Monday, 31 October 2011

always on facebook.

A brilliant ad from Oglivy India for Vodafone Essar, depicting the website we all love to hate.


The ad cleverly enacts the past fad on our favourite social networking site - Farmville, Superpoke and Mafia Wars, not forgetting the tendency of people uploading their baby pictures, or of parents sending friend requests (my advice: keep them pending).

Are you one of those people that have an obsessive compulsion to check your notifications (or your farm) first thing in the morning? Always on Facebook, day and night?

There should be a rehabilitation center for Facebook addicts. In retrospect, it's a pretty serious disease. My sister had a friend in school that would check his Facbook on Macbooks when he was visiting the Apple store o_O It's become the norm to enter a store (for me, Ikea, Raymond's) or hotel (all the way up in the Czech Republic) and catch the person behind the desk on the dreaded site if employers didn't have the hindsight to block it.

Before privacy settings changed the first time around, user profiles were open to everyone, bringing out the stalker in us all. Don't deny it. You know you checked out pictures of people you had no idea existed, atleast once!

I must admit, I was an addict too. I still am, although the drug has changed.

On Twitter, I am a recluse. I enjoy my anonymity immensely. It's a relief not having every single person you ever met on earth on it since you were a toddler, instead to follow people you wish you could meet (Shashi Tharoor for one. Michael Owen for another. I don't follow League football but the bloke sure can tweet!). No bombardments of ridiculous games like 'It Girl' (??) and Pillow Fight!

Do you remember what Facebook first looked like? It had all your apps on your profile page.
Following the recent changes on Facebook, quite a few of us have been very vocal about our dislike of the drastically altered News Feed. I'm definitely not a fan of the Ticker, but it's a boon for business pages: fans interact on a page and their friends are updated of the activity on that page immediately, playing on the friends levels of boredom, piquing'their curiosity to pull them in too.

A survey held by Mashable a week after the F8 conference recorded people that were unhappy with the changes at a whopping 74%.
Users say Facebook me no likey
Not that Facebook cares.

But no matter how much we gripe about it, on Facebook we stay. After all, like the guy in the ad says, where else would we be? Soon, we'll have embraced the Ticker and wonder why Zuckerberg didn't come up with it earlier.
Though honestly I find that hard to believe. I pay no heed to it now - my mind has put a permanent strip of tape on that part of the screen, like Youtube sensation Julian Smith suggests here:

If he reshot and updated this video, I bet he'd feature another 25 things.

What do you think?

(Recovered from within the spiraling depths of my drafts)

Monday, 24 October 2011

think pink.

Anyone know the origin of 'think pink'? The phrase, not what it stands for in October. It was a song (and a God awful one) in Funny Face starring Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn and I'm guessing (I could be wrong) it caught on from there.

Around mid-September or so, for the past three years, women on Facebook have seemingly inappropriate and vague status messages, with the intention of 'spreading awareness about breast cancer' amongst their species (read this for the gist, this year's really took the cake) but in actuality, of bewildering their male friends who aren't smart enough to Google it in the first place. Which pretty much kills the purpose as men are prone to breast cancer too! (link)

Kuwait is all about pink this month. Seems every company and organization wants to do their bit, an hour outside and you'll see pink ribbons at least 50 times - pinned to someone's lapel, magazine covers, billboards, hoardings, malls (the Avenues for one), events, cinema screens prior to the movie etc. But is it really doing anything to spread awareness? Unless they're visually-challenged or live in a hole, most people should know what it represents. But do they bother educating themselves about this dreadful disease and signing up for check-ups? Or do they just shrug their shoulders and continue on their way as they catch a glimpse of something like this -

Ginormous pink ribbon at Discovery Mall in Kuwait City

I certainly hope not.
Read up. Get checked. But don't take your doctor's word for it no matter what his/her certifications are or how many of your relatives recommend him. The mother has a friend whose doctor misdiagnosed her with breast cancer. The biopsy said otherwise.
It would be a bigger tragedy to undergo treatment for cancer when you don't need it. ALWAYS get a second opinion, even a third - this doesn't necessarily have to be just for cancer, could be applicable for something trivial (in comparison), like a root canal or a tooth extraction o_O
Google has made available vast repositories of information right at your fingertips. With websites like WebMD and wrongdiagnosis (now bettermedicine), there can really be no excuse for anyone with a decent internet connection to remain ignorant of the possible outcome of symptoms they or someone they know may suffer from if they are unable to visit a doctor.

Get informed. You'll probably save yourself a lot of grief.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

revelation at DAI: must learn spanish, must visit spain!

Was at the Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyah (DAI, Kuwait) Flamenco Journey concert last night.

When I first read Flamenco in the memo, my mind immediately stupidly shouted: 'FLAMENCO DANCERS!' and recalled this scene in Mission Impossible 2.

