Photobucket had recently made a very dick move by disabling all third-party embedded pics unless I pay $399. I've been blogging for 13 years and have 2000+ embedded pics across 650+ blog posts, which are now all unviewable. I'm working on moving my images to a new host, so until then, please do bear with me if you cannot view any images on my older blog posts.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chp 303. An ever-advancing World Cup

I thought I’ll be blogging a lot about the World Cup this year… but you know what? Screw it. There are over a billion blogs out there now, and many of them are blogging about the World Cup. The flavor is suddenly lost in the midst of this overwhelming information overload.

Back in 2006, there were at least a few million blogs. And I was one of the few people in my blog friend circle blogging about the World Cup then.

Back then, there was a big chance of getting your blog noticed through blog conglomerate sites. But soon, feed aggregators and social media killed such sites. Mutiny.in died and very recently we saw the sad closure of desipundit.com. Blogbharti.com is still barely hanging on. We have passed the era of people compiling the best blog posts manually because there are now too darn many. UGC (User Generated Content) are now the IN thing, with portals like blogadda, indiblogger etc. trying to form the new breed of bloggers’ destination here in India.

That is why this World Cup is so different from the others. This World Cup has been branded as the first Social Media powered World Cup.

Back in 1998, many of us still didn’t know what the internet was. In 2002, the most we had were websites for the qualifying teams, with info about them in basic HTML. Everything was as static as our browsers would permit it to be. 2006 too didn’t see such a great change either. Social networking sites offered a bit of interactivity through discussion topics, and there were of course blogs. In India, Facebook hadn’t really entered the market then, and it was just blueish boring fraaand Orkut group discussions for us (and a few of those on Myspace with epileptic background designs).

Now comes 2010 World Cup. Everything has changed drastically. From live podcasting and Facebook to twitter updates and other social media tools, one can get information about any match anywhere. There are hundreds of sites live streaming the matches. Discussions are highly interactive and access is not limited to your computer or laptop alone - Mobile technology has advanced multifold. Foursquare and other GPS location based SNS have also moved in… I can actually chat with my favorite player from Netherlands through twitter just before he runs into the ground to start the game while I am still sitting in the loo (provided he replies to my tweet of course).

Even television has improved (It still feels like yesterday watching the World Cup in our cranky old black and white television with a bunch of people adjusting the TV antennae on the roof to get better reception). Now we can watch the slow motion replay in High Definition, but the amount social media has advanced is incomparable to television, print, radio or any other media. Remember the popular 80’s song “Video killed the radio star”? Yeah, Internet killed that video star who killed the radio star.

2014 World Cup will be in 3D, according to many tech pundits. A few years ago I might have said bull $hit, but now I totally believe it is possible. And I can even vouch that Augmented Reality will play a huge role, with virtual 3D matches playing right in front of your computer using this technology.

See the pace we are moving at my friends?

Well, I don’t want to put such a heavy burden on your head, especially if you’re an old timer like me comfortable with how the world is/was, and finding it difficult to keep up with technology. So I will leave this subject and talk a little bit about the World Cup matches so far

Today, my team Netherlands won. Robben played for the first time and scored an AMAZING goal.

Kima Holland

We will meet the winner of Brazil and Chile match that’s going on right now. Yesterday there were two matches. And that’s what I want to talk about.

Both matches were controversial. Lampard’s goal against Germany was denied even though it was clearly in, and Tevez’s goal against Mexico was clearly an offside.

So many people were whining about the match and suggesting that video replay technology should be brought in, à la tennis or cricket.

I say HELL NO!!!

Yeah even I was pissed off because I was supporting Mexico in that match. But you know what? THIS IS FOOTBALL. Bring in technology and you kill the very essence of football. So many times I have seen my team Arsenal go down due to bad calls by the ref. But then, that’s the game.

You may call me a FOOTALIBAN if you wish. I don’t care. I do not want things to change. Let technological improvement be a benefit for the viewers, but for the love of God, please do not change the game. Referee errors have always been a part of the game, and it should always be that way.

Plus it gives us more things to talk about at football discussion forums. The best part of any football discussion especially with our friends (who are rival fans), is the wrong call referees make. There is always something to talk about. If everything is going to be checked using technology like a third umpire and all the freaking claims are 100% correct and fair, then WTF do we talk about with our friends then?

