Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to Choose The Best of Hosting For Your Site

As customers adopt more service based computing resources like cloud hosting, it’s only logical that they will also now ask more of their hosting provider to ensure they are getting the correct solution.

So we thought hey, let’s produce an infographic to take customers through a simple decision making process on a route to the solution that’s right for them.

Click on Image to Enlarge.

Infographic by Rackspace Hosting

The Boneyard Project: Art on Old Military Warplanes

The term "bone yard" refers to the remote, desolate parking stations for these behemoth, inactive vessels in the dessert. The first installment of this expanding series, called The Boneyard Project: Nose Job, was comprised of works from over a dozen artists. This current "part 2" of the project is titled The Boneyard Project: Return Trip and features more than 30 artists. The exhibit will be at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona from January 28 until May 31, 2012.

Images by theflopbox via mymodernmet

Another Chance by Ahmed Faiyaz- A Review

"At the end of love there is unloving, when you can engage in the ceaseless hunt for all those things to be taken out, and somehow discarded, when you can fight against the new roads and try, futilely, to return to what you were before." -Page 180, Another Chance.
Much thought goes into deciding the title for a book. No matter what genre, what subject, what type a book, a title is supposed to provide just enough peek into a book's soul, without revealing too much about it. It is your first impression of the book, and in case of novels, fiction novels such as the one I am attempting to review, the title of the book is supposed to hold the story together, even guide the reader when he feels lost about the direction the book will take after the next turn in the story. Ahmed Faiyaz's Another Chance boasts of a title which is precise and perfect. It encapsulates the very essence of the book in a mere two words- Another Chance. To a romantic's heart (read:me) these two words are almost a philosophy. In Ahmed's novel, they are a simple expression of the desire which harries many a unlucky-but-still-in-love hearts. The Desire For Another Chance.

The plot of the book revolves around a single girl-Ruheen Oberoi, described by the author as a depressingly gorgeous woman in the prelude to the novel. She is a hep, free spirited girl, sought after girl, brought up by an indulging grandfather, who lost her parents when young. Aditya Sharma, Ruheen's enduring lover, a young corporate trying to make his mark, is the second protagonist in this novel. His commitment to Ruheen is almost dreamlike- but much comes in the way of consummation of their love. A string of men enter Ruheen's life at successive junctures- A politician's son and Ruheen's obsessive stalker-Vishal, Ruheen's childhood friend with feelings for her-Varun, and then Ruheen's good-for-nothing, abusive husband-Rohan. Luck, as is guessable, does not favor Ruheen's relationship with any. At a young age, battered by the chicaneries of life, Ruheen gives up hope for finding love and comfort in a man's arms, when Aditya re-enters her life. However, love, as we know it, is not a simple road to tread on. It comes with its own complications, its own compulsions, its own tests. Will Ruheen finally find happiness? Does love deserve a second chance? Is the human heart, with all its weaknesses, a sound guide to consult while making life altering decisions? All this, and more, you ponder as you flip through the pages of Another Chance.

After Love, Life & All That Jazz... it is the second book by Ahmed Faiyaz that I am reading. Like the earlier one, this too has done a decent job of providing me a good, entertaining, and moving story which is not too heavy and easy to relate with. Having read these two books, I can conveniently say, that Ahmed does fabulously when it comes to painting close-to-home, real life characters. While in the last book, what could have been three independent stories were intertwined in the narrative, here it helps to have just one rather simple story to follow and focus attention on. Simple, but replete with exciting twists and turns.

