Evil stepmother: “Who’s the fairest of them all? oh heck, i’ll just post it as a poll on Facebook.” =P

September 26, 2009 at 11:59 am (Uncategorized)

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Social networking sites have now become a household name the world over. In fact, one cannot imagine the Internet without social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Orkut and Twitter. Gone are the times when the departure of a loved one or close friend to a far off place (more often the other side of the planet) would herald the end of a relationship or friendship due to lack of proper channels of communication except post (which we all know, in the case of Pakistan is very…ahem, ‘reliable’) and phone calls (which would cost an entire fortune for just one minute of talk time). Provided that both these means of communication have improved immensely over time, yet the convenience from communicating through social networking sites is unparalleled. All one has to do is create an account on one of these sites, search and add all close friends and family to their list of contacts and then type away! Geo-political borders disappear and people are allowed to interact comfortably as if they were sitting just rooms apart.

Communication is not the only thing that these sites are offering: Facebook has hundreds of applications or ‘apps’ as they’re more commonly known where users can either create their own virtual farm, take quizzes ranging from the best hairstyle to which ‘Friends’ character they most resemble, compete with each other in the mafia don arena on the basis of the most hits and kills and participate in best friends contests; Twitter allows users to express their views and opinions on a variety of issues and topics thus also creating room for discussion between like-minded individuals; Flickr is a site entirely devoted to movies where polls are created and posted, encouraging users to vote for their favorite movie, scene or dialogue. All of these are just a fraction of the services and entertainment facilities provided, thus people can rest assured that whatever time they’ll spend in front of the computer, it’ll be time well spent.

All the benefits and advantages of such sites notwithstanding, there have been certain problems associated with them, some minor, others major. Orkut suffered from some major privacy issues where users were bothered and pestered to no end by stalkers and perverts; also certain sites like Facebook and MySpace, although through no fault of their own, have been subjected to negative publicity because of certain incidents where teenagers have instigated each other with threats and accusations resulting in violent and tragic consequences.

On the lighter side though, they may be a source of entertainment for some and yet a nuisance for others. For example, on Facebook, the number of notifications about how many ‘ribbons’ a person has won or how many neighbors one has helped or how that person has been labeled a ‘Tree Hugger’ due to the maximum amount of trees that person has planted clutter your news feed to such a large extent that there’s no room left for anything else. The variety of quizzes that are created also tend to tickle your funny bone or drive you to the point of exasperation. Quizzes such as, “What Friends character are you?” or “If you looked just like your personality, what would you look like?” are just some of the examples. It is rather interesting to point out that the results for such quizzes are more or less the same; probably that’s the general motive behind such quizzes, to please the user to the point where he/she would tell all her friends about it and urge them to try it. Another quirky aspect of which, unfortunately, i am also a victim of is the ‘Add a Friend Syndrome’ (like the name? i just made it up! =P) Certain people feel that the best way to appear on the top in popularity polls is to add every Tom, Dick, Harry, Sally or Jane he/she may have come across or came even close to interacting with in his/her lifetime. This can be pretty misleading as the added friend in question may experience a sudden boost to his/her deflated self-esteem as he/she may think that if such a person decided to grace him/her with their presence then there must be something about him/her that it is worth celebrating about. It is only once the initial adrenaline and excitement has died down that one realizes that such was not the case; this normally results in further withdrawing into one’s shell or drowning one’s grief  with a bottle of Sprite or Pepsi (since we don’t serve wine around here =P)

In the end it depends on how you perceive it. The following video successfully managed to put forward a number of things which i found unnecessary or just plain weird. =P Enjoy!

until next time, ciao. =)

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Disney buys Marvel!! =O

September 20, 2009 at 12:57 pm (Uncategorized)

Just when you thought that the world couldn’t get any weirder, when  you thought that the term ‘irony’ was something people only used when discussing politics or current affairs, POOF! something hits you in the face so hard that you’re left reeling and wondering whether you could invent a time machine to help you go back in time to a point when things were a lot simpler.

