is longevity. All over the world life expectancy has risen, leading to a sharp rise in the number of Older Persons. When health and education is good, survival beyond age 80 is likely. Especially once a person has survived to, say age 60, survival till age 75 is the average outcome.The joint family system is being broken down due to changesin society and culture.
And often children work far away from where their parents are located. Traditionally having an elderly member was a low-cost affair which isn't the case with todays standards for health expenses.
And as everyone has observed the joint family system is being replaced by the nucleur family system in our society.
This has eventually resulted in the aged parents being left to fend for themselves as their children leave them and get engrossed in the affairs of their own families, after acquiring one. But one thing that goes unnoticed is that in old age, a person becomes tender like a child, and, therefore, he needs to be looked after as a child. This is a situatuion which calls for the need of homes for the aged, and that to open to all sections of the society.
Its a general tendency that, when he is child, then he does not care much about his parents.  But when he himself becomes old, then he remembers that he should get respect. In the case of well off people becoming old, they do not have any food problem but son of a poor father can not earn so much that he can feed his old parents after feeding his wife and children.
There should be a residential ‘Ashram’ where food, water, clothes and medicines can be arranged for these old people.There are 1018 Old Age Homes in India today. Out of these, 427 homes are free of cost while 153 old age homes are on pay & stay basis, 146 homes have both free as well as pay & stay facilities and detailed information is not available for 292 homes. A total of 371 old age homes all over the country are available for the sick and 118 homes are exclusively for women. Kerala has 186 old age homes, which is maximum in any state.
(Directory of Old Age Homes in India, HelpAge India, 2002). A very good commission should be constituted for the old people which should have all the facilities.
For many old aged folks who have nowhere to go and no one to support them, old age homes serve as a safe haven. These homes give them a sense of security and friendship as they share their grievances with others like them staying at the home, making them an unusual family of older people(like in the movie Shararat). Many will still argue that, old age homes are not the solution to the problem, as the best care for an older person is within his or her own family, but I feel unfortunately that is not the reality of the present day scenario.
  

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Do YOu Smell What Rock The Cook Is Cooking

Well yesterday. after the movie ended, the power went off. What timing!!! Anyway, as I was sitting there with the remote in my hand, waiting for the power to come back. I thought about The Rock(The erstwhile WWF superstar) and his theme. I started mumbling, Do you smell what the Rock.......
Then a whacky idea struck me.
Here it it.
Someone thundered "Do you smell what the Rock is cooking......."
Rock said "I am cooking a dish?"
Then the thundering guy came to him.
He said, "Dude, I want you to prepare food, not a dish. Are you a dishmaker. I thought you were Rock the cook.
Rock said "You call me a cook?"
The guy said "Well, I wasn't the one, who, on arrival use to shout, Do you smell what the Rock is cooking?"
This got The Rock very angry.
The Rock told his security guard to shoot the stupid guy who thought he was a cook.
The guard politely replied to Rock, "I am supposed to protect you, not kill anyone, I am not your for hire assasin"
........................................Its incomplete, but will update as soon as I get some leads.

Rosh made my day

I was surfin zdnet.com today, and one a news page, I came across this advertisement banner.
The ad was about sun microsystems servers. The ad said, we know how hot and slow the other servers are, no wonder their name sounds like hell.
Clearly pointing to Dell Computers.
Wow keep pulling each others legs, I wonder what kind of ad wil Dell respond with.
Roshan(ROSH) was online to day, talked about the usual stuff. Then he told me even he had shifted to MTNL's triband(ADSL) connection. I welcomed him to the clan, as even I am part of it. Then he told me that MTNL had increased the monthly downloadable data limit from 400 to 700. I was filled up with immense happiness. I mean wihtout any increase in monthly charges, this is completely value for money. Then Rosh helped me to get a gmail account. So I am experimenting with gmail and their messenger(TALK), also under study is their desktop searching software(GoogleDesktop).
So Rosh made my day, by not only telling me about 700mb thing, but also for helping me create a gmail account. That isn't great, but it is quite good since my day was really boring.
Yesterday watched Born on 4th of July on Star Movies, it starred one of my faves;Tom Cruise. It was a very good movie(worth it!). I followed it up with Day After Tomorrow, not a great movie, but it does freak me out, since the things like global warming shown in the movie, don't seem far from reality. But one thing is sure, Ronal Emerich(He made Godzilla and this movie) likes to ruin New York City in his movies.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

So its been a long time.

