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Friday, December 31, 2010

Google Doodle goes 'GMMXIe'

You can't hold back the water sloshing down a waterfall, you can't stop yourself from getting older, you can't stop the days from slipping away one by one. You stare on helpless as days become weeks, weeks months, and when twelve months go by, you wonder how it suddenly became a whole new year. A year sounds like a pretty long time, and that's how it seems if you think of all the things you do in one year. Each day has 86,440 seconds, and so much that you do takes but a few of them; it's natural that in 86,440x365, you will surely do a lot. But still you wonder: was it all really that long ago? Did such a long time, a whole year, really pass? 
You can't stop the earth from moving around the sun and coming back to where it was 365 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes and 52 seconds ago. So you must accept it as it comes. Start when you wish, but the earth will come back to that place, after exactly that much time.
You can't wait for every new wave as the water crashes against the rocks before falling, you can't wait for your birthday to come and can't wait to turn eighteen, you can't wait for the next day when you go to bed every night. You take every day in your stride, enjoy the experience, and move on. As the days become weeks, weeks months, and twelve months are about to be over once again, you can't wait for midnight to strike and the New Year to begin. You amaze yourself by the amount of things you do in such a short time as just a year: you pass a grade, grow as a person, make so many important decisions, and cross milestones in your life. Sure, so much you do needs just a few seconds, and you've got 86,440x365, but you remember it all for long after it's gone, so it can't be a very long time, can it? And you wonder, did so many things fit into just a year? Did it take such a short time for a so much to pass?
You can't speed up the earth's movement. It'll always take 365 days, 6 hours, 13 minuted and 52 seconds to come back where it began, whichever starting point you choose for your year. So the Old Year will end, and you must accept that it's gone.
And you think like this every Gregorian New Year, every Bengali New Year, on Results Day and at the start of a new grade every Scholastic Year; you even feel like that when important annual occasions come along: Durga Puja, Christmas, and the birthdays of you, your Mom, and your friends. But you keep loving, hating, smiling, weeping, for another 365 days... and stop repeating the details already. We don't have the whole Leap Year thing for nothing.
And yes. It's just over one more year away... will the world really end in 2012? Well, it has just one positive: you'd be freed from answering School Certificate in '13 and Higher in '15. But then you'll miss college, and that's a big negative. New Year resolutions! You hate them, right? Because you think one doesn't need a whole New Year to change things. You can start any time. That's what you like to do. You think that if you can't change it at another time, you can't change it in a new January. But for the sake of your readers, make at least one: needn't be a New Year special, just a resolution -- don't, ever again, try to fit in unrelated information in a misfit subject for a blog post... 
Geez, I've been talking to myself again. You'll need one more resolution: never ever talk... oh, there I go again. Anyway, see you next year, take care, have loads of fun. And stay up till midnight. If you're an optimist, do it to ensure 2011 comes, or else to ensure that 2010 goes. And yes you're right, that's borrowed from a famous quote.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wallpapers 15 & 16

Yes, I decided to give you the numbering of the wallpapers. I have been numbering them since the first one; these are the 15th and 16th, both done by taking a base pattern, selecting similar parts of it and filling them with another suitable pattern, until I got the desired effect. Sometimes when the image had too many vertical components (which is never good for wallpapers) I added a pattern which was rich in horizontal components.
Add to that some dodging and burning, some moving and copying, and you have this:
It looks nicer than I first thought it would. It looks like a decent mosaic-like design on the desktop.
And if you cut out on the dodging and burning, and go for lots of flipping and rotating (and undoing and doing that lots of times), you get something like this.
That one looks much better in the original size. I have no idea why the thumbnail looks so... messy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

(Not so) New Wallpapers

I made some more wallpapers along with the ones given in the previous update. But I saved them for later. There's this one, done by setting the brushes to 'take colour from gradient' and using my favourite neon gradients.
Then there is this rather musty one, which looks like old worn-out curtains.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Preparing to Change Gears



Christmas is gone. So much anticipation, preparation, and eagerness lost their purpose for one more year. At least, the part of it that relates to the Christmas spirit. I can't really claim that the festive spirit stays away for long, especially in a country of festivals like India. But yes, though the New Year is nigh, and some of excitement of the winter festival spell is still left, once we stumble upon the New Year, the focus naturally shifts to the less enjoyable tasks and the less exciting routine.


