Sunday, December 19, 2010

Moist – Mind Altering Chillout Electronica from Sweden

10 Free Tracks From Sweden's Leading Electronic Artist

How about some addictive, chill out electronica for the week ahead before Christmas. That’s the picture I can think of after listening to Moist the last few days! Not to be confused with the Canadian Rock band of the same name, Moist is from Sweden and the creation of one man army Producer, Songwriter & Musician - David Elfström Lilja.

David expertly coaxes dreamy, chill out melodies with a skittering of lush female vocals, shades of kraftwerkish new age ambience and pensive downbeat harmonies – all beautifully blended amidst an air of enigma. Imagine, mind expanding lounge electronica on your speakers! Now, thanks to David, I present below some of my personal 10 favorites for your aural consumption which are already very popular across numerous European radio stations. So, go ahead, lie down, switch off your lights and immerse yourself in electronic moist bliss!

1. Moist - Far Beyond The Endless (Mert Boru Remix) (4:08)
2. Moist - How Long (Omnimotion Remix) (3:28)
3. Moist - How Long (feat. Maria Marcus) (3:58)
4. Moist - I Am (UGLH Remix) (5:18)
5. Moist - Just Say You're Sorry (feat. Sophie Rimheden) (4:52)
6. Moist - Just Say You're Sorry (Stefan Aronsson Remix) (6:04)
7. Moist - Not Alone (Addeboy Vs Cliff Remix) (5:14)
8. Moist - Not Alone (Inspiritualization Remix) (4:42)
9. Moist - Not Alone (feat. Maria Marcus) (3:15)
10. Moist - Wild Structures (with I Awake) (5:36)

Free MP3 Download – Zipped Folder - 94.28MB – Megaupload link


If you like Moist, please visit the Moist website @ or like the Moist Facebook Fanpage . You can also follow Moist and the force behind Moist – David Elfstrom Lilja on Twitter.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Top 5 Movies of Michelangelo Antonioni

My favorites from the Italian Modernist

I had the indulgence of seeing Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow-Up” on HD last week. Again that is. This was probably my 7th or 8th time but watching this masterpiece from the Italian modernist filmmaker in high definition glory just blew me away. After all, according to cinema critic Richard Corliss, this was the movie that defied conventions and “helped liberate Hollywood from its puritanical prurience”!

So, now that you know my love for this celebrated filmmaker, I present below some of his very best movies or rather my personal Top 5 for your reading pleasure. As always, I have added all video links that I could find so that you can also view these great movies.

L'Avventura/ aka The Adventure (1960/Mystery) - Its slow, stately pacing caused absolute chaos at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival, but this remains one of Antonioni's finest with Empire magazine ranking it one of 'The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema'. Part one of the ‘Incommunicability’ Trilogy and the film that launched the career of Monica Vitti, this movie is a beautifully constructed tale of futility, idleness and deception revealed through the search for a missing woman. Antonioni uses little dialogue; what is said, therefore, we pay attention to. Likewise, the director's trademark blank compositions are very much in evidence. Also starring Gabriele Ferzetti and Lea Massari.

L'Eclisse/ aka The Eclipse (1962/Drama/Romance) - The final part of the 'Incommunicability' Trilogy, preceded by La notte; Antonioni's masterpiece stars Monica Vitti and Alain Delon as a couple in a modern, desperate relationship as seen through the eyes of the auteur of alienation. Though his view of the eclipse of emotion is ultimately bleak, there are touches of humor along the way. The justifiably famous ending poetically sums up the film through a montage of rich images. Though nominated for the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival, this won the Jury Special Prize.

Blow Up (1966/Mystery/Thriller) - A mod, metaphysical London, a mocking, mad world and a murder mystery provide the ideal setup in this Oscar nominated numinous whodunit that also made Antonioni, an international star and inspired Brain De Palma’s Blow Out (1981). David Hemmings, a swinging English photographer (in the likes of David Bailey) more concerned with art than reality, discovers a sinister truth when his camera unknowingly witnesses a murder. Antonioni's most accessible film and also his first English-language film is a profound meditation on the nature of representation. Based on the 1959 short story by Julio Cortazar’s “The Devil’s Drool”. With Vanessa Redgrave and Sarah Miles. A genuine masterpiece, don’t miss this.

Zabriskie Point (1970/Drama)- Antonioni's impression of late 60's American youth counterculture was a colossal flop during its initial release – critics finding it crammed with condescending cliché and dated attitudes. An irritating but totally intriguing mess with Sam Sheppard listed as a contributor to the non existent screenplay in which Mark Frechette is insufferable as a college boy who hides out in the desert with a sexy Chick after shooting down a pig. In spite of all its various shortcomings, I found it full of beautiful images, especially the desert scenery, a few occasionally affecting insights and a dazzling soundtrack featuring the Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead and the supreme Pink Floyd amongst others.

The Passenger / Professione : Reporter (1975/Drama/Mystery/Thriller) - Jack Nicholson provides the ultimate in cool alienation in one of Antonioni fine depiction of male angst. Nicholson plays a journalist who decides to take on a dead man's identity in an anonymous desert setting, then plunges deeper and deeper into your classic existential malaise in this 1975 Cannes “Plame d’Or” nominated gem. Maria Schneider (Last Tango in Paris) provides some temporary relief. Jack is absolutely prime; the moody photography is memorable. An excellent choice for Nicholson, art film fans and film students alike. The Passenger’s penultimate long take 8 minute shot (in those days when there was no steadicam) is alone worth the price of admission. Watch out for Steven Berkoff. If you like this, you should also see the similarly scripted Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control(2009).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Singing in the Rain - 20 Great Rain Songs!

Free Hit Mp3s to Relish the Bountiful Rains

It’s been raining, rather incessantly for the past 3 days. Maybe, the man above has finally heard my complaints - blessing me (and a thousand others) with a million gallons of water plus a day off on a Monday! So, what better way to spend a bonus weekday holiday than listening to great rain songs, sipping hot mushroom soup and savoring the cold wet weather with the family!

Featuring fantastic hit tracks from the likes of Sarah Brightman, Paramore to Queensrÿche, The Cult, personal favorites like A-ha, Garbage, Cold besides Billboard hits from Zoe, Milli Vanilli and more, I hope you all share my enthusiasm for the rains, like my rain love and enjoy the free rain music!

1. A-Ha - Crying In The Rain (4:21)
2. All That Jazz - Open Rain (5:09)
3. Benjamin Diamond - The Rain (4:37)
4. Cargo Cult - Rain (3:27)
5. Club 8 - Spring Came, Rain Fell (2:36)
6. Cold - Rain Song (3:37)
7. Garbage - Only Happy When It Rains (3:56)
8. Hunz - Ocean From Rain (5:23)
9. Kate Ryan - The Rain (3:18)
10. Milli Vanilli - Blame It On The Rain (4:19)
11. Paramore - When It Rains (3:35)
12. Queensrÿche - Another Rainy Night (Without You) (4:29)
13. Sarah Brightman - Let It Rain (4:17)
14. Sneaker Pimps - Walk The Rain (4:56)
15. Something Stranger - And The Rain (3:15)
16. The 77's - Rain Kept Falling In Love (4:57)
17. The Alarm - Rain In The Summertime (5:11)
18. The Cult - Rain (3:58)
19. VAST - Where It Never Rains (3:30)
20. Zoe - Sunshine On A Rainy Day (3:57)

Free Mp3 Download – 97.93 MB Single Zipped Folder – Megaupload link


You can buy original CDS/DVDs & Mp3s of the above artists at emusic, amazon, itunes, other online stores or your nearest music and movie retailer.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Office Space (1999) - A Truly Brilliant Office Comedy

Cartoonist Mike Judge's hilarious “Dilbert”ish Workplace Satire

When Matt Groening's "The Simpsons" reached the height of its popularity, it began to receive major competition from an other (equally famous) new cartoon series aimed at the Generation X market: that creation was the wickedly delightful "Beavis and Butthead". The man responsible for the phenomenon of the grunge-addled, self-indulgent, adolescent duo was Mike Judge (Idiocracy, Extract, Spy Kids).

