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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Featured Rollblog 2

<<-- Scott E. Solomon is a resident of NY whose blog consists of all that is random, funny, and outright hilarious. For instance, he plays about with customer service professionals and CEOs, and posts about it. He answers all sorts of random questions from readers, and of course, posts about it. In short, he does crazy things and funny things, and posts about them. He has a talent for finding something humorous everywhere. His blog even contains a video of him drinking a can of seven-year-old diet cola. However, in a funny way, he can sometimes offer really sound advice. All this got him into Blogs Of Note recently. That's how I started following him, and, McDonald's style, I'm Lovin' It.
 <<-- click here to zoom to him

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Demons Within 1: Anger

“Krodhat bhavati sammohah sammohat smriti-vibhramah: Smritibhramsat buddhinaso buddhinasat pranasyati.”
“From anger comes delusion, from delusion, the loss of memory; from loss of memory, the destruction of discrimination; from destruction of discrimination he perishes.”
--The Bhagavat Gita.

When a child throws a tantrum, the parents advise the child not to lose his/her temper, not to get angry. Scriptures and fables warn us against the negative effects of anger on our minds, bodies, and daily lives. Indeed, anger is something that can blind us, take control of us, and lead us to our downfall. 
Yet, in spite of all the advice, all the anger-management lessons, many of us often forget about our temper when the time comes to control it. We lose ourselves in rage, we shout, cry, swear, maybe even get violent, and make an embarrassing mess of ourselves. We spoil the day for us, and for everyone around us. Our reputation is shattered by our lack of mastery over our tempers.
Anger is not the same at all times: the violent impulse to throw something, the quiet boiling rage that hurts such a lot, the creeping grudge, the vile hatred that slinks its way in --they're all different. However, the one they harm the most? In every case, the person who is angry.
Remedies too, do not lack variety, ranging from deep breaths, imagining a red dot fading to white and drinking water to shopping sprees, meditation, and therapy. However, don't they say that prevention is better than cure? Anger is not exempt from the scope of this maxim. A person with a short temper should learn to identify the causes of anger and to nullify them, before going in for remedy.
The first cause of anger is, well, the immediate/apparent cause. The particular word, occurrence, sight, that sets you off. Such provocations are not within our control in most situations, true. However, more broadly speaking, we can make it a point to give people less cause to provoke us. "Do unto others, as you would wish them to do unto you"; lower-school value education.
Second, we have the real/long-term cause. Short-tempered friend out there, have you noticed that your fuse is thinner on some days than on others? If you look carefully, you will find that those are the days when you scored badly, had a quarrel... maybe even your parents quarrelled. An atmosphere of negative vibes, a negative occurrence, or a previous eruption of anger affects our temper much more than we realise. Nullification exercise? Learn to put things behind you and deal with low points in your life maturely.
Thirdly, the transformed emotion. Often, you won't realise why you are suddenly feeling angry. Why, out of the blue, something makes you feel like launching into a tirade of expletives, or storming out and slamming the door. An insight may often show you that you weren't angry at all --you were hurt, embarrassed, sad --and somehow this feeling morphed into anger, without your knowledge. This has the highest chance of happening when expressing the true feeling can belittle you in public; in such cases your sub-conscious self-respect (ego?) steps in and your irritation at feeling something belittling comes up front as anger. The only way out of this is self-knowledge. You should have enough realisation of our own emotions to know how you feel, if you feel it strongly, and how you want to react.
These are all the ways of preventing anger that I learnt from experience of dealing with angry friends, family (oh, my mother's father's side!) and sometimes even the angry me. I'm no self-improvement guru, but then, anger management doesn't always need one. All this really works. You only need to know where your problem lies. And when it doesn't, we can always go for  meditation, shopping spree, 10-step-anger-management-guru...
But just don't be angry. It harms, you, you and only you. On the negative, you will achieve nothing. Showing false anger sometimes can get little jobs done, but that is a whole another, ahem, blog post.

Gita Quote Courtesy: Article by Swami Sivananda
Images Courtesy: Google Image Search 'anger'



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Poems of yesteryears --Still A Kid

Churned out when I was edging towards my 11th birthday.

