Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Toy story 3 – Pixar rocks

Posted: July 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

When we love a particular movie, it usually tells of a moment (or multiple ones) where we experienced some emotion to an overwhelming extent, a feeling that we seldom get in our mundane lives that are a grind for most people with 9 to 5 jobs. Frankly, few movies manage to dish out such level of gratification and Toy Story 3 is definitely one such.

The story picks up from the sequel 10-year ago (Wow! Has it really been that long?) and the gang, although missing a few that got booted via yard sales and giveaways or worse yet ended up in the dump (gulp!), is living a quasi-retired life in Andy’s familiar toy box. It’s now time for Andy to leave home for college and anxiety prevails regarding the fate of the toy gang. Woody is still very much loyal to Andy but the rest of the gang has accepted that Andy has moved on to a world of laptops and cellphones and does not value his childhood toys anymore. A contrast between good old toys which foster imagination and the new-age electronic obsessions was displayed through Andy’s sister, who dumps her Barbie as she hooks on to her mp3 player instead. A series of events brings the group to the nearby daycare ‘Sunnyside’ where the inhabitants, a bunch of old donated toys with an affable old patronizing furry bear for a leader, welcome them. Initially the gang is quite delighted with the daycare environment and all the new seemingly genial fellow toys including Barbie’s sweetheart Ken. The prospect of being played with after so many dormant years is all too exciting, except to Woody who insists that they belong to Andy and they should ‘be there’ for their owner even though it means a retired life in the attic. After failing to convince the gang, Woody turns back and in his attempt to journey back to Andy’s, he bumps into some sinister findings about the daycare, which forces him to go back to Sunnyside.

The plot follows up with some gripping action which ultimately lands the group into the city waste-yard after battling a host of perils. Woody as usual displays extraordinary bravery and leadership throughout, while the crew sticks behind him throughout the adventure. The last 30 minutes or so of the movie is when the audience has the moments that will leave an imprint on their minds. They catapult Toy Story 3 into the league of movies which prove that despite all the glitz, glamour and dizzying technology that manifests our movies today, what really wins the viewer’s heart and mind is a sound story and its ability to reach into the depths to the basic human emotions of character, friendship, loyalty and courage.

There is little to complain about – the voice-overs were near-perfect, which despite having a stellar cast (Tom Hanks, Tim Allen) were never overly pompous. The pace was gripping enough to not bore you, with witty one-liners scattered throughout as required to keep the humor going, the artwork keeping with today’s cutting edge graphics and the 3D enhancing the overall experience. Pixar is undoubtedly the second ingenious revolution in animation after Disney, not just in graphics technology but also in content innovation. The only complaint anyone might have is the lingering sinister and dark backdrop that surrounds the movie but that’s actually what makes this movie interesting to the adult viewers as well. Who would think that a cymbal-clashing toy monkey with big beading eyes can give people the creeps? The 3D effects may seem to be somewhat underplayed when you find that nothing poked you in the face anywhere during the movie, but you will realize that with a good story to tell and a well-paced narrative, excessive 3D stunts could actually be unnecessary, even detrimental distractions.

All-in-all TS3 is a great family watch and an absolute must-watch for kids. Kids will love the movie for its slapstick humor and suspenseful action, but for adults the movie reaches out deeper towards (a) the heartfelt wish that the childhood memories, possessions and experiences that formed who they are will never fade and (b) their darker fears of being forgotten and getting cast-out themselves.

If you haven’t watched parts 1 and 2 already, I recommend that just to get familiar with the original characters. Keeping an open mind and imagination (by not picturing this as a complete kiddy movie going by its name) will help you draw out the full worth of this yet-another Pixar gem.

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I am sure many of you must have run into situations where you have to share expenses of a dinner or an outing with a bunch of friends, but hate to do all the math. Especially when different members share different expenses and owe varying amounts to one another the math gets quite complicated. Here’s a simple and quick calculator created using Excel, that will make the process less harrowing and show in clear big red numbers Who owes Who What (There’s a tool by this name out there which sells for $15. Save the $15 and use this instead.)

There are no multiple tabs, no wordy questions, no need for trying to figure out how it works etc. It is very straightforward. You mention the expense name and amount, then in the first section you divide the expense between people who should share that expense (for example if “Cheesecake” is an expense you divide the total amount among the people who ate the cheesecake). In the second section you divide the same amount between the people who actually paid for the cheesecake (the tool even allows for these people to be different from the people who ate the cheesecake, although that would rarely happen when it comes to cheesecakes).

Simply open this word doc, the excel is embedded inside the word doc. The short guide to use the excel is also within the excel.

Click here:
Who Owes Who What

Constraints:
1. This tool can be used for 4 (or fewer) members. Let me know if you want a version that does this for more # of members for a larger group. With some Excel skills you can DIY.

2. This version contains room (rows) for 50 expenses by default. More expenses can be added by removing sheet protection and inserting more rows in between and then putting the sheet protection back. (This is done through Tools –> Protection menu of Excel.)

Feel free to post comments / suggestions for improvements.

Enjoy.