I have not been busy but lazy.
I was just enjoying my vacations.
Many events occured in this time.
My study schedule is returning to normalcy.
My production management software project has moved in the positive direction.
I and JP decided to make a matrimonial site for our web project, this was suggested to us by Prof. Maurya's.
I am still playing championship manager 03/04, NFS underground.
I managed to lay my hands on Pro Evolution Soccer 4, a good game, but still difficult.
My Jr. College friend Manas bought a new bike, Hero Honda Karitzma, a fully loaded bike.
Well my dad owns Bajaj CT100 deluxe, a entry level bike, its my dad's first bike.
Went to my cousins house, there killed boredom by playing with my cousins 3 year old kid.
And also got myself a bootcut denim jeans.
One of my black shark fish(its what people call it) died, but we managed to find a replacement from the local store.
Sure it hurt a bit since its dead, but as usual I didn't cry.
My relationship with pooja ended, and on a parting note, I added a piece of my mind, and in the process ended up calling her a bitch. That made her loose her mind. Anyway it was the reality, so it doesn't bother me a bit. As she fucked my emotions royally. Though I said I would put that conversation here, I just said so to make her angry. The thing is that I don't want to waste the limited megabytes of broadband, on uploading stuff which is doesn't mean anything to me.
I got to know Tasha, though it was online. But I am sure of one thing, our line of thinking is very similar. I think she is a good candidate for being one of my best friends.
Then diwali days went by, as they usually do.
My NIIT project has reached stagnancy, and have no idea about when I am going to give my supplementry exam for semester 3 module test 2.
Also saw this cool japanese movie Zatoichi, awesome style of cinematography, enhanced by a humble ,yet splendid soundtrack.
That is how the days have gone by,
Frustration, happiness, sadness, ecstasy, lonliness have been the hallmark of these days.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A convicted hacker debunks some myths (sourced from http://www.cnn.com)

Thursday, October 13, 2005; Posted: 3:11 p.m. EDT (19:11 GMT)

(CNN) -- To many, the name Kevin Mitnick is synonymous with hacking, the cinematic sort where a snot-nosed kid thumbs his nose at authority. But, Mitnick says, the characterization is a bit overdone and the legend untrue, if not libelous.

It is true, he says, that he broke into corporate computer systems and stole source code to satisfy his curiosity, but he denies the stories that he hacked into NORAD -- North American Aerospace Defense Command -- or that he wiretapped the FBI.

After a well-publicized pursuit that made him notorious, the FBI arrested Mitnick in 1995. He served five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of wire and computer fraud. He was released in 2000 and today runs a computer security firm. In a telephone interview with CNN's Manav Tanneeru, Mitnick talks about his past, the state of online security today, and how he handles what his name has come to mean.

CNN: There is a certain myth of Kevin Mitnick, but you seem to disavow a lot of it. Why exactly did you become so famous and what specifically was reported that was inaccurate?

MITNICK: [The claims] that I wiretapped the FBI or something like that were something out of a movie like "War Games" or "Enemy of the State" or something. There were fictional events that were tied to real events, like when I took code from Motorola and Nokia when I was a hacker to look at the source code. I took a copy, which is essentially stealing, to look at the information. That was true, that was the truth ... in the story, but there were a lot of libelous statements. ...

I'm the one that got myself into trouble, but because the reporting in the [New York] Times portrayed me as this very dangerous character, the government stepped up the prosecution of the case.

At the end of the day, I would have been prosecuted, but I wouldn't have been held in solitary confinement for a year for the fear that I could launch nuclear missiles by whistling through a pay phone.

