December 29, 2008

Yalda and Jesus: The Connection

Many moons ago, I was told that Jesus was not born on December 25th, but today, I found research which proves a connection between the selection of Jesus' date of birth and the ancient Persian celebration of Yalda also celebrated by the ancient Romans. It is most fascinating that the two are connected to down play Yalda and up play Jesus' date of birth. Why couldn't the Church have allowed us both?

Joey Green in "Contrary to Popular Belief" researched the following:
Nobody knows when Jesus was born. The New Testament does not specify the date. In the third century C.E., church father Clement of Alexandria suggested May 20, since the New Testament states that the shepherds who were told by an angel of Jesus' birth were watching their flocks during the night (Luke 2:9), which was done only in the spring at lambing time.

In 336 C.E., the Western Church decided to celebrate December 25 as Jesus' birthday (officially adopted by Bishop Liberius of Rome in 354 C.E.), to usurp the popular Roman pagan feast of Natalis Solis Invicti ("birthday of the unconquerable sun"), honoring the Persian sun god Mithras. For centuries, pagans had celebrated the death and resurrection of the sun on the winter solstice in late December, and around 274 C.E., Roman emperor Aurelian had proclaimed Mithraism the official state religion.

The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Catholic Church still follow the Julian calendar, established by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C.E., celebrating Jesus' birthday on January 6.

In the sixth century C.E., a monk, Dionysius Exiguus, began counting the years from the year of Jesus' birth, which he miscalculated to be four to eight years later than the actual date. Since Jesus was born during the lifetime of Herod the Great, his birth had to take place before Herod's death in 4 B.C.E.

The New Testament states that Caesar Augustus ordered a census, compelling Joseph to bring his pregnant wife, Mary to Bethlehem. Ancient documents seem to indicate that a census took place between 6 and 8 B.C.E. So, while most Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25, Jesus was more likely born in the spring - sometime between 4 and 8 B.C.E.

Ironically, despite the Church moving to change Jesus' date of birth to usurp the Roman pagan feast or Shab-e Yalda (Night of Yalda), as it is known as to the Persians, it is still celebrated today by Persians/Iranians all over the world. Held on the longest night of the year - December 21st, it is the tradition of welcoming the birthday of the Goddess of Love, Mitra.

One can only see positive effects resulting from the act of celebrating love; a positive emotion which releases positive energy. I think the Church should have picked a different day to declare Jesus' date of birth and let Yalda and Christmas both be celebrated several weeks or months apart. After all, the more joyous and happy occasions we human beings are given, the kinder, nicer, happier, generous, and more tolerant we tend to become.

So, my vote is for more holiday time and celebrations to be added to our annual calendar, which ideally should result in less time for negative energy and destructive thoughts. We will be more focused on the well-being of our fellow human beings and our one and only planet; Earth.

November 8, 2008

Teri Deewani - a Sufi Song

One of my favorite songs... love the sufi words...

Singer: Kailash Kher / Album: Kailasa

Preet ki lath mohe aaisi laagi
Ho gayi main matwaali
Bal bal jaaun apane piya ko
He main jaaun vaari vaari
Mohe sudh budh naa rahi tan mann ki
Yeh toh jaane duniya saari
Bebas aur laachar phiru main
Haari main dil haari - 2

Tere naam se jee loon - 2
Tere naam se marr jaaun - 2
Teri jaan ke sadke mein kuchh aaisa kar jaaun
Tune kya kar dala marr gayi main mitt gayi main
Ho ri ha ri ho gayi main
Teri deewani deewani- 2
Tune kya kar dala marr gayi main mitt gayi main
Ho ri ha ri ho gayi main
Teri deewani deewani - 2

Ishq junoon jab hadh se badh jaaye - 2
Haste haste aashiq suli chadh jaaye
Ishq ka jaadu sara chadha kara bole - 2
Khoob laga lo pehre raste rab khole
Yahi ishq di marzi hain
Yahi rab di marzi hain
Yahi ishq di marzi hain
Yahi rab di marzi hain
Tere bin jeena kaisa
Haan Khudgarzi hi
Tune kya kar dala marr gayi main mitt gayi main
Ho ri ha ri ho gayi main
Teri deewani deewani - 4

Oh ho oh hoohhhh...

