Would you stand up for a special needs person you didn’t know? via @AutisticHelper

I spotted this video yesterday on AutisticHelper.org (from Twitter, via @cookiemonster82) and started sniffling and shedding a few tears while watching.

Edit: The video seems to have been taken down, but you can view it here

Karan’s had to deal with similar verbal outbursts and non-verbal glances of disgust. And it’s not like he can respond, being non-verbal and blissfully unaware (as far as we can tell) of insulting looks/words that come his way. Mom and I usually blast whoever it is if they say something, and throw back equally dirty looks if we get those.

Would you speak up for a special needs person, or stay quiet like some of the people in this video who thought it wasn’t their place to get involved?

On my part, I’d urge people to get involved. It raises awareness and no one deserves to be treated with disrespect. No one.


A Whedon-less Buffy? Blasphemy!

The initially soft yet melancholy melody segways into loud jangling and hard rock music. Nerf Herder’s tunes defined sci-fi television for a whole generation – it signalled that Buffy the Vampire Slayer had arrived.

So when I saw the news that there’s going to be a Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie without Joss Whedon at the helm, I, like so many others, felt a deep sense of outrage.

A sense of outrage that was deepened when I saw the hilarious tongue-in-cheek response that Whedon had to give on the issue. In case you haven’t clicked on the link yet, read the end of his brilliant response and click on the link to see more of his classic response:

I can, however, take this time to announce that I’m making a Batman movie.  Because there’s a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you.

Surely his words are proof enough that if anyone can make a reboot of Buffy work, it’s him!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer tracks the life of Buffy who makes it her business to find the suckers (quite literally) and get rid of them. These vampires and the rest of the otherwordly creatures are as real as they can get. Vampires in the ‘verse can’t walk around in daylight like Edward Cullen (from the Twilight series) or Mitchell (from Being Human) and they certainly don’t sparkle (don’t get me wrong…I actually enjoy Twilight, but Buffy is hard-core). Nothing is black or white, everyone has their realistic and moving shades of grey. Sure, it had its rough spots – Dawn was a bit annoying for most of her tenure on the show and the last season was…saved by the last episode.

Sarah Michelle Gellar was a fantastic embodiment of Buffy Summers, but Joss Whedon was the soul behind the entire franchise. In his hands, the TV series spawned a cult-like fanbase of everything Whedonesque. Whedon gave the show character, spunk, style, pizzazz… you name it. Without him, I suspect the show may not have crept in to daily life the way it has today. His vision for Buffy defined and charted the course of sci-fi television today. It also gave us absolute gems like Alyson Hannigan, David Boreanaz, Nathan Fillion and so many more.

Whedon’s fans are not terribly happy about this reboot if I can safely assume that by the Twitter rage itself (Joss and Whedon are two trending topics at the moment). The only way out for the brave makers of this reboot is to produce something so fantastic, it shuts our gobs. But…

…for me…a Buffy reboot without Whedon is like…a Star Wars reboot without George Lucas (let’s forgive the Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones oversights for the purpose of this argument, shall we?), or a LOTR reboot without Peter Jackson.

It’s like…blasphemy.

Remember, it’s not called the Whedonverse for nothing.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Note: Mild spoilers ahead

If you’re expecting to see Hogwarts, classes, Professor McGonagall and the safety within the familiar grounds… you’re going to be disappointed.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a road-movie on a wizarding level. The movie stays more or less true to the literary version; but beware! If you’re one of those purists who complain about one toe being stepped out of line, this movie like all the others before it will have you shaking your fist at the screen. To accomodate the mammoth-sized book into a 2 hour 26 minute movie is no mean feat – especially since the last book has so much happening in it. In fact, I’m impressed with the movie being almost coherent without utterly blaspheming the book.

If you’re one of the 10 people in the world to not have read the books, the movie takes Harry, Ron and Hermione through uncharted territory unaided by adults in a quest to destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes. It takes off from the last one, where Dumbledore has died and Death Eaters are rampant. Fudge’s inefficiency has led to a new Minister of Magic (played by Bill Nighy) who I lamented did not have enough screen time. Events take place quickly in this movie, which doesn’t allow for viewers to realize the movie spans many months, not 2-3 days.

The soundtrack of the movie was aptly described by my friend as “spooky”, which certainly lended itself to setting up the right atmosphere. Liberties taken with certain scenes, such as Hermione’s pain at having to erase her family’s memory and the impromptu awkward dance in the tent between Harry and Hermione, were genius.

