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Cause & Effect

You can singlehandedly create a causal relation between two things that are currently unconnected — a word and an emotion, a song and an extreme weather event, wearing a certain color and winning the lottery. What cause would you link to what effect, and why?

Cause and effect? If I could create a link from a cause to a effect man I would have a field day wouldn’t it? I’d do all sorts of things. How about if I smile, all the people in my vicinity should smile back? If I cough or sneeze everyone around me should get me a hot cocoa or a coffee. If I were anything black, the rates for the taxis should become half of what they normally are. And if I shave in the morning and wear aftershave, hot women should line up outside my door to smell my face and caress it before French kissing me!

Ok, how about – whenever it rains all women (single women between the ages of 18-45) in saris have to start dancing in the style of either “Tip tip barsa pani” or “Katte nahin kat te ye din ye raat” (Bollywood songs, check them out). Everytime I enter a bar, someone has to buy me a beer and some snack. Everytime a new phone I like gets released to the public, the makers have to send me a model of it for me to review and keep. Every big blockbluster Hollywood movie that gets released, I get free balcony tickets with complimentary popcorn and drinks. Every evening I happen to be out for a drink, some stranger offers me a free ride home.

For every Rs.10 I spend, Rs.1000 magically appears in my wallet. For every meal I eat and gain a pound, I lose 10 in turn. Everytime I get a muscle ache, a Swedish blonde bombshell woman masseuse shows up at my door to give me a full body massage. I could go on and on but this is getting ridiculous. I better stop; I have extremely naughty thoughts in my head.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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“And Puppy Makes Three” – The Final Trio

For our final trio prompt of the year, write about any topic you wish, but make sure your post features a bookcase, something cracked, and a song you love.

It was that time again, towards the end of the year and they were at home. Both of them had a fortnight off from work and were planning how to spend the next 14 days. Married couple in their late 30s they were doing well both financially and professionally and now could relax a bit. Still head over heels for each other they had been married for 10 years now and found time to indulge in many activities together. This year they planned to go away for 10 days – but that plan was about to change.

Just as he was putting away their latest novels in one of the bookcases in the den/media room when the phone rang. She picked it up and let him know that it was a former neighbour of theirs. This friend informed them that his sister’s Golden Retriever has just had a litter of puppies that were now a few weeks old, right time to go to new homes and did they want one? She hesitated a bit but he was all excited – a dog of his own again, that would be great. His enthusiasm rubbed off on him and they decided to go take a look. In  two days they were at the neighbour’s sisters house, that had a huge cracked window, the two of them were overwhelmed at seeing the loveable puppies waddling about with fll roly poly bellies post feeding. At 45 days old the cute puppies were excitable and energetic and ran circles around the couple. They could not choose.

Finally it was the puppy that chose them – one of the bunch, a girl pup kept licking him and her alternatively even after the others  went to their mom, as if to say “I choose you to be my humans. Take me home”! And it was settled. So off they went with the new member of their family in tow or rather in the passenger seat on her lap. They drove home happy and filled with love and got puppy settled in on her new doggie bed, with toys to play with and a big house to roam about and do mischief. Puppy spent the afternoon eating and then exploring when not showering puppy kisses and licks on her humans. Finally as evening arrived and the sun started to set, with no plans of going away for the holidays, she made some hot cocoa while he sat on the rug with his guitar and played/sang “Harvest Moon” and puppy came up to his leg, lay her head on it and fell asleep.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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At The Devil’s Door

A movie titled like that is sure to get it’s share of people checking it out. I expected a lot more from this film, even after glancing through it’s synopsis but I was somewhat disappointed. At The Devil’s Door is 2014 horror film directed by Nicholas McCarthy and starring Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ashley Rickards & Naya Rivera.

