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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Solution: Mindsport / Endgame 30 October, Sunday Times Of India (STOI)

Today's question is actually pretty simple or may be its not that simple I just got lucky. Mukul does not update his site regularly so I cannot post a link to the question. End

Answer:
Snakes -- 13 to 32, 45 to 66. Rest are ladders.

Solution:
Total number of moves made / squares covered because of 6 on the die = 12 * 6 = 72
Total number of moves required to be made to reach 100 = 100 - 1 = 99
This means that 27 (99 - 72) moves / squares to be covered with the help of snakes and ladders.
They are 13 to 32 ie 19 squares
25 to 48 ie 23 squares
35 to 54 ie 19 squares
45 to 66 ie 21 squares
63 to 88 ie 25 squares
79 to 84 ie 15 squares.
There are three options possible when one is present at these position.
a) She goes up ie she is at the foot of the ladder. (a factor of +1)
b) She remains at the same place ie she is at the top of a ladder or at the tail of a snake. (a factor of 0)
c) She goes down ie she is at the head of a snake.(a factor of -1)
So the question will be reduced to:
19*n1 + 23*n2 + 19*n3 + 21*n4 + 25*n5 + 15*n6 = 27
where ni is such that it belongs to {-1,0,1}.
and i is such that it belongs to (1,2,3,4,5,6}.
The above equations gives us a unique solution which has n1 = n3 = n6 = 0, n2 = 1, n4 = -1, n5 = 1
A simple checking reveals that all n1 is a snake and n3, n6 are ladders.
n2, n5 have to be ladders because their coefficients are 1.
n4 has to be a snake.
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Man And Wife

I got my first wedding invitation today. Well I have attended weddings in the past but this is the first time that one of my friends is getting married. Abhita was, for the lack of a better word, babe of the campus. They don't make females like that anymore and even if they do, they don't send them to Kharagpur. I wasn't exactly close to her as some of my other batchmates were so it was a pleasent surprise to recieve the invitation.
Another thing that got me thinking about marriage was the season finale of ELR (2nd season). After watching nearly 50 episodes during the last couple of weeks I have come to the conclusion that Debra fits the "ideal wife" role very well i.e. on a personal front. She is everything what I would want my wife to be.. intelligent, hot, funny, a good mother and a few quirks to add flavor to the dish called married life.
Whenever I think about wedding I think of something which I haven't told anyone before. I want one of my friends to come up to me and say, "Handa, here are the keys. The tank is full. If you wanna escape, you still got time." On the other hand there will be one particular wedding that I will like to attend and go to the bride and say, "______, the engine is on, the tank is full.... if you wanna elope, we still got time." However, I am not even sure that I will be invited to attend this one.
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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fa Yeung Nin Wa

When I watch movies like In the mood for love I feel a shooting pain in my head. I feel sad and angry at myself that why I did not watch this earlier. This movie was on LAN for around couple of years. No one evre recommended it to me, most probably because no one ever saw it. Movies like these come on our LAN and because of the lack of a serious audience get lost in the oblivion. IMDb gives it 8.0 and Ebert gives it 3 stars. If any one of them had been more favorable towards it, I would have seen it earlier. The mistake that I made was that I did not check the Awards and Nominations page because if I had done that, I would have seen the awards it won at Cannes. Then I would not have postponed watching it.
I sat down to watch this with a huge expectation, which is not a good thing to do. I was relieved to see that the print available was a DVD rip and the subtitles were embedded in it. I have faced problems with subtitles files in the past which can lessen, if not ruin the movie watching experience.
The entire movie has brilliant use of color and still has a noir potrayal. Before watching this, my favorite movies with extensive color usage were What Dreams May Come and Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, but both these movies had a script which required extensive color usage. From my limited personal experience I know that it is harder to make an impact by potraying a normal character than an eccentric one and if you apply the same analogy to colors you would know the precise reason why I promoted ITMFL to my favorite colorful movie. This also has the best use of deep focus and shadows that I have ever seen and I have seen Welles, Renoir and Apocalypse Now.
Various scenes in the movie hit you for unconventional but yet extremely effective style of potrayal. In a particular scene two characters are talking at the front door of an appartment. The camera remains fixed at one end of the alley focusing on the character who is outside the apartment and the other character remains outside the frame for the entire two minute conversation. You would not find this in your usual hollywood blah. Another scene has two characters passing on stairs giving each other nothing more than a glance. I am not articulate enough to put that scene into words and I don't think that many people other than Kar Wai Wong would be able to do it on screen.
Smoking has been an integral part of cinema since... well at least since Bogey. But no movie other than ITMFL has used smoke in a better manner. A particular scene opens with a ring of smoke and then the characters come into picture. In another scene the guy is smoking while he is working on a story. The room is not well lit just like the rest of the movie and you can see the smoke rise just above him towards the light source. That particular frame is no less than a Dali picture.
As far as the story is concerned, it is very realistic in nature. No heroic characters, no exagerations, just life. Two people who are aware that their respective spouses are cheating on them are attracted towards each other but they are afraid to do anything about it because of social pressures and the moralistic stand that both of them have taken through mutual consent. That is just a brief idea, for the rest you will have to do what I did... Watch the movie!

