One car at a time

In a time where dependence on machines in increasing by the second, Machines are taking over the world, one car at a time.

It is not far from when machines do decide that humans are a danger to themselves and will start taking decisions for us.

Here’s what Car autopilots are already capable of.

Tesla Autopilot’s new radar technology predicts an accident caught on dashcam a second later

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Antisiesta

“When was the last time the world wasn’t falling apart”? Famous lines from one of my favorite films, Blood Diamond

Everybody lives in a little world of their own and that is a perfectly good defense mechanism.

But when your existence tries to fall apart, a change in scenery and perspective holds the strength to help you move on.

You just need a tiny jolt to wade away the muck and start seeing clearly again.

I chose to pack my bags and go back to my roots, the sea. My ancestors lived by the one of the greatest ports of India, Cochin. They saw the water shape the land and the land shape the water over the ages. It was time I saw how changes can be a good thing too.

A packed bag, some cash and hopping on the next available mode of transport, I took a  solo trip for a day and everything began falling in place after that.

Live updates of my whimsy helped show me that what I do also matters, even if it was to random instagram users who were following the #antisiesta

Antisiesta, by definition means, restless travel.

Antisiesta is NOT luxury travel,

Antisiesta is NOT even a vacation,

Antisiesta is NOT escapism,

Antisiesta is NOT soul searching,

Antisiesta is soul finding.

This video shot on a cheap smartphone documents the nuances of my impulse journey.

 

 

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For everything else there is Mastercard

The best things in  life are allegedly free. The best thing in the world is an Ice cream cake and it is not free. I would know. But there are things that are free if you do not count the cost of the efforts taken to get to that point.

If you want to climb a mountain, you leave home, get on a bus, possibly trek. Even if you live on the side of this mountain, you will need one meal, minimum. Perhaps an Ice cream cake? Are you brave enough to only drink straight out of a stream? Then you have saved some money on that dubious bottled water. The mountain top is going to be cold. You bought a sweater for say 100 bucks, socks for 20 and a cap for 30 making your grand total to get on top of the mountain 170. Assuming the mountain is yours and you ate no ice cream cake for a meal but some daal chawal instead.

The view on top of the mountain? Has to be good, right? Would you care to spend 170 bucks on this adventure otherwise? That right there is the payoff, the part that is free. The experience of this end result. Anybody could question your motives, but it is a matter of perspective. One man would say that you are nuts for spending time and money to climb a mountain. This man might be the actual owner of the mountain and is fed up of the view. Another might say that this isn’t the mountain you should climb and point to another one. He likes the view from that one. You don’t know it for sure. If you just take his word for it, you did not spend an additional 170 bucks on that second mountain and neither did you get that second view for free.

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Is it really a loss when you lose something that was free to being with? Depends. Was it Ice cream cake or was it an incredible view? Because incredible views are always free and worth the effort.

If someone is missing out on an incredible view and that little moment of peace. As human beings, it becomes our job to be unselfish this one time and guide them to it. It adds to your bucket of peace that you have been carrying around.

In life there will always be that desire for ‘one more time.’ That second chance to do something. But if you never did it the first time, you will not have anything to compare it with.

Let me not go into sociology, but I think we might have evolved a tad bit too much in forming norms that have become controlling factors and make Ice cream cake inaccessible to all. The cheat code to this is to learn to bake. You will only be spending money on the ingredients that will help you get to that moment of free when you dig in to that first bite of the cake and it sends a small shiver through your teeth. You begin to feel its moist texture melting away in to the depths of your heart, illuminating your lungs and ribs along its way.

Spend on the ingredients of a great experience and the experience will come to you for free. Don’t bother if some one calls you cuckoo for doing it only for the experience of it and not seeing another form of benefit in it. For everything else, there’s Mastercard.

In response to Do You Need To Travel To be a Free Bird?

Butterflies

I have been much of a rebel my whole life. But I mostly rebel with courtesy or omission.  two years ago when I had just got out of Art college having majored in History of Art and seemingly underemployed, I chanced upon an opportunity to go to the Himalayan Mountains and help film a mountain biking race. From Bangalore to Himachal is a great journey, one that I took three days by a combination of train and bus, hauling my personal luggage with a lot of warm clothes in a backpack. A tripod and a home made portable aluminium 4ft Jib in another roll of a cotton bed cover and the highlight of the trip, the steel trunk!

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The trunk that later on turned to the liquor cabinet/bar table

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Customized grip handle with wrapped cloth. Simply because, it is just so damn heavy

The race was a meeting of many minds. There was a team of film makers coming in from Delhi and equipment rental there was so expensive that I had to haul equipment they’d need as well all the way from Bangalore. Hence the money spent on the steel trunk. Once I got there, tasks were assigned, equipment was handed over and I issued a huge word of caution since all the equipment was registered under me and was never all going to be used under my supervision.

I was immediately hit by the fact that everyone else around me was able to have fun and I was the only dud who was climbing the side of a cliff, running around with the jib and its counter weights not to forget, my most loved camera in the world for DSLR film making then, THE CANON 7D trying to get not just usable footage. But footage with that little extra narrative in it, a little bit of environment in it and not just shaky footage of a racers face who zoomed past while I fiddled with focus.