I was powerless because I was represented by a publicly appointed attorney who had a very limited budget. But a lot of accusations I wasn't charged with. If I hacked into NORAD or wiretapped the FBI, I certainly would have been charged with it. I got into trouble largely because of my actions. However, because of the media reporting, I was treated as "Osama bin Mitnick."

CNN: You were once the most famous and sought after hacker in the country. After your release from prison you were asked to testify before the Senate, and you now run a Web security firm, which is a fascinating evolution.

MITNICK: It's kind of interesting, because hacking is a skill that could be used for criminal purposes or legitimate purposes, and so even though in the past I was hacking for the curiosity, and the thrill, to get a bite of the forbidden fruit of knowledge, I'm now working in the security field as a public speaker. Twenty-five percent of my revenue is actually doing security assessments, so people actually hire [me] to break into their systems to find their security failures and patch them before the bad guys find them.

So, it's kind of interesting, because what other criminal activity can you ethically practice? You can't be an ethical robber. You can't be an ethical murderer. So it's kind of ironic. But it is really rewarding to know that I can take my background and skills and knowledge and really help the community.

CNN: The fact that you are back in the online world, especially the cyber security sector, may give many reason for a certain insecurity and paranoia. How has your firm been received?

MITNICK: There are several in the security field that don't trust me. They're my competitors, and right there, there is an agenda. But I'm sure that our company does not receive phone calls because they're concerned about my past, and then again, there are a lot of people that do make those calls, and they keep the business going pretty good. I never got a phone call saying, "Hey, we're not hiring your firm because of x, y and z."

I don't know what the percentage is, but I'm sure there are people that don't want to use our firm because they really don't know much about the case. They just know me as a hacker that went to jail.

CNN: Compared to the time you were an illegal hacker, and the contemporary landscape, how easy is it to hack a computer? Has security improved much? Would you still be able to do what you did years ago?

MITNICK: I get hired to hack into computers now and sometimes it's actually easier than it was years ago. It really depends on who the client is -- or if you're doing ethical hacking, who the target is. It could be a difficult target or an easy target. The security landscape, the only thing that's changed in regards to vulnerability are technical issues, but with social engineering, it's all remained the same. So, it depends how vigilant the owners and the operators of the computer systems and the network are, and it really doesn't go to the question of are we living in a more secure world?

CNN: Then, how vulnerable is the common user? Sure, it depends on how many safeguards they've installed, but if they have the most effective of security, how easy is it?

MITNICK: I did a study USA Today was involved with and another marketing firm in San Francisco was involved with within the last year, and we set up a honeypot network, which was six different networks running various different operating systems. We plugged them into a DSL line in San Francisco, and we just watched them to see how quickly these systems could get broken into without having any protection. And one of the computers was broken into four minutes after plugging it into the Internet, which is quite astounding.

CNN: You previously mentioned social engineering. What exactly does that term mean to you?

MITNICK: Social engineering is using manipulation, influence and deception to get a person, a trusted insider within an organization, to comply with a request, and the request is usually to release information or to perform some sort of action item that benefits that attacker. It could be something as simple as talking over the telephone to something as complex as getting a target to visit a Web site, which exploits a technical flaw and allows the hacker to take over the computer.

CNN: And how do contemporary hackers use social engineering in what they do?

MITNICK: Well, how about Paris Hilton? She was attacked on her cell phone, and she was attacked two ways. One was because of a T-Mobile's Web site, and the other guy was able to compromise it by getting her phone number by going on T-Mobile's Web site, doing a password reset, which SMS-ed her new password because, presumably, only the owner would have the handset.

And then what they did was, they did a technique called caller ID spoofing, which allows a person to change the number they're calling from on their calling phone number display. So, they were posing as T-Mobile customer service, and they called her phone, and on the caller ID it showed as T-Mobile customer service, and then they told her, "There are some network difficulties. Have you been getting any SMS [messages] about a password reset, and what were the contents of the message?" and she freely gave it out, and that's how these guys were able to get to her T-Mobile Sidekick, and her e-mail, and whatnot.

