500 Days of Summer

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Ever gotten bored doing the same thing over and over, listening to the same concepts of life always, pile of rhetorics buttered with voices where the only difference among them are the damn voices. Well, whatever your answer, you are bound to adore the Indie flick, “500 Days of Summer.”

Let’s hope the preceding lines didn’t throw you off the track.
What I was going for, was to put it out there, the word ‘newness.’ Insanely common it does sound to the majority of us, since we have always wanted a newer beginning, or a newer end, a change of technology and precisely a change of perspective. The idea of ‘newness’ is so alluring that mind genuinely drifts off to a bunch of imaginative glimpses, possibly a creation of our mental research. Although, you might accept that even though you are quick to think and explore this newer perspective that has presented itself, you fail to imbibe it in reality. You cumbered by your own defense mechanism, generate scenarios where the change that you seek would not work, and to discourage yourself is all you Continue reading

Long Live the Friends

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“Friends” was the first series I ever saw, even before Seinfeld. The show seemed ordinary at first, to be specific the first season, but then it really blew me away. I am not sure what was it, whether it was the script, the characters, or the fact that I envisioned having similar bond with my friends. The first season, was more traditional, you can guess from the music, and their acting, but it was still nice compared to any that featured in the similar genre, such as Party of Five, Chicago Hope, My so called Life, The Vicar of Dibley etc. It was the second season when I saw the characters and thought that they exist, this could be true, its no fiction, I must find myself some of these friends. Continue reading

Hey CHEVRON, what’s up with CRUDE

Do you believe in Karma? Do you believe that if you commit a mistake then the forces of nature work against you, to even out your arrest.

What do you think of the Amazon rain-forest, do you believe they are beautiful and are the only remaining explicable entities to comprehend our natural outlook. If your answer is YES, then the next big thing will come as a shock to the many who are not aware of it. I believe no environmentalist has missed it and it underlines a fine line between “Industrial Exploitation permitted by law” and “Contamination of Nature”. The story I am referring to is “the $ 27 billion lawsuit against Chevron filed by tens of thousands of Ecuadorans”.

A documentary “Crude” deals with the issue and explores the real-time problems that the Ecuadorians face, a possible result of the oil exploration by Texaco, now Chevron. The lawsuit will be the largest environmentally ever encountered if proved. The Joe Berlinger’s film Crude provides diverse angles to the depleting quality of life of the Ecuadorians, the environmental peril and captures explanations from each side onto asserting their claims. Let us understand the situation and study the possible.

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The Scenario

Chevron the third largest  company in USA, is being sued by the Ecuadorian people in a court room of  Ecuador. The high fine is accredited to the clean up and implementation of water systems, and to compensate for cancer debt.

Back in 1972, the Gulf Oil, Texaco and Ecuadorian Government were controlling the oil production in Amazon. But soon in 1997, the Government oil company (CEPE, later restructured and named PetroEcuador) bought shares of Gulf Oil to let it off, since the Government wanted to nationalize the Oil Consortium. Thus, the 40-60 partnership between Texaco and PetroEcuador ran the oil production with Texaco acting as the operator i.e., responsible for safe execution of the construction and commissioning activities in accordance with plan, company standards and management processes.

How they got there?

The lawsuit of $1.5 billion was filed in 1993 by a group of Ecuadorians against Texaco. Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001 and hence inherited the case. They emphasized that the case belongs to Ecuador and not in Manhattan where it was initially filed. They won the case to pursue the fight in Ecuadorian Court, but the compensation raised to a staggering $27 billion.

The case by People

The thousands of Ecuadorians were supported by Plaintiff lawyers lead attorney Steven Donziger to raise the claims of contamination in the Amazon. In 1990, Texaco had spend $40 million in clean up and hence the Ecuadorian Government exempted them from any further liabilities, but there was a loop hole in the pact – it was the absence of third-party claims which was judicially exploited by the people of Ecuador as purported by the Plaintiff lawyers.

  • The people use water as a crucial resource and the centimeters deep oil spills had polluted the water. The result was dying aquatic life, dying animals and loss of human health. For instance, chicken were found dead because of the pollution, further majority of younger generation had stopped developing over time. Consumption of water with traces of oil lead to deaths. Later “Amazon watch” a social activists group supported the case raised by people.

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  • When oil is extracted from ground, pits are constructed  around it to store the liquid oil waste produced. These pits are temporarily filled and then emptied, they are kept away from water sources to prevent contamination. The pits dug by Texaco as operator, till date are filled with the waste, also an anomaly in the construction is the design of pits which have been provided with pipes to let the waste seep out of it when filled completely, into streams directly connecting to water sources used by people.