Judge got his start drawing insert cartoons for TV shows like the "Saturday Night Live", much like Groening did for "The Tracey Ullman Show". Thereafter, "Beavis and Butthead" developed into a popular international cult series, spawning a animated full length feature "Beavis and Butthead Do America" (which incidentally was Judge’s first full length movie) and influencing the more recent crude but hugely admired cartoon explosion headed by "South Park".

Later, Mike Judge, by now a sophisticated satirist who used low humor to make high art, went to try his hand at live-action film with the side-splitting corporate comedy, "Office Space" based on his own Milton cartoon series. Though not a big hit during its time of release, this movie has slowly garnered a cult reputation primarily through word of mouth praise.

"Office Space" rips into the authoritarian motifs that recur in the works of such literary greats as George Orwell and Franz Kafka: authors who paint a dreary picture of urban, working life, devoid of optimism and personal liberty. But where Kafka and Orwell focus on the nightmarish, dystopian elements, Judge focuses on the sly humor that arises out of the irrationality of the modern work place – in this case, the frenetic office of Initech, a software company where all the lead characters work.

"Office Space" centres on Peter Gibbons, excellently played by Ron Livingston (Swingers, Adaptation, Cooler), a systems analyst in a prison of a dead job, who has to bear with ludicrous instructions from his managers on a daily basis, and finds little comfort in complaining to his fellow, equally annoyed, office mates.

Crack-pot Milton Waddams (Stephen Root) is a mistrustful personage who is constantly moved from one work cubicle to another, eventually barricading himself off to any form of communication. And devoted slacker Michael Bolton (Mad TV’s David Herman) has to suffer the daily annoyance of telling someone new with whom he is speaking over the phone that he is simply not "that Michael Bolton!"

Outside of work, Peter finds solace in the arms of girlfriend Joanna (Jennifer Aniston), an over worked waitress who has her own share of work-place insanities: she is forced to wear up to 45 badges on her uniform.

An assortment of similar characters (Ajay Naidu's Samir is a stand out) complete the movie and give finishing touches to a simple story that’s essentially set inside a office but I wont spoil the plot for you further.

All I can say is that Judge directs his actors like he would draw his sinful cartoons, emphasizing their reactions to create an absolutely over-the-top effect that works very well amid the ingeniously constructed workplace farce. And with the current recession, it makes a fantastic and entertainingly funny ‘office’ statement!

FREE Download - DVDRip - Megaupload Link

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gothic Rock Greatest Hits - A Websnacker Exclusive!

The Very Best of Gothic Rock Hits - Goth Rock, Dark Wave & Gothic Metal Mp3s

I had planned this Gothic Hits compilation to coincide with Halloween (Oct 31) but thanks to my terrible time management skills, it has taken me 3 weeks to finally bring it to fruition. In fact, this is my first music post in the last 45 days so I will make it special.

For many “Gothic Rock” is an acquired taste with a bad reputation! At heart, "Goth Rock" refers to the musical style invented by second-generation British Punk bands like the hugely popular The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the post-punk Joy Division (the predecessors of New Order) – gloomy, melancholic music that embraced darkness and excessively gloomy imagery but the Gothic style is actually quite broad and has serious cultural antecedents in the work of writers like Mary Shelley and Horace Walpole. The pop "Gothic" style has deeply influenced our culture and is today represented in the music of a wide variety of bands, from Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry’s Dead Can Dance to the more popular Marilyn Manson. At its worst, Gothic music is pathetically hackneyed, a collection of clichéd lines about lost vampires, blood and arcane creatures of the night. At its best, Gothic rock and its subgenres can be frighteningly morbid, darkly romantic and melodiously tuneful all at the same time.

And here’s your chance to sample this great often neglected genre. Featuring some of the very best Gothic tunes – from plain vanilla gothic rock and gothic metal to dark wave, electronica tinged gothic synth pop plus a little symphonic dark metal too, you’ll hear them all. And I have intentionally kept it as accessible as possible!

Included are some of my personal favorites too - “Cry Little Sister” by the talented English singer-songwriter - Gerard McMann (from the “Lost Boys” Soundtrack), “Kaiser Star” by the Danish indie dark rock act - Ruined By Martin (or RbM) and “Heaven’s A Lie” by Lacuna Coil, the famed Milanese Italian gothic metal band of Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia.

Other acts featured here include Mono Inc and Wolfsheim, both from Hamburg; Within Temptation, the Dutch metal/alternative rock band; Switchblade Symphony, the San Francisco ensemble; Sisters of Mercy, the English gothic rock band and Sirenia, the well-liked symphonic gothic metal band from Norway. I have a penchant for Finnish music so have added 3 acts – HIM, the Helsinki rock band of Ville Valo; Amorphis, a Nordic melodic metal band and Nightwish, the symphonic dark metal band famous for “Nemo” from the soundtrack of the underground horror thriller “Cave” and perhaps Finland’s most successful band export.

14 tracks in playlist, average track length: 4:50
Playlist length: 1 hour 7 minutes 53 seconds

1. Amorphis - Silent Waters (4:50)
2. Gerard McMann - Cry Little Sister (Lost Boys Soundtrack) (4:47)
3. Him - Join Me In Death (3:36)
4. Hungry Lucy - Bound In Blood (5:19)
5. Lacuna Coil - Heaven's A Lie (4:46)
6. Mono Inc. - This Is The Day (5:18)
7. Nightwish - Nemo (Cave Soundtrack) (4:19)
8. Noctorum - My Museum (4:59)
9. Ruined By Martin (RbM) - Kaiser Star (4:07)
10. Sirenia - Save Me From Myself (4:14)
11. Sisters Of Mercy - Temple Of Love (8:07)
12. Switchblade Symphony - Dissolve (remix) (5:44)
13. Within Temptation - Jillian (4:48)
14. Wolfsheim - I Won't Believe (2:59)

Free Mp3 Download - 85.66 MB Single Zipped Folder – Megaupload link

THIS IS A NON-COMMERCIAL FAN MIXTAPE. IF YOU LIKE THESE ARTISTS, PLEASE BUY THEIR ORIGINAL MUSIC & PROMOTE THEM. You can buy original CDS/DVDs & Mp3s of the above artists at,,, other online stores or your nearest music and movie retailer.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

14 Legendary Facts of the Great Keralite Lungi!

Everything That You Didn't Know About the Lungi

A funny satirical post on Malayali Men and their love for the venerable Lungi. This was originally forwarded to me and makes a hilarious read!! I have tweaked it a bit though and have added a little flavor of my own. Do note that the typos are intentional and No Offense Meant at anyone.

1. Just as the national fruit of Kerala is the Coconut, her national dress is the "Lungi'. Pronounced as 'Lu' as in loo and 'ngi ' as in 'mongey', a lungi can be identified by its floral or window-curtain pattern. Lungi is as simble and 'down to earth' like the Malayali wearing it. Infact, a Lungi is the beginning and the end of evolution in its category. 'Mundu' is the white variation of lungi and is worn on special ogasions like hartal or bandh days, weddings and Onam.

2. Wearing something on the top half of your body is optional when you are wearing a lungi. Lungi is a strategic dress. It's like a one-size-fits-all bottoms for Keralites.

3. The techique of wearing a lungi/mundu is passed on from generation to generation through word of mouth like the British Constitution.

4. If you think it is an eazy task wearing it, just try it once! It requires resilient techniques like breath control and stomach and waist yoga.

5. A Lungi/Mundu when perfectly worn won't come off even in a quake of 8 on the Richter scale. So, leading defense companies are exploring Lungis as a strategic legwear for soldiers!

6. A Lungi is not attached to the waist using duct tape, staple, rope or velcro.It's a bit of mallu magic whose formula is a closely guarded secret like the Coca Cola and Pepsi chemicals.

7. A lungi can be worn 'Full Mast' or 'Half Mast' like a national flag. A 'Full Mast' Lungi is when you are showing respect to an elderly or the dead and a "Half Mast" indicates disrespect, aggression or plain Keralite macho!

8. Wearing it at full mast has lots of disadvantages but a major disadvantage is when a rabid dog or a elephant in "musth" runs after you.

9. When you are wearing a Lungi/Mundu at full mast, the advantage is mainly for the female onlookers who are spared the ordeal of swooning at the sight of hairy legs.