It took me about quarter to four hours to read the book, and I am by no means a fast reader. It is much like a bollywood romance, which engages, touches, entertains, and leaves you with happy tears in the end. Do not pick this book to satisfy the literary critic in you. Pick this book for catching some fresh air, a simple break from your otherwise ridden-with-anxieties life. As I said, not heavy duty stuff in this book. An easy, light read, whose climax builds up like that of a mushy, romantic flick. When during the course of the book you start sharing the agony of the character and get desperate for them to achieve happiness, you know that the writer has succeeded in casting his spell on you- in binding you together with the narrative. I have a proclivity towards falling for nicely narrated romances. This one gets 3 on 5 stars from me for primarily two reasons. First is its ending- they way it builds up, gives you hope, then perturbs you, then leaves you with fond tears. Second is for the author's handling of human emotions- their gullibility and resilience- and for his treatment of the dynamics of a new age, urban relationship. The narrative of the books shifts between many locations, Indian and foreign- and the screenplay like storytelling makes it conveniently possible to imagine vividly the characters and their setting. If you read with as much passion as I do, you'll lose yourself to the story. And in my view, that is how one should read to draw maximum satisfaction from a book.

I cannot end this review without mentioning the brilliant cover portrait of Bruna Abdullah which almost brings Ruheen's character alive in front of your eyes. Her expression on the cover was the first thing that made me want this book. For all of you wanting to a read a little mature and not an utterly cheesy romance with no load, do remember to pick this up on your next trip to a book shop.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Portraits of Ladies in Cardboard Outfits

Dame di Cartone (“Cardboard Ladies”) is a project by Swiss-Italian photographer Christian Tagliavini in which he creates portraits of women that mimic the look of historical paintings. The styles include 17th century, fifties, and cubism. Dame Di Cartone is currently on display until February 4, 2012 at Diemar / Noble Gallery in London as part of Tagliavini’s Cut Out & Keep solo exhibition.

Via: petapixel

Pointillism by Nia Langley

If you read the About Nia section, you'd know that I practice the art of pointillism in which small distinct dots create a big picture. Everything in this album is done by yours truly and consists of numerous dots from Sharpie markers.

My first pointillism picture.

The final product.

Supposedly Tyra Banks

I'm not gonna lie. I am disappointed in my Tyra piece. It looks nothing like her. Ugh.
That's what I get for finishing at 3AM..

What should I do next?

Last picture: New York Times Magazine

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Protecting her?
Was that the plan?
To nourish, to cherish,
To save from the evil man?

The endless sky
"Dangerous to fly!”
Wide crystal water
"Fatal to enter!”
Inviting golden desert
"Treacherous mounds of dirt!”
Morbid confines of home
"Your haven, your zone!”

So, Protecting her
Was that the plan?
I'm sorry you failed
She’s at best – Jailed!

 "You thought I was protected
Cradled in sound slumber?
I was shushing my heart from dreaming
Beating it to sheen-less amber"

Friday, January 27, 2012

1966 Batman Trading Cards

Norman Saunders is an artist who painted trading cards, comic books and commercial works throughout the '50s and '60s. He created this amazing collection of Batman trading cards back in 1966.

While he might be best known for painting the infamously banned Mars Attacks cards, his work with Batman brings a level of shark-fighting, acid-throwing, sidekick-endangering action and a slightly off-model Joker that's just fantastic.

Via: comicsalliance

The Newsroom Mafia by Oswald Pareira- A Review

Is there a genre of fiction that can be called a masala thriller? Or a bollywood thriller? Well, if there were one, then Oswald Pereira's debut novel would effortlessly claim the golden throne among the list of books belonging to this category. What a read!

The Newsroom Mafia is a journalist's take on the crime syndicate that thrives in the dingy alleyways of Mumbai. Veteran journalist Oswald Pereira has woven a sensational story around the politics-underworld-media nexus which is routinely camouflaged, but which we all already know too well about. The excitement I felt while turning the last pages of this book is wanting to pour out in what will end up being an all out positive review of the book, but a synopsis is more than necessary if I am to express with lucidity why the reader inside me is so thoroughly satiated with Pereira's ingenuous screenplay-like-novel.

Narayan Swamy is the typical image of a Mumbai underworld Don, who self indulgently likes to be addressed as the "Godfather"- incidentally also his favorite movie. He is his own hero- a self proclaimed Robinhood who is the savior of destitutes languishing without any concern or empathy from the authorities. Our Don is a wannabe social worker, with, ironically, a criminal acumen so strong that is successful in transforming him from a deprived nobody to an A-listed celebrity in the power circles.This crime messiah prospers under expedient partnerships with influential politicians, legal and financial advisers, and media honchos doubling up as his investigative sources. Thus completes the perfect character of our Don- the mighty, invincible supervillain.

