xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xmlns:og="http://ogp.me/ns#" Goes the Distance: August 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where you want it to be......

Putting up a video on your blog is a piece'o'cake.
It's called Embedding and doesn't need much work.

Let's say you want a YouTube video to be placed between the following two blocks of blah.

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

---------- Video Here ------------

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

The first thing you need to do is go to your video page on YouTube
and copy the code in the "Embed" box on the right hand side....

Quite simple...just click there..it get's selected..now copy.
Paste this code in "Notepad" or whatever text editor you have on your Mac....just to hold it temporarily.
This is the "Embed" code that fetches your video from YouTube and plays it on your blog.

Now you create your new post....you type all the text(blahs) in the "Compose" tab that looks like this.
Once you done typing your text....you have to click on the "Edit Html" tab beside "Compose".

You'll get a box that looks pretty much the same but with slightly different looking text in the typing area.
Click on the spot between the text where you want your video to be placed
(in this case..between the two "blah" blocks).

Paste the copied "Embed" code at the spot....that takes care of the code part.
Now simply hit "PUBLISH POST" and
Viola !....Your blog's hosting your video.

You can use the same steps to add videos to existing posts..
just add the "Embed" code wherever you want in the post.
Positioning the video frame exactly where you want it is a "trial and error" thing.
Doesn't take much time.


*** Been doin some thinking on the cause and effects of power *** will put it up on my next post....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When all else fails.....

You're having a crazy day....life not making sense or it's making sense in a way you find hard to accept.
You're upset,you're worked up.you're a train on the verge of derail.....you take a moment...you pull out our iPod or your phone.
You twist your fingers on the wheel or scroll to the right station and 'click'.The healing begins.
A river starts to flow in your head and you're flowing with it.Your body's suspended...your blood pressure returns to normal.You're heart's stopped screaming and your hands stop trembling.You're getin fixed...and will be fixed...by the time this track is over.

Since you were a little kid..you remember your favourite tunes...they still make you happy.
No matter how old you get or how much you rise or fall,you've kept your music.
It carries you,It bring's you to your knees.....It reminds you who you really are and you're feet are back on the ground.

I remember playing playing "Black or White" endlessly on my tape deck till it drove my Mom nuts.
I remember my first Roger Waters concert and wishing they'd invented a time machine.
My Mom and Dad marking the times of their lives with the music that was a rage back then.
My family and friends,we all have something called "our song".

There's something bout music that has worked while all else has failed.
If you're watching the footage of a music festival..you wouldn't be able to deny that this is what brings people together.
It has been the strongest and most universally accepted form of expression ever known.
Music is clay that can be whatever you want it to be.....motivation,pleasure,inspiration....even therapy.

Through the times, music has conquered all mind sets and crossed barriers more than anything else.
Over the centuries...correction,millinnea....music has has been our best friend more that any other science or art.
We have laughed,cried,held hands,danced,thought,stopped thinking,hummmed and swayed....all to the tune of music.
Why ? Why has this worked while all else has failed ?
Why are Jackson,Frank Sinatra and Presley worshiped as Gods ?
What did they have that made us want to listen to them over and over again ?.

So what is it about music that has worked where all else has failed?
...it's the Sincerity.
Sincerity that resonates with your soul.
No one can make true music without being true to themselves.
Ask the greatest musicians what keeps them going and the answers are simple.."We love to do it".
It's this sincerity that works.The sincerity that makes expression simple and powerful.

We have expressed the lives and times through our music.
From war to peace...from destruction to harmony ...from diversity to unity.
The essence of the Universe has been summed up in "OM".
Slokas are chanted to a tune.Prayers are sung in harmony.
Music flows from alpha to omega...and yet we never jade ourselves of it.
No age of art or science has prevailed over the age of music.

There have been moments in music that are icons of history.
From Elvis making pretty women scream to Louis Armstrong motivating the troops in Vietnam.
From Stephen Tyler making the fans go wild to Lata Mangeshakar making our Prime Minister cry.
From Pink Floyd's psychedelic artwork to Aerosmith's raw energy.
From Wartime protests like Woodstock to Peacetime rallies like LiveEarth.
They have done for mankind what no system or philosophy could ever accomplish.

I've been a music junkie all my life.
My tastes in music have evloved over the years and I still want more.
Anyone one who says he doesn't listen to music is not listening to life.
Take a moment...step aside from the "you" that is defined by others and by the system.
Go soul searching and you'll find yourself in a tune that will put everything else in place.

Find what works for you,borrow a CD from a friend..attend a concert..attend a music festival or watch it on TV and you'll know what I'm talking about.Take a step away from your 9 to 5,stop asking yourself questions, put those earplugs on and your life will make more sense.