In another example, the IRS just did a security audit under the office of the inspector general and called 100 managers posing as IT people at the IRS, and 35 of those mangers freely gave out their password and user name over the telephone.

So, it's a significant threat. A company can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on firewalls, intrusion detection systems and encryption and other security technologies, but if an attacker can call one trusted person within the company, and that person complies, and if the attacker gets in, then all that money spent on technology is essentially wasted. It's essentially meaningless.

CNN: How much do you trust online banking and the usage of credit cards online?

MITNICK: I trust online banking. You know why? Because if somebody hacks into my account and defrauds my credit card company, or my online bank account, guess who takes the loss? The bank, not me.

CNN: Then what about other transactions? Do you pay bills online or shop online? I'm just curious if Kevin Mitnick is worried about ID theft?

MITNICK: Somebody already stole my identity once and used it to apply for a cell phone account. And it's too bad. I wish they stole my identity 10 years ago when I was a fugitive -- that would have been cool. It was a $400 bill, and they used my mom's address in Las Vegas when I was living in California under my name. That's really easy, because all you need to steal someone's identity is the Social Security number. It's not really rocket science.

But, I don't have a problem at all using my credit card online. There are attacks that can be done, but it's unlikely that I'll be targeted as an individual. It's more likely the attackers will target the bank. So that way they can get many user names and passwords, and get access to many accounts, rather than just targeting me. I think it's safer to use a credit card over the Internet than it is to go to a Macy's and use it where an employee can simply skim off the card, or go into a bar, or a restaurant where they have your credit card number.

CNN: You've become something of a star, a cult one, at least, even appearing on an episode of "Alias" as a hacker. What do you make of your celebrity?

MITNICK: It's kind of interesting, because I went through a horrific, horrendous experience and became the hacker poster boy, and it had a negative effect on my trip through the criminal justice system. But now that I've turned over a new leaf and people are interested in my skill-set, now the notoriety of my name helps me in my business. Not because of what I did in the past, but because I'm a known entity with my skill-set.

CNN: Do you miss being on the run?

MITNICK: No, no, I don't miss it all. I like my life now. I made some really stupid mistakes in the past as a younger man that I regret. I'm lucky that I've been given a second chance and that I could use these skills to help the community.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Junk Food:An analysis




               Junk Food: An analysis


By Sanket D. Kambli

Any food that is perceived to be unhealthy and has low or poor nutritional value can be termed as junk food. Similarly anything attractive but negligible in value can too be slotted here. Different groups over the years including opponents of fast food industries and environmentalists have used the term. And here, fast food is food prepared and served quickly at a fast-food restaurant or shop at low cost, noting that, fast food may or may not be junk. Junk foods are made up of empty calories. Empty calorie describes a calorie with little or no marked nutritional value, typically from simple carbohydrates and/or fats. An "empty calorie" has the same energy content of any other calorie but lacks accompanying nutrients such as vitamins, minerals or amino acids. For the same reasons, a diet rich in junk food is not favorable for maintaining a "balanced diet", as suggested by various government and non-profit health organizations. A diet high in junk food is widely considered by the medical community to substantially increase the risks of health problems such as obesity, osteoporosis and heart disease. A diet composed entirely of junk food may lead to malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies and other serious health problems. Junk food nevertheless remains popular because it is relatively cheap to manufacture and/or buy, is convenient to consume, and has a lot of flavor because of its typically high fat, sodium, or sugar content. Some junk foods, such as potato chips, contain a combination of nutritious calories (from the potatoes) and empty calories (from the fried fats).Common sources of empty calories include sugar, white flour, and fat. Junk food also may contain numerous food additives, which are used to enhance flavor, adjust texture, alter color, and prevent spoilage. For this reason many junk foods are also convenient in that they stay good for long periods of time. Due to its inherent attractiveness, junk food has evolved into a huge, world-wide industry. Standard industrial manufacturing and marketing techniques have been successful in increasing consumption of "unbalanced" junk food diets to the extent that many consider it to be a serious health problem in some countries. It is heavily advertised to young people, who often favor taste over nutritional value. But we can see all these changes as examples of economic adaptability. Where yesteryear's field hand hungered for roti and vegies to keep him going from dawn until dusk, today's techie is looking for brain food. Here it not about something that boosts your I.Q., instead it means something that will supply an uninterrupted power source for your system, so you can get as much processing done before your body goes into lethargy mode. So the active ingredients hungered for today are sugar and caffeine. Starch is also valued for its staying power, and salt also serves as a sort of accelerator. So this technological boom has been a dream come true for the junk food barons.
Technological advances have greatly extended the average life span. So a person who lives on junk food may not live as long as his or her peers, but chances are they will live longer than the average person from a generation or two earlier. It's the rare person who doesn't crave something sweet, salty, fatty, or doughy once in a while. Even the most health conscious among us so-called "health freaks" are apt to depart from our whole foods regimen occasionally. Junk food is also the only source of food for many lying somewhere near the poverty line. The decision regarding what to eat or what not should be left to one’s own intellect. We all are aware of its harms and goods. Therefore it should be left for one to judge what is right. It is commonly said by nutritionists that there is no such thing as a bad food, just a bad diet. What they mean is that any food can be incorporated into a diet as long as it is in the right proportion. "We really hate to say there's a good food or bad food. There are just better choices to make," says Tammy Newport, an Indianapolis dietitian. "I think the term junk food is something we need to get away from. I think it sets up failure for some people."








