Sunday, March 30, 2014
Sasank Gopinathan, who is working as a Product and Automotive Designer, was approached for a custom saree design. He was asked to modify the Simpson Family to look like they are South Indian Brahmin family. I liked his work so much and asked his permission to reproduce that in my blog. Sasank kindly agreed.
Sasank has done so many projects which are worth viewing. You can follow Sasank on his Behance profile.
The Simpson Iyers!
Bart Iyer is wearing a kurta and pajama with sandals. His Iyer vibudhi (holy ash) mark is visible on his forehead
Monday, March 24, 2014
The last place we visited in
was the Headquarters
for CNN. You all know that CNN (Cable
News Network) is a popular television station that is broadcast all over the
world. At their headquarters location,
they conduct a 55 minute tour eight times a day. The tour starts on the 8th floor
after you cross a security checkpoint on the ground floor. Atlanta
Now how do you get to the 8th floor of the
in ? Atlanta
Elevator?…nope! Good guess though.
Stairs? Heck NO!
Maybe an Escalator? What…are you kidding me! Really? An escalator?
An escalator that goes up to the 8th floor from the ground floor with no stops in between?
YESSSS! This is the world’s largest free standing escalator (according to the Guinness book of World records) and the only way to get to your tour.
CNN was founded by Ted Turner, who was the owner of Turner Broadcasting System which is now part of Time Warner. CNN started operating at 5 PM on June 1, 1980. Turner’s intent was to provide fierce competition to the three TV news networks that were dominating at that time (ABC, CBS and NBC).
On this tour, we could see in detail the Control Room Theater, Special Effects studio, and the Interactive News Desk section. We were able to understand what all it takes to produce a newscast.
At any given moment there are 99 cameras in various places in the world ready to be shown as news. Now which one will they show for the TV viewers? The Programming Director decides that…and makes quick decisions if there is breaking news at any time.
What if another news network breaks the news first? Oh yes, CNN is also monitoring/watching the other networks…just in case someone else gets the jump on CNN when a developing story occurs that CNN also should report on.
We were also able to see how tele-prompters work and how the news anchor is able to read the news while staring into the television camera. Watching how the weather anchors do the weather is also pretty cool (no pun intended).
What we see at home is the weather anchor standing in front of the weather map and giving us a weather forecast. That is not how it works in the studio. The weather board is somewhere else and the weather reporter is standing in front of a plain green wall. Somehow, due to the technical magic of television, we watch the reporter right next to (or in front of) the weather map on our TV. Cool stuff.
Why Green? Well…
When applying artificially created backgrounds or effects, two separate series of images have to be combined. The technical term for this is 'chroma key'. Any color can be used for the background that will be 'dropped' but the two most popular choices are Green and Blue - this is because these two colors are the most unlike skin tones and will not cause problems when removed.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Next post will the last on our
visit. It will be about our tour of CNN
Headquarters. I think I have bored you
all enough. However, I have a few tidbits to share from our visit to Atlanta . Atlanta
We stayed at this name brand hotel. They have a nice customer service. If you are going to a touristy place (like CNN Headquarters), the hotel van will drop you. When you are ready to return to the Hotel, call them and the van will come and pick you up. One morning we were boarding the van to go some place. The driver is a black gentleman. My wife (LG) boarded the van first and she was going towards the back seats. I asked her to sit in the front seat. The driver heard this. He told my wife:
Please sit in the front madam. Those days are OVER.
He was very emotional and the way he said “OVER” was louder and more pronounced. (Remember Rosa Parks' story? She refused to sit in the back of the bus in South when non-whites were not allowed to sit in the front seats.) (I had a chuckle.)
Remember on the last day we were held up in our hotel room and could not go anywhere because of heavy snow and ice storm! That evening we went to the hotel lounge to have a drink. How long we can stay in the hotel room? (We later found out that the Police Officers working in that area could not go home due to heavy snow. They were put up in our hotel with an instruction that they are on 24 hour duty.)
We entered the lounge and sat in a corner. We saw about 10 Police Officers nearer to our table and drinking orange juice. I originally that it was vodka and orange juice. I had an eye contact with one of the officers. He smiled. That is enough for an extreme extrovert like me. I smiled back. And, I said: Hey guys, this is the safest place in
now. They had a question mark in their
faces. I said I am glad Atlanta ’s finest is here to protect us. Full
of smiles all over. Atlanta
Then I offered to buy them a beer. One of the officers said: “Thank you sir. But we are on duty now. May be some other time.” I replied: Yeah sure.
