Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Awesome as f**k

The new GreenDay live album ‘Awesome as f**k’ is out. The track ‘Cigarettes and Valentines’ is actually the only new song in this new live album and the rest are vintage GreenDay hits like ‘When I Come Around’,‘Good Riddance’,‘Holiday’,‘21st Century Breakdown’ and ‘East Jesus Nowhere’.All the tracks are listed here with the venues in which they were recorded live.

01.21st Century Breakdown - (London, England)
02. Know Your Enemy - (Manchester, England)
03. East Jesus Nowhere - (Glasgow, Scotland)
04. Holiday - (Dublin, Ireland)
05. Viva La Gloria! - (Dallas, Texas)
06. Cigarettes And Valentines - (Phoenix, Arizona)
07. Burnout - (Irvine, California)
08. Going To Pasalacqua - (Chula Vista, California)
09. JAR - (Detroit, Michigan)
10. Who Wrote Holden Caulfield - (New York, New York)
11. Geek Stink Breath - (Saitama-shi, Japan)
12. When I Come Around - (Berlin, Germany)
13. She - (Brisbane, Australia)
14. 21 Guns - (Mountain View, California)
15. American Idiot - (Montreal,Canada)
16. Wake Me Up When September Ends - (Nickelsdorf, Austria)
17. Good Riddance - (Nickelsdorf, Austria)

The extremely energetic Cigarettes and Valentines is the new number in this new live album. Watch the live song here.Billie Joe Armstrong starts with addressing the crowd with ‘We are gonna play a brand new song.And it ain’t that brand new..this song is called Cigarettes and Valentines.

What is different about this new single is that it sounds like their earlier records and the lyrics are not thumbing the nose of the establishment as in their last two studio albums , American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown.The song itself has been a long wait because it was in the songs recorded by GreenDay in 2003 for the tentatively titled album Cigarettes and Valentines before the master recordings were stolen and they decided to abandon the whole project and start afresh .They came up with the multi Grammy winning album American Idiot in 2004 after that.

That is why in the new song Billie Joe Armstrong says ,it ain’t that brand new.The video with lyrics is right here

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Earth Hour

Earth Hour 2011 will be held on Saturday March 26 between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone.The highlight of Earth Hour 2011 will see the world’s most iconic landmarks go dark for one designated hour, like Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing, Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Las Vegas Strip, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, the Acropolis in Athens, the Coliseum in Rome, Empire State Building in New York and Table Mountain in Cape Town.

Watch the official Earth Hour video here

There have been and will be arguments that Earth Hour doesn’t have any significant bearings when China is building huge coal based power stations that cancels everything that is being done in other parts of the world to reduce carbon footprint . Also ironically, Australia is yet to sign the Kyoto Protocol and the campaign started by WWF in Sydney in 2007. Critics also belittle the Earth Hour by calling it as an exercise in which you really do nothing whatsoever and still enjoying the smug feeling that you made a contribution and that Earth Hour is based on the concept of deprivation and demonising electricity.

However,Earth Hour is way for citizens of the world to send a clear message ,that we want action on climate change and we will do their part in doing so. It is great mobilising event and it needs to go beyond the one hour and more and more people should be encouraged to use the resources more judiciously. This year the tag-line is ‘This earth hour,go beyond the hour ’ and the logo has changed to 60+ to signify that.Earth Hour does not purport to be an energy/carbon reduction exercise, it is a symbolic action. Therefore, it does not engage in the measurement of energy/carbon reduction levels.

Earth Hour 2012 should look to make it beyond one hour and 60+ to an earth week. It seems a natural progression for a movement that is into it's fifth year. The Earth Hour has grown to become the greatest environmental action in history with individuals, businesses and governments across 128 countries coming together for Earth Hour 2010.Do join in .. Turn off the lights for an hour.Make a statement and a commitment.Earth Hour 2011 will be held on Saturday March 26 between 8.30pm and 9.30pm in your local time zone.

Note : the song used in the video is sweet disposition by Temper Trap

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Less is more: minimalism

I happened to read an online article on minimalism. Now, the notion of minimalism in design is that simplicity and clarity lead to good design. The art form is chiselled down to its most fundamental features, be it a chair or a skyscraper. Colloquially, minimalism is something that is stripped to its essentials .The minimalist lifestyle however is different than austerity or simplicity. It’s more to do with leaning of one’s material possessions to have a clutter-free, more lucid set of belongings.

Why do we really hold on to all that stuff that we can do away with? How many of us can walk off an airport with just our hand luggage without waiting to collect baggage at the carousel? How many of us have kept a possession so safely and so long before that we have forgotten about its existence? Many of us have so many things that it’s hard to keep track.

Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine posits that ‘more and more goods and services are being provided for free and that those businesses that fail to follow suit are likely to go to the wall’ .In every industry where the product can be made into a digital file, somebody is, or is going to be, offering you that product for free because the marginal cost of doing so online is heading towards zero.

In times when bandwidth is the new blackgold, why do we need to keep all CDs, DVDs and books? Why keep that 40 GB music folder when there are only about 200 songs that you really listen to? And all those songs are available on youtube with their official videos.

