Here's to - Change.

The most heartbreaking part about getting married is - Packing.


How do you pack your life until now into a couple of suitcases? I may enjoy a lot of things but I always believed that I am a nomad at heart. That is, when the time comes, or if ever needed, I can drop it all, stand on my head and be ready to dive, no backpacks. I really thought it would be very simple - books and clothes. What else do I need anyway? The rest of my life with its lunches and dinners will continue, albeit at another place. Same routine, different style. Same me, another place.

Turns out, I couldn't be more wrong.

As I go through my closet, segregating things from what I may need and not need, I come across these little things that I saved up - a flight ticket to a family vacation years back, a note from Dad pretending to be santa on one of the christmases, my first employment later, and so much more. These are the papers I find myself unable to get rid of. These papers signify the life I had here, the love I got, the sweat I gave, the good times I had. Even though I shall be packing these in my suitcase, why does it feel I am leaving these behind?
The time that has gone by, is just that. Gone by. All I have left from those years are the memories, and few evidences that everything that happened was not a figment of my imagination. It was in real time, in this very life. I would suggest, preserve souvenirs, memoirs - a champagne cork, a pebble off a memorable shore walk, a silly handwritten note off your bouquet. It may seem inconsequential now. But years later, it will be priceless. It defines time, frozen.

Time they say is a great healer. My friends tell me I will be fine. Many do the shift, many or most emerge as winners, accommodating the change as a part of their lives. As if, this was always the plan. Sitting back and thinking today of all the lovely times that I have had, in this very room, I feel grateful for experiencing the life that I did. Sometimes this part of life feels like the destination; sometimes, a new beginning. One thing that underlines the two sides of the bridge, is the love that was endlessly flown to my shore. While I carry the love that was showered so far, safely stored in my heart, I am looking forward to the love awaiting me.

With due respect to all the women who do it, I am ready, to cross over to the other side.
fragile heart

So, do you 'predict' or 'forecast': Is there a difference?

I am someone who believes in using the right word for the right situation (a language enthusiast / a self certified linguist may be?). I despise loose interchange of words. And English is such beautiful a language that every emotion, every situation has a precise word. The beauty is only about finding the right one.

The word 'forecast' has always, by virtue of association reminded me of weather. And I haven't really used it in any other context. If I had to ever foretell about an event in the future, I would probably always use the term 'predict', because hey, I am not the weather guy right? However, one of my mini editing assignments today got me extremely intrigued about the difference between 'prediction' and 'forecast' & its permitted exchangeability. Because apparently, it is not the same thing. The professionals or analysts whose job involves predicting (eg., predicting the market or a strategy) are extremely careful about choosing one of the two. For people who love details and the perfect usage of words, there is an entire science awaiting as to how they are different from each other.

Of what I was reading, and a lot of articles later, following is the best explanation that differentiates the two beautifully. I quote Mr. Daniel Shostak here:

"I'm the president of Strategic Affairs Forecasting LLC and am a futurist that has made very careful distinctions between prediction and forecast for many years. Here are the key elements in my opinion:

-For a number of reasons many people do not believe that you can predict the future. I and other futurist argue that we are not about predicting the future, but about exploring it to improve decision-making today. I and most other futurists will say that a good forecast set is likely to contain several elements of the most possible futures relevent to the client's question.

-Predictions are spot/one-off estimates of a specific event in the future; usually at a specific point in time. The usual examples are gambling: Who will win the World Series this year? Kentuky Derby? etc. On occasion, folks will deliver a set of predictions and call them a forecast (e.g., 7 day weather forecasts)

-Forecasts are a set of possible futures that include probability estimates of occuring. The entire set of scenarios should have a probability close to 1. Often, forecasts have more generalized time points (e.g., next five years, next decade, mid-range future, etc). It is possible that a forecast group can consist of a set of predictions with associated probabilities.

-Most projects are about predictions. The user of the information wants an estimate of a specific future outcome at a specific time.

-Forecasts are more useful in strategic discussions about what are the useful variables/factors and what potential outcomes may exist. On occassion, the analyst may need to help the client disern whether a prediction or forecast is the most useful approach to their info needs.

-As a rule of thumb, predictions are most often outcome focused (who wins, sales, profit, etc). Forecasts tend to focus on process factors (what factors may influence the future and what are their potential outcomes)."