Happy Bday Bhatu.
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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Et Tu Mindsporte !

STOI, October 23, Endgame
The only participants in a fine arts workshop were handsome teenagers from institute A and B. In one assignment each boy had to draw sketches of all other participating boys, separate sheet for each sketch. Participating girls did likewise for other girls. Boys used 66 more sketches than girls. In photography session each participant had to take separate photographs of participants of the opposite sex from other institute. When all 150 photographs were displayed, B girls formed the happiest lot. How many A girls participated?

My email to Mindsport/Endgame

Dear Sir,

After spending quite some time on today's question I have come to the conclusion that it is ambiguous in nature. I might have to eat my words but I am prepared to do so. Endgame is one of the few things I like about STOI and if this tower also falls then I don't know what will happen. The ambiguity is because of the statement, " When all 150 photographs were displayed, B girls formed the happiest lot". Just using the fact that there are a total of 150 photographs does not lead to a unique solution and so it seems that the second part of the statement is necessary to make any progress. What am I supposed to infer from it? Am I supposed to be a psychological expert who knows what makes a girl happy? If you are going to use the phrase "common sense" then I suppose you start writing Shobha De's column instead of Mindsport / Endgame.

However, here is the solution to the problem. Consider the variables X, x1, x2, Y, y1, y2.
X is the total number of boys. x1 is number of boys from A and x2 is number of boys from B. Similarly for Y. So, we have X = x1 + x2 and Y = y1 + y2.
Now, by first condition X*(X-1) - Y*(Y-1) = 66 and considering the fact that X and Y are positive integers, we get the three possible solutions for (X,Y) as (9,3), (13,10), (18,16).
By the second condition we get the equation,
2 * (x1*y2 + x2*y1) = 150
Solving this equation with the values obtained above and keeping in mind that all x1, x2, y1, y2 are positive integers we get,
x1 = 4, x2 = 9, y1 = 7, y2 = 3
OR
x1 = 9, x2 = 4, y1 = 3, y2 =7

I am unable to arrive at a unique solution which will give me number of girls in B i.e. the variable y2. It can be both 3 or 7 unless you come up with an explanation to the ambiguity mentioned at the beginning of this mail.

I expect that you will at least reply.
Regards,
Ravi Handa

/**********************************************************/

TOI continues to amuse me with their editorial page. Gurcharan Das's "Men And Ideas" has an article with the title "Amoral Familism". The last line of the article is:
So, dear reader, it is time to shake off your complacency, and the next time around, don't vote for "hereditary asses, imbeciles, and this
Yes, thats it. The article ends exactly like this. If you don't believe me, check page number 14 of today's paper. It is on the right side of the cartoon "Passing Thought". Someone in the proof-reading section goofed up again. If TOI cannot even afford good proof-readers how do they manage to stay at the top?
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Friday, October 21, 2005

8 Monkey Theorem

Put eight monkeys in a room. In the middle of the room is a ladder, leading to a bunch of bananas hanging from a hook on the ceiling. Each time a monkey tries to climb the ladder, all the monkeys are sprayed with ice water, which makes them miserable. Soon enough, whenever a monkey attempts to climb the ladder, all of the other monkeys, not wanting to be sprayed, set upon him and beat him up.