“Urrrmmm dude, you guys played well.”
“Yeah… errmmm… thanx. Your goalkeeper wasn’t bad either.”
“Yeah man.”

*awkward silence*

“So did you see the other match after that?”
“Yeah dude. Nice game. Very fair.”
“I know.”

*awkward silence*

“So… ermmm… will you be watching next week’s match?”
“Yup… it will be a good and fair match.”
“I agree.”

*awkward silence*

“Ok bye dude. I’m gonna go home and chop off my manhood”
“Cool. Me too.”

But throw in a couple of controversial referee decisions or fouls, handballs, offsides etc that the referee didn’t see, and you will have the greatest conversation possible with your friends “Arrrgghhhh”, “Noooooo”, “F@$& dude, that was soooo unfair”, “No b@stard, that was a clear offside!!!”, “Godddd I love this game so muchhh, I will never chop off my manhood.”

See the difference? The moment you freaking make football like a tennis or cricket match, I will stop watching it completely.

Here’s to Netherlands winning in the many rounds to come. Hup Holland Hup!



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chp 302. Creative Trailblazer!


Meet the new Creative Trailblazer!!!

*Drum roll + Vuvuzela blast*

Creative whaaaa?



Hehehe… yeah that’s my new designation. Creative Trailblazer. Although I’ll still be technically under the copywriting section of the Creative department, this new promotion handed to me by our Creative Director is a milestone in our company (and probably in the advertising industry).

Kinda makes sense. We in the ad agency are all about creativity. Why have boring designations like designer, developer, copywriter, supervisor etc? Why not go all out with guns blazing like how we do during a brainstorming session?

The proposal for my designation went to our Delhi Head office, as it was something very unusual. And finally it got approved!

Creative Trailblazer
[My official business card]

So, what’s a Creative Trailblazer?

Basically, it means somebody with ideas that leave a trail of fire. Ideas big enough to create an impact in the market and conceptualize innovative campaigns never done before. A pioneer in creativity.

Well there had always been the age old discussion, that a mainstream Ad agency copywriter (read: Print or TV) and a digital ad agency copywriter are quite different in terms of what they do. Mainstream copywriters work on coming up with visuals and copy that catch the attention of the masses and how their copy will fit in with the visuals, whereas if you want to be in the digital industry, you have to know the digital industry really well.

For example, even though I am a copywriter, I do a lot of designing and programming based on the copy I am writing. And it is really important to know the internet audience well in order to have a successful campaign. There is no guarantee that what may work well in TV, Print or Radio, will work well online. Hence we have to keep ourselves constantly up to date with what the rest of the online crowd is doing. To suggest a concept based on Augmented Reality, we have to take into consideration how technologically feasibly the concept is and whether it is ideal for the average TG, and these are the things you can learn only if you are active on cyberspace.

As a digital copywriter, we have to plan the entire IA, sitemap and UI of a client as a part of the campaign and make everything as user friendly as possible right up to how analytics will react to the proposition.

Knowing photoshop, dreamweaver and flash is definitely a plus point if you want to be a digital copywriter. But most of all, you cannot just stop with the knowledge you have. The world is constantly changing and suddenly your friends will laugh at you if you have a 4GB pen drive. I still remember having a 1GB HARD drive on your computer was a big deal a few years ago. See where I’m getting at? There are no written rules here. Everything around you is rapidly changing and evolving when it comes to the digital world, and you can either opt to be left behind or move with the momentum. And you HAVE to move along if you want to survive.

And oh yes… being a nerd/geek scores in this industry. Slashdot FTW!

Plus I can’t wait to see the look in a client’s eye when I hand him my card on the next client meeting… Will he hesitate to ask me what the designation means, probably thinking that he might sound like an idiot for not knowing such a designation…

Coming back to the topic, I really don’t know how putting my designation as a “Creative Trailblazer” on my LinkedIn profile is going to reflect. Of course there are many people with “unique” designations, like Vint Cerf who is the “Chief Internet Evangelist” at Google and Kishore Biyani who is the “Chief Knowledge Officer” of Pantaloon Retail India. But these guys are already BIG and everybody knows who they are. Will anyone take an unknown “Creative Trailblazer” seriously? (Or as we say in IIM-B, it’s an arbit designation). Hmmm… maybe that is what I am willing to gamble on, and seriously, I believe this is the risk any creative person should be willing to take. It’s not just about the job. It’s the passion that comes along with the job.