In short, prediction may be more immediate, while forecast is over a period of time and generally affected by variables and includes changing probabilities.

I am loving this discovery. After all, its the little difference that makes all the difference, right? :)

What a scene! - New York, I Love you

There are some scenes that make you sit up and take notice more than the entire movie's effect. This powerhouse scene from 'New York, I Love You' did just that to me today. I think I have seen the movie years back, but catching these movies on television randomly has its own charm. As my luck would have it, I arrived at the channel minutes before this scene (One of the love stories by Director Yvan Attal) was to unravel itself before my eyes, for the second time in my life. And boy, did it stir me, yet again!
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The brashness of it all is shocking. The writer (Actor Ethan Hawke) so plainly, so honestly is trying to seduce this lovely elegant lady (Actor Maggie Q) with his words. Yes, she is mysterious, she seems like a dream, she seems too smart to not talk to, and too vulnerable to be left alone. Baffled, the writer ceases the 'intimate' moment and ever so poetically builds up on the 'heat' that they literally ignited together. That conversation, what a conversation! Such a delight to read a scene like that in a book, and more so, see it enacted by some fine actors and prolific direction  on screen. Seduction through the way, till she blushes, seems charmed, and just when you think the lady is convinced to give this writer a shot, she reveals her masterstroke. This lady, just virtually, did him.

Style Addict 93 at Cannes : Transcript

With the range of looks that fashionista Sonam Kapoor has given us at Cannes this year, we could do an entire episode on them! But sticking to some top-notch ones, lets check out her Indian avtaar at Cannes -
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Sonam in Anamika Khanna

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Sonam surprised us all in this striking Anamika Khanna white lace sari with an embroidered jacket, she kept her make up dramatic with long liner and dark lips, giving it a goth feel. The addition of the pearl nathni was a fresh add on and she kept all other accessories minimal which was a great idea.
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Sonam in Elie Saab

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Giving off a very Barbie doll-princess vibe was Sonam on this Elie Saab couture, this pink lace and beaded full skirted dress with a cinched waist is beautiful and young, the sleek hair look kept the attention to the dress and the pink toned make up added to the fresh feminine vibe, we like!

Sonam in Dolce & Gabbana

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In this voluminous Dolce and Gabbana corseted flower print white gown, Sonam turned heads in true red carpet style, with just a neck piece and hair swept to one side, Sonam scores full marks for this one. We only wonder, how do they manage to sit in those gowns?
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AISHWARYA RAI in Sabyasachi

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Aishwarya was spotted in a Sabyasachi lehenga-sari at one of the Cannes event celebrating 100 years of cinema. This look is quite unlike any of the previous ones that we have seen on Aishwarya - the closed neck collar, and the beautiful gold baroque work on the sari, with a lace lehenga makes it interesting and striking at the same time. Black since time immemorial has been a red carpet favorite, but this Indian twist definitely earns some higher points.
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Vidya Balan in Sabyasachi

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Sticking to her all time favorite Sabyasachi, Vidya Balan dazzled in this subtle bronze gold sari with a contrasting maroon full sleeved blouse, drop earrings and a matching potli, Vidya’s look was simple, elegant and very earthy, right from up to the make-up and hairdo. Brilliant choice!
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Vidya Balan in Sabyasachi - Look 2
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Besides Sonam, Vidya also experimented with a nathni, but this one seemed a tad overwhelming, the sari was undoubtedly Sabyasachi, but the whole look with the jewellery seemed more apt for a period film , this is dramatic for sure, but we prefer her simpler look, any day.

Mallika Sherawat in Dolce & Gabbana
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Mallika was spotted in this strapless Dolce & Gabbana, with a corseted bodice and a full skirted lace gown, a striking western and global influence in her choice of clothing, this look of Ms. Sherawat at Cannes is definitely a better pick than her previous choices.

