I had to do something productive, or I would've died of boredom.

The bizarre videos that trend on YouTube

Lately, I’ve been spending sometime on just to stay in touch with the latest on what is catching the Internet’s interest. Everyday, I come across something bizarre and I thought of listing some of these videos that pique a lot of interest and curiosity online. I really wonder how the creators of these videos think of ideas. It’s like the inside world of Reddit. Some of the stuff on it is so bizarre that you wonder how it manages to get a conversation started.

Like this one. 1131 comments in 10 hours and rising.

Sprout in car.jpg

Anyway, back to YouTube. Here are a few videos that probably went viral cause they satisfy the need for visual shock. Viewers want to know what happens next after reading the title. They are egged on to watch.


What Happens If You Pour Boiled Water into Liquid Nitrogen?

Drinking Cyanide

The genius of Dylan

When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window, and I’ll be gone
You’re the reason I’m a-traveling on
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

I see a lot of people
As I make the rounds
And I hear her name here and there
As I go from town to town
And I’ve never gotten used to it
I’ve just learned to turn it off
Either I’m too sensitive
Or else I’m getting soft

Your mother says I’m a stranger
My face you’ll never see no more
But there’s one promise, darling
I’ll see you on God’s golden shore.

I heard the sounds of a clown who cried in the alley

Hurricane Matthew: Top viral images and video from social media

I was tracking Hurricane Matthew on social media. There were all kinds of posts and these are some that went viral. They were shared and reshared across social media like Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and YouTube.

1. The satellite image of a skull-faced storm: This satellite image of the storm appears to look like an evil-looking skull grinning away as it approaches the east coast of USA.
Matthew skull face.jpg

2. The indoor stork: This image of a stork whose usual habitat is usually outdoors, wet and arid was seen taking shelter inside a restroom at the St Augustine Alligator Farm. Based in Anastasia Island, the farm that was opened in 1893, hosts a range of crocodilians, reptiles, mammals and birds. For more information,

  1. Marabou stork sheltered indoors at St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.jpg
    Marabou stork sheltered indoors at St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. Credit:

    3. The huge tree that was uprooted from the earth

 4. Hurricane Matthew meets slayer: A Florida man holds an American flag and defies the hurricane to the tune of Slayer’s Raining Blood.

5. Fox News reporter’s strange threat telling Florida residents they and their children would die.

6. Birds in eye of hurricane: So this is something new that I learnt. Birds fly into the eye of the hurricane which is apparently calmer. It’s a way they stay safe from the gusts of wind in the sky.

7. Waffle House surrenders to Hurricane Matthew

Apparently, FEMA unofficially uses Waffle House shutdowns as one of the methods to track the severity of a hurricane.


Hurricane Matthew: My first big hurricane experience

Hurricane Matthew will be here in some time, knocking on the door. That viral satellite image of the spinning storm that appears to look like a skull with an evil smile is stuck in my head. I am scared. It’s been raining for days in Jacksonville. Severe weather alerts and warnings have been issued on cellphones, television and radio so that people do not miss important messages. And while I wait for this storm to pass, I thought of jotting down a few things I learnt from my experience preparing for it.

A) Prepare the Hurricane Kit with essentials: Shop before it’s too late

Make sure you shop for these a few days in advance because there is usually a last-minute rush at stores and even the big shops run out of essentials. We went last-minute shopping because it was unavoidable and went from closed shops to ones that had run out of essentials including torches, propane, packaged water. Walmart closed early, Costco and Publix had run out of water, Home Depot had run out of torches and propane.

Water was being sold on the street for a steep price. Those who had no choice had to buy what was available. (Increasing the price of essentials is illegal)

Here’s the list of must-haves

  1. A battery-operated torch
  2. Batteries
  3. Battery-powered radio for news and updates.
  4. Propane / wood chips / charcoal for outdoor grilling
  5. Matchsticks / Lighter
  6. Packaged water / Drinking water – If you are okay with drinking tap water ensure you have containers, bottles, jars to fill and fill them in advance.
  7. Water for washing and cleaning – You can fill water in buckets or use the bathtub and washing machine. If you are using the bathtub, ensure you have a tub drain stopper in place.
  8. Packaged, ready-to-eat food/snacks. This includes granola bars, nuts, fruits, canned food (you will need a can-opener too), chips and biscuits, bread, pizza and baked food. Milk powder is a good alternative for milk.
  9. Vitamins and other medication.
  10. First aid kit: Bandages, antiseptic cream
  11. Sanitation wipes and sanitizer
  12. Tissue paper
  13. Ice bags to ensure frozen food doesn’t get bad fast. An alternative is what my friend on Twitter, Kirk Kittell suggested. Filling milk jugs with water and freezing them

B) Secure all objects in the patio: Pots, furniture, outdoor grill should be moved indoors. They can be blown with heavy gusts of wind and cause damage.

C) Follow important news updates: You can do that by following mainstream media and verified sources on social media.

Officials: Governor Rick Scott (FLGovScott), Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry (lennycurry).

Government agencies, police, essential service providers: Jacksonville Sheriff’s office @JSOPIO, The City of Jax @cityofjax, Jax Airport @jaxairport, Jacksonville Electric Authority @NewsfromJEA (to send and receive updates about water and electricity outages).

Local Jacksonville news agencies on Twitter: @jaxdotcom, @news4jax, @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews @metroj @FCN2go

D) Evacuate if you need to

E) Avoid loitering around

F) Volunteer to foster an animal:
Find out details about animal adoption and rescue agencies that need help with hosting animals. In Jax, animal shelter, The Jacksonville Humane Society had volunteers fostering all their animals. Isn’t that amazing?