Let’s see how this whole story unfolds. After all, the only way to know how this will perform in the digital world is to put it out here for the market to react. Working for Webchutney, the No.1 Digital Agency in India (As per The Economic Times, Brand Equity Agency Reckoner for two consecutive years 2008 & 2009) I guess this is just another way of showing you who we are. Cheers to you all.





Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chp 301. Hup Holland Hup!


It’s FIFA World Cup time again, and soon, my blog will be one World Cup post after the other

I know, I know… that means fewer visitors But at the end of the day, I know it will be good to look back at this month four years from now (if we’re still alive by the Grace of God) and walk down memory lane.

This is the second World Cup my blog is witnessing. And right now, looking back at the posts I wrote in 2006 sure brings back a lot of memories. Those were the days before I started working, or even before “Delhi” happened. I had just dropped out of IIMB then, trying to get through the prelims of UPSC.

Some of my 2006 World Cup posts like Of women and football etc were cross-posted at desipundit and various other blog community forums. So much has changed in my life since then. But the one thing that never changed? I am still a hardcore Netherlands supporter, since the days of Ruud Gullit, Van Basten, Bergkamp etc (Cruyff was way before my time, so I’m not including him in the list)

Netherlands team
[Pic source: Netherlands vs Denmark: World Cup 2010 ]

Go Oranje! I love them, mainly because a lot of them are named “Vans”. Like from the current squad: Van Persie, Van Bronckhorst, Van der Vaart, Van der Wiel, Van Bommel, Van lalruatkima. etc. Yeah, in case you didn’t know, I’m a Van too I may not come from the DeBeers family (though I wish) or have a great grand uncle who fought in the Boer Wars, but being an Arsenal fan, there is such a closeness with the Dutch, either in the form of gunners or players playing for our main rivals.

Van Persie jersey

Watching the Dutch kick Denmark’s ass today was exhilarating. 2-0. Hup Holland Hup! (which means Go Holland Go!)

And that’s why I love my office so much. Sure we may work hard most of the time, but we are soon going to get a new TV in office dedicated solely to World Cup matches (that’s what the bosses were discussing about last week). And apart from that, I was watching today’s Netherlands match online with no disturbances from anyone.

And the best part? I told my boss I was coming late to office today because I had to watch the Game 5 match of the ongoing NBA Finals. And that match gets over only by 9:30am. So my boss gave me permission! See, I didn’t even have to lie. Most others would have lied saying headache or pms etc because they wouldn’t have been granted permission just because of a basketball match on TV. How I love this place!

Lakers versus Celtics 2010 NBA Finals

Game 5 this morning was freaking awesome. Kobe was burning up the floor with 38 points but it wasn’t enough. Bwahahaha. Celtics now lead the series 3-2. One more win and they are the 2010 champs. Comon Celtics!!!!

I’ve always been a Lakers hater. I was too young to witness the Celtics-Lakers rivalry (Bird versus Magic) of the 80s (plus, we didn’t have cable access then ) but I was very much a part of the NBA scene from 90s onwards. Like most passionate basketball jocks, Jordan was my idol too, but my team was Utah Jazz those days. I switched to Kings followed by Spurs after that. And that is why I hate Lakers so much. They decimated many of my favorite teams like Spurs, Kings, 76ers, Mavs etc.

Celtics this year are strong. Pierce, Garnett, Rondo, Ray Allen, Perkins, Finley, Wallace, Glen Davis. A lot of old warhorses! Lolz!

The next match is at Staples Center on Wednesday morning for Indian viewers. If Lakers can come back with a win, then the Final match (game 7) will be in LA again! I hope it doesn’t go to game 7.

Ending this post with my favorite video of today’s NBA Finals – Tony Allen blocking the 7 feet tall and former Grizzlies centre Pau Gasol! Woot!!!!! What a block! Totally PWNED!