Gaming the mind.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
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This is statistically one of the most popular questions in an interview while applying for a job, according to Forbes. Every organisation looks for people who they feel have a clear plan of where they envision themselves in that time frame. And if they have even bothered to think that far. How often does the interviewer himself know if he will be holding that job for the next five years?
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So what exactly forms the basis of this question that triggers your foresight. Do we really think that far? Do we want to think that far? This question is probably included in the most popular list because it does exactly that. None of us know where we might be 5 years from now, where your circumstances and your luck leads to, what opportunities the organisation offers; your paths may change, your interests may vary. But to have a 5 year plan shows that if at all you can control all the variables that direct your life, you are willing to. That you will not give in to the flow of life that may direct you off track. That you are willing to resist a plan that was not yours in the first place. Even if you haven't thought about it before entering the interview room, you will think about it in that very moment, and formulate an answer that makes you look driven, achievement-oriented and inspired. And even if you fib for those few minutes in the room, you will think about it when you step out. If this is a job that you 'just' want to try and is probably not your dream job but the next best option, you will think of the option that you really WANT. Somewhere, this question works at various levels to not only check your level of motivation but to get you motivated if your answer is not convincing enough for yourself.
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Once you step out of the interview room, you might just end up having a 5 year plan.
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Who are you, today?

What is it about achievement that really drives people?
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There is a certain perception we like to create of ourselves. Sometimes, the circumstances create them for us. Sometimes, we have an innate sense about how we would like the world to perceive us. A positive image in the form of achievement is always endorsed. A failure or an unsuccessful attempt is most times shoved under the carpet meekly, or carefully ignored, if not lied about. Interestingly, these very same failed attempts become collected moments of pride when a distinguished achievement is accomplished. These very stories at this time become inspiring stories, meant to motivate the world around us. Clearly, a man never forgets a failed attempt. He may go under a silent fit of melancholy, loneliness and aloofness from the world around till he recovers with may be a positive outlook or more helpfully, a positive result. What makes others' perception so important to man today?
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A lot of reasons, if not all, emerge from the very thriving environment of social media. These agents of social media, give us a pseudo power to create the exact virtual image of how we want ourselves to be perceived or what we want to be seen as. From the most obvious option of uploading your photograph, to the smallest detail of what you like to watch on TV, music, food and most importantly, what your job history/ profile is. It's like a work resume, only more personalized and more human, only more intimate and snug. On an average, people enjoy it. The power to be able to create your own image in the public eye is addictive and almost ideal.  It is the online counterpart of what print and tele medium does to a public image, except your audience here are your peers, your family and as I interestingly heard on a sitcom, 'people whom u'd like to know in the future.' It is no surprise then that half the people popping up on our social media pages are names that don't really ring a bell. Once a satisfying public image is created on this profile, our very own self image feeds on this public image that we create for ourselves, and thus starts the cycle of an achievement drive whose beginning we never clearly noted. The creation of this ideal perception dies after a while, fueling the need to either keep it alive by doing something 'new' or 'different', or something that will re-create the interest of the audience back. In short, we play the stars of our own social media pages and we pretty much like the attention.
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In the chaos of the insta-gratification era, self image has somewhere taken a beating. This is not to sound cynical. But this is just the age we live in, where status updates are your new lifeline of keeping you 'happening' and intriguing. Where 'wassup' mostly leads to an instant need to have a glorious answer that correlates with the ideal glorious life image we want to create. A lot of positive pours out of this as well. The constant need to create this desired perception acts as a huge motivating factor to actually try and achieve that image. It ultimately boils down to how sincere and diligent one wishes to be to that created image and if one is willing to work towards sustaining that perception for long, not only because that's how he wants others to see him, but more importantly because that's how he wants to see himself. The social media here only acts as a catalyst, as a silent triggering factor that leads the subject to his goal, or at least along the path. It may not be the best thing to intrude our privacy, but it surely can be turned around for one's own good if not taken too seriously as one of the parameters to measure oneself.
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SocialMediaLandscape

The interpretation of Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper by Goethe. Translated by Noehden.



One of the more superior discussions that I have come across in verbal descriptions of paintings, Goethe here tries to unlayer part by part, the tricky yet commendable strokes of Leonardo in trying to create this epic of a moment from Christ's life. Not only does it make you realize the combining of supernatural and human emotions, but also the importance of discerning hand and body expressions while creating a scene. If verbal prose be damned, only a painting as complete and as self speaking as this can make words absolutely unnecessary.

