Mini Murph

If you are a CrossFitter you probably have heard of the name ‘Murph’ before… a classic CrossFit style workout created in the honor of Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant Michael Murphy.

From what I heard ‘Murph’ is the unofficial official Memorial Day workout. VetNet, a group at work planned this early in the morning today in probably the most beautiful gym I had seen so far. Very rarely I’d use such a word, probably never, to describe a gym! And it was a amazing day to be outdoors early in the morning.

To finish ‘Murph’ it apparently takes elite CrossFitters 25+ minutes. And they do it while wearing 20 or more pound heavy vests (crazy awesome people). And the circuit goes something like this

  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 squats
  • 1 mile run

Yup…makes me shiver just thinking about it. And no we didn’t do this version. We did something easier ‘Mini Murph’ where all the above were cut down into exactly half. I did not wear a vest but a lot of other folks in the group did. And my friends, they actually did the whole thing :O . Monsters!

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It took me 40 minutes to finish ‘Mini Murph’; I took the easy route at a lot of turns and still by the time I was done I could barely stand up. The feeling was awesome though. So many endorphins :D; add to that we were given a mug and a t-shirt and personally for me a totally new benchmark to aim for!

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The Ones with the celebrity trainer

Last week I got an invite to join a fitness class by Ben Zorn. I did not know who he was but the invite mentioned that he was a celebrity trainer. His website mentions that he is a personal trainer, nutrition coach and a life coach. The class was a total body strength class based on tabatas; mostly pushups,  planks, burpees, crunches, jumping jacks and a few other routines based on working with our body weight. We trained on an outdoor turf, and it was very cold, but I still managed to sweat. And that is usually a sign of a good workout for me.

At the end of the class he was surrounded by many students who started asking him to pictures with them. That is when it hit me that when the invite mentioned he was a celebrity trainer, he not only trains celebrities, but is also a celebrity himself. A Google search showed that he participated in the reality TV show ‘The Bachelorette’ recently. It was an ‘aha’ moment.

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The Intern

We have all heard at some point in time what a great actor Robert De Niro is, I haven’t seen many of movies (including The Godfather or the Raging Bull) to understand why. The last movie I have seen of his was The Silver Linings Playbook, and I don’t remember him for his role in that one. Recently I saw the movie The Intern, and now I understand all that hype. I absolutely loved him in the movie. He emotes exceptionally well his eyes, and his conversations in this movie are a delight to watch. Go see the movie if you haven’t already. Makes you realize what good acting can do to a cliched story line.

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Man’s World

Gender inequality is a very real thing; you probably already know this, but so is unconscious bias. Often many of us don’t realize our biases until someone or something explicitly points it out. Having a bias has nothing to do with a person being good or bad, meaning anyone could be biased. The way you over come these unconscious biases is by becoming aware of them, and consciously making choices to not fall for them again.

If you are thinking, but why now? Well I just came across a mini web-series by Yash Raj Films – ‘Man’s World’. This is a 4 episode series, each lasting ~15 mins and has a one liner for a plot. What if women treated men, the way men treat women. The series was short and entertaining. I liked the casting, the acting was good, and the screenplay racy. The message intended was not subtle either :). If you have watched web series by TVF or AIB in the past you’ll find a few familiar faces as well. This series reminded me of a Telugu movie from the early 90’s – ‘Jambalakidi Pamba’. This movie is a laugh riot, and was a blockbuster back in the day.

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Here is the trailer of the web series

You can watch the entire series here. It is in Hindi, but also has English subtitles.

And you can watch the movie ‘Jambalakidi Pamba’ here

Prime Minister Modi in Silicon Valley

Prime Minister Modi was in Silicon Valley a few days ago. Old news, I know. But hearing our Prime Minister speak in person was a very nice experience. So here I go.

I still remember PM Modi’s speech that he gave at Madison Square Garden in New York. It was awesome. At that time I wondered how it would’ve been to be in midst of all those people. So when I knew he was to give his first speech in Silicon Valley at a convention center in San Jose, I tried to get a pass for the event, but unfortunately couldn’t. I was still following his tour in the valley, and that’s when I got to know that he was going to visit Facebook’s headquarters for a Townhall Q&A with Mark Zuckerberg. I wasn’t sure if this event was open to public yet, but I immediately reached out to my friend Madhu who works there. And guess what, she got me an invite. This was an early morning event on a weekend. Meaning I had to prep myself with a bunch of alarms to make sure that I don’t oversleep. Fortunately I didn’t, and I reached the venue well before time. There were already lot of people there, and you could feel the excitement in the air. I saw some familiar faces from Indian media, Jaggi Vasudev’s turban (my friend later confirmed that it was indeed him), Sheryl Sandberg and of course Mark Zuckerberg. Compared to the setting of his speeches, this gathering was pretty small in scale. The tone of the session was mostly informal, and Prime Minister Modi made us all laugh at multiple occasions, and made a few people in the crowd cry at least once.

At the end of the Q&A I was leaving the venue smiling and happy, and the day got better when a few of us were given a tour of Facebook’s new buildings/campus. It was splendid, and I probably could write a post about it. The place felt like an amusement park made for engineers. Thanks Madhu for a fine day. If you know someone who works there and are in the area, you should totally nag them until they give you a tour.

Some pictures that I took from the event

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If you are interested here is the video of the Townhall Q&A below

and here is Prime Minister Modi’s speech at Madison Square Garden

Instacart

If you don’t already know, Instacart is a same day grocery delivery service operating in multiple cities in the United States. Founded in 2012 by Apurva Mehta, this startup is one of the major players in the 1099 economy (on demand employees) after Uber and Lyft. With a Series C funding round of $220 million, Instacart joined the unicorn list in December last year with a valuation of $2 billion.

Instacarrot :)

This is all good, but you must be thinking why Instacart, and why now. Well I watched this video last night; it is 23 mins long, and is from the Startup School NY 2014 event hosted by Y Combinator. If you want to watch the video you can skip reading further and watch it below. But if you don’t the time, let me summarize its content.

Apurva Mehta shares his story on he went on from working as a Fulfillment Optimization SDE (supply chain engineer ?) at Amazon to founding Instacart. Well the story goes like this… he was working at Amazon, but wanted to start a company, so he quit his job, left Seattle, moved to San Fransciso, couchsurfed at his friends, and kept building product after product until he created Instacart, and later got it incubated and accelerated with Y Combinator. Cool story ah? I like it. I think it resonates well with the pattern of the current generation entrepreneurs. So here’s the video… and I hope that you like it too.

A. R. Rahman, live

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a A.R. Rahman’s event, in live. Yeah I know, it was super amazing. I was psyched the whole day before, and planned really well to be there on time. Considering this event was early in the morning, I did have to plan :).

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This was mostly a Q&A with Rahman and in the end, he performed. Yay! And it was not Jai Ho. Yay, yay! (I don’t think it was his best score). He performed the title score of Bombay. Yay^3! This tune is one of my all time favorites. I find this tune very soothing. If you don’t remember it or want to hear it again, here you go…

He did look tired though (he had a concert the night before and mentioned he slept at 4.30 am), but was calm, fuuny, talked about how comes up with his tunes, the school he founded in Chennai, his inspiration, and he also mentioned that while did know how to sing in Hindi, he couldn’t speak the language. Surprised?

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Overall the event was pretty mellow, and I was super excited just to be able to see him live. Him performing was a bonus. My excitement was actually palpable, and it took me took me non-trivial amount of time to shake off that buzz after the event.

If you are interested you can watch the entire talk here. Have fun!