I want to end this post with a photo. So here is a photo of Georgia Dome, the home of the Atlanta Braves, a professional American Football team in
. I know, unless you are a die hard American
Football fan, you won’t give a damn about this.
Seating capacity: 74,228. This is the largest indoor sporting facility in the United States. Atlanta, Georgia
Sunday, March 9, 2014
When we were in
we visited the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. He was born in Atlanta in this home. Atlanta
He became a Pastor in this
. Ebenezer Baptist
The Civil Rights Movement was lead by MLK. He chose to do this via non-violent protests and civil disobedience. He was definitely influenced by the philosophy of non-violence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi. He went to
in 1959 to study Gandhi’s
techniques of nonviolent resistance.
There is a big statue of Mahatma Gandhi in this Historic Site. India
MLK, Jr.'s tributes to the Mahatma.
The eternal flame
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Sunday, March 2, 2014
After attending a wedding in
Alabama we planned to go visit the “capital of
the South” - . It’s about a 2 ½ hour drive from Atlanta, Georgia and pretty
much a straight shot across one freeway.
We planned to stay for 3 days in “Hotlanta” but we could only do
sightseeing for two of those days. You
see when we were there, Birmingham
was anything but “Hotlanta”. In fact, it
was “Damn Cold Lanta”. We spent our
third day there cooped up in a hotel room due to the heavy snow and an ice
storm. The whole city shut down for the
storm and there was nowhere to go and nothing to do. Atlanta
But I digress…
When we first arrived in
we visited the World of Coca Cola. Atlanta
Dr. John Pemberton invented Coke in 1886. In 1891, Asa Candler bought this Company for $2,300. In 1919, he sold Coca Cola for $25 million. Today, Coca Cola is worth $164 billion.
The Coca Cola Company keeps their secret recipe for Coke in a heavily guarded vault at this location. This is the magical recipe that combines the Coca Cola syrup with carbonated water and makes this delicious soft drink (which of course is bad for your health but so addicting because it tastes so good).
A few years ago, a disgruntled secretary in the Coca Cola Company stole a copy of the secret recipe and offered to sell it to a senior executive at a rival company (Pepsi). You know what the senior executive did? He called the police and also informed the Coca Cola Chairman. That is what I call honesty and integrity in business.
So at this museum, they have a fully functional but miniature bottling plant. It produces 8 oz. glass bottles of Coca-Cola. We were able to witness a behind the scenes view of the actual bottling process. At the end of the tour, every visitor gets a complimentary 8 oz. bottle of Coke.
Of course, the highlight of the tour is the immensely popular tasting room. It was pure fun and we couldn’t get enough. They have 5 stations to taste local soft drinks manufactured by Coca-Cola around the world. Each station represents a different continent and each “continent tasting station” has countries listed and the Coca Cola products offered in that country.
You can sample any country’s drink that is made by Coca Cola. Add to that, you can drink as much as you want without any time limits or quantity limits!
For example, the Asia tasting station had soft drinks made by Coca Cola representing
(2), Taiwan, Hong Kong, China,
India, and . Altogether, the tasting area must have had
over 100 different soft drinks to taste from…from around the world. If you
drink a full cup from each country, you cannot taste more than 10 samples. So we just took a few sips from each country and
we tasted more than 50 drinks from around the world. Thailand
Now which country’s Coca Cola product tastes the best? The best in my opinion is “Bibo” made in
. It is a combination of kiwi and mango. It’s the
best in my humble opinion and the people that I was with also liked it very
much. South Africa
The guaranteed worst is “
made in . This is not just my opinion but everyone’s
opinion. It’s clearly the worst drink in the tasting room and 100 out of 100
people will agree on that. If you are
ever in Italy ,
don’t buy this drink (even though they don’t make it anymore). I would rather drink animal vomit than drink
“ Italy ”
again. YUCK! (no, I won’t REALLY drink
animal vomit but you get my point). Beverly
Was there a Coca Cola drink representing
tasting station room? Of course! India
We tasted Thums Up…in
of all places! The reviews for Thums Up
were actually pretty good from the fellow drinkers standing around me. Even I enjoyed it when compared to the other
drinks from around the world. Atlanta
Towards the end of the tour, I was talking to the Floor Supervisor in the Tasting Room. I told him that I didn’t know that Thums Up was manufactured by Coca Cola. He said that Coke bought Thums Up in order to become Number One in
. He said that Coke was originally Number Three
behind Pepsi and Thums Up. He also said,
“We want to be Number One in every country in the world.” I was amazed at his knowledge of the
company’s products and also impressed with his company loyalty. India
Thums Up to him!
(or should I say Thumbs Up? Never understood why the b was omitted in the name of the drink)