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  • The hydrocarbons are dangerous to human health, the presence of carcinogens in the water degraded the health of people, further elevated the cancer rates in the region.
  • When evidence were searched in site inspections, the lawyers exclaimed that “Chevron claims that no waste can be found on the ground, and it is true, since it resides beneath it and can be found in the whole region”. According to Chevron, Texaco cleaned 162 pits but inspection of the site discovered 968 pits which was huge.
  • The Plaintiff Lawyers believed that the request of Texaco to pursue the case in Ecuador instead of USA was a deviation, since they intended to delay the case and eventually expected them to run out of money.

The case by Chevron

At first Chevron claimed that the water sources were not contaminated because of them. Texaco had done thorough examination of water, out of which 99% was safe as per WHO standards.

  • Chevron’s Chief Environmental Scientist stated that they disposed their resources in finding the truth and found no increase in cancer deceases. They also blamed poor sanitation for contamination.
  • In the videos shown at the Chevron shareholder meetings, the company blamed PetroEcuador for massive oil spills in the region. They said since they were 40% partners, hence they are liable for 40% of the mess. Thus, the company’s strategy was to pinpoint blame on the Government run company “PetroEcuador”.
  • The company deliberately emphasized on “decisions managed by Consortium” which it was when with PetroEcuador, even though it was the operator and was blamed for faulty pit construction, disrupted waste management system.
  • The company further blamed the judicial system of Ecuador. They were the one’s who in 2002 won the case to shift the case to Ecuador and later blasted on the politically influenced judiciary. They believed that the judge will be partial to the people after being sued for $27 billion in Ecuadorian court. Also the billion dollar lawsuit was erroneous and invented according to them.

The result till date

The Ecuadorian Court on 2011 fined Chevron with $8 billion as found guilty. This makes it the largest environmental lawsuit payable ever. Also, they were asked to provide a public apology, otherwise an additional fine of same amount would be imposed.

To this Chevron replied back with another appeal against the ruling, and the plaintiff lawyers. They have already sued Plaintiff lawyers such as lead attorney Steven Donziger and others involved for manipulation, unethical and improper if not illegal and faulty practices in estimating global assessment report.

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According to them, even if the practices pursued are legal in Ecuadorian Court, the US court would discard the lawsuit on the basis of foul play.

Opinion by a Neutral

  • The pits were responsibility of Texaco, now Chevron and they were being sued, but why is PetroEcuador not being sued, it has also operated and was solely responsible for the damage after 1992. The Plaintiff lawyers said they would do so once they win against Chevron. Is it true what The Wall Street Journal said “an Amazonian Swindle” and the fact that “Chevron is where the money is”. The Chevron spokesman described the lawyers as con man for looting the rich companies.
  • When a master list of the pits dug were inquired from Chevron, they had none. This does not hold to their claim of cleaning up 162 pits, and further cannot challenge the claim of Ecuadorians of having 900+ pits.
  • The company is blaming the Ecuadorian court for corruption, then why did it choose to change the court room in the first place. Why did they not confine themselves to the US court instead of fighting a case for Ecuador for 9 years?

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Chevron is to be blamed for their irresponsible behavior in waste disposal and construction as an operator in the Consortium. However, Chevron is right to blame PetroEcuador for part of fines, however it cannot completely hold PetroEcuador liable for the claims. Not much can be said about the Plaintiff lawyers, but the people of Ecuador are definitely on the losing side and hence, need to be protected.

Graffiti – Revolution or Vandalism

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Exit Through the Gift Shop“, a documentary that brought me one step closer to Graffiti art, more incisively “Street Art” as it is in the modern era. The documentary reveals to the audience, passion, love and skill which some people around the world possess, and effortlessly mediate thoughts into art. Exit from the Gift shop, exit being the joke, on who is uncertain, may be Thierry for being hoax or on us, the public or media for unable to identify true art. The movie seemed authentic and it definitely was simple enough to be true.

Some quotes I found hilarious, although might be mean, hysterical, sarcastic but they are funny,

Banksy: Most artists take years to develop their style, Thierry seemed to miss out on all those bits. Continue reading

The Big Bang Theory

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‘The Big Bang Theory’ – an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre is an excellent show and perhaps the very best of comedies currently on television. The writing and the subsequent plots  in particular are quite impressive, pitching scientific theories and literal annotations to the major part of non-scientific community, highlighting humor in such obvious manner. Also, one’s got to love the vanity cards of Chuck Lorre at the end of the show, better pause and read it. They are simply awesome, smart and humorous. The irony is bewitching. Further, visiting his site made it quite clear as to why the character Sheldon is so superb, only Chuck with his detailed insight and clever mindset could have pulled it off, not that Jim Parsons did any less of a job.