============================================


Radio Mix-up

Voices float out of my little radio
As I tune it—
“…cut into small pieces…”
“…’metre’ is a standard unit…”
“…mix just a scoop of Vanish…”
“…with onions you must garnish…”
“…three people were killed by…”
“…and your little one won’t cry…”

Voices float out yet again—
“…use our product to cure pain…”
“…and your yummy curry is ready to serve…”
“…it was the problem of a sensory nerve…”
“…when Mr. Acharya died…”
“…and the glitches you must hide…”
“…the police suspect it’s a murder…”
“…Mummy, please! I can’t go further…”

It seems to me as if it were a joke.
“…then in the dust you must poke…”
“…for an hour let it soak…”
“…insecticides found in coke…”

“Oh my God”, I smile and think,
“This will push me to death’s brink!”
“…playing! Playing! Playing again!
I tell you, not a single mark you’ll gain…!”
I thought, “Oh my! It’s my mother!”
But then I found it’s the radio, therefore another,
Reminding me that any time mine may come
And scold me, for I’ve not solved the eleventh sum.
============================================
Random, I know.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Poems of yesteryears --Childish Dreams

After writing my first poem, I wondered what to write about. At that time, I dreamt of becoming an astronaut. This little thing was written the same year as my first poem.
============================================
Guess My Aim

Hey, grown-ups! What do you think I’ll be
When as old as you all I shall be?
Lawyer? Doctor?
Engineer? Teacher?
No, no, of course not.
I shall be an astronaut.

Where shall I pay frequent visits to
When there’ll be no time to visit you too?
The court? The clinic?
The factory? The school?
No! Those are not for me.
As for my choice, space it shall be.

What special shall I have
When no longer for sweets I shall crave?
Black-white uniform? Stethoscope?
Safety gear? Chalk-duster? Oh, no hope.
It’s others those shall suit.
For me, it shall be a smart spacesuit.

============================================

And beside that I drew myself in a spacesuit; I attempted to draw the spacesuit like I'd seen it on a photo of Buzz Aldrin. I was a HUGE fan of outer space and everything related to it at that time, and I continued to be till I realised that there are enough surprising things on Earth itself.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Featured Rollblog 1

Knierim Family

Incredibly cute family blog with incredibly cute kid. Click kid above to zoom to them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Of Little Good Things, and Optimism

So many times we complain about what's not right in our lives; but do we really appreciate the value of all those little nice things that happen to us everyday? This may sound like another of the philosophical speeches that riddle the print, screen, and online media. But then, this one's inspired by some nice things that happened to me recently, and how they brightened my gloomy day.
Recently, my TV decided to stop working, and I lost part of my mid-exam relaxation. Worst paper got postponed. Oh hell, bad day. But then suddenly, my baby blog got its first comment. I got to see a wonderful 'moment' picture on one blog I follow, and it reminded me of all the happy moments with my friends and family. I sat musing, and when I came out of my daydreaming spell, I was feeling so much better. My fatigue from studying Geography and Bengali Grammar was gone. My anger at the Geography teacher for knowing less Geography than me, poof. My TV gloom, what gloom? I felt happy, refreshed, and raring to go and finish that whole irritating exam business up. Nice, isn't it? I've made it a point now to try to find the good in things and to notice good little things to cheer me up, which is a good habit for anyone, especially teenagers like me.
Well, seeing the good of everything, that's what I said just now, right? That brings another philosophical word up: 'Optimism'. And its cousins, of course. 'Optimistic', 'optimist', and the like. When someone, a friend, a relative, or a sibling, complains of anything bad in their lives, we advise them to see the good in things. "You're too pessimistic, be an optimist man. That's the way to deal with life. That's what I do..." and blah, blah, blah. But is it so easy to be optimistic? Can we always bring ourselves to look at the bright side, the silver lining? Without advice given? Spontaneously? I doubt. Being optimistic requires a mindset, and conscious exercise to make a habit of optimism. Consciously searching for the good when you see the bad. For instance, that 'little good things' exercise can be part of a self-conversion-to-optimism drive.
And it requires the intent to be optimistic. People have often told me, "Optimism is useless and impractical when there's no possibility of anything positive". "See solutions to the problem instead of not seeing the problem". And as my friend once put it (before an exam, as you might have guessed), with some saying I suppose, "The optimist invented the aeroplane, the pessimist invented the parachute". 
Let's  answer these befittingly, in order. First off, seeing possibility of good IS optimism, and that means trying to find a solution and any positive effects of the problem, which is intelligent and practical. Second, once again, optimism means to see the solution, and it does not mean losing sight of the problem. It means to understand it and see all possibilities instead of only the negative. Not silly avoidance, practical solution-seeking. And, logical thinking brings up this conclusion: the pessimist shirked away from the aeroplane, as he was afraid of falling and breaking his bones and losing his precious life. Then the optimist came along and thought of the possibility of saving someone who falls, and he ended up finding a solution, the parachute!
What I mean to say is, optimism opens new possibilities of solutions to us. It does not blind us from the gravity of a problem, it helps us in solving it, and in keeping a cool head by doing so; as when we have a complete view of the circumstances, we can level-headedly deal with it. And being aware of the positive effects of a negative occurrence can only help us work better at solutions. So friends, let us make an effort to be optimistic. Starting today, now. Optimism will keep you happy, and help you sail smoothly through your daily life. It will increase your confidence. I'm not guaranteeing success: but you will definitely learn more, live better, and emerge happier if you are optimistic.
As for me, optimism has helped me be a better student, a better person and a better friend. I can help myself and others better, I can organise events and answer questions better. Give optimism a try, folks. It really WORKS.


