Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chp 656. Becoming Mizohican one last time!


Went to Church on Good Friday and Easter. We had these two beautiful services conducted by the PMCF (Pune Mizo Christian Fellowship) at St. Andrew's Hindustani Church on Solapur road.

What I discovered was that, after Uber had recently changed their fare system from "distance traveled" to "fixed cost" system (no matter how much further or extra the driver travels, you only pay the pre-calculated fare based on the location you entered), it was really difficult to reach the place because this Church did not appear on the map or list of destinations!

As usual, I wore black on Good Friday and white on Easter. My homies from the E-17 ghetto picked me up. Yoyo!


After the Church service, we headed back to E-17, where I decided to go for a mohawk hairstyle one last time! :)

Actually, it was something I've been planning for a long time because I just need to do something that I want on my own. To do something out of my own free will again. And then there is the upcoming wedding in Goa this weekend where my niece will be tying the knot with her long time boyfriend, so I want to stand out among the crowd as a "cool uncle" :P

It will also be the last time I'll do this because I'm not getting any younger, and it really doesn't fit my age anymore (unless you are Magua, the badass Huron chief from Last of the Mohicans) hence people might think I'm having a mid-life crisis or something :D

Gary volunteered to cut my hair.


Took a few "last" pics together before he started his work…




Gary was totally professional and he took his task very seriously. This is one of the many reasons why I love hanging out with my Mizo crowd. Even if they are professionally working in different industries like the IT sector or call center etc, they'll always know how to cut somebody's hair or cook a kickass meal or play the meanest strums on the guitar or even tattoo somebody.




Urrmmm in Mizo we call this "lu meh huai na no" :P


Once I was done, the others too did a slight mohawk, and they all came out really well.



So… thadaah... The Mizohican is back :D


Cheers for now, will be back soon with stories of my Goa trip.

Goa here we comeeeee :)


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Chp 655. RIP Michael M Sailo


Nothing could feel more devastating than hearing about the sad demise of Michael M Sailo, Mizoram's legend and one of our biggest celebrities. He had completely revolutionized the music scene in Mizoram, gaining a large fan following not just in Mizoram or the North East but the rest of India as well.

Sadly, on the night of April 7th 2017, he passed away from a fatal bike accident.

I admit, I didn't know Michael M Sailo personally that well. But having a lot of mutual friends, we weren't strangers to each other either. There were the occasional interactions ever since we became friends on FB. Plus I am a huge fan of his. I've lost count of the number of times I used to show his music videos to my non-Mizo friends back in college.

I have met him just four times in person, but all four times were memorable.

The first time I met Michael was back in 2005 when my niece was admitted at Aizawl Civil hospital during Christmas. Michael made a surprise visit to the hospital, distributing gifts to the patients, making sure nobody felt alone or lonely on Christmas. That was the first time we spoke. And that was also when I realized he's not just an awesome artist, he had a big heart as well. You should have seen the look on the faces of those patients, it definitely lit up their day!

And then in 2006 I was his personal chauffeur in Bangalore when he came to perform for the "Chapchar Kut" festival, driving him wherever he needed to go.

I actually wrote about the above incident in detail on my blog! That was way back in 2006, when I first started blogging, so yeah, I just squirmed a lot reading some of my awful grammar and language I used back then! 

I met Michael again in 2012 at a house party in Aizawl, and finally, I met him again when he came to Pune to perform last year at Blue Frog's "Starian Nite".



He gave such an awesome performance that night, and after the show he went around mingling with everybody. You'll never come across a more down-to-earth celeb than him. People loved him, as they took photos with him and he was forever smiling and cheerful. He was indeed a man of the people.

All in all, I may have met him just four times, but that was enough for me to know he was an awesome person, somebody who would be dearly missed by his loved ones and fans.

And what made it more painful for me was, on his last visit to Pune, he was supposed to come to my house and I was planning to interview him for my blog, like how I have done with a few of our Mizo celebrities. You know, one of those cheeky interview styles with a lot of sarcastic and over the top innuendoes type. I knew Michael would handle it so well.

But sadly he was caught up with so many other programs, being such a famous celeb, that we couldn't find the time to do it.

Just reading through some of our last messages hurt… 






Later at Blue Frog, he apologized and promised he would do an interview for my blog the next time he was in town again, but sadly, that day will never come now. But yeah, I'll still catch you when I come up there bro, you owe me one last sit down :)

Rest in Peace Michael M Sailo. May your legend and contribution live forever. You have inspired so many youth of our generation, becoming a part of our lives as we grew up. You were the ideal pop icon, a true Mizo star.

To end this tribute, here is one of my favorite songs - "Hmeltha Sensiar" a duet with his wife SPi. The video uploader is Pi Shahnaz Kimi, who too had passed away recently.


Salut.





Monday, April 10, 2017

Chp 654. Staying offline for a month


Exactly a month after I left the online world, I logged into Facebook and WhatsApp today. Strangely, I wasn't even looking forward to it. 100+ pending notifications, most of them from useless group tag notifications. I just cleared them all at one go.