The show deals with daily acts of four friends and their neighbor Penny, a waitress, aspiring to be an actress. It is a total package of wit, humor, romance, stupidity, understanding and friendship (3 strikes huh!).

You cannot miss it for all you get.

The genius of Sheldon who is a  total package of knowledge but no wisdom, far far away from the social incumbency. It is quite hilarious when he cannot catch sarcasm, and the practical pranks he plays. You are gonna love the occasional faces, and who could forget the room agreement.

The understanding and innocence of Leonard. The guy does well to put up with a room mate who is undoubtedly the biggest freak show, and is essentially the glue that binds them all together.

The subtle remarks of Howard. The one I like most is in reference to Penny – See a penny, pick her up and all the day you will have good luck. Great bond with mother he got there, although mother has never been seen.

The common sense of Penny and definitely the only sex appeal in the series. The only cherry to the otherwise not so delicious pastry. She indeed presses onto the obvious, that even thought the show might circumvent around geeks but in itself is understandable and fun.

And of course Rajesh. What can I say, I adore him, not just because he brings a lot of Indian spice to table but also because of the precious words that fade away in presence of a gal.

The series would go on and so it must. Great television series, definitely the best of its kind. It does not fail to surprise. And the characters, pack enough in their arsenal to roast my head off. A must see!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

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I saw ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules some time ago. Oh! yes, a kid movie, shoot me now. Well, I have no regrets, for it was hilarious and not at all emotional, but does give away a sweet message of shared love among siblings, in a family. The movie I felt good about because of the character Rodrick, older brother messing with younger one who is kind of sappy, yeah the cover says wimpy. It’s a sequel to the earlier in the same segment, adapted from Jeff Kinney’s well written witty story with comical illustrations.

The film portrays our very self. If your family is as protective and gaga about stuff as Greg’s parents were, you would have a hell of a time!

The Heffley family is a mix bag of awkward people who can be distinguished by each of their highlighted enactment.

“A mother trying to run the family, looking for better understanding within the family, kind of carefree with hints of social briefing.
A father who I guess is not in-charge, but has a say, shrugging off from wife’s uncanny behavior but pretending to like and accept, not so dominant on children for he once was a boy.
A big brother, picking on smaller one, the kind of fights we love, put up with and laugh as we look back and remember.
A smaller brother, who is innocent but then again pain in the ass, and because of his innocence nothing can be done about it.
However, most importantly, there is a boy in between all this, a wimpy kid, who would love to become famous, respected, adored, who dreams to set things right. He presents to us, our own self, started with pretend, away from awkwardness and humiliation to have friends and girlfriends, sometimes ending up there and other times blessed by a safe rescue, but no matter how far you run, you tend to find happiness when you abolish sham and be yourselves, when you least expect it, when you realize that mending ways with all who are close is all joy, and all trouble to reach the realization was worth it.”

The film was kinda family drama, since it was never predominantly about the kid, but the kid and people around him. Enjoyed the situation when Greg was picked up by his father as he was skating in front of all people, broadcast-ed by his mother out loud, felt like a loser and his father was like, “I know”. There was a good song playing before that, Atlantic Star – Always, gotta love the line “girl you are to me all a woman should be”. One of the Rodrick’s tricks to easy life was definitely true, the one with lowering parent’s expectations, though I won’t recommend it. The poop part was hilarious as well.

So, I think I liked the movie, I remember sitting on my chair, laying still and remembering my childhood, I would give anything to go back, but somethings are not meant to be, that’s why they say, “Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose“.

The Cove and Dolphins

You know, if I were a dolphin, I might tell you the troubled story like this,

 

In waters we live the lie, die
in parkland still, men with their knives
lurking in coves, bare mind contrives

wonted route, obstacles defy
loud cry in trance, artful sound dance
treacherous motives, you imply

effete cetacean archives
stacking, as we live the lie, die.

Until dawn, might live the lie, die
or with valet who arrives
turn props, captivity derives

deception of smile, doesn’t comply
the ail, strain, intellect in drain,
hoarding wealth, slaughter, don’t deny

water bloody red, spiking knives,
in waters, seeping the lie, die.

 

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