Teenager Hannah is with her new boyfriend who takes her to meet a man in a trailer who offers her $500 to play a game and “sell her soul”. Not making much of it she agrees and wins a round of the shells game. The man tells her she’s been chosen, and to go down to where the roads meet and say her name (so he knows her name when he calls for her). Later that night at her house, she hears a male voice from her closet that says “come to me” and she is attacked by an unseen entity that lifts her in the air and then throws her down with some force. The movie then shifts to Leigh, a real estate agent who has just visited the now empty house that Hannah lived in and she sees a girl in a raincoat who walks away without saying a word. Leigh then goes to her artist sister Vera at the latter’s house and offered to buy one of her works, even though Vera wants to gift it to her. Later Leigh meets the owners of the house are trying to sell the house due to being unable to pay the mortgage since Chuck, the husband got sick. Leigh tells them that she say a girl there earlier and the couple say that it must have been their daughter Charlene who has been missing for several months (they think she ran away with her boyfriend).

Later when Leigh is at the house awaiting some inspection crew she see the girl again and takes her out of the rain and to her own home. As Charlene sits in the kitchen Leigh calls Chuck and says that she has his daughter with her but is stunned to hear Chuck tell her that police picked Charlene up at a local mall hours ago and that she is with him. Leigh then sees the girl’s picture in an newspaper article among the files for the house – it is Hannah White, who committed suicide back in 1987. Leigh notices Hannah is gone and she goes around the house to look for her. She finds her in an empty room staring into a mirror. When Leigh asks who she is, Leigh falls to the floor and her heart stops. A grey creature comes out of Hannah. The next day Vera is contacted by the police to come to identify the body of her sister Leigh, who died the day before. Vera finds the same files in Leigh’s home and goes to the empty house where she too sees Hannah who then takes out. Vera then goes to see Charlene who is in an institute and she tells her that she saw the same girl and what looked like a dark figure of man watching her through a mirror.

Vera then goes to see one of Hannah’s old friends who says that Hannah was pregnant before she committed suicide and that she wasn’t herself the last few days she was alive. Also that Hannah claimed a demon was inside of her, wearing her body like a costume. That night at her own loft Vera is awakened by a voice that says “come to me” and she sees a demonic face in the mirror. The entity then attacks her and throws her out the building window onto the roof of a car. When she comes to at the hospital she is told that she was in a coma for 8 months that she was also pregnant at the time. The baby is safe and progressing along fine but Vera wants it out of her. During her ultrasound, Vera sees a demonic face on the monitor and demands an immediate C-section. Refusing to hold or look at the baby she gives the baby up for adoption and after a week later, Vera goes back to Leigh’s house to gather some of her sisters belongings before leaving town.

6 years later Vera tracks down her baby, a girl and meets the mother. While the mother is in another room Vera asks the girl why she was chosen and that she knows who the girl is. The girl hands a finished puzzle to Vera and then leaves the house and runs into a partially completed house in the woods. Vera chases after her with a knife and in a room sees a dark shadow of a demon which then changes shape to that of the girl and almost stabs the girl with the knife. We then see the girl’s mother running to the house searches desperately for her daughter who she cannot find.
In Vera’s car, the little girl and Vera prepare to leave when the girl touches Vera’s hand and says, “I knew you’d come back for me, mommy.” The end!

For a movie that is about the anti-christ or coming of the devil in human form, it’s not very scary (just a couple of jump scares) and falters to excite you as anything worthy of Satan’s spawn should do. Hannah’s angst at trying to burn the money to get rid of the entity and on failing to do so tries to bury it but it still comes back is good but the film hinting that she probably harmed an infant she was babysitting and not doing so – what? The film didn’t really work for me although it is worth a watch. 6.5 outta 10!

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Ascension – Part 2

So with the big twist at the end of part one revealing that Ascension is a huge social experiment conducted on earth without the knowledge of the subjects (being the 600 odd passengers & crew of the ship). Stoke, who the people on Ascension now believe to be dead, is actually taken away to a holding cell inside the facility. Harris is told that a consultant named Samantha has been assigned to the project. She begins her investigation by trying to question Stokes, but he attacks her. An act of sabotage causes an explosion on the ship. As the medical team begins treating victims, Bryce worries that Nora might have feelings for James. Councilman Rose reminds Viondra that, while her husband’s power seems solid at the moment, soon it will be taken again. She later suggests to her husband that a party should be held to boost morale.