The question thus is; why are we still holding on to our huge collections, if everything can be digitised ? The minimalist line of thought does not urge you to burn your dog-eared books or crush your CDs from early 2000s. Instead just make digital files of them and take the physical objects to the charity. Not all of us can do that. And we cling on to materials possessions. If we happen to have a huge Calvin and Hobbes collection, we can’t possibly think of getting rid of them. Many of us can find it hard to put that philosophy into practice. But not anybody and everybody has such a collection. The rest of us can make a beginning.

And as for clothes, fashion is something that has no permanency.Of course except for the classics like a white shirt. So why keep a wardrobe, when you don’t wear it. And shoes? Would you rather not get a new one every 6 months and get rid of the out of trend kicks? Recycle them. I can pack all my belongings in a backpack and a suitcase. I know some people who have done perfectly fine with 2 pair of jeans- one Lee, one Hollister for one whole year. Agreed that it is easier for a single person to lead this kind of a lifestyle. Even easier if you travel a lot.

If you own your own place, take off everything that there is and is not of any significance to you.By all means have stuff that you need and even what is considered luxury. If you are honest you will strip off a lot of things which are not really essential. Send as much as you can to recycle. Or if you could make a ‘best out of waste’ project, out of the clutter, do it. You did it on your own, it’s worth keeping. A cleaner leaner place gives you a sense and appreciation for space.

This minimalistic purge does not mean that you have no emotional quotient left. Please…by all means keep your first love letter and the Shrek keychain or the baseball glove. Keep those earrings that were a gift on your 21st birthday or your first cell phone. But if your cell-phone can play songs and has decent storage capacity, then practically you don’t need to own an i-pod. If it can click 5megapixel images you do not need a digital camera. A 5mp photo clicked from it can be printed on an A3 size sheet with amazing clarity.

If you buy lesser things, you will buy multi-functional things; you will keep your world clutter free. Heck, you can move places in half an hour if need be. And even after you gave away all those things, chances are that you will possess and own items more than some people will own working a whole lifetime. And that is why it would give us a good feeling to contribute and donate and recycle.

We are not being a world saver, but we are making a contribution to making life better and simpler. Isn’t that a win-win?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beer me!

A few years ago I had made a presentation on beer. I came across several interesting facts and trivia about beer as my partner and I did the primary research on the expanding beer market in India. Some of them being

The oldest known recipe is for beer

The science of brewing beer is called zymurgy

The first ones to brew beer were ancient Egyptians.

Beer is the third most popular drink in the world after tea and water.

The first consumer protection law ever written was enacted over beer by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria in 1516. It was a purity law limiting the ingredients of beer to barley, hops and water.

Czech Republic is largest consumer of beer with per capita consumption of approx 161 litres/year.

India’s is 1.29 litres/ annum per capita

Beer gets its bitterness, from an ingredient called hops sourced from hop vines.

Beer contains no fat, and very few proteins, yet you get fatter as you drink more.

There are some interesting quotes in and around beer too.

‘What time is it? Its beer o’clock and I am buying’- John ‘Teddy’ Gammel in Memento 2000

Some say beer is the fifth element after water, fire, earth and wind... Nothing exists without it!

Watch this ad clip, if you don’t believe me

Beer is a product which as a general rule can’t have an advertisement which is not humorous. The biggest set of banned commercials are beer commercials because they often are explicitly funny. This one is not ..find those for yourself.Trust me they are fun!

And closing with a quote from Benjamin Franklin -

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy !

Monday, March 7, 2011

Inside Job

The poster line of ‘Inside Job’ says….it took 20 trillion dollars to make this movie.Any idea how many zeros that figure has? 20 trillion is 2 followed by 13 zeros.That was the amount of money lost because of the global financial crash of 2008 .

Inside Job coming from Academy Award nominated film-maker, Charles Ferguson and narrated by Matt Damon,is the first film to expose the truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, ‘Inside Job’ traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.

The Wall Street investment bankers literary took to the Oliver Stone’s film ‘ Wall Street ’ (1987) famous quote-Greed ,for the lack of a better word is good. Good for them ..not for the rest of the world. But that has been the attitude of investment bankers- screw the world,we are too big to fail and too important to be caught and too precious to not be rescued.

If you are not angry after watching Inside Job you were not paying attention. Watch Inside Job to know the reason behind the recession.

A recession that still has its effects –it is the reason why Barack Obama has a huge task ahead of him just to get re- elected for a second term, the reason why China had a single growth year after a decade of double digit growth, why Abu Dhabi had to bail out Dubai from its real bubble trouble ,why poor souls like me are struggling to find a better job, why international students are being beaten up by jobless locals in Australia.

Because as Thomas Friedman said,'the world is flat and it is shrinking’. An earthquake in New Zealand can have global impacts and so can a volcano from Iceland. So think about the impact of a global financial market that was unregulated and manipulated by investment bankers who pocketed salaries and bonuses equal to African Nations GDP in a couple of years!

Watch the trailer here.

How much is enough is never a thought that crossed their consciousness and the US didn’t do anything to curb the tsunami. The bankers lied and yet have walked away unscathed with the fattest of severance cheques. The Clinton Administration and the following Bush Administration both are responsible for allowing this ‘ponzi’ scheme to perpetuate under their nose inspite of repeated flagging and warning from concerned economists.

Take 2 hours off your busy schedule to watch it ...and if recession has taken away your job, watch it at your own convenience.