10. Wearing a Lungi 'Half Mast' is when you wear it exposing yourself like those Malayali sex movie starlets. A Malayali can play cricket, football or simbly run when the lungi is worn at half mast. A Malayali can even climb a cocunut tree wearing lungi in half mast. "It's not good manners, especially for ladies from decent families, to look up at a malayali climbing a coconut tree"- Confucius (or is it Abdul Kalam?)

11. Most Malayalis do the traditional dance 'Kudiyattam'. Kudi means drinking alcohol and yattam, spelled as aattam, means random movement of the male body. Note that 'y' is silent. When you are drinking, you drink, there is no 'y'. Any alcohol related "festival" can be enjoyed to the maximum when you are topless with lungi and a towel tied around the head. "Half mast lungi makes it easy to dance and shake legs" says Candelaria Amaranto, a Salsa teacher from Spain after watching 'kudiyaattam' .

12. The 'Lungi Wearing Malayali Union' [LUWMU, pronounced LOVE MU], an NGO which works towards the 'upliftment' of the Lungi, strongly disapprove of the GenNext tendency of wearing Bermudas under the lungi. They claim Bermudas under the lungi is a conspiracy by the CIA to belittle a Keralite and Indian invention. Besides, it's also a disgrace to see a person wearing a bermuda with corporate logos like of under his lungi. What they don't know is how much these corporates are limiting their freedom of movement and expression.

13. A Mallu wears lungi round the year, all weather, all season. Lungi provides good ventilation and brings down the heat between legs. Perhaps, that's because a Mallu is scared of global warming more than anyone else in the world. After all, a lungi/mundu can be worn any time of the day/night. It can double as blanket at night or can be used as a swing, swimwear, sleeping bag, parachute, facemask while entering/exiting toddy shops, shopping basket and water filter while fishing in ponds and rivers.

14. It also has recreational uses like in 'Lungi/mundu pulling', a pastime in households having more than one male member. Lungi pulling competitions are held outside toddyshops all over Kerala during Onam and Vishu. When these lungis are decommissioned from service, they become table cloths, TV covers or put to some other use in a Keralite household. Thus the humble lungi is a cradle to grave appendage.

Long live the Lungi! For more info on the Lungi, check out the wiki page.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Movie Review - Cats & Dogs (2001)

A Cats Vs Dog Pet Movie Like No Other!

Cats rule! Dogs rule! No matter where your loyalties for the furry critters lie, you will enjoy this hugely enjoyable power struggle of the pets directed by Lawrence Guterman.

Lou is a secret agent wannabe. Unfortunately he is just an inexperienced Beagle puppy and new pet of the Brody household. Fortunately for him, the bipedal head of the household is a scientist (Jeff Goldblum) and a frenzied breakaway faction from the feline fraternity wants his formula. Professor Brody is close to a breakthrough in defeating the allergic reactions millions of humans have to dogs. This will upset the balance of pet power and mean more dogs would be chosen as pets over cats. Since every dog has his day, Lou is recruited to be an agent for the canine contingent.

The evil flat-faced Mr. Tinkles, a long haired Persian cat with Hitler-like qualities, is intent on world domination and the maniacal moggy won’t let man’s affinity for pooches stop him. He intends to corrupt the formula and make all humans allergic to dogs.

It’s up to Lou and the team of well-equipped four-footed agents to try to prevent the cats from taking over the world. He has the backup of a wide range of experienced canine agents, all intent on keeping the formula from falling into furry paws. Echoes of James Bond and all his gadgetry resound as hi-tech battles rage in suburbia.

Sharp-edged satire, which might offend some, but is still very funny, claws its way into a rally scene between Mr. Tinkles and his ally. World Domination pamphlets and a parliamentary session (incredibly accurate and not dissimilar to many human parliaments) complete with canine reporter Wolf Blitzer are just a couple of the chuckle-inducing scenes.

The film includes a great rip-off of a classic scene in "The Matrix", when Mr. Tinkles sends ninja cats to break into Professor Brody’s lab! And the fur really flies in a hilarious scene when the cool canines have to prevent The Russian (posing as a small defenseless kitten) with his deadly fur balls, from stealing the formula.

The special effects are excellent — apparently the producers filmed hundreds of dogs and cats, able to perform a variety of actions in front of cameras and then, interspersed the footage with close-up shots of realistic pooch and pussy models, specially created for certain scenes or facial expressions.

Forgetting the old adage, "never work with animals", Tobey Maguire, Alec Baldwin, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Lovitz, Charlton Heston and Susan Sarandon have at least put their mouth where the money is and lent their voices to this fun film. A great watch for the entire family!

Free DVDRIP Download link - Megaupload

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Manchurian Candidate, 1962

Undoubtedly, One of the Most Suspenseful Political Thrillers of All Time

It is claimed that Frank Sinatra kept ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ - 1962's most outstanding movie and one of his most memorable – out of circulation (until around 1989) simply because of the film’s disturbing political fantasies.

I have fond memories of this John Frankenheimer's dazzling adaptation of the Richard Condon novel which I saw again (probably for the 19th time) last night in DVD glory. I saw it first, sometime in the late eighties/early nineties when I was in school. In those days, my familiarity with Hollywood cinema was fairly limited – mostly sci-fi, horror and action films – mostly Spielberg, Lucas, Stallone, Schwarzenegger and a little bit of world cinema.

The name ‘Manchurian Candidate’ was such a misnomer to me. With no imagery, poster or a tape cover at my neighborhood video store, I rented it hoping it was a martial arts fest probably starring Jackie Chan or at least one of those many Chinese (English dubbed) kung fu/karate flicks. Even my videovala was convinced it indeed was a nice actioner. Boy, I was so wrong. That afternoon, I ended up fast-forwarding the entire movie waiting for Jackie Chan or his elusive Manchurian cousins to come on screen and destroy some baddies!

It was not until I entered high school that I actually savored the full grandeur of the novel and the movie and since then I have watched it so many, many times.

Now, 47 years after the assassination of JFK and 38 years after the Watergate scandal, in an age when all sorts of political machinations are possible and even expected, this Oscar nominated film is still just as gripping. Anyway, it's more likely that royalties bookkeeping had more to do with Sinatra's decision in in delaying its video release than tact or political compulsions.

While the 2004 remake of the same name starring Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight and a terrific Meryl Streep was equally good, it’s the 1962 original (ranked amongst the 250 best movies of all time) that still lives up to its cult reputation. Starring Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh, Laurence Harvey, Henry Silva, James Gregory (as a Mc-Carthyesque clown) and most spectacularly, Angela Lansbury as the most frightening mom in American film history, ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ is a combination of visual pyrotechnics, nail-biting suspense, political paranoia and black humor that was years ahead of its time. 48 years after its release, its still is a great watch and that’s an achievement.

Free Video Download - StageVu Link

Sunday, October 31, 2010

An Evening With Dr.Spock

I recently had the delight of attending an invitation only VIP lecture given by a (apparently) celebrated hypnotherapist or hypnotist to be precise. For obvious reasons, I will not disclose his name so there is no heartburn for my host. This guy (lets call him Dr. Spock cos he did look like Leonard Nimoy) claimed he was a certified hypnotherapist by training and a experienced psychic by choice - who combined both to aid his (rather very rich) clients get a fulfilling and rewarding life.

Let me say at the outset that I’ve often wondered whether many hypnotists doing stage shows are always honest. Although they often claim their subjects have been chosen totally at random, I’ve had my doubts and I know I’m not the only one. Several of my friends and I have in the past volunteered to be subjects for some of these shows and none of us has ever been hypnotized.

Well, as I learnt that evening, I could easily have been wrong. Hypnotizing someone doesn’t have to take long. Some people it seems that also make better candidates than others. Dr. Spock said that a person can be willing to undergo the process on one level, but not on another. (It’s obviously quite complex, but from what I understand, those who're cynical or possibly resisting the process can take a bit longer to hypnotize than those who aren't, for instance).

He pointed out that there are a lot of fallacies about hypnosis. One of the main ones is the commonly-held belief (probably propagated to some extent by the media) that one is "put under" by the hypnotist and is basically rendered a slave like robot, obeying any command the hypnotist in control issues. He said it was highly unlikely a hypnotized individual would do anything totally against what they believe, such as, for example, murdering someone.