If you have read this far, you know that this is a rant. But, what I did not do then was precisely this. I did not rant. I did my work the best I could and the rebel in me stopped adding my footage into the pool and I did declare that I will make a stand alone film with what I shoot myself. You must understand that by doing this, I am denying myself footage shot by two other teams with a total of four people, one 5D mark II, an ENG style camera and most importantly a GoPro camera. Call me cocky, but I knew that the footage I gather will be enough for me.

The organizers agreed and I returned home to find myself in the shittiest job market for a creative who won’t sell out. Not only did I not convert the footage for editing, I deliberately ignored its existence, all 500 odd Gb’s of it shot over the 10 day race and I moved around to fins sustainable sources of income.

Some day it struck me that I might after all be sitting on a gold mine here and began looking at the footage I had. I started piecing it together. I even found a great band to write the music for it, I made its first teaser. I called it Meeting Mountains and then, I lost faith in the people who were throwing me work all this while and I parted ways only to get into more lack of a job. And hence, the film stopped developing again. Then my computer paralyzed itself . Then I felt that it has already been a year, nobody wants to see this film. I won’t make any money out of spending hours looking for shots and piecing them together and never be able to render in anyway because of the computer situation. I don’t have the money to pay for recording the music. I can do the voice over at my house, but the music? And yet again, the film finds itself sitting in a dark corner of my hard drive.

The year of 2014 started with a bang. I was on fire. I ran my first 10K. I started looking incredible, (simply by virtue of not being lazy anymore) felt amazing and yet was still underemployed, but I managed to get my hands on a kick ass new laptop and decided that the first thing I do with it will be to churn out the film! And I did. Entered it in precisely one film festival. Because, still broke.

The experience of filming this event in the mountains has been a giving tree.  I have seen so many sights and met many people and learnt so much more about them. I wrote my first ever documentary, narrated it (I was never meant to be a vocal person) edited it and this is where I even learnt editing and what it can do. Remember, I do not have any film school gyan to begin with. I’m just someone who picked up a camera and shot a few short films before I started doing this full time.

This film is what I am proud of now. Still broke and not having enough money to buy my father a present for his birthday. I decided to launch the film online on his birthday. Tomorrow, Meeting Mountains is going to be online on Youtube and I will be done with this film and I can finally move on.

There have been only a handful of people who have seen this. Even fewer who were able to identify mistakes and provide feedback. I know I might get some 5 views when this film hits the internet. I only care to know that I did even a remotely good job with it. ii simply have butterflies in my stomach. I have been so tunnel visioned with this film that I have forgotten if I have done some of the basics on it. As much as I am excited for the film to be out there. I have that feeling that John Carter has, that he left a light on after he left home.

When you watch this film, all you need to know is that it was made out of random footage from the race with no story or script in mind until after post production began. I have a shitty voice for narration. This is the first time I have done things like editing, sound levels and color correction and that as much as I’d like to hate this film, I love that I’m done with it. For now.

 

 

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Copywriter’s notes

Ever wondered what the chemical composition of salt is? No. You never wondered. Because it was the first one (ok, second. we learnt H2O first) that was taught to us in school before chemical compositions started getting weird and breaking bad complicated. It is EQUAL PARTS of sodium chloride, NaCl. Yes, we wondered at first why is sodium abbreviated as Na when neither of the letter are present in its spelling.

But that is not it. Unless you went on to learn chemical engineering or just a lot of chemistry, to you, salt is still sodium and chlorine! What was on the notes of this copywriter when he started writing this ad?

Did it read,

‘sodium is bad for health
diabetes, lung cancer, oh wait that is cigarette, ah what the hell.
It is mostly BP etc etc…
deduct sodium reduce sodium in client product.
MASTERPIECE!
Low sodium salt.
This is the pitch that will fetch me an ad.
Can I go EUREKA for this? Of course I can, I will.
EUREKA!’

Did the copywriter really forget the fact that if you reduce the sodium content in salt without reducing the chlorine content, it doesn’t remain salt anymore? Let us say, to compensate, you reduce chlorine as well. It still wont be salt if you do not have both chlorine and sodium in equal parts!

Fine, let us agree that they add some other components to even things out. Tell us about it. Because most of us still are people who believe that salt is just Sodium Chloride!

Some people just do not understand the power of the internet.

Notes from the Necropsy is a collection of observations derived while I satisfy my dark desire to dissect the alleged creative process of popular media. 

Isn’t It Ironic?

For the last time, irony is not coincidence!

Inspirational Geek

I’ve had such a positive response to my previous TED-Ed post that I’m going to use another set of their resources with something I stumbled onto recently.  This time on irony.

When most people think of irony typically one thing comes to mind.  Alanis Morissette and her 1995 hit Ironic.

But is “ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife”, or “rain on your wedding day” actually ironic?  No.  Unnecessary or unfortunate perhaps, but definitely not ironic.

A lot of people struggle with identifying or using irony correctly, myself included, but here are some great examples of the three most common types of irony.

Situational
The easiest to understand is situational irony.  In this case, something is ironic if, and only if, it is the exact opposite of what you would expect.

Dramatic
You’re watching a film and you, as the audience, know something that one…

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