Soon, none of the eight monkeys ever attempts to climb the ladder. One of the original monkeys is then removed, and a new monkey is put in the room. Seeing the bananas and the ladder, he wonders why none of the other monkeys are doing the obvious, but, undaunted, he immediately begins to climb the ladder. All the other monkeys fall upon him and beat him silly. He has no idea why. However, he no longer attempts to climb the ladder.

A second original monkey is removed and replaced. The newcomer again attempts to climb the ladder, but all the other monkeys hammer the crap out of him. This includes the previous new monkey, who, grateful that he's not on the receiving end this time, participates in the beating because all the other monkeys are doing it. However, he has no idea why he's attacking the new monkey.

One by one, all the original monkeys are replaced. Eight new monkeys are now in the room. None of them have ever been sprayed by ice water. None of them attempt to climb the ladder. All of them will
enthusiastically beat up any new monkey who tries, without having any idea why.

"AND THAT'S HOW ANY COMPANY'S POLICIES GET ESTABLISHED".

This also holds very well for many of the traditional and religious cultures and social settings that we follow day in day out in our families!!!
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Blog Marketing

I googled quite a bit about it (top 20 results) and I was relieved to find out that no one has actually done it till now. Finally there is something that I can take credit for considering that various things in the past, which I thought were my ideas, were actually used by people earlier.

The first example that I can remember is of Sin^2 Theta + Cos^2 Theta = 1. Our teacher, Ms. Latika Das, taught us about the various trigonometry angles and she also gave us a formula to remember it, “Pandit Badri Prasad, Har Har Bole.” It helps us to remember the values of various angles such as Sin = P/H, Cos = B/H and so on. When I came back from school I used the properties of Pythogoras theorem to prove various equalities such as the one I mentioned above. I was so thrilled about it that I can’t explain. I thought that tomorrow I will go and show this to my madam and then she will pat my back in front of the whole class. Ah, being happy was such an easy task in those days. Fate took a twisted turn and I was saddened when I found out that some bugger had already done that and it was the basis of trigonometry. She was one of my favorite teachers and I never referred to her with her popular name but it changed on that day. Her popular name was Sada Katil, it is a reverse of her name if you write it in Hindi.

Coming back to the topic, Blog marketing has been used in the following forms:
a) Advertising on blogs.
b) Companies maintaining blogs.
c) Heads / workers of companies maintaining blogs.
d) Movie directors maintaining blogs.
There are a few other versions also but I could not find an example of the one that I am talking about. What I am saying is that suppose you are about to launch a particular product, you gather a group of bloggers and launch your product to them. You should have faith in your product and the presentation should be such that you get favorable reviews from them. If you do not have the means to use MSM for your marketing this can prove as a very effective strategy. It relies on the principle of word-of-mouth publicity. It is extremely cost effective in nature. Obviously it cannot be used for FMCG and automobile products but can be a great success with Books and Movies. Technorati has divided the blogsphere in three compartments. If you go to homepage, you see News, books and movies. It means that majority of people write and read about this stuff on the blogs. In US this idea might be successful with Indie movies which generally fail to get an audience and they do not have big studios backing them to promote them. In India, the blogging community is very small but the whole IIPM issue tells us that people do get worried about –ive publicity on blogs and so a +ive campaign can work too.