Pictures: Internet (Google Image Search: optimism)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

From My Watchlist --Criminal Minds

News of previous series item: Glee Season 1 ends with the Clubbers going to Regionals. Slot will be replaced by Ugly Betty Final Season. Now for the topic on hand.

Criminal Minds is an FBI police procedural crime drama, that deals with the elite Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) of the FBI, based in Virginia. Their job is to analyse the psychological status of criminals to determine their next exploit and eventually facilitate their arrest. However, many cases have had twisted outcomes, surprising to both sides of the television screen, which leave no room for the offender(s) to be brought to justice.
Once again, I shall not go into details of character and plot, as it is available on http://www.starworld.in/shows.aspx?sid=54.
The show is fast-paced, and they usually have very less time to correctly identify and profile the Unknown Subject or 'UNSUB'; more so because most of their cases deal with extreme crimes which are intellectually challenging to solve. Though a lot of the show consists of fast-paced reasoning in rooms full of white boards and paper, there is enough action and SWAT break-ins to keep the action-loving viewer at the edge of the seat. The out-of-the-box idea, of portraying the psychological analysts of crime, itself is a huge quality of the show. As the wikipedia page puts it, it's specialty is in 'focusing on the criminal rather than the crime itself.'
Episodes usually begin with a preview of the crime or its effects, usually without revealing much information; or with a Virginia HQ scene where they are alerted about the case. Alternately, sometimes the agents going about their daily lives get news of them being called in. Usually after this they are shown in the team's jet or cars, travelling to the crime scene. Each episode typically begins and ends with a saying relevant to the case. The cases, being psychologically intense, are often high on emotion for both the team and the viewers.
Though every episode can be treated as a stand-alone case, a timeline runs in the background, with people coming and going, and the lives of the agents changing. Some intermittent episodes or parts are dedicated to situations in their lives, and these show forth the individual sides of the agents. Sometimes difficult personal situations run for a long time in the background, even involving the team at times, as in the case of Agent Hotchner's enmity with Foyet that leads to his stabbing and his wife's murder; finally Foyet is killed by Hotchner, in a dramatic ending to the murder episode. On the whole, it is fun to follow the workings and lives of the team.
The agents are all portrayed as quick, talented and witty, and the camaraderie within the team is enjoyable. The games and jokes of relaxed moments add to the flavour of the show. There are emotional moments after a success, when they talk about the consequences of their work, and come out of their professional seriousness to look at the last case emotionally and philosophically; and when they receive gratitude from all those benefited by their work.
I was introduced to the show in its fifth season, but I fell in instant love with it, and it was not only about my general love for crime drama. I love the intellectual challenge, the action, the emotion, and the people in the BAU--all of them. I would recommend it to all lovers of crime drama, wit and excitement, as until the screen blacks out after the end of the episode, I'm sure you won't be able to think of anything else. The ending will surely serve to leave a strong mark on your thinking side, and you will ponder over its relevance in real life for a long time after the show, just as I did.
The Season 5 2h finale airs on Star World @ 10 pm IST. The slot will be replaced by another crime drama, the Emmy-nominated Bones Season 5.
A/N: This time I took a more systematic view of the topic, with less campaigning for it; partly because I didn't watch it from scratch, and also as this genre enjoys a bigger fan base.
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