Nobody even noticed I was gone, and in sad way, I like that actually. To be so insignificant that your presence or absence does not alter the course of your friends' universe in any way. And that gives me some sort of peace of mind.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older and older, I realize I'm becoming more of a recluse. During my one month abstention from social media, I even dreamt of becoming a hermit, living in a cave on top of a secluded hill on my own, just me and my steam games collection.

Even here in Pune, I get asked a lot by friends and colleagues - "Why do you live alone?"

That's just me. I like living alone. To be the King of my own Castle - Do anything I want, cook naked, fart in sync with the music, and have imaginary conversations with my imaginary friends.

Quickly scanning through some of my friends' timeline and whatsapp group messages, I guess the biggest conversation topic I missed out was about "Vishal" the new megamart at Bawngkawn. Since I was so out of touch with the news, I didn't even understand most of the jokes people were sending about Vishal.

Kinda reminded me of my MBA days when Multi-brand outlets had just started entering the Indian market and people were always discussing in classes and group projects about how allowing FDI on multi brand retails could affect the local kirana stores. Anyway, I don't have the energy to join the debate, nor am I in the mood for it. I'm still feeling pretty shitty, and I'm really thankful to my friend Sanga who had been trying to cheer me up the past couple of days.

I'll try to update my blog more regularly from now onwards. After all, life can be about sadness and pain too, but we have no other option but to keep on moving, until the sands of time run out from our soul.

Recently, my colleagues took me on a weekend getaway, where we booked this farmhouse for the weekend. They literally forced me to go, given that I was so depressed at work. I'll post my next update with those pics and vids, and I think what I love the most about that outing was that there was no proper mobile coverage so it was completely peaceful and bliss.

Yup, sometimes just staying away from social media can be so relaxing and refreshing. You too should give it a try sometimes!

Cheers for now.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chp 653. Grim Dawn


Maybe because my life has been pretty grim lately, I've been engrossed in this game called "Grim Dawn" for many hours now. And I'm totally loving it!


Grim Dawn is an ARPG. That means Action Role Playing Game for my non-gamer friends out there. In an ARPG, you can select your character/class and then go on different quests, following one main story plotline. The best part about ARPGs is that the gameplay is not linear - you can play multiple quests in different order and even opt out of some side quests, while building up your character and upgrading your power or skill as you level up along the way.

My all-time favorite ARPG is Diablo II. Back in college, we were so hooked to it that many of us would bunk classes playing it in our hostel rooms. There were not just a hell lot of quests but every time somebody played the game, the level design changed. And those were the days when internet connectivity was almost nonexistent, we didn't even have mobile phones back then, and so if we were stuck on a particular quest, one of us would go outside the hostel to an internet café and search for the walkthrough guide online (on one of those Geocities or Angelfire websites, dayyymm, anybody remembers those? Tripod, Bravenet, Freeservers etc? lolz). And once we found the solution, we would save the whole webpage from the Internet Café's Netscape browser to our floppy disk and rush back to our hostel. Such was our love and dedication for the game.

And then of course came the bloody mods. Somebody in hostel downloaded one such mod and it quickly spread like wildfire from one room to the other and soon everybody was playing a modded version. Suddenly, you could just stand still while fighting the final boss Diablo himself and nothing would happen to you because your health and regeneration rate were super high, and then with one punch you could take him out! Hehe.

Anyway, those were some really memorable times. When Diablo 3 came out, I couldn’t play it because my PC system didn't have the minimum requirement :( And by the time I had enough money to upgrade my system, I read so many negative reviews about the game that I decided to skip it. A lot of gamers advised that if we want to cherish our memories of D2, then we should stay away from D3.

Torchlight II is another favorite ARPG of mine. It is also currently my third "Most hours spent" on my Steam game collection, right after Team Fortress 2 and Age of Empires II. I have completed the game on normal difficulty mode using a "Berserker" class (level 90+) and restarted the game using an "Engineer" class on Veteran difficulty, but I don't exactly seem to recall why I stopped playing it…

Coming back to "Grim Dawn", the reason why I wanted to make a blog post about it is because of this one incident. A very silly incident indeed.

I'm already smiling as I type this :D

So, like I said, I started playing Grim Dawn a couple of days ago. I didn't want to read the discussion forum in case I stumbled upon spoilers. I just went in blind playing it as the game unfolded in front of me.

As I was already familiar with ARPG, I knew what I had to do - Explore the land, fulfill quests, kill the bad guys, pick up reward or item drops, equip yourself with better armour or weapons, sell off the ones not required, use that money to buy better stuff or upgrades etc etc, the usual ARPG gameplay.

And as I slowly leveled up, I received Attribute Points that I could use to upgrade my character, as in any other ARPG. In the case of Grim Dawn, I could use those Attribute Points to improve my "Physique" or "Cunning" or "Spirit". Improving any of them affected my health, damage, the type of weapons or armours I could carry etc.

But I still didn't understand why I needed my "Energy" bar. I wasn't using it at all, and here's where things got funnier.

It took me a hell lot of time to level up to Level 10, which was the first Steam Achievement badge. Man, I grinded a lot, the enemies were becoming tougher and tougher in spite of me upgrading my attributes. I ended up farming a lot in the earlier regions to buy better weapons as I wasn't getting good drops in the beginning.