What happens, Dr. Spock explained, is that hypnotized individuals move into an altered state of consciousness. They will often remain very alert during the process and can still be asked to perform a number of complicated tasks. But because they aren't feeling as inhibited as is usually the case, they may do things they'd normally consider embarrassing. He also said there are over 50 altered states or levels of consciousness one can move into – some lighter and others progressively deeper.

Dr. Spock also touched on the subject of subliminal advertising and subversive forms of control which can be used to manipulate people. He said most countries had banned such advertising because it is known to be an extremely effective, but dishonest method of selling products. He referred to the oft-mentioned scenario of a moviegoer suddenly feeling the need to buy a particular soft drink after viewing a subliminal advert. The person would then go out and buy this soft drink without realizing that his/her decision to purchase it had been prompted by the advert.

In a similar vein, Dr. Spock also warned us to avoid falling asleep in front of TVs. He said our brains still "tune in" to the audio when "asleep" and disturbing material can apparently adversely affect us for many years. He maintains it is often stored in the subconscious mind and may be responsible for certain phobias we might have but are not able to explain in lucid terms. For this reason, he said that if parents want to raise well-balanced children, they should make a resolute effort to ensure that a peaceful ambiance prevails around their bed time, particularly as they’re falling asleep, because they’re extremely open to influence and suggestion during this period.

One of the first demonstrations Dr. Spock performed involved showing us how we often underestimate our own strength. He hypnotized a rather tall chap who volunteered to be his "guinea pig". Dr. Spock didn't do anything dramatic or utter anything that was out of the ordinary, such as the usual sort of banter about "when I count to three you will be flying in the sky" etc etc.

I’m actually not quite sure what he did, because it was so quick. Once the young guy had been hypnotized, two of his assistants placed his head and feet on two chairs. The rest of his body hung unsupported above the ground. Dr. Spock then sat on the subject's waist and almost bounced on it, exerting a fair amount of force!! From what I can recall, he'd been told he wouldn’t bend and he didn’t. However, when he was "brought back", so to speak, he collapsed under the hypnotist's weight when the process was repeated!

The rest of the evening mainly took the form of a question and answer session. As it turned out, most of the questions that followed involved him making more use of his mystic clairvoyant faculties. Perhaps Dr. Spock is a bit unusual in a way – he believes in such things as past lives, astral travel and so on and his methods might thus seem a bit eccentric to some. However, despite a few bizarre answers he gave that evening, no one argued with what he’d said and generally seemed quite satisfied (as most Indians are usually in the presence of a foreigner, especially a white guy!)

Sometimes he appeared to pick up on traumatic childhood experiences and would mention in brief what he thought had happened and what effect these had had on the individuals concerned. Remember Past Life Regression.One woman burst into tears as what he'd said obviously struck a chord with her. He then said he could "see" the pain (presumably in her aura) and that she would begin healing. He said emotional pain was often stored in various parts of the body and might ultimately lead to disease if it wasn’t properly dealt with!!

Another claim he made which I found quite interesting related to the diagnosis of medical conditions. One example he mentioned involved determining if someone had cavities in their teeth. He said that after hypnotizing an individual, he would suggest to them that they had toothache. If all the teeth were fine, the person in question would apparently claim to experience toothache in all their teeth; if they actually did have cavities, they would only experience pain in the problematic ones. In such cases, the hypnotized person is able to show him which ones are aching. He will later suggest they see a dentist. He says in the past this information has always been found to be correct. He maintains that our bodies are extremely intelligent and that we should listen to them more often, because they frequently hold the solution to many of our problems.

Dr. Spock also touched on a subject on which many academics and sceptics might take him to task. He spoke about people's souls and said these were often many hundreds of thousands of years old. He alluded to a "soul agreement" – that we chose to be born, basically, and had certain issues we needed to deal with during particular "lives". Apparently, nothing that happens to us during our human existence is a mistake!

Towards the end of the evening, Dr. Spock performed another demonstration, this time on the whole audience. He asked that we place our hands with fingers interlocked, above our heads. We then had to imagine looking up at them through our heads while he uttered various commands. Actually some people would then be hypnotized and not be able to lower their hands when instructed to. He also told some people their eyelids would feel very heavy and that they would not be able to open them for a while, even if they tried to. Although I did everything he said, this didn’t happen to me. Besides, only a few people in the audience seemed to go into hypnosis.

But something else which he did say would happen, I definitely did experience. He said that he was altering the energy in the room and that some of us might feel tingling in our feet. I did, in fact, experience this – the sensation was exactly as he described it, almost like a feeling of pins and needles in my feet. We were also taken through what I would describe as a guided meditation. He suggested we would sleep very well when we got home that evening. As it turned out, I slept right through the night and felt great the next day.

I found the subject matter discussed that evening fascinating and I’d definitely like to book a private consultation with Dr. Spock soon, hopefully when I have some large cash to spare! I must confess, though, that I have since wondered - is my desire to see him my own or is it possible that the thought was secretly implanted in my mind?

An interesting point to brood over, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Five Easy Pieces - No Potatoes, Tomatoes Instead

Revisiting the Classic Restaurant Scene from Jack Nicholson's Five Easy Pieces

From my secret files of ‘Awesome Scenes-to-Memorize’, I present to you the famous "Chicken Salad" scene from the director of 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' - Bob Rafelson’s 1970’s classic – “Five Easy Pieces”.

Starring a charismatic Jack Nicholson and aptly supported by Karen Black, this critically acclaimed movie was one of the most influential films of those days and was deservedly nominated for 4 Oscars including Best Actor, Best Actress besides Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

I waited for years for this movie to make it to a Bluray DVD and here’s a memorable scene that you’ll certainly enjoy!

Nicholson: I'd like a plain omelet, no potatoes, tomatoes instead, a cup of coffee and wheat toast.

Waitress: No substitutes.

Nicholson: What do you mean, you don't have any tomatoes?

Waitress: Only what's on the menu. You can have a #2, a plain omelet, it comes with cottage fries and rolls.

Nicholson: Yeah, I know what it comes with but it's not what I want!

Waitress: Well, I'll come back when you make up your mind. •

Nicholson: Wait a minute. I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain omelet, no potatoes on the plate, a cup of coffee and a side order of wheat toast.

Waitress: I'm sorry we don't have any side orders of wheat toast, I can get you an English muffin or a coffee roll.

Nicholson: What do you mean you don't make side orders of toast, you make sandwiches don't you?

Waitress: Would you like to see the manager?

Karen Black: Hey Mac!

Nicholson: Shut up! You've got bread and a toaster of some kind.

Waitress: I don't make the rules.

Nicholson: Okay, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelet plain and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce and a cup of coffee.

Waitress: #2, chicken salad sandwich. Hold the butter, lettuce and the mayo and a cup of coffee. Anything else?

Nicholson: Yea, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad and you haven't broken any of the rules.

Waitress: You want me to hold the chicken, huh?

Nicholson: I want you to hold it between your knees

Waitress: You see that sign sir. Yes. You all have to leave. I'm not taking anymore of your smartness and sarcasm.

Nicholson: You see this sign!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Top 10 Cult Movies From the 80s

Listed below are ten of the most awesome cult movies from the 1980's - some popular and some not so popular but nevertheless, cult cinema gems that must be seen to be believed. Remember though, not for all tastes!

1. The Basket Case (Frank Henenlotter/1982) - In its uncut version, this infamous midnight horror revenge comedy about a confused and vindictive young man carrying (his still alive) and deformed Siamese twin in a basket is good for little more than havoc on your sensibility or lack thereof but no one can deny its weird sense of dark humor, odd romance, comedic horror and cult following. Directed by Frank Henenlotter who also made Basket Case II in 1990 and Basket Case III in 1992.

Free Video Download Link - Stagevu

2. C.H.U.D (Douglas Cheek/1984)
- Well, you know what happens when nuclear waste seeps into a sewer system – hideous Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers rise from the manholes to stalk the streets of something tasty. CHUD (also released as ‘Panik in Manhattan’ in a few countries) is your typical grade B- Horror movie but it’s got a great sense of campy humor and now considered a Cult Classic. Lookout for Daniel Stern, John Heard, John Goodman and Jon Polito. Followed in 1989 by C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D.