On August 31st 2009, The Walt Disney company bought Marvel Entertainment for around $4 billion in what was basically a stock and cash transaction. Under the deal, Disney gains control of more than 5,000 Marvel characters, and Marvel gains their massive marketing infrastructure.

Here’s what the big shots heading both companies are saying about the venture:

“This transaction combines Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories.”

Now there could be a number of viewpoints and opinions attributed to this particular development considering it directly concerns the future of Marvel’s fan base.  I think my opinion can be best explained through the following video:

The House of Ideas meets the Magic Kingdom. sigh

until next time, ciao. =)

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Miss Meera Jee! =D

September 15, 2009 at 7:34 pm (Uncategorized)

Celebrities thrive on attention. After all the reason they got into showbiz was to be famous ; thus they take their popularity very seriously. Landing much sought after roles in big films or even appearing in cameos in others are just a few examples. Making an appearance on the red carpet for the premiere of some awards show or movie, becoming brand ambassador for every products ranging from watches to toothpaste, appearing as judges for talent shows, even creating a reality show which centers around their own personality (case in point: Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie for ‘A Simple Life’; where Paris’s eloquent description of everything revolved around just two words: “That’s hot!” =P) are many of the other activities that celebrities undertake in order to remain in the news.

The above mentioned options notwithstanding, one then wonders when certain less desirable news items involving certain celebrities begin to occupy the airwaves. Publicity stunt or a series of unfortunate events? It is hard to tell considering the sheer determination with which the media devours such stories and then regurgitates it in a form which mostly propagates their opinion and perception of the whole affair. However, in a country like Pakistan where the film stars are probably as shrewd and cunning as the number of journalists and reporters of the media are, one is at a loss for words. =)

News of Meera’s sudden change in marital status hit the airwaves around 10 to 15 days ago. News channels had images of the so-called nikah ceremony plastered on all the television screens of the country. Then the inevitable blame game began with accusations and allegations being hurled from both parties; the ‘husband’ claiming that the both of them had exchanged the sacred vows of marriage after which Meera did an about face leaving him in the lurch while Meera vehemently denying the existence of such a pact and therefore willing to bet her parents’ lives as well as her own career if she were to be proved wrong. (pretty bold statement if you ask me). Such developments in the media tend to leave a person confused and thus ask himself/herself these questions:

  • Why is the media still offering so much coverage to the whole affair 10 to 15 days since it came into notice?
  • Why in the world is Meera denying the marriage ever took place when images of them signing the nikahnama are circulating the media circuit?
  • Big question: What in the world did that guy see in Meera?? =P

Now let’s be fair. By taking an unbiased, unprejudiced and impartial view of things, one can judge and therefore determine that there are actually a number of reasons supporting the opinion that Meera is the victim. Can we guarantee that the  pictures taken of the nikah ceremony were not forged? hmmmm, debatable. Can we guarantee that the exchange of e-mails between Meera and the man who claims to be her husband was authentic? hmmmmm, questionable.(Although the English of the e-mail written on behalf of Meera was uncannily similar to the painful tirade she normally launches into whenever she gets the chance. William Shakespeare must be turning in his grave).  However one thing is for certain; the way Meera is handling the entire situation is not characteristic of a sensible and rational human being. Purporting one version of the events that transpired at one time and then completely taking a 180 degree turn and claiming an entirely different version has somewhat become a habit of Meera’s over the past few days. For whatever reason that she may be doing this, it is surely not helping her case as her inconsistency in explanations is overshadowing whatever amount of credibility she did possess at that point.

In the end, one is left down-hearted and disillusioned with these people as they are supposed to be representatives of their professions, yet they are conducting themselves so irresponsibly. Footage of Meera first fervently denying that such a development took place, then when asked about her views about the pictures of her nikah ceremony presented as evidence to the media, her immediate claim that she wasn’t feeling well accompanied by her request to the reporter to shut off the camera ( which they didn’t and which turned out to be a severe ethics violation on behalf of the news network) and then her shameless plead to the reporter to present a positive view of her case in the most vulgar way possible are enough to make any rational person shake his head in dismay.

