Monday, April 07, 2014

Reality Check

In multiple 'About Me' columns in online portals, or talking about things I like to frequently mention writing as a hobby. But that's being modest because in my head I am more than that. I am a writer. A writer, who due to time constraints, hasn't had a chance to write in a while, but can come up with the next best-seller in a heartbeat. And I blog. Again, not as frequently as I'd like to, but 10-15 posts a year is decent by today's standards where Twitter has killed the Blogging star. Besides +Greatbong Bongosontan, and +Tanmay Mukherjee .

For some reason I happened to check my past blog posts this evening and that's when reality struck. I have not written anything for three years. Nothing. Nada. I have blogged indeed, but continuously taken the easy way out through reviews, statistics, bullet point based posts, photos and other crutches which has just given me the illusion of being in touch with writing. And that's perfectly fine. Not everyone is a writer, and even if I nurtured lofty images of myself being one, my lack of writing isn't taking anything away from anyone's lives, even mine. Besides the vast fame and fortune that rightfully belonged to me. 

However the biggest impact of this has been the impact this has had on my thinking process. Lack of writing has led to a dilution of clarity of thought, especially on subjects I personally care about and have strands of thoughts that don't seem to come together like they do inside my mind. This post itself is an apt example of what this post is about. 

Hopefully more of such rubbish on a regular basis will have some positive impact in the long run. They say the 10,000 hour rule hardly fails. That's a lot of writing ahead, and I am not complaining.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mealster - Review

[Updated with comments from Rohit, the founder]

Amazon's headquarter in Seattle's South Lake Union has a fairly large employee base, and surprisingly these people get collectively hungry right about noon time. To tackle this unusual problem there are cafes, restaurants, and food trucks dotting the area. However, demand seems to grossly outweigh supply, especially during the peak period of 12:00 -12:30 PM. Add to this the occasional lunch time meetings and the constant companion - Seattle rains. This gives rise to a demand for lunch delivered to your desk. Although this had been acknowledged for a while by one and all, it took sometime for a bunch of enterprising guys to come up with a business plan. 

Introducing Mealster. I'll let them explain how it works directly.



Fairly simple. And comparatively affordable, as for the same ~$10 price (inclusive of tips, taxes and delivery) you get food truck fare, usually less filling than the restaurant fare Mealster has been offering.

I tried them out for the first time today. Sign up and checkout was a breeze, you can use all sorts of cards and Paypal. Here's a snapshot of their menu for this week.

Meat option


Veg Option


And here's how it actually looked. If you have a 3D printer feel free to download a plate.


Bottomline:

Pros 
  • convenient
  • affordable (comparatively)
  • filling
  • tasty
  • healthy (I'd like to believe!)


Cons
  • need to warm the food as it can get slightly cold
Rohit: This seems like a hard / external problem to solve (e.g. esp in case of cold weather etc.). I would to add that the containers are microwaveable (and ecofriendly), so one can take out the raita and heat the container/food for 1 minute in the microwave (ease of reheating). We will try to look into options of having warmer bags that are used to carry the food boxes.
  • no specific time mentioned (between 12-1 PM)
Rohit: Great point. We are planning to come up w a delivery window for each building (based on our delivery route). We will keep our subscribers informed about updates via our mailing list and website.
  • lack of options as of now (tie up with only 2 restaurant - Chutneys and Sichuianese Cuisine)
Rohit: We are working to onboard new restaurants on a weekly basis, for the next few weeks. We will keep our subscribers informed about updates via our mailing list and website.
  • flight food packing feel and flimsy plasticware
Rohit: I have passed along this feedback to Nitin, the owner of Chutneys. They will be looking into better options.

Will recommend giving these guys a try.






Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Movies Roundup 2013


And we've come to the end of yet another year and time to look back at what the silver screen had to offer. Saw a fair number of movies, and like in 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012 made a quick note of initial thoughts and a rating on 10, purely on how much I enjoyed it. As always, very keen to hear your thoughts and exchange some notes. Welcome 2014 and let the show go on!

