Sunday, April 19, 2009

Facebook Government

Apparently, facebook is letting "we, the users" vote on their new site governance policies - the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Facebook Principles. Woah ! Thats like the online equivalent of a constitution, ain't it?

If the vote gets accepted, maybe kids in school will be taught the 10 Facebook principles of:
  1. Freedom to Share and Connect
  2. Ownership and Control of Information
  3. Free Flow of Information
  4. Fundamental Equality
  5. Social Value
  6. Open Platforms and Standards
  7. Fundamental Service
  8. Common Welfare
  9. Transparent Process
  10. One World
In 1989, we began this new world of the world wide web, in 2009, we begin to govern it as a world wide democracy?

P.S. : I voted for the new statement, simply because it states that the IP of content posted to facebook will belong to the users. It bothered me though that the new site governance policies also say that facebook reserves the right to not acknowledge that some content is a paid-for service or an advertisement, even though I have no clue whether this is a standard practice for all websites.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Hope. Dreams. Want. Emotional Intensity. Revolutionary Road was one of the most involving movies I have seen for a long time.

You can't help but feel for Kate Winslet as she wishes to get out of her current life, as she hopes that Paris will be the thing that will revive her life, her marriage, bring her and her husband closer to the destiny they deserve.

You can't help but wonder whether Leonardo DiCaprio deserves all of this, as he tries to get out of work, sleeps with some other woman, complains about his job, and generally gets disinterested in making more out of his life.

But then he gets a chance to be inspired, a chance to be something bigger than who is he right now, and unfortunately, his chance is not Kate's chance. She will remain there, in the same place, with the same things, the dream of Paris just a dream.

And it hurts. On so many levels, that even 10 days after watching the movie, I can still cry for her.
I'm sorry Kate that things didn't work out as planned. You were a free spirit, you deserved more of life than you got. I wish this was just a story, I wish that as I watched the movie, I didn't feel for all the people who's lives this must have been, wanting, deserving, but not getting.

Revolutionary Road is truly a must watch.

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted is a "feel-good book" that I picked up by chance in the Carnegie library.
Its a short story book, and the title story is about a woman, who walks out of her weight watchers meeting, and decides to eat whatever she wants, the whole day. She gets a dozen donuts (each one described in exquisite detail), hot dogs, a bacon cheeseburger with fries, malted chocolate, cheetos, icecream, steak, apple crisp and crumb topped cherry pie, a martini, baked potato with butter, bacon, and sour cream; and every piece of food she puts in her mouth is described with wonder and happiness. She even describes the joy of eating unhealthy food as almost sexual (but more yeasty and better).

I suddely realized what kind of a story it is - its like food porn - you watch someone fulfilling your deepest desires, and wish that you were getting some of that action too. And it struck me how just imagining someone eat all that awesome food made me happy, even though it really should have left me wanting it myself.

I really liked the story, really liked the idea, but then I reached the end. Unlike sex, food cannot be just celebrated in a story without regret. You eat, you enjoy, but then you cry.

She said "I would like to end this by saying that it felt really good to cheat all day, to eat whatever I wanted. But it didn't. All that happened was that I felt hollow-eyed."

I'm sorry Elizabeth Berg, but there have been many many days in my life when I have eaten without regret, and I have been happy at the end of it. Happy to finish the entire chocolate bar, happy to sit with a pack of red-spicy banana wafers and finish it, happy to order a cheese pav-bhaji with extra butter pav and top it off with kulfi and falooda.

For someone who writes feel-good stories, how could you end your first story with a moral that eating good is bad ? How could you leave your readers with the guilt of that woman, with the shame of not being able to control themselves ? Do you think we are not mature enough to be able to recognize a fantasy for what it is? It felt like watching a porn video which ends with the stars regretting their ways and deciding to stay faithful from now on. Disappointing.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Rain

I love it when it rains. But not just for hot tea and pakoras, or for the smell of fresh wet earth. The rains come and wash away all the pain, sorrows, and sins accumulated through long, never-ending days in the bright harsh glare of the sun. They give new life, being hope, add color to the world. They even dim the skies, so that the bright green of the grass and the rainbow colored flowers get their chance to shine. Even the barren empty branches of the trees seem to have a freshly washed and happy look about them.

But best of all, the rains let you look up at the sky, without fear of being blinded for your arrogance. They make the sky seem a little more in reach, they let you hope for more.

Its raining here in Pittsburgh today, and I start afresh, with new promises, and new excitement. Maybe spring will be here quickly after all.