Conclusively, whether the story is true, sensationalized or completely false is anybody’s guess. But one thing is for certain; the phrase “what you see is what you get” holds no value in the media domain anymore.

Below are the videos of Meera’s ‘antics’ and ‘expeditions’. Enjoy! =)

until next time, ciao. =)

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Reality drama: reality not only bites, but it also reaps in a hell lot of profits.

September 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm (Uncategorized)

There used to be a time when simplicity used to reign in the television circuit; a normal day would consist of a series of cooking shows, talk shows on current affairs and soap operas. Sure, the soap operas were a bit over the top (ladies’ faces caked with makeup, lame cliched dialogues and never ending episodes devoted to certain conniving characters who have nothing better to do than plot and conspire against the main character who possesses such an angelic like demeanor that it’s to the point of being absolutely ridiculous) but one could take comfort in the fact that television, in general, is mainly a source of entertainment and although we may not like certain aspects of it, yet largely it helps us get through the day. Thus we were content.

However, big shots at certain production houses began to think otherwise. They thought that many areas of the media horizon were yet unexplored and that such areas held immense potential. If they were able to tap into them, they would become millionaires. Thus the concept of  ‘Reality TV’ was born. Now here was something new for the viewers to devour. Instead of pre-determined stories and scripted dialogues, people will now get a chance to see participants ‘react’ to certain situations that are thrust upon them. Gives a whole new meaning to the following phrase, doesn’t it?

Some are born great, some achieve greatness and yet some have greatness thrust upon them

Now viewers can see people similar to who they are tread a path full of obstacles in the quest to achieve greatness and make a name for themselves. In other words, viewers can easily ‘relate’ to the participants. Therefore these kind of programs do provide some appealing entertainment.

However due to the fantastic response received by their audience, creators of such shows are now exploring every available avenue for something which they can project to their viewers and in doing so they are looking, to say the very least, quite desperate. For example, a show which is currently being aired on Star World by the name of ‘Are you smarter than a 5th grader?’ Why everyday people who have stable jobs and stable lives risk public humiliation by coming on national television and fumble around for answers to 5th grade questions is beyond comprehension. Upon first arriving on stage, their chins are high and with puffed chests they announce to everyone that going through this competition would be a piece of cake for them as they were A+ students back in grade school. What image they project at the end of the show is anybody’s guess.

Then there’s another series which surely pushes the envelope; ever heard of ‘America’s Greatest Dog’? Now you can get the chance to see a number of dog owners subject their canine counterparts to the greatest humiliation and embarrassment. Yes it’s a sad day in Poochie Land. Beneath all the frills and glitter, i am sure there is a poor, unconfident canine, who suffers from such immense low self esteem and inferiority complex that it may not possess the energy to bark in protest.

Even our own country, Pakistan has not been able to escape from this reality drama mania. ‘Maachis’ proves to be a good example in this case. Now we are no strangers to televised court dramas; in fact such scenarios ensure immediate justice which are a blessing especially in our case where the judicial system is in dire straits. However even these have been corrupted by adding spice and masala to attract the audience into watching certain families show their dirty laundry in public. Such shows are being shown with shameless abandon. From start to finish, the show is engulfed with shouts of allegations and accusations from both sides with the host’s voice sounding as loud as the participants’ voices and thus causing you to keep your television volume to the bear minimum. In short, it can be called our very own Jerry Springer show. The only difference is that instead of showing images of gays and lesbians making out on stage, one sees images of people belonging to the same family but at odds with each other over a certain issue and thus persistently trying to drown the other person’s voice.