One product which I personally think should utilize this is, “One Night @ the call centre”. The target audience for this book is the 20ish urban crowd most of which is tech-savvy. Chetan also hopes to sell it to his fan base which he built by “5 point someone” which majorly comprises of engineers. The corny title ensures that a lot of “call centre” crowd will be buying it. When I started blogging around a year and a half back the two most discussed books on Indian blogs were “Da Vinci Code” and “5 point someone”. I have said it earlier and I will say it again that I do not like Chetan as an author and at most he can come in the category of mediocre but he knows how to market his product. Considering the fact that he blogs himself(its pathetic), he might just look into it.
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Friday, October 14, 2005

Accident Ho Gaya Rabba Rabba: Phir Se

I am a person with extremely good luck and things like this do not happen to me. I can't remember the last time I fell or slipped or anything like that. How the hell can anyone have two accidents within a period of 4 days. I think Satan just saw Magnolia. The sad part about the first one was that whenever I talked to someone about it, their first question was "How is the dog?". Bloddy hell. Nobody cares about me or what!!

I am in Kolkata right now and staying with KB. We were going for breakfast and somehow the bike slipped. Before you ask, let me tell you KB is absolutely fine and I am the one who got hurt. My fingers started bleeding, the knee is bandaged right now, had to get a tetanus injection, etc. etc. KB on the other hand got up and lit a sutta. My girlfriend got angry because I missed the date and she had to wait at the stupid Metro station for about an hour. She cooled down pretty fast, she had to because my reason was more than just valid, and sent me an SMS, "U r such a goru". If you don't know what goru means, ask one of your bong friends.

I have been to IIM C atleast 5 times before but this is the first time I am staying here for more than 3 days. It is holiday season here too and very few students are around. Frankly speaking, the campus is not that impressive. May be its because I have lived in Kgp for nearly half a decade. I have seen 4 IIT campuses (Kgp,B,K,D), 4 IIMs (A,C,L,I) and AIIMS. Out of these I find our campus to be the best. It has banks, hospital, police station, railway reservation couter, museum, hangar and many other things which I found amiss in the places mentioned above. But still the best campus that I have visited is of, I am not sure if many of you would have heard about it, Chaudhari Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University. I googled to find out HAU's website but it looks like they don't have one. Funny! If you know about a better campus, do tell me.

PS: SKJ, you are not allowed to comment. Others, SKJ is in CMU. Do not comment about campuses outside India.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Calling Media

I am not able to understand one thing that why hasn't any media group come up with an article on the whole IIPM issue. If IIPM is the most searched word on technorati it sure means NEWS by my standard. I collected email addresses of editors of various newspapers, magazines and something called TOI. I have written a mail to all of them and I urge you to do the same. Given below are the various email ids:

Hindu :
a)Comments to: thehindu@vsnl.com
b)Letters to the Editor to: letters@thehindu.co.in with full postal address

Indian Express:
a) URL: http://www.expressindia.com/about/feedback.html
b) Email: editor@expressindia.com

Economic Times: editet@timesgroup.com

Telegraph: ttedit@abpmail.com

Hindustan Times: letters@hindustantimes.com

NDTV: http://www.ndtv.com/feedback/default.asp

India-Today: http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/index.html (Main Page, left side)

Outlook:
a) To send a letter to the editor of Outlook Magazine: letters@outlookindia.com
b) To send a letter to the editor of OutlookIndia.com: mail@outlookindia.com
c) For free speech related mail: freespeech@outlookindia.com

Business World: contact@bworldmail.com

Aajtak: Could not find an email adress but various phone numbers can be found here
http://www.aajtak.com/?STORY=CONTACT
Shishir Joshi, head of Aaj Tak's Bombay Bureau: shishir.joshi@aajtak.com

Times Of India: toieditorial@timesgroup.com

Deccan Chronicle (www.deccan.com) - editor@deccanmail.com

The Week - editor@the-week.com

India Today - ratnam@intoday.com (unsure)

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Can someone explain this?


Its an advertisement for wonderbra. Let me confess that I did not get this, so someone please enlighten this lesser mortal. The link from where I got this. A few other bloggers who did not get this and that is the reason why I am posting this: Pradyot, Mani, Krishnendu, Neha, almost_useless. Leave your name in comments if you want to join the dumb club.
I am going to Kolkata tomorrow for couple of days. I am not sure if I will have free time or not but if you want to meet up you can call me on 09732550059.
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Monday, October 10, 2005

Times of India ki jai ho!