Finally I came across this cave where I was given a warning: "A presence far more powerful than you exists in this place".

I was like, "Awesome!" because that meant a much tougher boss was going to be there, which meant better item drop if I could kill him.

I rushed in screaming, "Leeeeeeeeroyyyy" :P

It was this Super badass boss called "Salazar, Blade of Ch'thon". He killed me within the first 2 seconds, lolololololzzzzz.

Fortunately, I respawned right back in town and the only thing I lost were Experience Points. I farmed for some more time, bought better items and went to face him again. I created a portal right next to his location so I could easily get to him the next time he killed me. And killing me he did, many times! Man I think I died at least a 100 times! But I managed to hit him and reduce his health by a miniscule amount every time before he killed me. I was persistent. I wasn't going to give up. I kept rushing back right after respawning. Attack. Die. Repeat. Die. Repeat. Die.

FINALLY, I killed him and received a lot of awesome item drops, including the "Blood of Ch'thon". I also unlocked my second Grim Dawn achievement once I killed him.

After that I closed the game and went to view my global achievement stats on Steam.

THAT was when I knew something was freaking wrong!!!!

Can you spot what is wrong from my screenshot image of my global achievement stats below?


For those of you unfamiliar with Steam achievements, you will see the game's achievement badge on the left side, and if you see the same badge on the right side, that means you have unlocked that particular achievement. From the above image, you can see that I overtook a hell lot of achievements!

The harder the achievement is, the fewer people will unlock it. Usually people unlock most achievements in order from the top. In my case, I have achieved a feat less than 30% of the people playing Grim Dawn had achieved, without even achieving any of the earlier achievements. How were people able to unlock all those achievements before reaching Salazar? How were they able to progress so quickly? Weren't they finding this game difficult and grinding?

And so finally, I decided to look up on the guides online.

That was when I came across probably the most FACE-PALM moment of my entire gaming life!

Whenever I leveled up my character, apart from getting Attribute Points, I was also actually getting Skill Points!!!! I could use those Skill Points to determine which CLASS I wanted to be, and improve the various skills from the Skill Tree to make myself more powerful! I was completely unaware of that section!!!


There are apparently six classes to choose from, and I was playing class-less all that time!!!  lolzzz

There is the "Soldier", who I assume is like the hack-n-slash "Barbarian" of D2 or "Berserker" of T2. Then there's the "Demolitionist", "Occultist", "Nightblade", "Arcanist" and "Shaman", all having their unique powers and skills. You can use those skills to upgrade your character and make him/her more powerful.


Mannnnn I had more than 50 unused Skill Points when I finally discovered my Skill section of the game! I laughed out so much.

(In my defense though, most of the ARPGs I've played let you select your class in the very beginning itself. In Grim Dawn, the class selection apparently unlocks only after you reach level 2, hence the reason why I had no idea there were classes to choose from.)

I read a few more guides and since people suggested a "Demolitionist" was a good class for first-timers, I selected that one and quickly upgraded my "Fire Strike" immediately, maxing it out and unlocking "Explosive Strike". I also invested in "Grenado" and "Canister Bomb" from the skill tree, which really made it easier killing off a pack of zombies, and of course the awesome "Mortar Trap" that saved me more than once from a certain death. Yeah things had been much more easy and smooth after I discovered the bloody skill tree. It made my gameplay experience even more fun.

I also finally realized using those special skills consume "Energy" (kinda like a "Mana" system) so now I know why my Energy was always full earlier in the game :D

Great game indeed, I've just completed the first main quest of killing Warden Krieg, and will be on this game for the next couple of weeks. But damn, I'll always remember this game as the game I played without selecting any class or activating my skill tree for at least the first 15 hours of gameplay! Howbow dah? lolz.




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chp 652. Silence


It's been more than 10 days now since I switched off my phone, due to personal reasons. And by that I mean I haven't logged into Facebook or WhatsApp as well. 10 days of perpetual silence.

Abstaining from mobile connectivity and social media, I have come to realize the amount of control they have over our lives. It is really difficult to stay disconnected. But so far, tormented as I may be, I seem to be handling it because I'm still alive.

There are a lot of things I can no longer do without my phone. For starters, I can't make or receive calls (duh!). My landlord threw a fit the other day, as it was time to pay rent. He tried contacting me but couldn't, and so he went to my office directly and waited for half an hour and finally our reception desk told him I wasn't in office yet, and then he came home and scolded me and finally said he won't be renewing my rental agreement next month, so now I have to look for a new place. And that's just the first casualty of my self-imposed exile from the mobile world.