He main rang rangeeli deewani - 2
Ke main albeli main mastani
Gaaun bajaaun sabko rijhaaun
He main dila zaram se begaani
Ke main deewani main deewani
Tere naam se jee loon tere naam se marr jaaun
Tere jaan ke sadle mein kuchh aaisa kar jaaun
Tune kya kar dala marr gayi main mitt gayi main
Ho ri ha ri ho gayi main
Teri deewani deewani
Teri deewani deewani
Teri deewani deewani
Teri deewani deewani...

Teri Deewani - on YouTube

November 3, 2008

Saaze bringing ‘Millenial’-targeted content to clubs and cafes

Saaze bringing ‘Millenial’-targeted content to clubs and cafes

From the News Wire...

Genr8 bringing ‘Millenial’-targeted content to clubs and cafes

SYDNEY — Genr8 Digital Media has signed a contract with Saaze Corporation earlier this year for a supply of 30-second interstitials targeted at the Millenials age group.

The selected Genr8 clips are available for viewing in selected venues and cafes around San Francisco and are predominantly viewed by high school and college students. The displayed clips have generated such a high level of attention and positive feedback from the venue owners and viewers that Saaze Corporation is now planning to extend the number and style of venues in which the selected Genr8 clips are played to bars and nightclubs.

“Saaze’s company tag states: ‘Inform, Entertain, Engage your target audience’ – and we have been able to do just that by partnering with Genr8,” said Saaze Corporation’s Mariam Ispahani. Their clips, which are played between paid advertisements, have captured and engaged the viewers of our digital signage screens. The ongoing feedback from our locations is extremely positive, and the demand for continually refreshed clips has increased. The proactive and rapidly responsive Genr8 team is a pleasure to work with.”

Saaze News Item

October 18, 2008

Customer Care in 2020

A friend just emailed me this...

Customer Care in 2020

Operator : 'Thank you for calling Pizza Hut . May I have your...'

Customer: 'Helloo, can I order..'

Operator : 'Can I have your multi purpose card number first, Sir?'

Customer: 'It's eh..., hold..........on......889861356102049998-45-54610'

Operator : 'OK... you're... Mr Singh and you're calling from 17 Jalan Kayu. Your home number is 4094! 2366, your office 76452302 and your mobile is 0142662566. Which number are you calling from now Sir?'

Customer: 'Home! How did you get all my phone numbers?

Operator : 'We are connected to the system Sir'

Customer: 'May I order your Seafood Pizza...'

Operator : 'That's not a good idea Sir'

Customer: 'How come?'

Operator : 'According to your medical records, you have high blood pressure and even higher cholesterol level Sir'

Customer: 'What?... What do you recommend then?'

Operator : 'Try our Low Fat Hokkien Mee Pizza. You'll like it'

Customer: 'How do you know for sure?'

Operator : 'You borrowed a book entitled 'Popular Hokkien Dishes' from the National Library last week Sir'

Customer: 'OK I give up... Give me three family size ones then, how much will that cost?'

Operator : 'That should be enough for your family of 10, Sir. The total is $49.99'

Customer: 'Can I pay by! credit card?'

Operator : 'I'm afraid you have to pay us cash, Sir. Your credit card is over the limit and you owe your bank $3,720.55 since October last year. That's not including the late payment charges on your housing loan, Sir.'

Customer: 'I guess I have to run to the neighbourhood ATM and withdraw some cash before your guy arrives'

Operator : 'You can't Sir. Based on the records, you've reached your daily limit on machine withdrawal today'

Customer: 'Never mind just send the pizzas, I'll have the cash ready. How long is it gonna take anyway?'

Operator : 'About 45 minutes Sir, but if you can't wait you can always come and collect it on your motorcycle...'

Customer: ' What!'

Operator : 'According to the details in system ,you own a Scooter,...registration number 1123...'

Customer: ' ????'

Operator : 'Is there anything else Sir?'

Customer: 'Nothing... by the way... aren't you giving me that 3 free bottles of cola as advertised?'

Operator : 'We normally would Sir, but based on your records you're also diabetic....... '

Customer: #$$^%&$@$% ^

Operator : 'Better watch your language Sir. Remember on 15th July 1987 you were convicted of using abusive language on a policeman...?'

Customer: [Faints]

The End

October 16, 2008

Economy Bombs, Advertising Booms!