  

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sorry to dissapoint you all

Sorry to disappoint you all.
I hadn't updated since a long time since I was damn busy.
I was so busy that I have lost tab of the many good/bad/interesting things that have happened to me.
So I made you miss out on a lot of action.
Anyway, it is important to start from somewhere, I will start up by describing the week gone by.
Give me some time, by monday, this blog must have been updated. Bye, take care, be here ny monday, to find new stuff. ADIOS!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The hurl at the rock show

By Sanket ‘rock music in my veins’ Kambli

Though the title has analogy with a blink-182 track, this is not a punk music write up.
It isn’t even a gig review. It is more like a stupid attempt to fill up space. Let us begin the filling process. Last week at a rock show called Mosh Mania, there occurred an incident which successfully managed to ruin, a not so good image of rock music. This is what happened. Mosh-crazy rockers had assembled to dive into head banging frenzy. The band line-up was impressive with Helga’s Funk Castle, Zero, Them Clones, Pentagram (big names in Indian Rock Scene). Problem started when, a few among the crowd were bored by the lack of heavy music, and they decided to show their displeasure by throwing bottles at the stage, at that time pentagram had taken stage. This stupid act ticked off Pentagram front-man; he lost his temper, and started spitting expletives at the crowd on a whole. And the extent, to which he lost his temper, can be judged by the fact he managed to hurl the mike-stand at the crowd, and hurt an innocent bloke who was there to, just enjoy some live music. Here we should note that the blame is not only on the group which started the fiasco but also on Penta…. lead vox, who instead of trying to diffuse the situation diplomatically, showed a bloated rock star attitude. These people have maligned the not so good image of rock music, though everyone would say that the show must go on. And rock music cannot be killed by such stupid incidents by some dim-wited people. But the question remains unanswered, have people learnt something from this incident, if something of this sort happens again somewhere else, we will easily know it didn’t have the desired effect. So what can be done? Everything, but preaching, because we have a bad habit of not taking advice, anyway, we all know that, Rock and Roll will never die, period.