The Link to Goethe's analysis :

http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yG4HAAAAQAAJ&pg=PR3&lpg=PR3&dq=goethe+the+last+supper+essay&source=bl&ots=R1a1yW8kCf&sig=JWTCZ1pD95yigUT-bOii_6YZ9Q8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=779aUcTPEYeytAb1qIGoBQ&ved=0CEwQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

The Sphinx Riddle

Out of the many fascinating Greek mythologies that I have come across hitherto, the one I read today concerning Oedipus and The Sphinx who guarded the entry to Thebes by far interests me the most (besides Narcissus of course).
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So when Oedipus reaches Thebes, the Sphinx challenges him to answer her riddle lest he wants to be devoured alive. The first riddle says: "Which creature walks on all four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon and three legs in the evening?" Oedipus solves the riddle by answering - "Man - who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then walks with a cane in old age." By some stories, there was a second riddle - "There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?"
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I initially racked my brains to come up with the answer mother-daughter (Mother does gives birth to the daughter, and the birth of the daughter does transform a woman into a mother - kind of conforming to the 'Child is the father of man' philosophy); but that would in a very juvenile way mean that the riddle applies to only the mother-daughter duo which quite strangulates the idea of a riddle with a universal answer.
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The correct answer is even more fascinating - "Day and Night". Both words are feminine in Greek. I say, can we have that Sphinx alive to replace Derek O'Brien?
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Ready to write. Now.

feather
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So. When was the last time you put pen to paper?
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I remember when I last did that. It was two hours back. But, as opposed to bragging about how smoothly I finished an article, I have to admit, I only scribbled a few letters. It was for a signature.
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Yes, I can’t recollect the last time I sat down with a diary and a pen in hand, to just, write. It can be pretty much sensed that may be that day is soon approaching when the pen and paper become mere artifacts in a museum, few years from now, just like we amuse ourselves with the image of a feather dipped in an inkpot today. They really did that ages ago. And I can hear our great grandkids point out at those ballpoint pens and swell in genuine wonder, ‘Wow, they really wrote on paper? Like how wasted were they!’
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Somethings are brilliant just plain old traditional. Like reading a book. An actual book. Not an e-book on a kindle or an iphone app which by the way has these amazing close-to-real swooshing sounds every time you flip the page. And it has these electronic bookmarks that you can colour code and cross match to your moods. And of course, virtual highlighters and dictionary the minute you mark a word. Like when did reading a book become all that technical? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for technology. It is amazing how the e-experience itself tries to emulate as much of reality it can within its limitations to give us a ‘real’ experience. Luckily, for us, the real experience is not yet extinct.
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Nothing still beats the feel of turning a real page manually. The exhilaration of actually reaching the last page of a book and completing it; the kick of buying a bookmark with your favorite quote on it, or being gifted one by a fellow mate. Have you ever bought a second hand book for that matter? The smell of an old book, or the freshness of a new one can somehow still not be replicated by an e-book and that fortunately still makes many of us come back to an actual book, for a real reading experience.
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Yes, we haven’t written since long, not put pen to paper since long. I am just curious about how an entire page will look in my handwriting after years of typing incessantly on the keyboard and seeing everyone write in fonts they wish. I mean imagine, you can get an elegant cursive font in a click, for which they actually run Calligraphy classes! Remember those courses on handwriting analysis that can decipher your personality type and secrets? Are they redundant now? Luckily, as I recently found out, they still exist. Dr. Parag Khatri, one such handwriting analysis expert since the past 12 years, does agree that the rate of people writing on paper have actually decreased in the past recent years. “I do have psychologists and psychiatrists enroll who are interested in gauging their patient’s psyche through their handwriting. HR professionals also love deciphering hand written bio-datas, if at all they are written by hand that is.” But we don’t write anymore do we? Except the occasional signature whose authenticity fortunately has not been duplicated yet? “Yes, but we already have the stylus. And that probably could be the next weapon that may make our current pens look like the extinct feather.” Oh, yes, damn. I do remember signing on those little screened gadgets when a courier is delivered  We are already transcending the actual, so to speak!
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Yes we haven’t done that once out of school or college. May be, the barging in of international schooling formats may electronize everything and have exams online. May be, which pen to buy won’t be a concern anymore as long as the keyboard exists. But I am still going to try, and see how my words look on paper. Where the font is mine. Unduplicated. Absolute. And Real.
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pen

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Oscars 2013 : Worth the hype!