Meanwhile, Gault begins searching for a missing cobalt generator and gets hit in the face. Samantha meets with the director of the program to discuss the fact that more is going on than is known. She confronts Harris, and he shows her the video feeds to ask her, if she were born on Ascension, would she want to know the truth. Bryce discusses James with Nora, who says that she is upset that a computer will eventually match her with someone, so she has decided to have fun while she can. When Gault realizes that the cobalt generators started the fire 20 years ago, he speaks with the captain, who tells him to focus on the task at hand. James asks Gault to help him get into a program that would get him out of the lower decks. He then offers to help him find Dwight, a suspect in Lorelei’s murder, by telling him to check Deck 23. In a flashback, Ophelia saves Gault’s life when Deck 23 was damaged in a fire 20 years ago. Deck 23 is so damaged, now, that anyone could probably hear activity in the facility. Gault senses something near a wall where Harris stands on the other side. Then, he gets into a fight with Dwight. Gault escapes and Dwight dies. Harris goes to the warehouse to get the seahorse necklace that was taken from Bryce’s office.

On the ship, Christa goes to get immunized. Ophelia accompanies her to prove that nothing is wrong with the shots. Ophelia takes the shot herself, has a seizure, and collapses. Looking on, Harris insists that Christa must get the shot soon or her system will start breaking down. Meanwhile, Samantha meets with conspiracy theorist Eve Marceau, who tells her that 70 scientists were abducted in the 1960s, one of whom is later shown to be Ophelia. On the ship, Viondra learns that Jackie, one of the stewardesses, has begun having sex with the captain. She relieves Jackie of her duties. When Harris tries to get Christa to take her inoculations through a glass of milk, she looks up at the camera and dumps it on the floor. Harris tells them to use their “man inside” to make her take the inoculation. Christa panics, screams, and shatters the lights, but the “man inside” also cuts himself and bleeds on her dress. Viondra learns that someone squelched her order to have Jackie transferred.

Still, Viondra debuts Presley as the latest sexy stewardess type. Meanwhile, Gault talks with Christa about her inoculations and gets her to take them, but when the man arrives to give her the shot, she refuses, and he holds her down and injects her. When the DNA evidence on Christa’s dress gets matched to Ike, the medical intern, he is found hanging dead in his room. Nora and James meet on the beach to talk. They admit to liking each other, but he ultimately resents her for making him feel poor. Finally, Christa visits Ophelia, who is in a coma, and reads her mind. Enzmann side of things was pretty creepy, as he vividly described moments from his childhood to reinforce his fervent obsession with the project and its crew members. His character’s obsession with the Ascension group comes out strong, most notably during the scene where he gave his wife Juliet’s seahorse necklace after having explained to Kruger that he has grown up watching Juliet. And to then see him close the door about to have sex with his wife asking her to “leave the necklace on”.

Samantha meets up with Eva Marceau who runs a conspiracy website about 70 of the brightest scientists who disappeared without explanation back in 1963 and she also decides to help Stokes despite the fact that h attacked her when she went to question him. Overall a lot of things seemed clearer and in more detail in part 2 but the focus on sex and the murder mystery means that the scifi element is pretty low.

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A “Small” Victory

It is a small victory for the tipplers and bar owners of this state. Basically admitting that their hurriedly-declared liquor policy is a big FAILURE, the government has decided to scrap dry days on Sundays and allow conversion of 418 bars, that were closed down, as beer and wine parlours. With the changes announced on Thursday, all the 730 bar hotels in the state will remain operational provided the hygienic standards are met. A special Cabinet meeting on Thursday also decided to reduce the total working hours of bars by two-and-a-half hours per day from 15 hours to 12.5 hours.

“On the condition that all existing employees should be reinstated, all the hygienic bars operated till March 31, 2014, will be given beer, wine parlour licenses. Since they had operational sanction till then, licenses would be considered in-continuation with those licenses,” the Chief Minister said. A decision was also taken to close down 16 outlets along the National and State Highways by January 1, 2015.

