Thursday, October 09, 2008

Shave your head and sell the space for advertising


Ever heard of an advertising campaign with visuals on people's shaved heads? If you haven't, then here it is. Air New Zealand has conceptualized a unique advertising campaign in which potential models will be required to shave off their heads and become walking, talking billboards to promote the airline. invites people with strong heads to become their cranial models. Casting call is scheduled at end of this month. 30 Adult, Guys and girls who are willing to shave their heads and use the back as 'cranial billboards' are needed. The chosen 30 will have their heads shaved and tattooed to serve as cranial billboards in the Los Angeles area. This advertising campaign is part of the airline’s official marketing campaign to promote "Life-changing journeys to New Zealand".

Potential Cranial Models must be 18 or older to compete for a chance to be a Cranial Billboard. But everyone's welcome to come down to watch all the action and enjoy the fun.

Several years ago while travelling in India I remember few devout individuals had shaved off their heads to promote a religious organisation. It was rather funny and its uniqueness has made it imprinted in my memory. I am pretty sure this campaign will be remembered for years to come.

In these days of recession, I am quite certain that there are lots of folks willing to shave off their heads and earn the $1,000 reward. In fact I think my head is a great fit for this kind of an advertising campaign. If I were living in Los Angeles area, I would have auditioned. My round head would serve as a perfect "Cranial Billboard" and my life's journeys are evidence for it's tagline "Life changing journeys". Be it the motorcycle tour across the Indian Sub continent or the bicycling tour to Ladakh or backpacking in the UAE, I have had life changing experiences meeting different people, understanding their customs and traditions. These journeys gave me a fresh outlook and enhanced my understanding of life.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Nasa Tour at the Space Center Houston

One of the memorable experiences during my visit to the Space Center Houston was going on the Tram Tour of NASA Campus. Being a high security area everyone who wishes to go on the tour is photographed and given a boarding pass which he/ she has to carry throughout the tour and return on completion. (It is another matter that the museum tries to make money by selling the same pictures superimposed upon a fantastic space picture for $20).

Before I continue I would like to inform my readers that entry to space center costs $21, but since we bought a Houston city pass for $34, it worked out economical for us. The city pass allows entry to seven popular destinations including Houston Zoo, Museum of Fine Arts, Downtown Aquarium, Geroge Ranch Historical Park, Space Center Houston, Children's Museum Houston, Houston Arborateum and Natural Science Museum. Entry to each of these destinations cost anywhere between $8-30. A city pass is a good deal for those of us who wish to take in lot more than just one destination.

Anyway quite a number of people lined up for the Tram Tour of NASA. The NASA Tram is more like a long road train, like the ones that are commonly seen in children's play areas in India like the Toy train in Bal Bhawan, Bangalore. Anyway we were all assigned seats by friendly ushers (probably high school kids working part time). This is a great way to make kids responsible for themselves, I think we in India should employ high-energy high school kids in museums, parks and similar establishments for maintenance, guiding etc. The energy and enthusiasm of youngsters can be utilised for national good through these measures.

As we proceeded deeper into the NASA campus we were informed through a recorded commentary that the campus housed 10,000 staff and thousands more commuted from outside to work on the cutting edge space research here. The land was donated by a cattle company, whose herds of cattle are still raised on vast pastures inside the campus. I would call them "Space cows" because they helped put men on space.

Space cattle in NASA Campus

Our first stop was the Historic Mission Headquarters, a large window-less building from which six lunar missions were launched off. To reach the vantage point from where one can see the mission headquarters one had to climb 87 steps. From our viewing gallery we could look down into the headquarters which a large room full of gadgetry, monitors, large TV screens, public adress systems etc. A short video presentation showed one of the lunar missions which were launched from the control center in front of us.

The window less Mission Headquarters building

Inside the Mission Headquarters

Inside the Mission Headquarters, another view

The Mission Headquarters, another view

After a short while we were taken to another windowless building in which scientists and technicians were busy building rockets and space stations. This apparently is the training location for astronauts and space explorers. We could see through glass the goings on in the large... I'd say long (about half-a-km) workshop had all the materials and resembled a rocket lab. There were images of space explorers, astronauts, a brand new vehicle was being prepared to be despatched to Mars, there was a space station being built where astronauts would be trained to handle loss of gravity etc.