Let's start with the usual stats:

Year     # Seen Hindi:English:Bangla   Top Rating      Avg. Rating
2007     32               22:10:0                           9.0             5.78
2008     30               23:7:0                             8.5             6.35
2009     24               18:6:0                             9.0             6.85
2010     25               16:9:0                             8.5             6.62
2011     22               15:6:1                             8.5             6.77
2012     28               12:11:5                           9.0             7.33
2013     28               14:14:0                           9.0             7.12


Top honours go to (only movies watched in theatres):           

5. Gravity


4. Madras Cafe



3. The Impossible



2. Raanjhanaa



1. Prisoners  


All images courtesy of Wikipedia

Below you will find the detailed tweet reviews with links to original tweets, and also the Google Document with the completed data (the ones with the asterisk* were seen at home)




The Impossible - Makes you wince, grimace & hope as a family encounters one of history's worst tragedies. Outstanding performances. 8.5/10
Vishwaroop - Just another Islamic terrorism movie with a fake OBL. Couldn't get what the fuss was all about. Shabby but thrilling. 6/10.
Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola - Yet to make up my mind about this, 5 days after watching it. Pankaj Kapur brilliant, storyline shaky. 7/10.
Zero Dark Thirty - Starts slow and a tad long at 2.5 hrs but a brilliant hour long build up and climax. Perfect blend of facts & drama. 8/10
Silver Linings Playbook - Serious cinema meets romantic comedy propped by powerhouse performances & strong script. With a RNBDJ twist:) 7/10
Beasts of the Southern Wildfantasy, heartbreak & hope packed in 90 minutes of brilliance. Quven is the best 6 year old you'll see. 8.5/10.
The Attacks of 26/11 - A horrifying & spine chilling cinematic depiction. -ves being the "filmy" OTT Kasab & Nana's preachy monologue. 7/10.
Go, Goa, Gone - macabre, absurd, slapstick but hilarious. One of the rare instances of a real 'hatke', with a message not overdone. 7.5/10
The Great Gatsby - The classic comes to life, with full justice to the grandeur and reverie of '20s America. A+ performances all round. 8/10
Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani - classic feel good, urban, Bollywood romantic comedy. Predictable, good looking and definitely watchable. 7/10.
Iron Man 3 - remains the funniest, most human superhero franchise. Never seen before scale. Ben Kingsley brilliant, as is RD Jr. 7.5/10
The Internship - Almost looked like Google's best marketing/recruiting material! Greatest tribute paid to a company. Proud. Nostalgic. 6/10.
Now You See Me - Hollywood's answer to Abbas-Mustan. Grand twists & suspension of disbelief, massive scale. Thoroughly entertaining. 7/10.
Raanjhnaa - Unconventional & heartwarming. Superb performances by Dhanush, SK & others. Strong story, iffy end, brilliant music. Watch. 8.5/10
Man of Steel - A good thing overdone, with the focus on style rather than substance. Not much of a plot but superb action sequences. 6/10.
Lootera - breathtaking, picturesque cinematography. Music that stays with you. Promising storyline that failed to deliver in the end. 6.5/10
Chennai Express - Unpretentious Bollywood (besides an out-of-place sermon), stretched climax, SRK recreating '90s humour & charm. 7.5/10.
Madras Cafe - A rare political thriller. Taut story-line backed by research. Brilliant camerawork. Solid performances by ensemble cast. 8.5/10
Prisoners - frightening & thrilling, you root for the characters & argue right vs wrong. Marvellous story telling, sounds & visuals. 9/10
Gravity - the greatest movie experience I've seen. Average storyline, consistent acting & extraordinary visuals, especially in IMAX 3D. 8.5/10
Captain Phillips- A tense drama, with power performances by Hanks, Barkhad Abdi & team. Bit stretched. Remains true to the incident. 7.5/10
Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Remains true to the series style & theme. Ups the emotional content. Jen shines yet again. Abrupt end. 6.5/10
Dhoom 3 - Aamir Khan's 1st "so-bad-that-it's-good" movie since Mela. Script's as weak as a kitten but some thrilling action scenes. 4.5/10
The Wolf of Wall Street - Stylish, hilarious, & takes its R rating seriously. Reminiscent of Great Gatsby. 1 hour too long. Do watch. 7.5/10