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Posts from — January 2012

Pics of the Week

I really like this photo for its colours – they just pop.
And then there’s the whole jump, there’s something beautiful about that and am envious. Thats something I have to do, I have conquer my fear of jumping with a cycle…

January 22, 2012   No Comments

Pics of the Week

Coffee is something I just love in all its flavours and shades and miss it alot these days. I’ve had to cut down on it big time due to my migraines. So here’s to those lovely caffeinated days… :)

January 21, 2012   2 Comments

BlogRoll 2012: Blogs I’ve Followed Until Now

Over the last two years I’ve collected (that’s a good word :D) 490 blog subscriptions but haven’t managed to read even 1/10 of them. So, this year one of my resolutions is to clean up my RSS reader on Google.

And how am I doing this? Well, I’m starting from zilch, scratch. Since I don’t want to lose all I have yet, I decided to ignore all that was before and create a few new folders based on my interests. Now I’m going to add blogs slowly through the year making sure to stick to the habit of reading all that I subscribe to 😀 and removing feeds that I don’t read over time.

Here are blogs that I’ve founded until now categorized by interest. If you have a blog recommendation in these areas, do let me know. I’m looking out for some interesting blogs. :)

Travel
BreathDreamGo by Mariellen

Craft (Fully DIY)
All Things Paper by Ann Martin

Crafting Queen by Karuna

Book Blogs (Reviews and more)
Chrisbookarama by Chris

Reading Romances by Nat

Of Books and Reading

Behind the Book (All about writing, publishing and marketing books)
A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing by J.A. Konrath

No Publisher Needed by Jim. F. Kukral

The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn

The Book Designer by Joel Friedlander

Have any recommendations? Please leave them in comments :)

January 20, 2012   No Comments

Book Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Title: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Author: Rebecca Skloot
Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (February 2nd, 2010)
Genre: Non-fiction, Science
Read: eBook
Stars: ****/5
Summary: (GoodReads) Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Review:

This book has been on my reading-list for a while but I just kept putting it off. I’m glad I got down to it.

The book is about the woman behind the HeLa cells. HeLa cells are the most used cells in research and have contributed hugely to science. They helped with vaccines like polio and research like the method of freezing cells. HeLa was the first cluster of cells to survive and grow in a laboratory; it grew so successfully it is mass-produced. The interesting thing about HeLa cells is that they are cancerous!
These cells and their history is interesting. You can read more here – HeLa on Wikipedia

HeLa cells being interesting as they are I found the story of the person behind the cells and her family more moving. The pathos, the struggle, the love and the bigness they show is heart warming.

The opposites are striking. On one hand HeLa cells get famous and a lot of companies make money. On the other Henrietta’s family don’t even have health care. They don’t know for years how much their mother has contributed to science. They didn’t get their due credit.

Reading the book its clear that Rebecca has spent ages in research. The book is scientific and you’re going to walk away knowing a lot more about cells and cell research but its going to be an interesting read. There is no point at which you get bored. Rebecca has balanced the medical and personal well. I enjoyed the book.

A must read!

January 19, 2012   No Comments

“I’m The Greatest”: Mohammed Ali, The Black Superman

Yesterday was Mohammed Ali’s birthday. Growing up he was one of the people I idolized. Maybe because of all that he did and stood for but I’m more inclined to think it was because of the trippy number in my Dad’s collection.

My first introduction to Mohammed Ali was in a song – Black Superman. I still love that song. It talked about Ali being as agile as a butterfly and quick as a bee. It described him in many ways but the only colour reference was in the title. The song was the first bit of Mohammed Ali to catch my attention; it was only after that that I found out who Mohammed Ali was. And also found out he was actually black. (I’m duh…) 😀

Have you heard the song Black Superman by Johnny Wakelin & The Kinshasa Band?

The Lyrics –

This here’s the story of Cassius Clay
Who changed his name to Muhammad Ali
He knows how to talk and he knows how to fight
And all the contenders were beat out of sight

Sing, Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee
Mohammed, the black superman
Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you can

Now all you fight fans, you’ve got to agree
There ain’t no flies on Muhammad Ali
He fills the arena wherever he goes
And everyone gets what they paid for

Muhammad, was known to have said
You watch me shuffle and I’ll jab off your head
He moves like the black superman
And calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you can

He says I’m the greatest the worlds ever seen
The heavyweight champion who came back again
My face is so pretty you don’t see a scar
Which proves I’m the king of the ring by far

Sing, Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee
Mohammed, the black superman
Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you can

Sing, Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee
Muhammad, the black superman
Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you can
I’m Ali catch me if you can

January 18, 2012   1 Comment

Umeed Wali Dhoop / Ray of Hope

There are times in our lives when we just feel down and out. Nothing seems right, the eternal questions come back to hound you and leave you lost in a sea of questions and thoughts with no land in site. The answers just evade, it’s like the proverbial straw, only when you grab it you realize it’s a mirage. That was 2011 for me, lots of questions – from myself, family, friends and people – and no answers to be found.