Free Video Download Link - Stagevu

3. Class of Nuke 'Em High (Richard W. Haines, Michael Herz/1986) - The Citizen Kane of the nuclear-marijuana-hybrid-monster genre set in a seedy no holds barred high school. Smart and clever, with over-the-top acting, wacky special effects and a nice rock soundtrack. Oh yeah, this was also made by Troma Entertainment – the same people behind Toxic Avenger and other B-movie cult hits. Released also as Atomic High School followed by two sequels - Class of Nuke 'Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown in 1991 and Class of Nuke 'Em High 3: The Good, the Bad and the Subhumanoid in 1994.

Free Video Download Link - Stagevu

4. Howard The Duck (William Huyck/1986) – This Golden Raspberry Award winner (including for Worst Picture) was the first theatrically released film starring a Marvel Comics character. As impossible to watch, this box office debacle starring Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins, Lea Thompson and David Paymer was greeted with all sorts of lame duck puns by the critics, earning just $10 million against a multi-million dollar budget. Kids might enjoy the cute (if unconvincing) duck puppet but adults will find it ridiculously inept, insulting and tasteless. Of course, 20 years from now, it may be heralded back as a neglected masterpiece. Duck and cover. Produced by George Lucas (Yes!) and scored by John Barry.

Free Video Download Link - Stagevu

5. Life Force (Tobe Hooper/1985) - Unbelievably murky sci-fi based on Colin Wilson’s 1976 novel ‘The Space Vampires’ from the director of Poltergeist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A beautiful woman discovered on a ghostly spaceship is brought to Earth for observation where she escapes and runs around naked. Meanwhile, above the London skies, an alien presence sends down a strange ray of light (special effects by Academy Award winner John Dykstra) turning the masses into blood sucking vampires. The to-the-heavens ending is a camp classic. With Peter Firth, Steve Railsback, Patrick Stewart and a (fully nude) Matilda May.

Free Video Download Link - Megaupload

6. Liquid Sky (Slava Tsukerman/1983) – With a 94% (and growing) rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a surprise winner at several film festivals, Liquid Sky is East Village deviant punk drug culture as seen through the eyes of an alien craft (or the film’s Russian director). Heroin and style wars reign supreme in this inscrutable Russian Production. Although the plot and dialogue are hip (and needlessly vicious) to a fault, there are some moments that hit home – such as gender-bending Anna Carlisle’s witchy speech about androgyny, marriage and Connecticut barbeques. Truly out of this world!

Free Video Download Link - Stagevu

7. The Repo Man (Alex Cox/1984) – Considered as one of the 'Top 50 Cult Movies of all time' by Entertainment Weekly and one of the best movies of 1984 by, Repo Man is a strange, genre-defying crazy little movie that launched the career of director Alex Cox (Sid & Nancy) and popularized Emilio Estevez. Estevez plays Otto, a L.A. punk who by chance falls into the auto-repossession business (hence, the title name), learning his trade from a seedy, nihilistic repo pro (Harry Dean Stanton). While becoming involved with the rough-and-tumble mindset of his wacked-out co-workers, Otto also gets embroiled in a search for a ’64 Chevy containing the deadly corpses of alien space creatures. Set amid L.A’s sleazy, displaced, fast-food culture, Repo Man has quirky humor, many bizarre characters to spare and a superb punk rock soundtrack featuring Black Flag, Iggy Pop and the Circle Jerks. Also the road to fame for Miguel Sandoval (Get Shorty, Blow).

Free Video Download Link - Megaupload

8. Salvation! Have You Said Your Prayers Today? (Beth Beth Billingsly/1987) – Fortuitously released at the time of the Evangelist Jimmy – Tammy Faye sex scandal, this indie starring Viggo Mortensen about evangelism, sex and money probably wouldn’t have otherwise stood a chance. Exene (lead vocalist of the LA rock band X ) stars as a trailer park-ish housewife obsessed with a TV preacher (Steve McHattie). Her sister (Dominique Davalos) gets a crush on him, tracks him down and seduces him. Of course, there’s hell to pay and a noisy, blasphemous mess ensues. Incidentally, Exene and Mortensen fell in love during the sets and later married in 1987. Great music by New Order, whose super hit "Touched by the Hand of God" was released as part of this movie’s soundtrack

9. The Toxic Avenger (Lloyd Kaufman/1985) - Despite Troma Studios’ Grade Z production values, the Toxic Avenger triumphs through tasteless, cartoonish humor and violence with an endearing monster hero who wears a pink, charred tutu and falls in love with a blind girl at first sight. You’ll have as much fun watching it as the filmmakers appear to have had making it. Though a failure in its original release in 1985, the movie became hugely popular during its re-release in early 1986 and was later followed by The Toxic Avenger Part II and The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie, a Play and also a limited run children's TV cartoon. Watch out for Marisa Tomei in a small role. Apparently, Toxic Avenger is being remade for a 2014 release, produced by the hit trio of Akiva Goldsman, Richard Saperstein and Charlie Corwin, the folks behind hits like A Beautiful Mind, Hancock, Se7en, etc.

Free Video Download Link - Megaupload

10. The Vamp (Richard Wenk/1986) - Everyone’s once favorite ebony Amazon – Singer/Actress Grace Jones is the sole attraction in this bloody under-rated vampire flick. With 50s style lighting all around, startling lipstick, hair colors and body paints besides a serious toothy smile from Grace Jones, this is a bizarre horror comedy and perhaps the original inspiration to Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino's From Dusk Till Dawn. Amazin’ Grace more than holds her own but only serious Jones fans will bite for this one. Billy Drago and Michelle Pfeiffer's sister Dedee co-star.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Of Beards, Moustaches & the Macho Man

Everything you wanted to know about Beards but were afraid to ask.

Off late, I have been reading quirky wacky stuff off the web. An eBook I recently read was all about beards and how much they mean to manhood (and I always thought my fellow brethren only worried about their wiener).

Apparently, the credit for this distinction goes to some psychologist named Robert J. Pellegrini, who it seems published a report some years ago about his (hairy) experiments aimed at finding out how beardedness affects the male personality and in his own words how “the male beard communicates a heroic image of the independent, sturdy, and resourceful pioneer – ready, willing and able to do manly things.”

Let’s face it. Thousands of years ago beards were all the fashion, if there was such a thing as fashion then. Anyway, there was not much men could do about it. If nature wanted them to grow a beard, they grew it, that's all there was to it. Obviously, technology had not yet advanced to the level, that men could make a tool to remove it, like you can today.

Nevertheless, beards were not only associated with masculinity and manliness, but also wisdom and being a triumphant fighter. There are very good reasons for this. The presence of a thick moustache or a beard or together is associated with high levels of testosterone. This male hormone also contributes to aggression, and so a man who was more aggressive, would probably be a better hunter, a better soldier, as well as being more virile, good reasons for a woman to find such a man more attractive.

However, one thing that does puzzle me at the moment; why were beards out of fashion during the Victorian era? Was it because men who grew beards were thought to be uncivilized, or was it the women who decided it was unfashionable to be seen in the company of a man who had a beard? Somehow, that last part does not sound right, that's if we understand correctly how the brain processes facial information. Facial recognition is considered so important by people that there is a special part of the brain allocated only to face recognition. If women have associated beards with virile men for hundreds of thousands of years, and have used them as one of their important selection criteria why should they suddenly have rejected the beard?

It seems Pellegrini used several full-bearded young men in their early twenties who were photographed in different stages, from full beard to clean-shaven. The photos were shown to male and female psychology students who were then asked to rate the pictures for their “first impression personality traits” of the subjects.

Pellegrini found that the hairier the face, the more the subject was perceived as being masculine, mature, handsome, dominant, self-confident, courageous, liberal and non-conforming. Other adjectives the students applied to the pictures of bearded subjects were “intelligent, strong, healthy and likeable”. So Pellegrini thus concluded that hairy faced men are tops. In fact, he commented that “inside every clean-shaven man there is a beard screaming to be let out”.

After talking to many of my friends and kindred who all have beards of various degrees (and if you take a look around you will notice there are a lot of them!), I have discovered they all seem to share Pellegrini’s hairy hypothesis. Most, when asked why they grew a beard, eventually come out with the notion that facial hair is manly. There are other reasons, too, of course, but the macho motive seems paramount.