Rupert Grint again shows (at least in my opinion) that he is a fantastic actor with superb comic timing. Daniel Radcliffe plays his role with usual aplomb. I was pleasantly surprised with Emma Watson; I’ve often complained she heaves her chest too much and wiggles her eyebrows by way of showing emotion, but this time…she was magnificent!

The movie is rated PG-13, which is quite appropriate given the sensual scenes which I, quite frankly, was not expecting. The locket-Horcrux-in-the-forest scene was quite weird and uncomfortable to watch (which I must say, is a good thing as that’s probably what the director was aiming for!), Ginny and Harry before Bill and Fleur’s wedding was more than I thought it might be (with one of the Weasley twins adding so much humour!) and Nagini erupting from Batilda Bagshot was a scene where I actually let out a tiny scream.

I’m quite happy to admit I sniffled my way through this movie, starting from 10 minutes in! Deaths are aplenty in this movie so you better take your hankies out!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a fast-paced, well-made and exciting movie. I do think though that one would have had to read the book before watching, as there were some parts that may not be understood by everyone. For example, how do the Death-Eaters find the trio at every step? Why does Kreacher listen to Harry? Why are Death-Eaters on the Hogwarts Express? Why is Bellatrix upset about the sword? Who or what are Snatchers? These are answered in the book, but not terribly clear in the movie.

However, I must say this: I was initially sceptical of the point chosen to separate Part 1 from Part 2. But after seeing the scene that came right after what’s been talked about as the point of separation, I was never more satisfied.

I’m waiting for July 2011 like never before.

29 countries, 15 years and two interviews

I was lucky to be an editorial intern at INK Publishing during the coming together of the November 2010 issue of easyJet’s inflight magazine, Traveller.

I was able to interview Freeride World Champion Aurelien Ducroz and Grammy award winning producer, musician and DJ Paul Van Dyk and write their stories up.

In addition, I compiled the nibs for the icons on the cover of this issue. That was actually loads of fun simply because I got to learn so many new things about landmarks and places I never knew before.

Download this file

Enjoy reading!


Hating people who say autism can be “cured”

I mean, what do they mean “cured” or “healed”??? It’s not a disease that it can or should be “cured”.

These messiahs of hope (I blame Pandora) preach about how parents should do XYZ and ABC therapies because that “definitely works”. Uh. No.

Just like every person has different taste buds, autism affects everyone differently. As I’ve said before, when you meet one person with autism, you meet just one person with autism. Therapies are a guideline to certain things that may help to teach the autistic person skills to deal with the neuro-typical world. But it’s not one size fits all. Just because one therapy works for one person, doesn’t mean it will for another. It’s a trial-and-error process. Compics and flashcards work for many, my brother doesn’t really like them. Period. He prefers signs. Surely I’d be stupid to keep forcing something on him when he doesn’t like it…so what if it works for your child? It doesn’t work with him.

I give you: Jenny McCarthy. The Horse Boy.

No, no, NO!

My brother doesn’t need to be healed or cured or whatever other nonsense. He needs to learn how to handle the world. Do I wish he didn’t have autism? Sure, sometimes I do in my most despairing moments. But his autism makes him the sweet and innocent boy he is, not some crazed teenage boy (for which I’m sometimes thankful; have you seen what some teenagers get up to nowadays!?).

If I see another person telling me how to heal or cure my brother, I’m going to blow a gasket. Autism is life-long. It’s not going to go away just because you say so. The more you preach to the world about how your child has beaten autism, the more I’ll think you’re a quack and the more I’ll think your child was incorrectly diagnosed in the first place.

The Twitchhiker – an interview with @paul_a_smith

Download this file


The way I got this story was interesting and a lot of fun.

I’m on Twitter (a lot) and someone on my timeline retweeted a story about a man who used Twitter to travel across continents. I was immediately intrigued. In Transit needed an interview or first-person account for its Travel section and this would be perfect, I thought.

A little research led me to Paul Smith and I sent across an email. On a deadline, I impatiently tweeted to him as well. Twitter, how I love you. He replied to my tweet and emailed as well. I’d scored an interview!

One Skype call later I had the fascinating account of how he travelled from UK to New Zealand with the help of people on Twitter, who offered him rides, places to stay and support. Paul was terribly helpful by way of pictures as well; he directed me to his Flickr album and I had my pick of the lot (and trust me, sometimes it’s so hard to get photographs, that this was an absolute boon)!

I’m quite happy with the way the piece turned out and I enjoyed designing it as well. The map was a last-minute thing, which is why it looks a bit…rushed.

Enjoy reading and tell me what you think!