Changes are being brought in based on the reports submitted by Labour and Tourism Secretaries on the impact of the liquor policy and issues related to job loss of employees and setback in the tourism sector. “There are no changes from the earlier decision not to grant bar licenses to three and four star hotels. Decision on licenses to five-star and above would continue,” he said. Based on the HC observations, the Cabinet also decided to close down 10 pc of the total outlets – Bevco and Consumerfed – operating along the National and State Highways.

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One Eventful Evening

Whew! What an evening. Suffice to say I had what seemed like a very long evening but in reality it was just 3 hours or so. I was contacted on Friday evening for a job opening and had two rounds of telephonic interview (one on Friday & one on Tuesday) and then yesterday I was asked to come to their offices in Kakkanad for 2 rounds of face to face interviews at 7:30 pm! Ok, I would have preferred that the interview be during the morning or afternoon hours but since they start work at 7pm there was no option. So I got ready by 5:45 pm and lucky that I left early because there was a huge traffic block and it took me 80 minutes to reach there when it should take only 30-35 minutes.

Once there I had to sign at the gate and call in and wait till someone from HR cleared me. I was led to a lounge area on the 5th floor and then waited for 10 minutes for the interview to start. It was 2 people for the first round (one of whom I had had the telphonic round with) and then I was taken to meet their AVP who heads this particular process for both Kerala & Tamil Nadu. I had about 20-25 minutes talk with him and I have to say that it was pretty casual and no one had any airs about them. I also got to meet a former schoolmate, who was 2 years my senior and who is now heading their IT department. He recognized me on the spot before I could place who he was – and we haven’t met since 1990!! Wow, what a blast from the past!

After the interview I met a former colleague, who I had trained for his job back in 2006 and we walked out of the offices together. HE guided me to the auto rickshaw stand just outside the building premises and I took a ride back home. It was just a matter of 3 hours but it felt almost like a whole day. And now that dinner has been eaten, time for bed.

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The Anti-Bucket List

What are the top items on your anti-bucket list — those things you never, ever want to do, places you never want to visit, books you never want to read, etc.?

I never ever want to lower my standards – be it for personal things or work related or whatever. I’d like to stick to my principles. I never ever want to bow down to pressure and dent my image, ruin my reputation and go back on my integrity. I never, ever want to have done something the wrong way even if the rewards and gain are immense and desirable. Unless it’s for the benefit of others. But for personal gain, I just wouldn’t feel right about it.

I’d never ever want to bow my head to the sanctimonious, barbaric and backward thinking  religious zealots who would want others to yield to what they think is best or their interpretation of what their books, prophets or gods want us to do. The earth is not theirs to rule over and demand that we follow their ways. Their morals are usually much below any decent standards anyways and justifications for their atrocities will never ever wipe away the pain of their actions. I hope to stick to my own path and the path that better humans have shown us.

I hope I never ever have to work for a corrupt organization / group of people who will feed you with all kinds of nonsense and pretend to have standards yet are so unworthy of your time. I never want to go visit or live & work in a place where Sharia law is rampant. That shitty ideology has no place in a civilized society.

That’s all I can think of now. Perhaps I shall revisit this post soon to add to it.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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Ascension – Part 1

Ascension is a much hyped up Canadian/American television miniseries on Syfy that debuted on 15th of December. It is an original science fiction mystery drama that takes place in an alternate present aboard a generation ship, and will consist of six one-hour episodes. The show is created by Philip Levens and Adrian A. Cruz. The pilot was written, and executive produced by showerunner Philip Levens. Among the show’s large ensemble cast are Bryan van Holt, Tricia Helfer, Brandon P. Bell, Andrea Roth, Ryan Robbins, Gil Bellows, Tiffany Lonsdale, Jacqueline Byers & P.J. Boudousqué.