Unfortunately due to the lack of check and control on behalf of the authorities with regard to the proper operation and procedures of such reality television shows, sometimes the producers of such shows in their greed for more profits tend to cross the line. And sadly, many times the cost associated with such greedy and selfish pursuits is too high and completely irreversible. Case in point: Saad Khan’s untimely death due to the excessive danger he had to face in a certain reality show sponsored by Unilever. As part of the exercise, he had to carry a load weighing a couple of tons on his back and swim across a river within the time limit allotted to him. During the task, he began to face some difficulty keeping his head above the water. Other contestants standing ashore watched in horror as he disappeared underwater and never emerged. Unilever accepted no liability for Khan’s death.The company is in discussions to provide for Khan’s wife and four children “out of rightness”. Having said that, it is evident how dangerous such shows can become. Such shows are the manifestation of the greed and selfishness of certain producers who are always on the lookout for higher ratings which can be translated into higher profits. i believe there is no way the death of a family member could be compensated for. Gluttony has reared its ugly head for all to see this time.

To give an idea of how ridiculous reality shows have become, the following video should put things into perspective. =)

until next time, ciao. =)

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Early bird catches the worm… (poor worm didn’t see it coming)

September 3, 2009 at 5:44 pm (Uncategorized)

We, as a nation, pride ourselves on being fashionably late. In fact, if any of us were asked the question : ‘Why don’t we make the effort of coming early for a change?‘, instead of hanging our heads and shame and trying, in vain, to mumble out that our car broke down or that there was too much traffic on the road, we contort our expressions to look mortified at the audacity of such a query and then proceed to say: ‘This is PAKISTAN! nothing starts on time here!’ . This is especially true of weddings; gone are the days when marriage was considered as a celebration of the union of two souls as witnessed by Allah and both families. Nowadays, the concept of shaadis has changed altogether; it is now considered the mother of all social gatherings; a competition of sorts where all fashionistas collect and determine which has the best dance floor, the best decor, the best seating arrangement, etc.

If the invitation for arrival is written as 9:00 p.m on the invitation card, then people take it to mean 10:00 or even 10:30. Ask anybody and they shall recount the nightmarish experience they wish they could easily forget of the time when they decided to adhere to the rarely-applied principles of punctuality and came early, only to find that even the hosts themselves hadn’t bothered to arrive by that time.

Mehndis are even worse; people don’t bother coming before 11:00 p.m because they know the real fun won’t start before that. The poor, ignorant souls who, by mistake, did come early now have to bear with the pace of the proceedings as the sequence of events is so numerous that dinner may not be served til before 1:00 a.m!

This love affair with lateness and delay is, sadly, not only confined to wedding functions. Remember the times when we used to attend school; when we’d be getting ready for assembly, out of the corner of our eyes we were always bound to see a number of kids standing at the gate, shuffling their feet and muttering under their breath (probably cursing the van driver for not waiting for him) and wondering what fate awaited them in the principal’s office once the assembly was over. These kids were permanently branded as ‘latecomers‘; people who had no respect for deadlines and who were considered to be tardy.

Recently a news item appeared which stated that offices in New Delhi were implementing the use of biometric scanners in order to ensure that their employees reached their workplaces on time. The scanners required employees to scan their fingerprints at the time they entered the office. The scanner would then record the time of the scan. If the employee came late 3 days in a row, he would have to give up one day off as punishment.

Hmmm… one wonders what would happen if the same device was introduced in our workplaces?

Employee *frantically checking his watch as he enters building*: “oh man! today im screwed! the boss is definitely gonna fire me!”

*proceeds towards scanner*

*scanner beeps out message*: “scan taken at 11:15 a.m”

Employee *groans*: “ugghh!! dammit! how do i get this off the record??….hmmmmm…..”

*lightbulb shines overhead*

*looks around to see if anybodys watching and then pours water all over the scanner*

scanner: *crack* *POP!* fizzle*

Employee *mock indignation*: “oh dear! look what happened! now now, not worry people; i shall get it fixed in a jiffy!”

*runs off with it*

(1 hour later)

Boss: “Saleem! Did you get that scanner fixed or not?!”

Employee: “yes sir i had taken it to the shop to get it fixed but its completely beyond repair!”

Boss: “what?! that thing cost a fortune!! why?? whats wrong with it??”

Employee: “Sir, its a chinese model!”

until next time, ciao. =)

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