One of my friends sent me this link. Now that I was on TOI I thought I would look for a sleaze article and give it a read. Well yeah, I am cheap. So what? It was obvious that I found it very easily on the front page

HEADS & TALES
In loop: 15 red-hot mamas
There are women and then there are women who make you go 'Yo mama, she's hot!

The two most famous people in this list were Chalize Theron and Monica Bellucci. TOI has written a 50 word summary about them and well.... both of them contain mistakes. I know that its TOI and much shouldn't be expected from it but this is too much yaar. The links given below will take you to the respective pages.

Chalize: "
In the last five years, from doing small parts in movies like The Cider House Rules and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion to The Italian Job. Along with her talent, Charlize is also known for being one of Hollywood’s most beautiful women and is one of the top contenders for the Number One slot.
First of all "The Cider House Rules" came out in 99 which makes it more than 5 years. Secondly she got famous with her performance in "The Devil's Advocate". Third and the most important point. She was the female lead in all the three movies mentioned and I don't know the reason why TOI insists on calling them "small parts".

Monica: "Monica got big break in Hollywood only after she debuted in Tears of the Sun (2003)."
Debuted?? ahem ahem. Someone should do facts check at TOI. She was there in Under Suspicion which was made in 2000 and in Dracula which was made way back in 1992. Under Suspicion had Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman who are, if I am not wrong, from Hollywood. Dracula was directed by none other than Francis Ford Coppola.

Some other things I would like to add about the website which I did not know earlier. I had forgotten my Indiatimes password so I tried to retrieve it with the Secret Question but here is what Indiatimes had to say about it. "999: Error file missing(forgetpass1.htm)". Then I tried to create a new Indiatimes Id which also failed because the Submit button in form 2 was not highlighted(It cannot be clicked). These are minor technical bugs which can be fixed but what about the content?

On a different note: I support Gaurav. Just clearing, for the record, which side I am on.
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Accident ho gaya rabba rabba

The sad part is there was no Rati Agnohtri. It was a stupid dog. :( My leg still hurts. The biggest problem that I faced was not in walking but doing something else. People who have had fractures would know what I am talking about. After a long time I gave an exam (X-Ray) and passed with flying colors. The doctor, a very nice lady, said that there is nothing wrong but I should restrict movement for the next few days. This has put my kol-trip plans in a quagmire but still "Main kol jaakar rahoonga".
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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Pagli Ladki

Trying out audioblogging. The files are approximately 1 minute in length and 1 MB in size. Its a poem in hindi. If the links dont work and you still want to listen to it you can mail me for it.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Ebook wanted

If anyone can find an ebook by "Timothy Leary" please email it to me. Do not send me "Book Of The Dead" which is falsely credited as a Timothy Leary book and is available on various LANs. I am particularly looking for "High Priest".
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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Me And You And Everyone We Know

"Delicate, tender, poetic, and yet so daring. The best film I saw at Sundance this year." You have to sit up and take notice when Ebert says this about a movie. More often than not whenever I expect great things from a movie they sadly disappoint me. I attended AOL nearly half a decade back and the two things I remember from those 5 days are the hair(long and I mean really long) of the gorgeous bong female who used to come to class with us and the funda "Expectations reduce joy". In case of movies it has proved to be true many times with movies like Garden State, Parineeta, etc. But there have been some cases where the movies have gone beyond my expectations and amazed me to no end. Old Boy, Battle Royale, etc. and the new one in the list is "Me and you and everyone we know".

I was flabbergasted when I came to know (which was after the movie) that Miranda July, the director and scriptwriter of the movie was indeed the female lead also. Now that's just something. Cant think of a phrase other than "raw talent". The only other names that come to my mind are of Sofia and Jane Campion but she scores above them just for the fact that she is much better looking than any of them. She was able to maintain a certain "feel" throughout the movie which many modern day directors fail to do.