I can no longer log into Steam from office because I have that stupid mobile authentication activated. So yeah you can imagine how boring and unproductive my office life has become. I'm a game designer who can't play or test any games, for crying out loud. The other day, my boss told me to do a research on Ketchapp games, and eventually I had to use one of our office testing devices for the analysis. That definitely didn't go down well with my boss. I also missed a very important meeting - a team from a gaming agency in Hungary were in town and our Corporate office had sent me the meeting schedule on Outlook mobile, but I didn't receive it obviously and walked into office at 10 AM, by which time the meeting was already over. They wanted me to give a presentation on the few games we've published. The corporate and management teams were super pissed at me. There goes my annual appraisal review :(

I can't order food from Zomato or Swiggy app anymore, which I used to do daily, so my eating habit and hygiene had gone for a toss. In fact, I can't buy anything from any e-com sites because I won't be able to confirm my order. I also can't make any online transactions because of mobile authentication again. Just this morning, I found out my life insurance policy had lapsed because my premium payment's last date was yesterday. I'm sure they must have been trying hard to contact me. So there goes my dream of having a good premium payout. Three years of premium payment down the drain.

I can't use Uber or Ola and now must rely on the old practice of hailing a running cab, not that I am in the mood to go anywhere (other than office which is mandatory). Long story short, there are a lot of drawbacks for not using one's mobile. I've come to realize mobile phones are not just a luxury, they are a necessity in today's world.

But what I have also realized is, there is this uncheerful aura of peace around me. I have become much more focused at work. No distractions. I am actually 2 days ahead of my current Scrum task log!

Sure I miss all the WhatsApp and Facebook groups I'm in, especially our Mizo Bloggers group, where we would discuss anything under the Heavens and there were always people voicing out their opinion and counter-arguing. After all, we're bloggers :) And with Arsenal currently performing badly, I don't exactly miss all the banters other rival fans must be sending me (or tagging me on Facebook).

Last weekend, "Iron Fist" season 1 fortunately came out on Netflix, so that kept me accompanied for the weekend. Plus I could relate so much to the main hero. I'm not talking about his super power, but the way he would meditate and reach some sort of a nirvana because there were no distractions around him. None of my friends or family can call or message me, and in a weirdly twisted way, this is kinda giving me some sort of an inner peace.

To silence.

Cheers.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chp 651. The Designated Survivor plot twist!


Hehe… big lesson learnt. Next time, DO NOT fall for everything you read on the internet! I am talking about my current favorite TV show - The Designated Survivor.


I started watching this show not just because of the interesting plotline but because of the awesome casting from some of my favorite TV shows - Kiefer Sutherland (aka Jack Bauer from "24"), Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar series / House / HIYM), Maggie Q (Nikita / Stalker), LaMonica Garrett (The Last Ship / Sons Of Anarchy), Natascha McElhone (Californication / Revelations), Malik Yoba (Empire / Alphas) and Virginia Madsen (Scoundrels / Witches of East End).

Such an action-packed cast. Sutherland needs no introduction. Maggie Q kicked a lot of asses in "Nikita" with her deadly martial arts skills, Malik Yoba was this superhuman anti-hero in "Alphas" who was filled with rage and became stronger the angrier he got, LaMonica was a lieutenant on board the nuclear-powered Destroyer in "The Last Ship" and a deputy sheriff battling notorious biker gangs in "Sons of Anarchy". Even Italia Ricci was a super-villain (Silver Banshee) in the TV show "Supergirl".

But in Designated Survivor, apart from LaMonica (Secret Service) and Maggie (FBI) firing a couple of rounds from their handgun, you will not see any of these stars get into hard action. But even with that, the show is absolutely awesome.

The reason why I said I'll not fall for what I read online again is because two months ago when Designated Survivor had their mid-season break, the show ended in a cliffhanger. Somebody tried to assassinate President Kirkman but was distracted in the last second and the bullet could have hit somebody else. The show ended with that.

And then I read this on IMDB and immediately posted this scathing blog post, about how it no longer made sense to wait for the new episodes because we already knew who got shot.


I even got a hell lot of traffic for the above blog post, most of them originating from the US. There was like one new visit via search result every 5-10 minutes! The page hit for that particular post almost hit 2000 right away!


But, yeah, as it turns out, the joke's on me!

I just saw the two latest episodes of Designated Survivor aired after their mid-season break, and it was nothing like what was mentioned in the above plot!

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!

As you can see from the above image, IMDB initially posted the plot as:

Episode 11: Someone tried to kill President Kirkman but missed and hit someone else. Now the FBI will find out who did it.
Episode 12: Someone killed President Kirkman's wife and the FBI and Secret Service is doing everything to track the killer down.

Hah. Those didn’t happen at all. In fact, everything is exactly OPPOSITE what was written above, hence the reason why I think it wasn't just some random troll but the writers of the show themselves who trolled all of us!

As both Kirkman and his wife laid on the floor after the assassin fired his gun, there was blood on both of them. I was expecting the clichéd, “Oh I’ve been shot… wait a minute… this ain't my blood, it's my wife's blood!” from Kiefer Sutherland… but hell no, it was his wife who said that! Yup, President Kirkman was indeed the person who was shot!

Dayymmmm!!!! That was a good troll indeed. I raise my glass to whoever wrote those plotlines at IMDB. You had me, you really had me good.

I paused the show and immediately went to IMDB. The plot for Episode 11 and 12 had completely changed!