Rocket under construction

One thing I really felt impressed in all this machinery was the fact that the Americans put their national flag wherever they get adequate and suitable space. On space ships, on walls, on the uniforms of astronauts etc. In sharp contrast the Indian consulate in Houston didn't even have a trace of our national flag. What a shame for us, even the consulate doesn't have our national flag. I wish national pride among Indians improved.

Vehicle to go on Mars Mission

From the Rocket building station, we proceeded to the Rocket Park, where I saw a real rocket which was manufactured for the seventh Lunar mission but never launched. I will blog about it tomorrow.

What Astronauts prefer to travel on while not inside rockets

The Space Cemetery inside NASA campus
This is the place where people who lay down their lives while exploring space are laid to rest. In the shade of these oak trees they lie amidst quiet and knowledge filled surroundings. Our own Kalpana Chawla is also resting in this location, a place which she really loved and which helped her attain great heights!

A 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid could be yours!

Do you want to own a brand new Honda Civic Hybrid, the most fuel efficient and environment friendly aka Green car? This is one of the most sought after cars in the US Market. And with gas prices rising every day, a large and growing number of people are lining up at Honda showrooms to purchase this eco-friendly machine.

But for all of you who are not ready to buy a new car right now, here is a great opportunity to Charter a Honda Civic Hybrid car at affordable prices. This offer comes with an unbelieveable raffle which may enable you to win a brand new 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid car.

Though it sounds unbelieveable, it is true. All you have to do is to register online for Charter services to be automatically entered into a drawing to Win a 2009 Civic Hybrid worth $24,000. There is absolutely no purchase or any other pre-conditions for this offer. The only condition is that potential winners must live in an area that offers Charter services.

What do you know about Honda Civic Hybrid 2009? Did you know that the car has the Polished Metal Metallic look and returns up to 45 mpg in highway driving conditions. The 110-hp, 8 valve, SOHC i-VTEC® 4-cylider engine car has fabric interiors and a uniqu USB Audio Interface. And of course the car is well known for being trouble free when cared for well.

So if you are looking for massive savings in your monthly fuel bill, you must opt for a car that will help you cut down costs. And what better car than a Honda Civic Hybrid. Still not sure? Why don't you just charter the car for a short period of time and enjoy the phenomenal benefits. This way you will not only be helping the environment but also saving precious $$$s which will hold you in good stead later.

Here is your opportunity to help save the world, go for it.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Space Center Museum, Houston

Day before yesterday we visited Space Center Houston, the historic location from where six missions to Moon were launched off. Space Center Houston is an interesting museum not only for kids but for adults as well. Though I would say it would be more entertaining for kids, this is one place for everyone to experience the wonders of outer space and the high-tech world of NASA. The dramatic history of space exploration unfolds through the various exhibits at the Space Center Houston. This is one of the few places in the world where visitors can experience something that is close to getting into space.

I would categorise the museum into three different kinds of places: the interactive exhibits, theaters and the tram tour. There are three theaters: Blastoff theater, Space center theater and Starship gallery, each of which broadcast multimedia presentations on the history and technological innovations in the quest of space. The Astronaut Gallery and NASA Tour are two other sections which are equally interesting and educating.

Personally speaking I enjoyed the NASA tour the most. But I liked to exhibits in the various galleries and the film shows too. The exhibits of the first successful Lunar mission, and the next time when they took a Moon Rover or a 4-wheeled electric powered vehicle was highly interesting. There are displays of space stations and what all happens inside a spaceship/ space station. The space ship is truly a very small vehicle and space is highly constricted for astronauts. It is a wonder that these men and women travelled for months in such narrow/ small spaces over long distances.

All the exhibits in the Space Center are very interactive and well maintained. There are several volunteers, mostly ex-employees of NASA who help explain some of the exhibits to visitors. The enthusiastic volunteers is something that make visiting public places in the US a very pleasant experiencs. I believe we must have such people in Indian museums and public places. One of the biggest advantages would be to harness the youth and attract them towards working for the country and also give some pastime activity for retired people.

Here are some pictures of the exhibits at the Space Center. Tomorrow I will blog about the tram tour of the NASA campus, including a visit to the historic mission headquarters, rocket workshop and the rocket park.

Rockets on display

A Rocket Engine on display, looks quite interesting!

An exhibit of man on moon

Moon rover - A model of the electric vehicle which was taken to the moon during the second mission

A exhibit of a space station

Exhibit explaining how gravity can be defied

The NASA museum's main wall