Now I want to fly to Seville. But for now, let's head back to the DAI.
It wasn't dancing, it was music. But flameco music shouldn't be so bad, right?
It most definitely wasn't.

We got there at 6 45 pm, early by our standards as the show was due to begin at 7, but obviously it wasn't early enough coz every darn seat was taken. We walked through the aisles and went around to the back and discovered the DAI had very thoughtfully set up a projector screen and seats before it. I was a tad disappointed that we wouldn't actually see them perform (the faces on the screen were a little blurred) but then again we were here to listen, right? Right.

The music was beautiful, a fusion of flamenco, folk, classical and modern music with guitar (three) and percussion. The percussionist, Pablo G√≥mez Molina, stole the show in the latter half with his absolutely brilliant performance. I have no idea what he did as I have no knowledge of musical instruments (I can just about tell a piano from a tuba). He would alternate between putting a curious but small, silver object in his mouth making whooshing sounds like the wind with it and bring his feathered drumsticks (the feathers made me think of voodoo for some reason) down with a crash on the cymbals while changing his drumsticks to these other weird 'metalsticks' that kinda resembled an egg beater in each hand, without the metal being linked on top. Occasionally, he would tie bells or something above his knee and quite literally, shake a leg. Thrice he held up an odd object that resembled a small drum but with something within and shook it. I marvelled at how he was always doing two things at once - a multitasker to a T! His interjections certainly gave a fabulous edge to the guitar play, complementing it in every way.

The concert was, if you haven't understood yet, AMAZING. While the guitarists were playing I closed my eyes and I could see those flowing red skirts, whisking in the air as the owner's shoes tapped the floor in tune to the music..

This was the only video I could find. Not as great as the ones played, for one thing Pablo is not doing anything strange. I didn't take my camera so I couldn't take videos of them playing :( Mental Note 2: NEVER EVER leave home without the camera!

After the show, the sister and I raced to the front where the quartet was receiving a well-deserved standing ovation. As they were getting off the stage there were loud cries for an encore and the sweethearts that they were, the four returned to play another track.
Mental Note: watching performers in the flesh beats seeing them on a projector screen by a mile and a half. They were friggin' GORGEOUS!

As always is the case when one witnesses a wonderful and heartfelt performance, the sister and I skipped over to where Pablo the percussionist was packing up his instruments to tell him how awesome he was. I asked him about them (before today I'd no idea what percussion instruments looked like, like I said I'm an ignoramus in this department) and he graciously told me what they were and a little about their music.
After complimenting him on his performance, he informed me the CDs were on sale outside. The sister bought one on the spot, it had all the tracks that were played :D We then set out to get the CD autographed by Pablo, who scribbled something in Spanish with a permanent marker the sister dug out of her bag (she just happened to be carrying one.. wonder what else she's got in there o_O). We then hesitantly approached the lead guitarist Juan Carlos Gomez to grace his CD with a signature and the rest of the band, Pablo, Luis Miguel and Jose Miguel trooped in. They tried to decipher Pablo's writing and said it meant 'beautiful eyes' (the correct translation is at the end of this post). Wha..? And then Carlos wrote something and translated it, from what I remember it went something like 'big beautiful eyes illuminate your life'. It was probably lost in translation as they spoke little English and I speak no Spanish. If you understand Espanol, tell me what on earth it really says por favor, 'coz Google Translate and I can't make head or tail of it.

Translate si?
I have a bone to pick with some of the people that attended. The hall was so packed, people were actually sitting on the carpeted floor. A moronic woman behind me was talking on her phone very audibly (despite the turn off your cellphones announcement) while the concert was going on and only shut up when somebody 'SHHHHH'ed her. Atleast three other inconsiderate losers in my line of view were constantly fiddling on their iPhones or Blackberries. For God's sake, you've had the good fortune to settle your rear on a chair, why not sit back and enjoy the music? And if you don't enjoy it, show some respect - LEAVE and give your seat to somebody on the floor who wasn't lucky enough to grab one! The light of their mobile screens was so distracting a man even told off a teenager who wouldn't get off it. Twenty minutes later, she was back on. Maybe DAI should hold all phones before a concert begins..

Never mind them. I'm listening to the CD right now and reliving the show. Kudos to DAI and the Spanish Embassy for a lovely evening.

Mental Note 3: Must learn Spanish.
Mental Note 4: Must visit Spain and see Flamenco dances live. This goes on the Before I Die List.

Addendum: A visitor to the blog very kindly translated it for me :) Pablo's writing says: For the most beautiful (girls) and Carlos' says: 'Let your big eyes illuminate your life'. Okay so, it ain't my eyes that are beautiful, it's the whole package. Works for me =D Nobody could ever top these autographs.