Wall Street crisis? What crisis? We folks are in Digital Advertising and there ain't no crisis here! Uh, right? The economy bombs and advertising booms, right again?

Yup, your business needs to get noticed in the storm through the wind and rain so... you will pitch in some dollars to buy advertising space to Be Different... to Stand Out.

That is what the researchers (several different reports say so) tell us and I am counting on them being 100% right, otherwise, we Ad folks will also have to ride the storm in a canoe or kayak - whatever we can find.

In the meantime, I am going to go assist peoples' businesses get their message noticed via our digital signage advertising medium. Come join us...

August 18, 2008

Skydiving Birthday Present

My first skydiving experience. A birthday present to myself. A fantastic blast all the way to the end till I crash landed! Note: the video ends around 5 min 30 sec, then follow just credits. My write up about the experience to be posted next...

July 29, 2008

The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch

I enjoyed Randy Pausch's - The Last Lecture when it first got on YouTube and was sad to hear of his passing away this past Friday. I am sure he smiled till the end.

June 20, 2008

Baked & Basked - Infocomm '08

I baked in the Las Vegas, Nevada heat waiting for a taxi to get from here to there and back, but... I basked in the innovation and the huge Digital Signage area! DS sure has made its mark at Infocomm. Last year's DS presence in Annaheim, California was tiny in comparison.

I was especially impressed by two technologies... super thin screens and advanced touch screen capabilities. Saw some neat front and rear projection screens, we can certainly use for our next project. One makes an uneven wall look even... meaning the images are not distorted. Another makes the video of water moving down a stream come to life!

Make the Digital Signage interactive and they will come! Saw a neat screen where you can answer a poll in real-time, and another where the interactivity turns the screen into an iPhone looking screen, where you can browse through your music selections.

I didn't even get a chance to get to the non-Digital Signage sections, as there was so much to see, the line for food and Starbucks was a mile long, and I landed up with more meetings than I could handle! Will add more observations as time permits.

June 10, 2008

Souls in the Hands of a Tender God

Souls in the Hands of a Tender God - a great book written by a friend of mine about issues we often forget: mental illness and the homeless. I am reading and enjoying the book... learning more from each story.

May 16, 2008

Throw Those Stereotypes Out

We often hear people say, "That neighborhood is BAD... your car will get broken into, but this neighborhood is GOOD... your car is safe."

Well, not exactly the case every time, is it? We get so wrapped up in stereotypes about just about everything and as a result, we tend to forget that things don't always happen the way we expect them to nor the way we mentally imagine they should.

Here is one case... last night, I attended a private party at a nice restaurant and bar in a very well known supposedly posh neighborhood: Santana Row. Here you almost always see fancy cars parked and smartly dressed people weaving in and out of expensive shops and restaurants.

However, all that ambiance aside, when I got back to my car around 10 pm, it had been vandalized. Someone took their car key and ran several sets of scratch lines up and down the doors of my car. Nasty... very nasty... a rotten thing to do!

Today, I went back to file an incident report with Security and now I have to submit a letter in writing to the Management and Police. The parking lot cameras will be checked and hopefully the culprit will be caught and punished!

But, let's not forget the key reason for my post... all this happened in a 'good neighborhood' and even more shocking, I can't say with 100% certainty yet, but my car appears to have been vandalized by the owner of a new black Porsche.

Throw those stereotypes out of your head! Poor people, rich people, bad neighborhoods, good neighborhoods... anyone can behave in an unethical and irrational manner on any corner of the planet and they do.

April 29, 2008

Phone Line Personalities

My internet connection, cable TV, and phone were all behaving erratically, so I called Customer Service at Comcast - the provider of all three. I told the Customer Service Rep my theory is, that the high temperature outside is causing the fluctuation, because I only notice it during the afternoon, never the morning nor night. The Rep said, a Tech visit tomorrow.

The next day, two Techs show up at my doorstep and tell me, 5 of my neighbors also complained, so multiple Techs happened to run into each other and together figured out the problem. My theory was right... the box up on the neighborhood pole can't take the high temperature and needs to be replaced. I asked the Techs if they need to enter my home and take a look at anything and they said, "No, it is all outside up the pole."