Enter our hero- Supercop Donald Fernandez, Commissioner of the Mumbai Police Force, 'second only to the Scotland Yard'. He is a genuine, but publicity hungry cop, stories of whose bravery are routinely splashed across the front pages of India's most widely read English language news paper- The Newsroom. This titular newspaper's star crime reporter, Oscar Pinto is Donald's favored media partner- who gets all the exclusive crime scoops right from the supercop's lips. The story begins with a false front page report in The Newsroom written by Oscar about Don's arrest by Supercop Donald Fernandez. But all hell breaks lose when the news spreads that Don has escaped before the Mumbai police could even sniff his scent. What follows is an all out war declared by the Supercop on the Don- a chase ridden with deception, seduction, betrayal, power games, conspiracies, cold blooded murders and most importantly, paid and planted media reports where the pen does more damage than swords could possible wreck.

Though the book promises a lot of drama, the author has done a fine job of excluding any unnecessary theatrics and sticking to the story which progresses at a thrill inducing speed. The crafty storyline keeps you guessing and each  page you turn brings with itself a new twist which makes it almost impossible to not turn the page again and be caught under the charms of a similar twist. The characters are straight out of some bollywood-rather tollywood screenplay described to such perfection that you end up making mental pictures of them which runs like an animated display as the plot unfolds. What works most for me is the earthy, crude narrative- an almost no nonsense exposé of the mechanics of crime syndicate as it operates in our country. The precision and the details provided keep the story real, but the spice element is not in the least compromised upon. When the cover predicts for you a foray into the sleazy and murky Mumbai Underworld much like a movie poster, your hopes already dart through the sky. Pereira does not disappoint at all with the expectations he keeps building up throughout the book.

As the plot thickens, the battle between the Don and Supercop becomes 'nerve-tinglingly' entertaining with dirty power politics and sleazy tactics being played in from both ends. How the fourth-estate, the media lusts after dollops of exclusive reports has been articulated with an insiders expertise. Also, the extent to which news is manipulated to serve not the interests of its own industry or of its readers but to pander to the insidious motives of the money backed, power hungry politicians and criminals puts your faith in the real life newspapers in uncertain waters. The novel is set in 1980s when the underworld had begun pullulating with concomitant maledictions like bootlegging, prostitution, money laundering, smuggling, power politics finding roots in the fecund Bombay climate. The anachronistic setting is too perfect to make each line of the novel seem close to inspired from reality.

I could go on, for there are so many elements still left in the book which excite me as I remember them. However, I will restrain myself to only mentioning my favorite among a bevy of more than a dozen characters as I end my post. Stella Kutty- a journalist draped in crisp cotton sarees, whose modesty is betrayed by the lurking sensuality behind all the covers is the perfect doze of seduction in story. She is the mysterious woman with an irresistible appeal who is the most potent weapon in Don's arsenal when needed.

I am hoping for a sequel. Or at least some more books in this relatively unexplored genre. Its 4 stars on 5 for me. Very strongly recommended!

(Reviewed on request from Grey Oak-Westland)

The Girl with Seven Horses

'The Girl With 7 Horses' is a creative project by photographer Ulrika Kestere based on a fairy tale about seven imaginary horses that come to life within her photographs.

The fairtale story goes: Once upon a time there was a girl who had 7 invisible horses. People thought she was crazy and that she in fact had 7 imaginative horses, but this was not the case. When autumn came the girl spent a whole day washing all her clothes. She hung them on a string in her garden to let the gentle autumn sun dry them. Out of nowhere, a terrible storm came and its fierceful winds grabbed a hold of all her clothes and all seven horses (authors note: since they are invisible they obviously didn't weigh much). The girl was devastated and spent all autumn looking for each horse spread around the country, wrapped in her clothes.

Via: ulicam