Christmas brings the New Year closer, but the New Year always brings closer the end of the holidays, the annual examinations, project submissions, and for the unlucky 10th and 12th graders, the nightmare called 'Board Exams'. The thought of answering the School Certificate exams haunts me already as an 8th Grader, and I have love less enough for the school exams; I shudder to think of the day, which is nearer to a year than two years away, when 10th Grade will befall me. Oh, the huge syllabus, oh, the long hours of studying, oh, the stress, the worry and the unhappiness that they say it will bring. Oh Mystery Called God, Praying To Whom Always Works Even Though I Don't Completely Believe, help me.




New Year. Countdown, fireworks, staying up till midnight. New hope, resolutions, new calendars and planners, marking important dates anew. My mother says that the day itself is just chance, and that the spirit lies in the hope and the joy it brings. And she's right. Pick a day, celebrate it, come back after 365 days, celebrate it again, continue. Don't forget to make that 366 for every fourth year, except for every 100th year, but including every 1000th year. Done! In fact, in India, we have so many different linguistic/racial communities and religious groups with their own calendars that we have loads of New Years. We Bengalis begin our calendar with the month of Baishakh, which starts in the middle of April. We call it Poyela Boishakh, in some dialects Pohela Boishakh. Punjabis begin with Baisakhi, a harvest festival. Marathis have Gudi Padwa, Keralites have Vishu, Tamils have Puthandu. This place will tell you more about New Years in India. Outside India too, every country, culture and religion have their own calendars and New Years. Many of them, like the Muslim and Chinese New Years are popular in India.


Then there is the general Hindu calendar, with it's own New Year, of course. All these celebrations have one thing in common: gratitude for all the good that happened during the past year, realisation and promise to rectify all mistakes and defects, and renewed hope and plans for the time to come. And that is why, whenever it comes, the transition of one year to another holds so much significance. And of course there's the excitement of staying up, the rather surreal and amazing manner in which, in a split second, it's no more the previous year, but a whole new year, with new possibilities, potential and hope. We decide when it would happen, yes, but the hugely overwhelming feeling of the midnight switch is all the same, across calendars, across different dates for celebrating the advent of the New Year.

And the most interesting part? Lunar calendars like the Hindu and Bengali calendars. The Bengali calendar a day is said to begin at 6 a.m., as that is the average time of the moon's visible phase change at any given latitude. Quaint, don't you think?
Tall talk aside, the countdown to the New Year 2011 is in full swing. Let us enjoy the last few days of our holidays, and prepare to change gears back to the humdrum, looking forward to the next festival that comes to us in the New Year. Have fun!

Images: Google Image Search (Keywords: happy new year, new year countdown, back to school)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ho Ho Ho!

The following hit the inbox of everyone whose email ID I know. For those people whose IDs I don't have but who still are my faithful readers and friends...
==========================================
Time to build snowmen,
Wrap your warm clothes tight,
Bake the Christmas cake and set
The Christmas Tree alight.

On Christmas we wish for all that's good,
And have fun around the Tree,
We enjoy our Christmas dinner,
Open gifts, and make merry.

Children wish they could stay awake
And watch Santa come and go;
But Christmas magic puts all to sleep
And no-one hears his 'ho ho ho!'

They say he really comes on Christmas Eve;
Rudolph showing the way --
Around the world he flies giving gifts,
The Reindeer drawing his sleigh.

I don't know if all that really happens
Like the age-old story goes
But I know that with Christmas comes such goodwill
That can even make friends out of foes.

Time to spread the festive cheer,
To forget and forgive;
Time to enjoy gifts and greetings
That we give and receive.

May Christmas bring you loads of joy,
And make all your wishes come true;
And may the New Year bring lots of luck
And good hope to you.

From the very deepest depths
Of a heart filled with hope anew,
I wish a very Merry Christmas
And a very Happy New Year to YOU!
==========================================
Plus, a very funny 'scientific' explanation, true to the laws of Physics, of the existence/non-existence of Santa Claus: Can Santa Fly? from Carmi's blog. And if you are too lazy to click the link from there, here is the link itself.
Thank You, Gmail, for the emoticons. 
And, smudgy little impression of Rudolph the Reindeer as a Christmas Wallpaper. I gave him those beautifully persuasive eyes; because the ordeal he went through before Santa gave him his high post, for me, symbolises the suffering of every victim of discrimination of any kind. While the spirit of Christmas is still on a high, I plead to all to recognise the potential of those who are different and treat them, with humane respect, as fellows and equals; and to try in your own way to get them every right that the so-called 'normal', 'high-born' and 'blessed' have. At least, keep this wallpaper on your desktop, or a relevant message on your screen-saver, for a few hours of Christmas, and share it and its spirit.
Hoping cute little Smudgy Rudolph can egg on your to fight for equality and harmony this Christmas.

!!!ENJOY!!!!

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