Stealth Movie Review:

By Sanket ‘frequent flier’ Kambli

Stealth is about a pilot-less futuristic fighter jet which goes rogue, and this rogue jet or EDI=Extreme Deep Invader(spelled as Eddy) makes the movie smarter and more ambitious than it first appears. Amid the dogfight sequences (including a truly magnificent slow-motion crash and a scary pilot-eject at 35,000 feet) and requisite gratuitous shots of Jessica Biel in a bikini, screenwriter W.D. Richter ("Big Trouble in Little China") sneaks in the dangers of win-at-all-costs counter-terrorism and a solid search-and-rescue third act that has little to do with the crazy runaway plane. Biel ("Blade: Trinity"), Josh Lucas ("Sweet Home Alabama") and Jamie Foxx (contracted to a supporting role before "Ray" put him on Hollywood's A-list) play Navy pilots who make up an elite emergency strike force in ultra-high-tech jets that fly in to blow up terrorists and stolen nuclear warheads on a moment's notice. The specifics of these incidents are often logically ridiculous, and they get even more so after the team is forced to accept the computerized plane into their ranks as an experiment. When a lightning strike turns its circuits into bunk ("EDI is war plane. EDI must have targets," it declares in an intimidating monotone), the fight is on to bring the thing down. Director Rob Cohen sets the stage with satellite shots showing worldwide locations, then zooms in and in and in to catch up with realistic (though CGI-generated) canyon-charging flight sequences jazzed up further with creative editing. He hires great actors like Sam Shepard and Joe Morton for supporting roles as the pilots' clashing commanders, one of whom knew the dangers of the rogue plane and let it fly anyway. The script even allows for a little honest (if overly simplistic) philosophical debate about the civilian casualties and the dehumanizing effects of turning warfare into a video game...before turning hypocritical when the pilots violate two foreign countries' airspaces, then shoot down their quite justified defenders.

"Stealth" is far more concerned with being cool than with being smart, so contrivances, plot holes and conspicuous overproduction are constantly pecking away at the movie's defendable assets. With the SPFX being so good the dog-fights and city attacks are just beautiful works of visual-art candy. There's this insane floating gas-station that of course gets "dismantled" and it was pretty nice, as improbable as it was. Even the impossible aerobatics look good. At one point EDI turns around at super sonic speed and shoots down a plane as it flies by him. EDI was also good. He's smart and evolving but they just take it as far as they could have. But the story lags so much, there's nowhere to go with it. I wish they had done some SERIOUS damage in a big city, but movies rarely go there. They have to save the day by cutting the blue wire one second before everything goes boom. The movie sucks in many ways. But for some reason I had fun anyway. Because I love jets, I love stories about AI, especially tough AI’s with emotions, because I love well-accomplished SPFX and the score rocked and rocked HARD.

A rickety-crickety analysis

By Sanket ‘trying to gain his form back’ Kambli

Our cricket team will embark on a new tour, which is just like other tours. And as usual they are carrying a huge baggage of ambitions on their shoulders. The tour to Lanka was disappointing to be modest, and it is hoped that we are able to, at least beat Zimbabweans convincingly.

But both the tours have a point in common, a point which is the most ignored one.

That common point between both the series is that, in the preceding tour, the lankans and windies had played a test series, similarly here the Kiwis and Zimbabweans have played a test series.

And like in the last one-day series, India is again directly playing a limited over series without playing a test series.

And those who think that it is enough for our team to play some practice matches with some local/amateur sides, then all of you may still remember their performances in the matches that followed some practice matches in the last tour.

So here we can clearly see the importance of playing a test series.

Being on the pitch for hours at end for 3-4 consecutive days, playing for a victory for which you have to wait for a few days. The grind of the tests helps a cricketer, to bolster his mental/physical prowess, so after a test series, where he has been able to find out what is wrong/right with him, he is able to perform more to his ability and this rubbish about form is debunked.

Whether he is on the losing/winning side, a test series is always helpful, as it triggers introspection at a personal level, whose effects are clearly seen when these cricketers take to field in a 50-over match.

These tests are much better than practice matches against reserve sides, and we can draw analogy from the concept of holding preliminary exams.

But this is driving us towards another thing called form. And this is where all the rubbish starts.

It is hard to find out; from where, this lame excuse to hide the player’s inability to perform at the highest level has come.

But it also shows how lucky our cricketers are, because if we go down at a student’s level, we as students cannot score low, and during an interview for a job, say that we were out of form.

But that is something we cannot change, so it gets added to my list of ‘things I cannot change’.

And if anyone found my write up, really dim-witted, then I would say I am just out of form.