Lolz. Once again, good stuff. This Episode 11 will go down as one of the best surprises I have ever experienced when it comes to TV shows :)

Even in episode 12, President Kirkman’s wife wasn't killed as mentioned earlier, she's very much alive, but two other main characters were killed off, making the show more and more suspenseful! (though I have two very big questions regarding the last scene of episode 12 – how the hell did Peter MacLeish’s wife get there behind Maggie Q when they were surrounded by the FBI, and why is Maggie Q not washing off that blood stain on her forehead, it’s been at least 3-4 days since she was apprehended, comon gurl, you're hot but you gotta shower sometimes too :D :P )

It would be interesting to know other people’s reaction to the way things turned out, but unfortunately, IMDB had discontinued their Messaging Boards as of last month, so I cannot even visit those old threads where people were lashing out at the show for giving away "spoilers".

Aaaaah.

Keep this show rocking. It's getting better and better. Cheers!



Monday, March 13, 2017

Chp 650. Holi in Pune


So today is Holi and I am sitting in office because it is an optional holiday (which I'm planning to use instead for Good Friday next month).

It kinda sucks a bit knowing most people are spending today relaxing at home or spraying colors at each other while I'm logging my work at Jira and trying to complete my pending tasks, but at least I think I'm having a better day than this poor person who I hope wasn't fired from work.

So last Friday, I received a push notification from my Cleartrip app. Cleartrip, like most other apps I have installed on my phone, tries to utilize every festive occasions in order to boost their sales. Yeah sometimes most of these push notifications are spammy and downright irritating, but at the same time I cannot block the notification on some of these apps because I need to receive their notifications, like being reminded of an upcoming trip or a flash sale or that my lunch order has been dispatched from the restaurant.

I received a lot of push notifications from various apps regarding Holi. Here is a colorful discount this Holi blah blah blah or This Holi bring back the color of love with this amazing 1+1 offer blah blah blah. The usual lines I used to struggle with back when I was a copywriter at an Ad agency :D

But one notification really stood out, and it was this one from Cleartrip.


"Start with a b(ha)ang!"

Lolz, I was like, seriously? It's cheesy and corny, and more importantly, it was freaking bold. I immediately thought whoever sent that message was going to get into trouble. And 5 minutes later, Cleartrip indeed sent out another push notification, a much toned-down version.


Oh man, I was cracking up inside. Because I can so imagine what must have happened in that 5 minutes. Somebody from the agency handling Cleartrip's social media account, probably a new joinee or junior copywriter, thought that was a pretty cool and funny line, and sent that push notification out without getting an approval from his/her Copy supervisor or from the client side, and the moment somebody from Cleartrip received that notification, there was utter chaos and frantic calls made to the Client Servicing or Business Development team of the agency, who in turn blasted the Creative department, and they had to quickly come up with another message in the hope that people might not notice the first one.

I mean I'm just assuming it happened like that because I've been there, done that. Things like that happened a lot when I was working at an Ad agency. Angry calls from client or their branding team were quite common if the approval protocol was not set up properly. Oh those fun and memorable days. :D There was even this one time when we mixed up the mailing list of two very big clients and sent out the wrong mailers to more than 5 lakh email database.

Anyway, I could be mistaken too and Cleartrip could have approved that message, though considering their branding tone, I find it quite unlikely that they did. Also why would they send out another notification just 5 minutes later when we know brands are extremely cautious about not spamming their subscribers as it leads to high uninstallation rate. I was expecting this kind of messaging tone from apps like say, Faasos, whose communications are usually more casual and funky. Still, I do hope nothing happened to the person who sent out that quirky line. Lolz, he/she just got baptized by the fires of the cutthroat Advertising world. :D

Happy Holi everyone. And hope you all had a b(ha)ang today :)



Friday, February 24, 2017

Chp 649. Life Hack: Weighing Luggage


Some of you may already know this, but for those of you who don't, here is a simple "life hack" on how to weigh your luggage.

First of all, what does one mean by weighing one's luggage/baggage?

When my friends and colleagues from Pune and Mumbai travel by Air to their hometown or for a short vacation, they are usually not worried about the Airline's excess baggage cost. After all, they only have to carry a few clothes for that duration and that is it.

But for those of us from Mizoram, travelling back and forth is a big pain due to the meager 15 kg excess baggage limit on domestic air travel.

As a wise friend once told me, back when Mizoram was a Dry State, we had to carry many bottles of booze in our baggage while flying in, and now that it has become a Wet State, alcohol is so cheap there that we have to carry many bottles of booze in our baggage while flying out. :D Yes… a "friend". :P

All jokes aside, there are a lot of things we need to carry in our checked-in baggage while flying in, like things we don't get over there. And while flying back from Mizoram, there's the smoked pork and variety of vegetables and pickles we take back with us. Before you know it, you've already crossed the 15 kg limit, hence paying a hefty fine at the airport ticket counter.

That is why we always weigh our baggage before flying, doing some last minute rearrangement and stuff, shifting heavier objects like shoes and books to our carry-on bag (7 Kg limit there but nobody checks that, strange huh).


While it is easy to weigh your baggage with a hand-held scale, not many people own that. Most of us have the traditional weighing scale at our homes where you need to stand on top of it to see your weight.


And this is where most people face a problem. If your baggage is large, you cannot see the value! The baggage covers the display completely, no matter how your rearrange it.