A few days later, I get my monthly bill from Comcast and tagged onto it is an additional $49.95 for the Tech's visit. Surprised, I got on the phone with Customer Service and requested that they remove this charge. The Rep kept saying, that I had called for a Tech, so I will be charged for a Tech, but if I want to get the 99 cent a month protection plan, the $49.95 will be waived.

I argued, that if I messed with Comcast's equipment in my home, then I should be charged, but since the problem was outside on the neighborhood pole, I should not have to pay for it. The Rep repeated her chant a few times... "You called a Tech, you have to pay!" I asked for a Supervisor and was put on hold for about 10 minutes then suddenly disconnected.

Rather upset now, because I have to call back and present my case all over again, I hit the redial button. The new Rep listened to my story and before I could mention what the previous Rep said, he said, "Ma'am, did the Comcast Tech step in your home or did he work outside?"

I said, "Outside" and in a split second the Rep said, "Ma'am, I am going to credit you $49.95... sorry for the inconvenience... thank you for using Comcast... is there anything else?"

Huh, what? No debate? There I was with my battle armor all ready to argue my case and his answer threw me off track. After an awkward silence I said in my non-battle tone, "Appreciate the credit, thank you very much!"

One lesson learned... you don't have to take the 1st Rep's word for real, hit redial and you might get lucky. Company rules might be in place, but at the end of the day it sounds like it is all about personality. Whom you get on the other end of the phone line and how you interact with them seem equally important.

March 31, 2008

Gene's Strategy re Making More $

This month, I have been reading up a lot on Gene Simmons' sales & marketing style and general philosophy. In the process, I found this fun clip. Love the math here... an interesting way of looking at making more money.

Being in a start-up, I already work 7 days a week and now, thanks to Gene, a different bulb went off in my head. Not sarcastic, just another dimensional bulb like I like it. I totally forgot about all the holidays which when added to the weekends, minuses a lot of work days. Humm... back to work!

February 12, 2008

360 Car Spins & Almost Off A Cliff

February 12th, 2007 Reno Nevada car accident remembered... here is the email I wrote to my loved ones a year ago...

Yesterday my car went over a slippery something on the road and I swung from the right lane to the left and almost hit the railing/road divider on the left, then I swung right and almost hit the railing on the right, then I did two 360 degree spins and then my car traveled backwards for several feet.

While I was going backwards, I saw a truck's headlights coming right at me at probably 60 miles/hour. My car flipped around into a 180 degree spin and I landed back in the direction of traffic on the right side of the road about 2 inches from the railing and the edge of a very steep cliff. The truck zoomed past me from the left and as it was just inches away it shook my car as it drove past.

I can't believe I am alive - honestly, it is a miracle that I did not get a scratch on myself nor the car... must have been a guardian angel or something. They say your life flashes by in seconds and that is what truly happened. I thought... I don't want to hit the edge, oh my gosh I am going to hit the edge, I don't want to die, I am never going to see my family again, this is my time and such.

As I was spinning and then going backwards I could see the cliff from the corner of my eye and I thought... this is it, I am going down that cliff and dying in the next few seconds and there is nothing I can do about it. My mind shot from "I don't want to die" to "I have to accept that I am going to die" - very strange.

When I did not crash nor die, I sat in my car sweating and shaking profusely for a while till I could collect myself enough to drive off to the nearest exit and sit there a while calming down. The kind-of-accident happened around 4:20 pm and it took me all night to process it and calm down. I am still rattled.

January 1, 2008

No Resolutions, No Broken Expectations

Greetings... love to think positive, but I decided not to make any resolutions this year, anticipating that I will rapidly break them and then shatter my own expectations. Those who have lowered expectations tend to be happier... someone somewhere conducted a study re this.

I heard, that the Danes are the happiest people on the planet, because they don't expect a lot. So, when they don't get something, they are not disappointed. Similarly, when they get something they are happy. Will definitely aim to adopt their outlook in 2008.

Per here are their Top Ten New Year's Resolutions followed by my comments in brackets:

Spend More Time with Family & Friends (I do)
Fit in Fitness (I try)
Tame the Bulge (I try)
Quit Smoking (not applicable)
Enjoy Life More (I try)
Quit Drinking (not applicable)
Get Out of Debt (I try)
Learn Something New (I do)
Help Others (I think I do)
Get Organized (I try)