But then 2012 to came along and somehow a switch flipped. I found some answers, yes, but I also realized that some answers didn’t need to be found. They would find you as soon as you stopped looking for them. Life wasn’t about only the questions, it was about so much more. It’s a meaningless existence but yet so meaningful, if you know what I mean 😀

I love the new Coca-Cola jingle. The video shares a lot of interesting numbers and stats but the jingle is what I am interested in. The music is great; it’s upbeat and leaves you feeling nice. It’s my phone ringtone now and I look forward to hear it ring these days. :) But all this aside, it says so much about how I started this year and what I see for 2012. (Incidentally the first time I saw it was on Jan 1st.)

This year is a year of hope, new beginnings, experiments, and making sure that nothing will pull me back or down. I intend to smile no matter what life throws at me. There is always hope and a better tomorrow. I want to be happy, that’s my wish for life and nothing is going to stop me from doing that this year. The jingle says all that and more.

If you haven’t seen the video yet, here are the lyrics –

Ummeed Waali Dhoop, Sunshine Waali Aasha
Rone Ki Wajah Kamm Hai, Hansne Ke Bahane Jyada

Zidd Hai Muskurayenge, Khush Rehne Ka Hai Waada
Umeed Wali Dhoop, Sunshine Waali Asha

Tum Dil Se Agar Puchoge, Woh Khush Rehna Hee Chahe
Jab Sache Mann Se Maango, Toh Khul Jaati Hai Raahein
Toh Khul Ke Khusi Lutao, Ye Kya Aadha-Aadha

Umeedon Wali Dhoop, Sunshine Wali Asha
Umeedon Wali Dhoop, Sunshine Wali Asha

And the video

What do you think of the video? Like it? Does the jingle work the magic for you too?

I found a couple of other blog posts about the song and its versions. You can check them out here if you want to know more about the ad –
Coca Cola Ad for 2012… Umeed wali Dhoop… Sunshine wali Aasha… by Puneet
Umeed Vali Dhoop: Happy New Year by Madhav

January 17, 2012   1 Comment

How To Add a GoodReads Widget to Your WordPress Blog

GoodReads has some neat book reader widgets for blogs. You can share information about the books you are reading, books on your shelf, your updates, your reading challenge and more.

To check out what widgets are available for your blog, click on the Edit Profile option in the drop-down next to your Profile Photo.

On your My Account Page select the Widgets tab.

You can now choose the widget you want. You can also specify which shelf would be shown in the widget and other details.

1. If the Preview shown matches what you want for your blog, copy the code.

2. Now go to the Widgets section in your WordPress blog. The Widgets option is in the Left Column under Appearance on your WordPress Dashboard.

3. Based on your Blog Template you will see your Sidebars listed on the right of the page. I have three hence they are listed as Sidebar 1, Sidebar 2 and Sidebar 3.

4. Choose which sidebar you want the badge to show in.

5. Now drag the TEXT widget into the Sidebar and paste the code into the TEXT dropdown. (You can use a few HTML codes to create space between plugins and to add comments). If you already have the TEXT widget in the sidebar you can go ahead and add the code. List the blocks of code based on the order you want the widgets shown on your blog.

6. Click the Save option in the Dropdown and you’re done. Now check the widget on your blog to make sure it’s showing as you’d like it to, else change the options you selected and replace the code with the new code generated.

And voila, you have a badge on your blog. I’ve added two GoodReads widgets to my blog – The 2012 Reading Challenge and The Most Reacent Books I’ve Read. Like them? Are you using a GoodReads widget? Which one did you like most?

Update (16/Jun/’13): WordPress usually gives trouble with javascript and flash and that’s what the GoodReads widgets are based on. I don’t remember clearly now but I do remember having some trouble when setting up my widgets. My Challenge widget doesn’t update for days sometimes, even now. So if you have trouble you could maybe just try another widget?
I came across this alternative way to set-up a Goodreads widget as a wordpress plugin. Maybe this will work for you. You could also complaint and ask for more help on the Bugs group discussion on Goodreads. It seems to be an active discussion with the guys at Goodreads helping out. You’d have to join the group first though.
Thanks to Gail Armstrong for sparking off this extra research with her question :)

January 16, 2012   21 Comments

Pics of the Week

I have a thing for the colour blue, I absolutely love it. And if you add the right bits of colour to it, it just gets richer.
Getting the lemon and chilly to stay up there took a lot of patience from us. But Che works hard at his Project and it shows :)

January 15, 2012   No Comments

Pics of the Week

My Family!! I love them to bits. We took a similar picture last year and its nice to look back as the years go by.
The photo was of course a lot of fun. From setting up the frame to getting the flash shy Cuckoo to stay put between shots. For the record, all the dogs didn’t like the flash one bit and it took a lot of rubbing to keep them still 😀

January 14, 2012   No Comments