Friday, January 27, 2012

Tutorial: How to make a balloon drum

I haven’t done this thing in years. Many of you might have done it in your childhood, and for many it may be a new thing, a new learning. Allow me to demonstrate how to create a simple musical tool, The Balloon Drum.

Materials required: A torn piece of balloon, an empty cup, and a rubber band.

Stretch the balloon piece flat over the mouth of the cup:

Tie down with the rubber band, so it is airtight.

Your balloon drum is ready. Pinch it to make a “Twangggg” sound.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Escape Velocity

The best thing about a new year, according to me, is the renewal of faith and hope. Well, you can renew your faith and hope anytime, but with the onset of a new year you have this mindset of “New beginning, good start, etc etc”. As if the previous years all faded away and you have begun on a clean slate, all your past mistakes and sins erased and washed away. You have been given another chance and you should be thankful that you are still alive.

You must be wondering about the title. Did you think I was going to write something Physics related? Escape velocity, as we learned, is the minimum velocity an object must acquire to free itself from the earth’s gravitational pull. 11.2 kilometers/second.

Isn’t is funny how our best ideas come at the most inappropriate times? When we are least likely to implement them? I would go for days without updating my blog because I simply do not have anything to write about. No inspiration, nothing. The other day I was at work and suddenly escape velocity just popped into my head. Maybe I read something online that reminded me of it.

All distractions are welcome when you're working, so immediately I googled ‘Escape Velocity”, for want of something better to do. I came across Chris Brogan’s website, where he wrote : My definition of “escape velocity” is “the ability to leave a situation that isn’t helpful or desired”. I was like, wow! So neatly put!

I'm sure that everyone must have been stuck in an undesirable situation at least once in our lives. It may be personal, work related, or community related. And sometimes what happens is that we know the way out, but we are too scared to go in that direction. We are too afraid of what others may think, what our families and friends may think, how we will be able to hold our heads up if we leave that situation. And we tie ourselves down, miserable, but unwilling to change.

An unhappy marriage. A job we hate. Friendship with people who make us live in their shadows. But we have kids. We need to pay bills. We cannot imagine making new friends.

This is when our personal escape velocities come to the test. Are we able to generate that minimum velocity to free ourselves? Are we ready to face an unknown future, take risks and jump blindfolded into the dark? Stop listening to people and do what we want to do? Most of the time we never achieve this escape velocity. We don’t even know it exists. We just accept things the way they are and wallow in our misery.

Sometimes, we know there is an escape velocity. But to reach that takes time, patience, and though it may not apply to all cases, luck. We work our way towards it, slowly, steadily, and prepare ourselves for it. And when we free ourselves from whatever had chained us, that freedom tastes so sweet!

I’d had a good start to the new year, and I hope that things will get better. Nothing mindblowing or anything, but I have this feeling that it’s going to be a good year for me. Just a sixth sense kind of thing. I may even get close to escape velocity by the close of the third quarter, and my life may take a different direction. And no, I'm not getting married.

I guess this qualifies as the obligatory I-will-do-better-in-the-new-year post. Wishing you a good and successful year ahead, and may you acquire your escape velocity and fly off to a better future.