Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ted: Review


One of the few joys left in my life is watching "The Family Guy" and re- runs of it. I was instantly fascinated by it's satirical humor and unrelated references and cutting-off-to-flashbacks and extempore- breaking-into-song-sequences and while I was painfully watching it's sheen and gloss fade away, I was still hopeful of a few flashes of genius from the man at it's helm. So, it was obvious that ever since TED was announced and subsequently released, I was waiting eagerly.

The movie let me down! Big time! Here're the reasons:

- May be I had too many expectations when I was hoping to see a bit of Family Guy rub off on the big screen, sort of, Stewie-Brian banter and chatter, their rantings, experiences, travels etc. This had nothing of the sort! Ted was no Brian and John (Mark) was no Stewie! Yeah there were expletive-filled rants and tangential chatter but nothing as endearing as the real thing. May be, just being wishful here, if Seth had Stewie dub in for Mark, it'd somehow had gotten everything to fall in place including the original camaraderie.

- Mila Kunis is the center-piece of this story! Come-on now, having seen Family Guy for all these seasons, who'd like Meg to be the main character!? Every time John would go shout at Ted for not letting him be with her, I would cringe in my seat! The moment I heard Mila utter her first word, all I could see was a girl with round specs in a purple hat all the time! And Mr. Seth, you just can't let Meg have that attention! She's got to get trashed around! And the bit that killed me: it's like Meg and Brian are being held at the same level vying for John's attention! I don't care if it's John or Peter or whoever! You just can't hold Meg and a character like that of a Brian on the same ground!

- In the hall, I had a Jew sitting in the front, an Asian on my left, a Mexican on my right and a black man behind me. So, even if I wanted to, I couldn't laugh at lot of places. If you're wondering how I found about the Jew, well, he was laughing the hardest in the first kid scene.

- No impromptu songs! I half expected TED to be a musical but too bad it wasn't. The only thing that came close was Mark's singing on the stage and if that's the excuse you give me for a musical, I would rather watch a TFG episode starring Meg alone!

So, there you go Mr. Macfarlane. Not so successful directional debut and yeah, while you'd be singing your way to the bank, you've lost some more respect among your TFG legions.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Health Check

I went for a medical check-up yesterday. It was one of those mandatory and undesirable things that my employer makes me go through. There could be myriad of reasons why an employer would be "concerned" in an employee's well-being. Obviously, they don't want the company's overall efficiency to be brought down because of some incapable employees. I guess if they spend all this money on some introspection, they may end up making the work-environment healthier but that's another story. In essence, it's the old pay-money-to-show-that-you-care-and-satisfy-the-guilt-conscience thing, because, after-all, employer's do stand guilty of deteriorating the health of employees. But, then again, if the employees didn't have this source of income, may be their health would deteriorate faster.

Anyway, my appointment was scheduled in the morning. Dietary restrictions meant that I couldn't eat or drink anything after dinner the previous night. The medical center was located in the middle of the city which is easily an hour transit from the place where I live. So, when I ended up there, I hadn't eaten/drank anything for 13 hours, I had walked for about half an hour, I took a bus ride of 45mins, a subway transit of 30mins and then, to go to this swanky health-care center located in a hotel building, I had to pass by the lavish breakfast buffet and people munching happily on it. So, in some sense, I was already sick. And then, in the changing room, they asked us to put on a one-size-fits-all gown which was two sizes too small for me. To top it off, they had mirrors in the changing rooms. So, I was even more sick! (I wish I had a picture of me in that gown to put here)

We've come a long way in improving non-invasive techniques and bio-medical imaging machines to look inside the human body without entering it. I was mentally prepared for a 3 hour ride of being bombarded with all kinds of high energy particles, my water molecules being resonated, sound wave penetration, blood extraction etc. We've also come a long way in making money out of these assembly line health check-ups. It was an android checking factory: all of us dressed in identical gowns, being put through one machine after another, as if on a conveyor and then ushered in-and-out as fast as possible to maximize the efficiency of the system.

I have been through multiple health checks in the past. But this time, it was different. Not just a realization of impressive progress in medical imaging techniques (Branch-off: I always wonder about how helpless doctors would be without engineers who invent and produce these machines with extra precision and quick outputs and ease-of-operation, yet, doctors are held at much higher pedestal just because they're the direct interface to the end-users and are believed to be handling the delicacy of human life but those machine-makers and chip designers which form a part of that system are easily forgotten...) but also how quickly the differences between machines and humans are fading away. We work tirelessly, go through regular checks, maintenance, and then back to work. How different would a robot be in our place? It'd work tirelessly, go through regular checks, maintenance and then back to work. Except that, there would be no HR department, no people managers and certainly, no counselors.

My results are due in two weeks. Wish me luck that my employer doesn't dispose me away.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Being Human

I am trying. I am over-trying. To be human. To belong.
To play and smile and mingle and go along.
I think. I over-think. I think about what I said,
and what I am supposed to say. To be witty and related.
I am programming. I have programmed to respond to situations.
I hope the responses are correct. There's much room for corrections.
Lot of pre-processing that happens to the inputs and questions.
Invariably, the first response is rejected.
Not because it's not correct but because it's infected.
I masquerade to blunt my instinctive edges.
Try enough to avoid those sledges.
And then I feel this constant thumping in my brain.
Did I over-do it? is the constant refrain.
It's like running a simulation with different answers everytime.
And the realization that deep inside the code, the fault is always mine, the fault is always mine.