Is music an art or is it a science ?
Science or Art....Art or Science...is one better than the other?
When war breaks out...will technology change the minds of the belligerents?
When a plague breaks out...will a visit to the Art gallery cure me ?
To know when art and science are different and when they come together,to see one in the other....to know how one can help the other and when one can preserve the other.....is the sign of and educated and evolved mind.
Ask again...Science or Art....Art or Science...is one better than the other ?
Are my hands better or my feet ?...Would I choose one over the other ?
It's a question that find a answer in contradiction.just like many facts of life that really matter.
Art and Science are balancing elements and to think that one is better over the other means that you need to think a lot harder.
Music transcends art and science to culminate both into...well music.

If you think that's all there is...I'm tellin you it is'nt.
Not until to see for youself....Ahem ! Listen for your self.
Make music your mantra in life.
Try that and you'll never regret a moment.

Tap your feet to Bobby Darin's "Beyond the Sea".
Jump to Elvis's "Blue Suede Shoes".
Laugh and Cry to Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World"
Leave the planet on the Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon".
Celebrate life in Mika's "Grace Kelly"
Find poetry in "Kabhie Kabhie".
Worship one God through AR Rahaman's "Khwaja mere Khwaja".
Learn the horror of war in Metallica's "One"
Learn the value of peace in Micheal Jackson's "Heal the World".

Music has it all....music is all.It's food,it's water,it's the air we breathe.
If anyone of you has found a way to live without music..Don't tell me how.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's still Home....

Been a year since I last backpacked.
The last time was in Himachal with a few friends.
Had visted the Dalai Lama's Monastery and went mountain climbing near the BhagasuNag Village.
It was nothing like the India I've known.
This was'nt the first time I had been there.
My family had come here when I was three years old.
I was a restless little figit and my mom tells me that I ran upto the Dalai Lama's throne and squatted on it like it was a sofa at home.
We had to leave in a hurry but not before a few tourists got my picture.
So that's that.

I've travelled to quite a few places in the North and South of India.
Seen interesting things and met even more interesting people.
I've always been pretty interested in people's mindsets
and always jumped at a chance to strike up a conversation with locals and tourists alike.

My latest trip was a little different in that I had experienced things that altered my outlook on life a little bit.
I got on a bus for Pune on Sunday evening and reached the little city of Mapusa in 30 mins.
In comes this tall,slim but strong looking dude and takes the seat next to me.
Didn't say a word..just but his backpack in the loft and tucked himself in.
The bus wouldn't be leaving for another 15 mins.
I saw a store selling pistas and badams and thought I'd pick up some for home.
Got out,stretched...flexed,put on my haggler's face and headed for the store.
Ater 5 mins of hostage negotiations,the shopkeeper released two 1kg packs of Pista and Badam into my custody.
The terms of the surrender, I will not discuss.....they make me look really cheap !

Got back into the bus,put the stuff in bag.
"I see you signed you name as Menezes in the Roster" says my neighbour.
"Yah,Hi ! I'm Arthur...you are ?"
"Wasid,Hi !"
"You from Goa ?"
"No,I'm from Kabul...I'm an Afgan".
I think to myself,"this will be interesting..."
"I'm from Hyderabad,came to Goa for a vacation."
"By yourself ?"
"Yup ! My friends are in college attending classes.I have an exam the day after and here I am."
"Where were you staying ?"
"Rego's in Panjim."

Wasid had just finished his BBM in Goa and had been accepted for an MA at the University of Pune.
He had been in India for the past four years and had travelled quite a bit.
It surprised me that he was an engineering student in Kabul and had to drop it because of the instability.
"Governments and systems never last in Afghanistan.",he says.
I told him bout my course at Loyola and bout the places I visited.
He gave me a lot of useful info bout Goa that I will definitely use the next time I go there.

We discussed a lot of things.I didn't ask him bout the fighting although I wanted to.I felt it would be awkward.
"You know what's going on in Afganisthan don't you ?", he asks.
"I guess the whole world does.Tell me....how is it for you in Kabul?"
He says that his neighbourhood is one of the safer places but outside,people die every day.
Bombs,bullets and Jeeps are the order of the day.
I asked him if he was in support or against the fighting.
"I understand the fighting...but then here I am."

Wasid had a brother who worked with the WHO and his father was a well to do Horticulturist.
He told me that the fruits I just bought came from Kabul via Karachi.
"America can't win that easily and the fighters have a lot of local support."
"I'm sure",I said.
I said that the U.S can't enforce their system on a country that does'nt know it.
But then without them...a lot more kids would be dead.