Around the world, it seems, many men do flaunt their fuzz in numerous ways. In the USA and Europe, there are numerous beard and moustache clubs, the oldest being the OAFH or the ‘Organisation for the Advancement of Facial Hair’ based somewhere in California whose motto is to “aid those who have been discriminated against due to their growing of the godlike matter”. Germany has many of these – so many that there is even an association for them all. For example, the “Bart und Schnorres club” or the Beard and Moustache Club of the Black Forest village of Hofen-Enz is the hamlet’s main claim to fame and its members organize numerous championship events for beard-growers. Rip van Winkle would be delighted!

In the United Kingdom, the famous “Handlebar Club” is based at the Windsor Castle pub in London, and has members sporting impressive “handlebar” moustaches from all around the world (please note, beards are not allowed here!) but thger are many across the UK. In Italy, moustaches are in too – the “Festival dei Baffi” (Festival of Moustaches or the Grand festival of Whiskers) is held annually in the town of Montemesola, in the south of Italy.

Beards are growing in popularity on the Internet too. Just browse Facebook or Google and you will find scores of websites, groups and fan pages on the art of beards and moustaches. Besides, there are many on-growing beard challenges present online – a page featuring progressive photographs documenting the success of numerous contenders who conform to the rule that “your beard must be at least six months old or three inches below the chin”. The beard challenges come with a warning though: don’t expect frequent updates because progress is measured in years!

So, if you are of those types who are convinced that you do need some facial fluff; here are some tips, gleaned from those who have taken the bold step, on how to grow and maintain a bountiful beard:

Take A Break: You don’t need snide comments about your stubble from your boss and colleagues, and you need to be relaxed to promote healthy hair growth! And perhaps, your new beard will project a more mature image of you. Think about it -you might just get that long due promotion, the cops dont stop you on the road, the neighbors fear you and the women, yes, the women mau find you hairy hottt!

Throw Away Your Razor: If the family protests, tell them it is your face and you are just experimenting. Convince them that you will be a better person with a beard. By the time it is fully-fledged, they will no doubt agree or will have become so used to the new you, that they won’t object any more.

Sculpt a Style: You may be impatient to start sculpting your beard so having a mental image of how you would ultimately like it to look helps. Even if you plan to end up with a little goatee, don’t try to mould it immediately. Great sculptors need something concrete to work on so for the first few weeks just let it grow ad lib. Avoid the temptation to reach for the beard trimmer, razor or scissors!

Forget the Itch: While the hair is growing, you may be annoyed by itchy skin. This is temporary while your skin adjusts to its new covering. Don’t be put off. Make sure you keep your new beard clean by shampooing each day with a mild shampoo, and even conditioner; and rinse very thoroughly to avoid flaking and itching. Don’t blowdry your beard – patting with a towel will do.

Seek Professional Help: After about a month, you will be ready for shaping up. It is best now to consult a barber or hairstylist – ask around among your bearded mates for advice on finding an experienced professional. Now you can go shopping for a beard trimmer and get some pointers on how to use it.

Use The Right Tools: Use a wide-toothed comb for grooming your beard. Never trim your beard while it is wet, because wet hair looks longer, and you may trim off too much.

See, it’s simple – so why not get growing your very own super cool beard?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Best Chill Out Hits - A Websnacker Session

Great Chill Out Hits for the Weekday Grind
It’s almost a month now but I still can’t fight it. Well, in case you are wondering, I am referring to my very own writer’s block - 4 blogs, 10 movie reviews besides 3 client brochures and 2 print ad campaigns at work – all unfinished. End effect: project delays, angry clients plus no snack blogs for the last 30 days!

Well, at least I can still blog about music and what better music than some ultra cool Lounge, Downtempo and Ambient hits for the weekday grind including chillout superstars like Delerium, Halou, Crystal Method and much more. So, dim your lights, settle down and let this seductive compilation get you into that mind-altering chill out groove.

The Best Chill Out Hits – Free Mp3 - Greatest Hits
[Chill out/Downtempo/Lounge/Electronic/Ambient]

15 tracks in playlist, average track length: 4:58
Playlist length: 1 hour 14 minutes 44 seconds

1. Aeroplane feat. Kathy Diamond - Whispers (Original Mix) (6:53)
2. Air - All I Need (3:49)
3. Baz - Promises (3:18)
4. Blue Foundation - Eyes On Fire (3:46)
5. Crystal Method Feat Meiko - Falling Hard (5:24)
6. Dario G feat. Vanessa Quinones - Voices (Beach Sdtk) (5:19)
7. Delirium Feat Zoe Johnston - You & I (6:06)
8. FC Kahuna - Hayling (Layer Cake Sdtk) (6:50)
9. Ferry Corsten feat Shelley Harland - Holding On (3:45)
10. Halou - I'll Carry You (5:57)
11. Hiratzka & Kazell Feat. Shirli Mcallen - Venice Dawn (6:09)
12. Madita - Ceylon (3:44)
13. Motorcycle feat Jes Brieden - As The Rush Comes (6:10)
14. Sepiamusic - Static (4:41)
15. Tina Dico - All I See (2:53)

Free Mp3 Download - 86.57 MB Single Zipped Folder – Megaupload Link

This is a limited release, non-commercial, fan mixtape for promotional use. If you like these artists, please buy their original music at,,, other online stores or your nearest music retailer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lobby Beautiful

Snapshots from a Hotel Lobby
I detest most hotel meetings, especially those coffee shop and hotel lobby meet-ups as they are all pretentious, boring and bloody expensive as well. But, sometimes they can get your creative juices flowing like this one...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Amateur Cell Phone Photos

Start of Websnacker's Fotography & Co

No more procrastinations. Starting from this Saturday, I will be uploading random pics on this blog and hopefully on my dormant Flickr account too - all shot through my mobile phone. Maybe atleast one a day or two or maybe more and also wish to get my movie/music posts in regular rhythm (sorry to all who have been writing to me). If you have the time, critique my pics and let me know what you feel!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Starting A Online Venture - Here's Your Recipe For Digital Sucess

Websnacker’s Top 10 Rules for Launching the Perfect Online Venture

With the stupendous success of Facebook, Twitter and hundreds of other online success stories that you keep reading these days; sure, big ideas seem great but how about some practical tips for successfully building and launching a digital venture? Here are top ten rules derived from my and my team’s collective experience at my creative firm.

Rule 1 - Always Work as a Team: Assemble an integrated project team of business, creative and technology minds to develop the corporate vision and work requirements then see them through to actual implementation. True innovation comes from active, multidisciplinary collaboration so focus on it.

Rule 2 - Anticipate Change: From the outset, the entire team should be ready, know and accept that requirements will naturally change and evolve. Flexibility should be the core team value. Challenge your team to imagine the unexpected a few steps into the future and how they would handle it.

Rule 3 - Communicate Openly: Issues always arise on projects, particularly with new technologies and high visibility. Openly raise the issues, present alternatives and work as a team toward resolution.

Rule 4 - Don't Reinvent the Wheel: Leverage existing products and tools where appropriate but keep the product mix to a manageable minimum. Don't try to deliver all functionality at once.

Rule 5 - Phase the Process: Imagine it (informed brainstorming), define it (prioritization, scoping and design), and do it (implementation). Phase deliverables, test them with the audience, then iterate and refine. For each phase and deliverable, know what you're going to do, when you're going to do it and what it's going to cost.

Rule 6 - Reward Your Team: It all comes down to human beings working together. You won't hesitate to tell your team when something's wrong, so don't forget to reward them when something's right. One of the best rewards is simple and low cost: genuine recognition. Stand up and recognize them among their peers or to a broader audience and they’ll love it.

Rule 7 - Get to Market: Beat the competition. Offer incremental features and functionality over time. The sooner you can deliver, the more time you will have to build brand loyalty. Deliver "good enough" now and continually improve upon it. Think IPod or the IPhone.

Rule 8 - Market and Promote: Whether you're launching a consumer web site or an online web store, you need to let people know how and where to find you, and why they should bother. Branding, marketing, social media and viral promotion are key. Plan for this from the start.

Rule 9 - Measure Results & Improve: Technology permits you to capture incredibly valuable information about who is doing what on your site. Continually analyze and use it to inform your next steps: marketing strategy and tactics, interface and content improvements, functional enhancements or architectural changes. Keep improving.