What to do, what to do?


Well here is a very simple solution!


First, weigh yourself on the scale.


Next, weigh yourself along with your baggage.


After that, simply subtract the first weight from the combined weight.


There you have it ladies and gentlemen, your exact baggage weight! :D


So simple, naw? :D Hope you find this corny post useful. :)

Cheers!




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chp 648. Mizos and our Spoken English


During my vacation back in Mizoram last week, I had the honor of being invited to give a short speech to the students of ICFAI University, Mizoram. My audience were the MBA, BBA and BCA students, along with a few faculty members including my sister Dinpuii who teaches Management, fellow blogger Jerusha aka dignified cow, and u Mahumi, the Head of Academics.

As it was sort of an impromptu speech (I was freelancing as a driver for my sister), I didn't have the time to prepare a presentation or slides, so I just talked freely about how life in the corporate world is, the struggles we have to face daily, coming out of our comfort zones and stuff, hoping I could inspire some of the students. I had to speak in English as it is the medium of instruction within the institute.


The student interaction was not much, but apparently, that is how things roll in Mizoram. Most of the students just sat there quietly even when I asked them questions. I did manage to crack a few jokes here and there though, and the audience responded with a laugh, so that was a relief. :)



One of the points I mentioned to the students was about the usage of English. Having spent a majority of my life outside Mizoram and being an executive member of the NEHM (North East Helpline Mumbai) when I was in Mumbai, I had encountered and counseled many youngsters from the North East who felt insecure because they "didn't speak good English".

Let me be clear on this. There is NOTHING wrong if you can't speak English properly. Our Mizo community sometimes tend to dwell in this misconception that being fluent in English equals to being educated or classy. Trust me, that is nothing but a gross Colonial hangover. You don't have to be embarrassed if you speak broken English with a Mizo accent. Look at me. You may only know me as somebody who writes in English, but if you speak to me in English, you will hear me speak English not just with a Mizo accent but a mix of Tamil accent as well! :)

Till now I cannot pronounce certain words like "three" properly. Even in Engineering college, my Mallu friends would purposely ask me how many items (three) they were holding, and I would reply with a hand gesture by raising my three fingers to indicate "three" (and then slowly lower my index and ring finger to give them the middle-finger salute) :D But then we were close friends and I had long accepted the fact that I will never be able to pronounce it properly.

The problem is, when we start making fun of our people who speak English with an accent, we tend to make them lose confidence. And that is one of the main symptoms I have seen among Mizos who hesitated to go the distance. I have dealt with Japanese clients, Spanish partners, Middle-eastern customers and so on who couldn't speak English for nuts. But at the end of the day, they were able to deliver what they were trying to convey because they had confidence. And that is what counts. Not your accent. Were they embarrassed they couldn't speak the Queen's English? Definitely not. So why should you be, my fellow tribal brothers and sisters? :)

Never forget that English is not your mother tongue. It is not your obligation or prerogative to master the language. I write in English because I find it easier to express myself due to my upbringing, but this does not mean in any way that I regard it higher than Mizo. Unlike the Nagas who use English and Nagamese as their lingua franca, we Mizos do not face the pressure of speaking in another language. Of course there are certain professions where you are required to speak English fluently, but when that is not the case, it is best to leave it at that.

The reason why I am a bit wired up is because of the recent video that had been sent across various WhatsApp group among our Mizo community. Aizawl FC beat East Bengal at the I-League yesterday thanks to a goal by Danmawia. There was a short post-match interview with him in English where, let's just say, he didn't speak English quite like the weatherman on a BBC channel.

And the sad part was, many Mizos laughed at him.

First of all, you might find it ironic that I am addressing this issue of speaking in English, in English. But I find it even more ironic that so many of us so called football fans who love International players such as Lionel Messi, Neymar, Diego Costa, Alexis Sanchez etc who can't speak English properly, suddenly  mocking our own flesh and blood when he attempted to speak in English.

If you think Arsene Wenger speaking English with a heavy French accent is "changkang" while a sportsperson from Mizoram speaking broken English is "ṭhing", boy you really need to get your priorities re-checked.

I still remember that time last year when Shoaib Akhtar tweeted in English and people made fun of him…


And suddenly, India and Pakistan were united (one of those rare moments), lashing out at those who made fun of him because of his English. He's a cricketer for crying out loud, not an English professor. When it comes to English, we have our own Sachin Tendulkar who speaks English really well. I had the grand honor of meeting him personally at his home when we were pitching for his official mobile game "Sachin Saga" (which will be released on Android and iOS next month). Such a down-to-earth person IRL, we spoke for hours about his game concept, in English, but what made Sachin greater than Shoaib is not his fluency over English but his mastery over cricket. Period.

And that's where the focus should be.

Sure it is good if you can practice and improve your English, I am in no way discouraging anybody from perfecting a foreign language. Just keep in mind that it is not the epitome of what defines somebody as an intellectual. We need to move away from this mindset that fluency over English means "changkang".

At the same time, I need to point out that when I occasionally use English on Facebook, it does not mean I am "in ti changkang", a comment that I have frequently seen other people make. As long as we keep assuming people who write in English are "in ti changkang", then we will keep laughing at the Danmawias and many more to come when they can't speak English properly. This presumption needs to stop, now.