Anyways,I asked him how he felt after four years in India.
"It's been amazing,The people have been very friendly and I plan to stay a lot longer."
"So you planning to work here or return to Kabul after this ?"
"I have some ideas that might click back home"
"Tell me"
"All the stuff in Afghanisthan comes from India via Pakistan....soaps,shampoos,matchboxes...you name it.
The middlemen take their cut and that makes the stuff pretty expensive.I'm gonna get a dealership and be a direct sole distributor in Kabul."
"That sounds like it might work."
"Just need to get some capital and need to pay off the officials."

We stop at a resthouse..grab a coffee and continue.
We spoke a bit about history,I can't remember why.
Discussed the Mughal invasion.
"We ruled your country for 350 years",he says jokingly.
"And then the British came and ended your line", I replied.
"In fact Bahadur Shah Zafar didn't even get a tomb.Too Bad !"

We dicussed the war and the Aryan settlements and how the Nazis used the "Aryan Superiority" ideal to screw the World.
"Funny thing actually.Afganisthan is the true home of the Aryans.The Nazi's got it all wrong."
"Really !"
"Our land was known as Aryana."
"That's something new to me"
"Believe it."

We spoke for another two hours and dozed off.
Reached Pune at bout 6.30 in the morning.
He asked if I wanted to go to the University with him and grab a bite later on.
I had to take a connecting bus back home.
Had an exam the next morning and could'nt stay.
Gave me his email ID,told me to contact him the next time I was in Pune.
Will do !

This journey and conversation is something that will stay with me for a while.
Because I learnt something that has altered my perspective on things.
The things he told bout his homeland and when I think of this intelligent and well mannered guy,I find it hard to believe he comes from such a place.
The fact that he chooses to go back and start over fills me with admiration for his spirit.
I also realized that you can't change poeple unless thay want to change.

Friday, August 14, 2009

You Who ?

Exam results were out last week...
Thought I'd screwed up for sure this time.
As I waited for the damn results page to load,I had fingers on both hands crossed.
Got through....Phew...Not bad !
Had really negelected my studies,working on a few development projects.
My eyes were reeling like a jackpot machine when I saw the figures on the cheque leaves.

I had really put myself into work and had negelected my books.
This was a close shave and I swore I would'nt take such a risk again.
Not while still in college.

Anyway..I'm in my final semester now and have reached a point where I need to call some real shots.
I worked with a multinational before and know all bout the 8hr shifts,the 5 days a week,the coporate parties,work culture and assembly line of executives and TLs...that's why I got out in the first place.
The way I see it,all that is good if you are someone who plays safe and likes things to have a secure and certain pattern.
That's something I am not and can never be.

Always been a guy with varied interests and a creative streak.
Been a bit of a computer geek,an actor,a singer,a dancer,an explorer and an entrepreneur(thats a recent development).
I'm what they call a "late bloomer" and Man !.... I surprise myself at times.

When I got into Loyola,all I had in mind was to get done with my course with no ideas for the future.
All I knew is that I had a knack for algorithms and that all things with a screen and keyboard seemed to like me for some reason.
But little did I know that there were other things that mattered a lot more than just my IT skills.

I've done many different things over these two years and these are things that I never knew were in me.
From being my class representative to bigger and heavier things like organizing rallies and building expensive projects from scratch.
From building and maintaining my department's website to helping some friends in shooting their short films.
Participating in research paper contests and winning awards at prestigious institutions.
Helping my mom in organizing and hosting charity meets and running off on holidays by myself when I needed to take a break.

I've done whatever I could to learn as much as I can and I can safely say I'm a brighter,smarter guy than I was two years ago....not to mention..mentally...I'm as tough as nails.
I have big dreams of building and owning my own company one day.Backpacking Western Europe,Scandanavia and Egypt,building a bike or car from scratch,earning a doctorate,runnning a charitable foundation that does'nt just give money but gets down and works at root level,holding a political office(far fetched but Yah! I wanna do that).....these are a few of the other things on the list that I pray I can realize.

At this junction where I have just a couple of months left over,I know that looking back at all the things I've done,
I realize how much I need to figure myself out and how hard I need to work to get where I want to be.
I know I have the drive but the direction is the real challenge.I'm glad that I've accomplished many of the things that were important to me back in the day...I've seen all the movies I've always wanted to....although some of them were a pain to find but were worth it.I've read all the books that I've always wanted to.I've backpacked the length of our country(the breadth is waiting for this summer)....trekked,skied,climbed and jumped.Met and learned things from amazing people.

At this point I realize how much I need to get back into myself,put myself in the chair
and ask...where do you wanna be ?