Technically the movie isn't a masterpiece but the soundtrack is indeed amazing. There were three scenes which kinda forced me to write this post. In the beginning of the movie Richard pours ligther fluid on his hand and burns it just to attract attention of his kids and please them, delight them. In another one Richard and Christine(July's character) are walking down the road and they start talking about relationships. That particular scene is the high-point of the movie. I cannot think of any other sequence in a movie which released this year that beats this. The third one is the scene in which a 6 year old boy is chatting with someone about sex. On being asked, "Are you touching yourself?" He looks down and sees that his fingertips are touching each other and he answers "Yes". The idea of a six year old doing pornographic chat might be disturbing to some but when you see it in the movie it is not. It is so peaceful and poetic that even Martha Stewart would go "Aww. Its nice". I don't think that its ever going to be released in India but its out on DVD so rent/buy a copy as soon as possible. After watching the movie don't forget to thank me that I told you about it.

On personal front: We performed a play yesterday and it went fine. Actually it went better than I expected. Will write a detail post on the play when I have the pictures with me or I will ask Infinity to do it as he was the one who wrote it. The results haven't come out yet but I want to galofy the judges right now because if I do it after the results it might be seen in bad light. The judges for the event were not thespians or even professors who knew something about theater. They were wives of some professors and I don't think I need to elaborate further on this issue. Let me clarify that they have no other qualifications to become a judge other than their marriage certificates.
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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Got this from Pine Log Online

Welcome to the 21st century full of beautiful technological advances such as drive-thru liquor stores and cyber porn. But, unfortunately, some other terrible things come with these advances in technology, and one of the most annoying is blogging.
If you are not aware of blogging, you’re lucky. To fill you in, to blog is to keep an online journal of your most personal and private musings and thoughts hyped up to the net so even the most sad perverted individuals can take a peek.
The site www.marketingterms.com puts its origin of the term "blog" from "Weblog," which is the chronological happenings of one’s life posted online.
Now as a writer myself I have nothing against writing for the sake of writing or to get a healthy amount of emotions out on the page, but to do it specifically so people can ogle your beautiful syntax all over the planet is ridiculous.
I'm not saying that people who long for friends to come find them online are the only ones who blog. There is even a television show on CNN (the most "respectable" channel in the world) that is dedicated to nothing but blogs.
Even Tom Cruise wants you to take his blogging seriously as the next bible of famous annoying movie stars. I swear, if he talks about naked basketball with Katie Holmes one more time, I’m giving up on life all together.
Now as much as I would like to know what's going on in the head of a 12-year-old, pregnant, junkie, I could do without them talking for eight pages about how much daisy dukes ride up in the third trimester.
If you have something you would like to share with the world, and you don't have valid authority to do so, become a journalist and write a column whenever you feel it's necessary.
I am convinced blogging really hurts you more than helps you. I can't name the number of people who have written things about crushes or significant others online that they didn't want the other to see, and, surprise, it ended very badly.
If I had a dollar for every time I wanted my ex to know that he deserves to die a painful terrible death, I wouldn't have a dollar . It would make me look like a psycho hose beast.
Sometimes I wonder if half the people who write blogs understand that anybody can read them. For those who know that others are reading their blogs, are they really being honest or putting on a show for the public?
I read a certain young man's blog where he boasted about helping little kids. Later that night when I saw the human heads on the walls, I knew he had been fabricating his personality just a tad. Blogs aren't just annoying, they are dangerous. If you think sitting at home reading people's personal thoughts is getting to know them, then how are you supposed to interact with people face to face.
Blogs aren't just stupid, they are crippling our social skills, and there is nothing better than human interaction, trust me.
Believe it or not, there is a world outside of the computer. No joke, it has trees, popcorn and drive-thru liquor stores.
Blogging is worse than being on facebook. Nobody wants to know if you have cramps today or if you sold 1,000 pounds of Nicaraguan cocaine to Chico and the man.
The people in your life like friends and family do care if you show up to the party and do a minute keg-stand or date that really cool guy from Nicaragua who is friends with Chico and the man.
To lay it all on the line, blogging is a waste of time. Why spend time telling strangers your innermost thoughts when you could be out making memories with those you care about most?
I'm not saying all blogers are losers, I'm just saying that most of them are.
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