Just speak in whichever language you're most comfortable with, what matters at the end of the day is your confidence. I will end this post with this amazing and cute video :)



See? He gave zero effs :)

Cheers.



Monday, February 06, 2017

Chp 647. Perfect Game number 50


Another game related blog post :)

Yesterday I reached the milestone of achieving 50 Perfect Games on Steam. As I have mentioned before, a "perfect game" is where you have unlocked every single achievement of the game you're playing.

I now have unlocked more than 5000+ achievements from all the games I have played on Steam. Who said I didn't have a life huh? hashtag sarcasm :P


You can read about my first 30 Perfect Games and my short review on them from my two earlier posts Reaching 10 Perfect Games and Reaching 30 Perfect Games.

In this post, I'll cover the next 20 games where I got 100% achievement, along with a short review on them in case any of you are interested. I know, most of you must be bored with the games related post I've been putting up here lately. But trust me, they are actually very fun once you get into it :)


1. Quell

Total achievements unlocked: 35/35
Total time played: 7 hours
Game link: Quell
Cost of game: INR 229

2. Quell Reflect

Total achievements unlocked: 38/38
Total time played: 7 hours
Game link: Quell Reflect
Cost of game: INR 229

3. Quell Memento

Total achievements unlocked: 31/31
Total time played: 8 hours
Game link: Quell Memento
Cost of game: INR 229

The three Quell games above are an interesting puzzle game with a very soothing ambient background music. It took me roughly around 8 hours to complete each of them. The difficulty level ranges from moderate to hard, especially if you're trying to unlock all achievements (find all gems, time pieces etc). If you want to play something to exercise your brain and yet at the same time relax while doing so, get these three games. Their fourth game "Quell Zen" is already out and I am waiting for it to go on sale. All Quell games are available on iOS and Android too, with the first few levels free and the rest premium, but I suggest if you're going to buy them, do it from Steam as the background music score is much better on PC.



4. The Dweller

Total achievements unlocked: 11/11
Total time played: 2 hours
Game link: The Dweller
Cost of game: INR 259

This is one of the most underrated games I've played recently. I don't know why it is not popular at all. It is a puzzle game where you're a cave monster and you must kill all the archaeologists in the cave :D You can only travel from one edge to another connecting edge, so you have to put a lot of thought while strategizing. I admit it is not very polished, especially the UI, but once you get the hang of it, you'll have a good time playing it.



5. Flow Match

Total achievements unlocked: 4/4
Total time played: 2 hours
Game link: Flow Match
Cost of game: INR 58

Another cheap and simplistic puzzle game, where you need to spend a good amount of brain power to complete the game. You're a cube, like a 3D version of "Thomas Was Alone" and you must push other blocks to create a path in a restricted surrounding. And the ending… oh my… I'm not going to give away spoilers so do get this game as it is cheap.



6. True or False

Total achievements unlocked: 12/12
Total time played: 70 minutes
Game link: True or False
Cost of game: INR 58

7. True or False 2

Total achievements unlocked: 100/100
Total time played: 60 minutes
Game link: True or False  2
Cost of game: INR 58

An informative game where you are asked a question and you have to guess whether it is true or false. Most of the facts are very very interesting, and my knowledge about different subjects increased a lot. Even if you don't want to buy both, I suggest you get at least the second version (it has more achievements, and you can also play in batch, whereas for the first one, if you get a question wrong, to play that again you have to play all over from the first question with no option to skip).



8.WayOut

Total achievements unlocked: 66/66
Total time played: 5 hours
Game link: WayOut
Cost of game: INR 54

Another very interesting and unique puzzle game where you must convert all the colors to white. Clicking on one block affects its adjoining blocks and so on, and there are different types of blocks as well. I was stuck in the last remaining stage for at least an hour. Very challenging game. Do buy.



9. Cubicolor

Total achievements unlocked: 3/3
Total time played: 71 minutes
Game link: Cubicolor
Cost of game: INR 119

Great puzzle game. In this game, you must move your cube to corresponding colors until you reach your goal. And the tiles you've just moved from disappears, so you have to plan your path carefully. I have seen similar games like this, but I really like the minimalistic feel of this game. Very well polished.



10. Cross Set

Total achievements unlocked: 17/17
Total time played: 2 hours
Game link: Cross Set
Cost of game: INR 169

I thought I would love this minimalistic digit-based puzzle based game. I love Sudoku and this was something like that, with a twist. But unfortunately, it became very tiring and difficult to figure out the logic of finding a solution. It became more of a "trial and error" run rather than reasoning, and was quite stressful in the higher levels. I had to resort to using the guides (aka cheats) to complete the game. :(



11. Zup! 2

Total achievements unlocked: 229/229
Total time played: 28 minutes
Game link: Zup! 2
Cost of game: INR 58

12. Zup! 3

Total achievements unlocked: 1708/1708
Total time played: 1 hour
Game link: Zup! 3
Cost of game: INR 58

A dream come true for achievement hunters, lolz. I hate this game because games like this make other games lose their value of having achievements. I actually like the gameplay, it is a physics based game where you must land a square at a particular platform. Quite enjoyable to play. But they went all kamikaze on the achievements. In my previous post, I have mentioned about Zup! having 118 achievements. Well, in Zup!2 there are 229 achievements. And if that is not enough, Zup!3 has freaking 1708 achievements! Fuck. And you get an achievement for just clicking on the screen and shit. Though it has boosted up my total number of achievements, I am definitely not proud of it.