Rule 10 - Select the Right Partner: Select a creative/marketing partner who can help you solve the whole problem and sell it to your audience. Incorrect branding, marketing, advertising and public relations can all impede innovation and time-to-market but with the right partner, you can get it right. (Hint – try us)

This ain't the magic formula but it sure will take you on the right road to success! All the best.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Devlins' Greatest Hits - A Websnacker Exclusive Compilation

This post has been updated. Go HERE to read the new version and hear the Devlins.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Beauty Queens, Dinosaurs and Carnal Desires

Two weeks back or so, I impulsively participated in an online contest where you had to choose the prettiest girl who I would love to go out on a five star luxury date (and also deserved to become the next Miss Universe). Out of some dozen or so attractive and sexy women of varied colors, I randomly selected three – all tall, gorgeous and good-looking brunettes.

I did not even bother to read their names, which country they belonged to or what they did for a living - instead leaving my better judgement to what looked nice to my eyes or rather what I considered which one had the best physical attributes! don’t get me wrong and call me a debauched lecher. With a client meeting to attend in 20 minutes, I obviously did not have the time to spare and besides, the contest had already received some 6255 entries!

Anyway, I get a call yesterday from a husky sounding woman who informs me that I am one of the lucky winners (out of the 10000 participants or so). But before you think that I have indeed won a blind date with this year’s Miss Universe 2010 – an exotic Mexican hottie named Ximena; the hard truth is a dampener – forget the first prize, I am not even amongst the top 10 winners but belong to ‘the consolation prize’ group. As evident from the name, the organizers idea of consoling me was to gift me a smart pair of jeans wear and 4 cans of foul smelling deodorants which they claim have the power to turn ON all women of the planet - crazy with carnal desires. Either, these guys had erroneously sent me 4 small cans of an insecticide or maybe, women really have weird & odd turn ons.

I come back home, switch on the telly and hop on to the Discovery channel. And what do I see – a slick documentary on courtship, sex and evolution. Have you ever been inexplicably attracted to someone completely outside your usual realm of possibilities, the host asks? It seems human beings aren't the only ones who have surprised themselves. I am told that the spiky horns and clubbed tails of dinosaurs evolved not only for protection, but to also equip them for vicious sexual battles between rival males.

In fact, it seems dinosaurs also indulged in beauty contests like humans, flaunting a bizarre array of quills, crests, ruffs and frills. The giant (and apparently mischievous) Diplodocus even sported a whip - perhaps for cracking dramatically as part of a courtship ritual!

And to prove that we did, somewhere along the line, evolve from the animal kingdom, I am told that the Hadrosaur had a one-metre high crest protruding from its head which acted like a natural trombone. Just think of the noisiest guy you know and multiply the sound by about 50. The female dinosaurs were it seems most attracted to the male Hadrosaurs with the deepest voices.

This all happened 65 million years ago. So, taking into account some million, million years of human evolution, one can only surmise from the laws of nature, that it's not entirely our fault if we pick the wrong partner. The laws of attraction it seems are now governed not only by considered choices of our own, but partly by our 'still alive' animal instinct and also by foul smelling, sex inducing deodorants. And, of course, an utterly fab denim outfit too!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Asking a Man Out?

Why a Woman Should Ask a Man Out?

What’s wrong with a woman asking a Man out? This was question posed to me by a former female colleague who was complaining that a guy she had been eyeing for months had coldly vetoed her proposal for an evening date. She felt humiliated, she rued. And she was asking me (of all people) for an answer.

I really didn’t know what to say. Maybe, she shouldn’t have asked the man out. This isn't because I believe it's the divine role or godly duty of man to do the asking out but maybe, he just didn’t like her.

Or maybe quite simply, asking out a member of the opposite sex requires the kind of self-esteem that allows you to cope with even a dash of rejection. Put another way, most of us are cowards, not willing to muster the courage to ask a man (or a woman) out. So, when we eventually make the attempt and fail, we turn into inconsolable cry babies.

And of course, being the one that's chased is not without benefits. You get to feel like royalty, you call the shots, you decide the time, you decide where to go - you can play the mystery card until you decide when to stop and you're under no obligation - after all they asked you out didn't they?

But times are a changing (I sound so old when I say that - but it's true they are!) In fact I could count how many times a very handsome friend of mine has been 'chased' in the last two years alone. Maybe it's the self-confident, assertive women who do the asking out that are starting to nab all the decent guys first. Lucky them.

If you are a woman, you may wonder why asking a guy out is such a big deal? All you have to say is, 'd'ya fancy going to the pub tonite?' Just like you would to a pal. It's not like you're offering him sex, or asking him to marry you or anything serious like that. All you're suggesting is that you get to know each other a bit better - take it or leave it.

But then let's face it; there aren't all that many warm, funny, intelligent and damn fine-looking men out there. So if you do come across one of these rare specimens, you need to get in there - quick.

And you need to be obvious. Most men don't understand subtlety. If you opt for hanging around him, fluttering your eyelashes and acting coy, he won't interpret this as flirting, he'll just think you've are a nervous tic. Perhaps, clearing the way for some other, more obvious (and self-assured) lady to steam in there. She might not be as attractive or pretty as you, but at least he'll know where he stands. Besides, confidence is a huge turn-on - show me a guy who wouldn't be flattered by the attention, and I'll show you a goddamn liar.

And finally, let’s deal with the rejection. So what if he knocks you back? Maybe he wasn't simply attracted to you - but you know what they say, one man's meat is another man's poison. Believe it or not, there are guys out there who don't fancy Angelina Jolie or Aishwarya Rai. Not many, admittedly, but you get my point. So, if you are the kind who has been recently vetoed down – don’t take it personally, put it behind you - and move onto the next one. And when the time is ripe, ask him out! You never know, he just might say YES.

What do you reckon? Should men still do the asking out? Or should sisters start doing it for themselves? [This post has been selected for this week's Tangy Tuesday Picks at BlogAdda]

Monday, August 23, 2010

Websnacker’s Electronica Free Mp3 Mix Tape

What I have Been Listening this Week

I am not much of an electronic music fan but I will admit, there have always been some exceptions, especially the trip hop/trip rock, downtempo, lounge or the danceable electronica variety. The following electronic tracks have been on consistent replay on my car stereo for the last one week and one of the many reasons, why I thought they qualify as a great upload to share with you folks.

Pay attention to the Norwegian duo Roykspopp’s superb ‘What Else is There’, Teddybears’ 'Cobrastyle' and to the Paul Oakenfold/Unkle remix of Ian Brown’s 'Fear'. I heard this beautiful track by the ex-Stone Roses lead vocalist in Octane (aka Pulse), the under-rated road thriller starring Madeleine Stowe and Norman Reedus in 2003. 7 years later, I am still hooked to it and I am sure, you will too. Besides, there are 15 more free tracks for you to download and enjoy!

18 tracks in playlist, average track length: 4:09
Playlist length: 1 hour 14 minutes 54 seconds

1. 3oh!3 - Double Vision (3:13)
2. Chromeo - Fancy (3:25)
3. Daft Punk - Something About Us (3:51)
4. Dark Globe - Break My World (5:20)
5. Fan Death - Power Surge (4:24)
6. Ian Brown + Paul Oakenfold - Fear (Unkle Remix) (6:19)
7. Justice Vs Simian - We Are Your Friends - Never Be Alone Again (Exclusive Track) (4:15)
8. Lena - Satellite (Eurovision 2010 - Germany) (2:56)
9. Mylo - Drop The Pressure (4:15)
10. Naomi - Fade Out (3:55)
11. Noble Savages - I'm An Indian (3:15)
12. Playme - Hygiene (4:48)
13. Royksopp - What Else Is There (5:07)
14. Space Cowboys - Falling Down (3:00)
15. St - I'll Meet You There (3:36)
16. Teddy Bears - Cobrastyle (3:00)
17. Tim & Puma Mimi - Jo-Hatsu (Saalschutz Remix) (5:23)
18. Underground Lovers - Losin 'it (4:52)

Free Mp3 Download - 106.83 MB Single Zipped Folder – Multiupload Link - (links to Rapidshare, Deposit Files, Megaupload, Hotfile and More)

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fasting During Ramadan

What a Typical Day during Ramadan Entails!