Cheers!



Saturday, June 05, 2010

Chp 300. Celebration through Music


Yay. Post number 300. Another milestone reached. I haven’t written any music post in a long time (ah, those weekly Music Monday days!), so I’m going to celebrate this grand occasion with a music post.


Do you believe in love at first sight? I believe in love at first sound.

A couple of days ago, I came across a Mizo song by Ramhlun North YMA Group featuring the band SAGA. The song is called “I Phal Dawn Em Ni”. I was completely entranced by the song. It was perfect – the lyrics, the rhythm, the contemporary music fusion, the symphonic gothic ambience and the Broadway art dance performance in the background. I’ve played it more than like a 100 times since then.

With permission from ZoVidz, here is the song. It’s in Mizo, but I have written the translation below.




Beautiful, isn’t it? Of course we all have different taste, but for me, I’ll even admit that this is the best Mizo song I have heard so far.

Here are the lyrics of the first verse and chorus. As this is a YMA (Young Mizo Association) production, the song is naturally about Mizo sentiments and fueling the love for Mizoram.


Ka pian ka seilenna aw zoram nuam
sappui nun ngai lova tual kan chaina
i chhingzo ramdang awm hian ka ring thei lo
thlangkawr vai leh anpai zingah pawn e
ka chhuang thin che asin aw zoram nuam
i sakruang mawi nghilni reng ka nei ngai lo

[Chorus]
Vala tho la, i ram hi han thlir ta che
Zo lanu hmeltha, i chhingmit meng la, han thlir vel teh.


English translation:

Beautiful Mizoram where I was born and brought up
where we roam and play without envying the western world
There is no other nation that compares to you
Even when I'm in the land around us
I am always proud of you, oh beautiful Mizoram
A day never goes by when I forget your beauty.

[Chorus]
Young man, get up and look at your land
Oh pretty Mizo maiden, open your eyes, and look around…


Amazing song. Especially the part [2:55] when RK-a, vocalist of SAGA sings his own part and totally killed it. Heavenly voice huh? He’s the second runners-up of last year’s Mizo Idol contest.

Here’s another music video of SAGA I found online, called "Seed". The song is in English. You gotta give it to RK-a, it’s freaking awesome!



I really don’t know why Mizo bands like this are not known across India. The songs are in English so people can understand them. In the death metal scene, IIIrd Sovereign is still rocking but the fan following is limited. Boomarang is making noise in Bangalore and Delhi, but the rest of the nation is still oblivious of their existence.

Here is another amazing song [English] by the Mizo band DrLUKE. It’s called “I’m sorry”. Although the chorus is a tad similar to the chorus of “Stellar” by Boomarang, it definitely has a very catchy and clear rhythm. The vocals is immaculately pristine and crystal clear.



Earlier, the vocalist of DrLUKE was a guy called Andrew. The song “Home Sweet Home” [English] by DrLUKE is definitely worth listening too.



Here is Andrew again, this time singing for the gospel band called Act Of Giving and the song is called “Only You” [English].



Speaking of English songs composed and performed by Mizos, this is one of my all time favorite. It’s performed by the school choir of Home Missions School, one of the renowned schools in Mizoram. They are all kids, but what they delivered, shot right past anybody’s expectation. It’s called “Together as one”.



Mixing Mizo songs with this collection, here is a recent song by F.Laldinmawii entitled “Lung a leng em mai”. There is something about this song that pulls me right into it. Listening to it, I just feel like crying, but in a very masculine way, you know…



Pensy’s latest song “Fak zel che nuam ka ti – II” is another great song, with a really cool music video. The entire video was shot in a few takes, pretty much like “Sweetest Thing” by U2. This video was shot in Lunglei, and I can image how much the director and people must have planned to run each scene smoothly as I am sure no CGs were used in this video. Check it out:



I like Pensy a lot. I will end this post with an English song of hers called “Thank you Grandpa” which is one of my favorite gospel songs. Very touching and emotional.




Thank you so much ZoVidz for allowing me to embed most of your collection. For those of you who love music by Mizo artists, kindly subscribe to his channel on youtube.



Take care, and hope you were entertained.