13. Super Duper Flying Genocide 2017

Total achievements unlocked: 1002/1002
Total time played: 30 minutes
Cost of game: INR 58

Ladies and gentlemen, here is another shit game purely for the achievements. At least the Zup! series above had an interesting physics gameplay. In this game, you do nothing but abduct people by sucking them up using your UFO. There are certain people you shouldn't abduct, but the game doesn't punish you if you do, so who cares. There are certain type and number of people (target) you should abduct at every mission, but again the game doesn't punish you if you don't, so who cares again. You just mindlessly move horizontally back and forth while sucking up everybody and putting the sound in mute because it is super annoying, and you keep leveling up and leveling up until you unlock every achievement, all 1002 of them. Stupid game.



14. There’s Poop In My Soup

Total achievements unlocked: 22/22
Total time played: 6 hours
Cost of game: INR 58

Haha. Silly game but actually enjoyable :D You must poop on people below, lolz. And people react differently as well. You can't just mindlessly poop, you have to carefully time your poop so that it lands on the desired person or object below. Disgusting and immature, hence I love it! :D



15. Abrix for Kids

Total achievements unlocked: 19/19
Total time played: 2 hours
Game link: Abrix for kids
Cost of game: INR 259

Abrix "for kids" my ass. Some of the levels were really tough, not because of level designing but rather poor interface and control system. Fortunately, you can unlock all achievements by playing at the "level editor". That was the only saving grace for this game. Get this game only if you want the achievements.



16. Mortifero Motus

Total achievements unlocked: 11/11
Total time played: 13 minutes
Game link: Mortifero Motus
Cost of game: INR 58

This game looked polished, except it wasn't. Very nice art style and minimalistic environment, but the gameplay was repetitive and simple. This game has a lot of potential. You must drive your car from point A to B while avoiding obstacles. You can collect money on the way, but they serve no freaking purpose, lolz. And the learning curve is flat, the AI does not change its behavior as you progress further, only the speed becomes faster. I completed the game and got 100% achievement in under 15 minutes. I don't recommend this game because there is no replayability factor. There are many free Flash games like this out there.



17. That's Mahjong!

Total achievements unlocked: 16/16
Total time played: 1 hour
Game link: That’s Mahjong!
Cost of game: INR 119

If you like Mahjong Solitaire (single player version of Mahjong) then this is a good game for you. And it has a very relaxing background music with a variety of background themes. The only flaw is, it is a bit difficult to see the stack level of the cards from top view, which is critical for a game like Mahjong. But if you are an achievement hunter, then this game gives you achievements for simply selecting a particular game mode or background theme. I unlocked all achievements in less than 5 minutes, but continued playing it for more than an hour (and I will return many times later).



18. boxlife

Total achievements unlocked: 1/1
Total time played: 1 hour
Game link: boxlife
Cost of game: INR 169

I am confused with this game. Do I recommend it or not? First up, it is a first person exploration game where you collect some "power-ups" that will give you new abilities to jump, double jump, shoot etc. I initially hated the game because there was no instruction; I didn't know what the heck I was supposed to do. But then I read the discussion forums and slowly learnt the ropes. And I also encountered a serious bug where I couldn't double-jump from a certain point, but nobody else seemed to experience that bug so I found some other method to complete that task. I'd say, get this game only when it is on sale.



19. They Came From The Moon

Total achievements unlocked: 9/9
Total time played: 6 hours
Cost of game: INR 53

A lot of the reviewers hated this game, but I actually liked it :) In this game, you must guide a couple of aliens by placing direction blocks. You can easily get 100% achievement by simply playing this game and then switching your tab while you do something else, and in 2 hours you will have 100% achievement. But like I said, I really like the concept and so far have played it for more than 6 hours. The game is extremely unpolished with bad UI but trust me, this game has a lot of potential, if only the developers addresses some of the issues people are raising.



20. NEKOPARA Vol. 0

Total achievements unlocked: 13/13
Total time played: 30 minutes
Game link: NEKOPARA Vol. 0
Cost of game: INR 169

So the one genre of games I have never played till now, are the manga and anime games. I am not into manga or anime (or hentai for that matter :P ) but a lot of my friends are. And so I decided to give it a shot, after all, being a game designer, you gotta catch 'em all right? I bought NEKOPARA Vol.0 which was on sale, and hehehe, such a weird game. I mean it was exactly as I expected, and it was a good experience. You unlock achievements for just petting the characters… and urrmm you can pet other parts of their body as well and see their reaction, lolz. Completed the game in 30 minutes. Good stuff, but I won't be venturing into this genre again.


And so with that, I've reached 50 Perfect Games. Will update my blog with this topic again once I reach 100 :) Until then, cheers.