Here is the thing about writers. They wait till something really hits them, hits them hard enough to make them want to express those heaps of emotions into words that the event inspires. And till its not done, they just can’t rest. Oscars did a lot of that to me.
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The best thing about this event is, it’s not exactly just an event. It’s like the most unexpected unscripted movie unfolding LIVE in front of you; interestingly with actors who are not exactly acting at that time. Who are their all raw selves; polished, yes; layered, no. If they laugh, it’s genuine. If they cry, its real. There is something extra-ordinarily riveting about the whole private closed theater setting that these awards practice since its inception. Every single person in that theater is related to the movies, one way or another. And it feels kinda privileged to be able to eavesdrop onto what conversations actors would have with each other, or to just watch them celebrate and applaud for each other, ever so humbly, ever so genuinely. How can an event be so grand, yet so humbling; so factual yet so touching?
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Yeh okay I am not going to get all cheesy about it, but there are few things that really stand out in a globally watched Hollywood affair like that. Like how these guys have the ability to laugh at themselves and their characters, how they tremble while mouthing some heart-wrenching unscripted thankful lines, how the whole affair manages to be minimal in many ways and yet not incomplete. While the talk about fashion stays limited to the red carpet chat outside, what unfolds inside is a gamut of emotions that the artists bottle till this very moment - if they win, tear up, if they don’t, they clap. They seem just very happy to be a part of that magnum opus, irrespective of the results. The highlight this year though was the sheer brilliance in presentation of the nominees (which is actually remarkable every year); Seth MacFarlane’s impeccable hosting – I mean to single-handedly pull off THAT entire event has got to be no mean feat;  that little fall on the steps handled gracefully by Jennifer Lawrence on her way to accept her Oscar for Best Actress – when the audience stood up to clap, she embarrassingly admitted “You guys are just standing because you all feel bad that I fell down. You all are so nice!” That girl from Hunger Games is turning out to be one adorably honest lady. It was heartfelt to see the men have thankful speeches filled with kind loving words for their wives;  so while Ben admitted that his wife was one of the most important reasons Argo even happened, Daniel Day Lewis in his very witty style declared that his wife has lived with some strange men over the past few years, and each man couldn't have asked for a better companion. An actor, or an artist has got to love that line!
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Life Of Pi crossed all odds and in a very Slumdog Millionaire style became the second movie in the past couple of years to be so enamoring to a global audience while still being a strongly Indian story. The irony! U got to give it to Ang Lee, to end his speech with a ‘Namaste’ and Quentin Tarantino, that hell of a rockstar who made sure that he thanked himself while proudly proclaiming that ‘This is definitely the writer’s year!’ Oh there is this funny...sorry... management thing where a timer is ticked off the minute the Awardee’s name is announced and they get only a stipulated amount of time to finish their thank-you’s. SO, while most struggled and managed to finish before it ticked till the end, not everyone had that perfect timing. A spokesperson from the visual effects winning team for Life Of Pi may have probably gotten too carried away to care and funnily enough, by the end of his time, an eerily increasing music from the movie ‘Jaws’ played, climaxed and the mike went off while he blabbered to a deaf audience by then. Then, he actually shut up. Oh boy, discipline with humor!
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One of the highest points of the ceremony would have to be Michelle Obama presenting the Best Picture award Live from the White House. I don’t know why, I absolutely loved it. Why dint someone think of that before? While it doesn't take long for many to rubbish this as a ‘political’ move considering the winner was ‘Argo’ (an almost anti-Iran set up), I’d like to applaud her guts to accept the honor of presenting it, in a very fitting First Lady style. Of course, the funny or sad news-after was that her very pretty ‘bold’ outfit was edited to a more 'modest' ensemble by an Iranian news agency before reporting that bit (they basically added sleeves and collar to cover the cleavage). I don’t even want to comment on that. Movies - creativity - artistic liberty - freedom of speech - freedom to dress - get the drift?
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While Adele crooned ‘Skyfawww’ ever so marvelously, she very convincingly picked the Oscar for the same too. There is this other little change too that they added this year - Oscars is now 'The Oscars'. I don't know what difference it even makes, because really, there is no other platform equal to this magnanimity in emotions and when one says Oscars, we only mean THE Oscars, the only Oscars that we know of. I wouldn't lie, yes the speeches made me cry, a little. They are not just award winning moments. They are years, packed into that one win, tons of people behind that one winner’s success, and how incredibly conscious they are of doing full justice to everyone who got them up there is a pure honest moment of human victory garnished with goodness. Oh that's got to feel good. I guess we could pick a leaf or two from those three hours. Clap for our peers if they win, laugh if you fall and freaking deliver a mind blowing speech proudly if you happen to win. Hell yeah, Oscars is like a movie with a happy ending.