G) Share important helpline numbers

F) Digitize important documents:
Digitize and create an online, password-protected copy of important documents and IDs.

G) Sit in a room, away from a glass window

H) Keep close friends and family updated

I) Do not touch downed power lines: Do not even drive or walk over them.

J) Enable emergency messages on your smartphone


Cell phone hurricane emergency alerts that I received on my phone.


K) Refuel your vehicle.

L) Do not operate a generator indoors. People suffered carbon monoxide poisoning cause they did that. So operating generators in the garage, or carport is also an absolute NO-NO.

M) Keep sandbags handy: They are an inexpensive way to keep floodwaters out.

N) Keep your phone and mobile charger charged: You might suffer a power outage and have to be ready.

Indian celebrities on Snapchat

Just in case you were struggling to find IDs to follow. Here’s a list to start with. Mostly includes Bollywood actors.
I’ve added these and the first few are pretty active.
Sonam Kapoor – sonamakapoor
Jacqueline Fernandez – jacqueen143
Sonakshi Sinha – asilsona
Parineeti Chopra- chopraparineeti
Nargis Fakhri- nargilove
Rahul Khanna – MrKhannaSnaps

Sunny Leone- imsunnyleone
Ayesha takia- ayeshatakiaazmi
Shraddha Kapoor- wanderlustmagic
Aditi Rao Hydari- aditiraohydari
Nikhil Chinnappa – nikhilcx
Sania Mirza- sania1586
Hoezaay- hoezaayc


How to make emoji pillows: Video

Yes, it’s me. And here’s a video of me making emoji pillows for Cartini scissors. Making them is really easy and this step-by-step video will show you just how. You will need basic craft material which is easily available. Hope you like the video and try making these at home yourself.

Which review app should you write for?

Last month, I asked a question on Twitter: How do you decide who to contribute to? @yelp @googlelocalguides @zomato @tripadvisor I have used all for advice.

We all love reading reviews before visiting places. Tourist locations, food joints, and shopping haunts. Previews and reviews of the destination by real people and not PR spindoctors make for great insights into the unknown. Reviews get rated by other users to make them appear more discerning or accurate than the rest. (However, there have been cases of paid reviews and restaurants offering free food to get positive online ratings but those are not a common trend.)

An excellent website that I have been using lately is It lets users anonymously share reviews of workplaces under various categories including salaries and interviews. Why I used it? It gives you a sense of what to prepare for. Just like any other review app or website.

Preparedness makes it easier to choose and consume a product. Surprises are great but only if they are pleasant and exceed expectations.

Coming back to the question I asked, so if you have used all of these apps to read reviews, which one should you contribute to? Some platforms are pushing users to write more reviews by offering incentives. For example, Google is running a contest this month (of October, 2016) called the Local Guides Challenge.

Here’s what their promo email read:

Are You Up for the Challenge?
Our next Local Guides Challenge is here: from today until 28 October, every review you write and every photo you upload to Google Maps will help your city earn everlasting glory. The 5 cities that contribute the most reviews and photos this month will be invited to an epic event in their hometown. Learn more about the Challenge and spread the word using #LocalGuides.

A video about Local Guides: Note how Google wants to credit expert users for sharing insights only they have. #MarketingWin

Of course motivations to write reviews are different for different people. Some like to create good content and be opinion swayers, while other want to give back to the Internet by helping others make informed decisions. Then there are those who want to win something as simple as a badge, a better ranking on a leadership board, a point on a gamified app, or a ‘like’ for their review. To elevate users and make them know their work isn’t going unnoticed, apps have now started showing users how many times their review has been read. This number count makes users feel virtually empowered and in a sense, important.

Even a response or note of gratitude — from the owners/management of the restaurant/destination that has been reviewed — has the potential to make someone feel honored. It becomes an acknowledgement that their opinions and voices are being heard by the people who matter.

Some contributors believe an insightful suggestion might bring about some change in the form of better service or a pat-on-the-back to a worker who made them feel at home.

Yes, there are all kinds of things reviews can tell you about a place. Be it cleanliness, efficiency or nuanced details about the ambience. Some reviews could also be spurred by a disgruntled customer for a venial error. But because they are on the Internet, easily accessible and viewed by many, they become vital for a brand’s reputation.

The popularity of review apps cannot be ignored. They are fast growing and used by an increasingly mobile crowd around the world. The question is how should you choose which one to contribute to? Should one contribute to all?

Should I use the one that has a great design or the one that provides interesting listicles? Should I use the site my friends use or the site that gets me maximum follows and likes?

A quick comparison of how each of these apps/sites position themselves. Perhaps this could help users decide.

Here are the one-line bios on their Twitter pages:
TripAdvisor: Know better, book better and go better on the world’s largest travel site.
Zomato: Zomato is the fastest way to search for great places to eat around you. Serving 23 countries worldwide.
Yelp: Connecting people to great local businesses in communities around the world. Follow us for Yelpy news & insight!
Google Local Guides: Wherever you go in the world, Google Local Guides are there to help you explore on Google Maps.

MY TAKE: I used Zomato a lot while I was in India. Now I use Yelp in the US. And when it comes to international travel, Tripadvisor wins. But I like the incentives that Google is giving with the new contest. So what should I do? Perhaps contribute to the sites that have helped in their own areas of specialty? Or write for the apps to help them cover their weak coverage points?

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