Picture yourself experiencing the humid heat of scorching summer without any chilled coolers to cool you off. Envision missing your daily breakfast, lunch and your favorite cup of coffee at 11 post noon daily for 30 full days. Imagine having to miss that fat five- star Sunday brunch that your friend has invited you for or envisage having to give up that free trip to Thailand. Imagine all these together and not lying, being good, honest to yourself and others around you and much, much more! Well, these are just some (and many) of the things Muslims around the world (including me) will be sacrificing the few weeks to observe the piously sacred month of Ramadan.

The ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar year, Ramadan or Ramzan, is acknowledged as the month of fasting - a period that signifies a time to be still, a time to become aware spiritually and a time to submit to complete subservience to Allah through personal sacrifice. It is also the month in which the Holy Quran was sent down (from the heavens) to Man.

I have often been asked whether it is hard to desist from eating and drinking for a whole month, especially in summer. I’m surprised when I always find myself replying “no” - for through being raised as a Muslim, fasting inescapably becomes embedded in one, a part of one’s being. For those who’ve come into Islam, fasting is undoubtedly a trying experience at first, I’m sure. Though, as soon as you realize what the health and religious benefits are, together with the feeling of being united with Muslims worldwide experiencing exactly the same, it makes for a rather awe-inspiring feeling.

The most captivating part of fasting during the month of Ramadan is the self-denial from food, drink and any sexual activity (both mental and physical) – especially to those who’ve never experienced a fast before. Here I see it fitting to add that the abstaining applies only from the break of dawn until sunset. No food or drink is to pass the lips; nose etc. meaning that taking a sneak dip in the pool is also a taboo! Smoking is prohibited as well.

It gets a bit more intricate and demanding… other senses are also under commitment to fast. The eyes (from wandering to that which is considered to interfere with your spiritual upliftment); ears (from gossip etc); tongue (from lying, backbiting etc); and other limbs should also, with the complete objective of pleasing the Almighty, be restrained if the faster wants his/her fast to be accepted. And I can hear you ask why?

The above mentioned is fundamentally two of the three vital elements required for a fast to be worthy of full acceptance. The third element is preventing the heart and mind from dwelling on anything other than the remembrance and praise of Allah.

And with these three aspects of one’s being combined, it makes for a rather perfect recipe for divine cleanliness and leaves the door wide open to a path that can lead to a higher spiritual plane and an awareness of others’ suffering… for the hunger pangs will certainly make you think back to that homeless person, that sick child, that frail old woman and the countless destitutes and poor orphans who cant even get a proper meal a day.

Fasting has always, across the religious spectrum, been an accepted way of cleansing the body (and strengthening the spirit). And with the health-conscious mindset reigning supreme in this age, it is fast gaining momentum.

A fast can easily last up to approximately 12-14 hours – starting at about four in the morning and ending at around 6.30 in the evening. The fast usually starts as early as three thirty in the morning when you have to wake-up and eat well ( but not gorge) to help you fast for the day. After performing the morning prayers at around five, it’s almost impractical to squeeze in any more sleep. Chances are I won’t hear the alarm if I try to sleep again…yet, I do fall asleep at around 7 and I arrive late to work at ten.

As the day carries on, the air-conditioned confines of my office becomes my shelter. Energy levels slip steadily, a wave of drowsiness constantly distracts and the stomach is rumbling. Personally, I find that minus the next meal on my mind, it is quite astounding how empty the brain feels. What else to think about if I don’t have to decide where to go to eat during my lunch hour and my energy levels are too low to go shopping. You really have no option then but to become conscious of why you’re fasting – which then leads to the kind of divine consciousness you are supposed to dwell on anyway. It’s all really a sanctified chain reaction.

The fast ends at sunset, preferably broken with a sip of fruit juice or water, and dates – a natural and copiously rich source of sugar – and the evening prayer, in the hope that the fast will be accepted. Tradition comes under analysis again… those deep-fried mutton samosas, chicken cutlets and fish fingers can’t possibly be healthy when one is aiming to purify the body but actually most Muslims end up feasting everyday – both during the morning pre-fast and post break sessions. The final prayer of the day is performed at around 8.30 in the night followed by the special prayer for Ramadan, which takes a bit more time and requires one to go to mosque and perform it with your fellow Muslim neighborhood.

This is in a nutshell is a typical day in the life of a working, fasting Muslim man or woman during Ramadan. For the archetypal Muslim housewife or women with children, and the extended circle as is quite common in Muslim families, the burden is actually tenfold. Yet, you’ll be astonished at their strength and their unvarying juggle between the no-nonsense and divine. Okay, I got to go now. It’s almost three o’ clock again!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Review of 'The Dilbert Future - Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century'

Scott Adams created a cartoon phenomenon with Dilbert, the workplace warrior. Now he takes on the next century with his usual bad attitude.

I borrowed this book from a friend in January but until I had to take a boring cross country car trip, I never had the time to complete it. Perhaps life is too serious for some, but I have to confess I found this book released some 13 years ago in 1997 and billed as "hilarious" – is actually rather silly, witty and weird. It is, obviously, entertaining to a degree, but the author Scott Adams, creator of the hit comic strip - Dilbert takes a rather narcissistic, sardonic approach to the droll side of life which some may not find agreeable.

However, the book's "prequel", The Dilbert Principle, was rated a best-seller so it must be understood that there are ample readers out there who did get a chuckle or two out of the follow-up including me. In this book, Scott Adams tackles predictions for the future, turning Nostradamus upside-down in the process – with an outlandish tone that deals with a multitude of subjects like technology, gender relations, the workplace, society and so on.

Altogether 64 predictions are dotted throughout the book in little "boxes", interspersed with Dilbert cartoons, amusing anecdotes and plenty of "bumph"! Examples of some of these gems include "Most scientific and technical breakthroughs in the next century will be created by men and directed at finding replacements for women" and "In the future poverty will be eliminated, along with the people hoarding all the money".

Personally I prefer reading a book which enhances either my knowledge or insight, or at least entertains – Adams' work mostly seems to have no purpose other than "a bit of irrelevant nonsense" and a laugh. If that's what you enjoy, it is highly recommended but for some perhaps it might be only useful as a funny time-waster on the toilet-seat!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thinking of Childhood Heroes and Role Models

All of us need role models regardless of our age. They teach us how to aspire; how to dream; they show us that we can all push beyond boundaries that have been set by our conditioning - what I personally call disablers, mental lakshman rekhas never meant to be crossed. They are the explorers, the mavericks, the mentors who lead the way acros the horizon.

When I was a young (school going) boy - one of my many role models was a flamboyant, handsome Pilot – actually, my friend’s uncle with a larger than life, superstar lifestyle and an equally commanding persona. In those days, flying was an expensive luxury and as a jet-setting sucessful NRI Pilot, he was truly international. Though considerably elder to me by many years, we shared a deep connect and endless stories of far off lands, luxurious chic hotels, exotic foods, beautiful woman, high-tech gadgets and tons of money. He was the nearest example of a living James Bond in my life. And like Sean Connery, he showed unconfident, plain vanilla boys like me that ugly ducklings have potential too.

After I joined college, my friend relocated. Yet I continued to be in touch with his high-flying uncle though but we drifted after a couple of months. Many years later, I met him once again at a pricey restaurant in Bombay a few weeks before his rather sudden death. An alcohol lover, Jack Daniels was his waterloo. He held court in the centre of the room seated in a large patrician chair. There were food crumbs on his lap and his once rock-solid handshake was now weak and feeble. He was no more a pilot; yet he barked orders in an domineering voice and alarmed everyone. Suddenly my childhood superman had become a frail old man, bad tempered, crabby and egocentric. I spent almost an hour with him though, listening to his life downhill and how he messed it all. At least, he was honest.

On my way back from the restaurant, I kept thinking about him. He was still a wonderful man, I could still see that winning spark in him but was as flawed as the rest of us, and I had simply outgrown him.

After all, role models only serve a useful purpose for as long as you need them; they fire you in the right direction, showing you that anything is possible. They can kick start us into the realms of the impossible and can be used much like the goddess archetypes who have been lost to antiquity in the West but remain constant and awesome in other cultures. They may be outrageous, seditious and not necessarily nice, but role models and childhood heroes play a valuable part in all our lives. And that’s something which is truly inestimable.
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