The show sets up an alternate version of reality in which, in 1963, President Kennedy and the U.S. government, fearing the Cold War will become hot and lead to the destruction of the Earth, decided to launch a covert space mission. They sent 350 voluntary men, women and children into space on a century-long voyage aboard the USS Ascension, a massive, self-sustaining, nuclear-powered, skyscraper-sized, “generation starship”. Their mission is to colonize Proxima Centauri, assuring the survival of the human race. The first episode is set 51 years after the launch, so in 2014, and the focus is the murder of a young beautiful woman named Lorelei- the first ever on board Ascension. The body, found by Lorelei’ younger sister Christa who goes into shock, turns up on the ship’s “beach” and Executive Officer Aaron Gault is asked by Captain Denninger to investigate. He questions Stokes a man working in the lower decks and who gave her the bottle of rare Bordeaux that she was drinking just before she was killed. Gault’s girlfriend Emily is Lorelei’s sister and is also married to the Security Officer Duke Vanderhaus. Emily tells Gault that Lorelei was dating James Toback, who worked on the lower decks.

Chief Science Officer Bryce is treating Christa while Nora, her daughter and part-time nurse, also has a crush on Toback. Knowing that he lacks the experience in solving murders Gault visits his sister Ophelia (Rachael Crawford), the ship’s librarian, who says that there aren’t books about solving murders, but there are some great film noirs with detectives in them. She also mentions that Lorelei checked out a video card from Year 31 but only returned its case. Year 31 was also when a massive fire killed a lot of people and which left some people like Gault and especially Ophelia, with scars. Dr. Burns reveals that, at around puberty, which Ophelia was experiencing, everyone must realize their limited future, pre-destined by the ship itself. As Gault searches the lower decks, he finds a book of Rilke poetry that someone has been using as a notebook to stage an insurrection. Toback and Nora go skinny dipping at the beach to find Lorelei’s video card. However, a radiation storm approaches, forcing most everyone to protect themselves. Someone steals Dr. Burns’ seahorse necklace from her bedroom, as Christa watches. When the storm passes, Stokes’ headquarters is raided and the gun is found.

As this is happening we see that on earth Harris Enzmann visits his father, who has suffered a stroke. While at the hospital, Harris learns of a visitor, an academic who asks about the Ascension project, seemingly knowing too much already. Harris, who says he works for the government investigating contracts, states that the program doesn’t exist. Later on however, we find out that Harris not only knows about the program but took over overseeing the project from his father and addresses concerns that the director (of the CIA? played by Wendy Crewson) has. On Ascension Stokes is taken to the brig. Christa gives Gault a compass that Lorelei had kept from “her boyfriend”. After the funeral for Lorelei, Stokes’ cell door is mysteriously opened, and he escapes to retrieve a gun and take Nora hostage. As Gault confronts Denninger with the compass, he is shocked to learn that Denninger had an affair with Lorelei. Stokes enters, a fight ensues, and he tries to shoot Gault, but the gun has no bullets. He gets sucked out the airlock, only to land on a pad and is drugged and taken away by some men. Apparently is actually kept in a large building, a simulation of space surrounding it to make it look like – to the people inside it – that they are traveling in space and are being watched & monitored by a secret organization with only a small group of people knowing the truth!

Good twist at the end which intrigued me. The production is beautiful & stunning in places and the look & feel of the sets, costumes & technology looks like the people pf Ascension are stuck in an alternate universe post 1963, slightly advanced but lacking the major changes that the rest of humanity has gone through. There is also mention of the “crisis” which is a kind of depression that young people go through when they struggle to accept the fact that their life was predetermined for them before they were gone and they won’t live to reach their destination. Also there is the segregation of the lower decks where the poor live & work while the richer folks live in the top sections. Most of the people in Ascension seem to be white with just a couple of people of colour seen. Good beginning although the cast seems to be the weaker link.

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Barbaric Taliban Kills Innocent Children

More than a 120 (total count as of a report 30 minutes ago is 131 most of which are children) schools kids were killed in Peshawar, Pakistan today. The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) were responsible for the attack on an army-run school in Peshawar, in the north-west of the country. Many more were injured and it seems likely that the death toll will rise. The Taliban has stated that it attacked the army-run school “because the government is targeting our families and females”. An army offensive in the region has targeted the militant group. Explosive devices planted around the school continue to threaten staff, students and the special forces trying to rescue them and clear the school.

My heart goes out to the families of those children who were killed today. The terrorists called out for the kids of soldiers to raise their hands and then fired shots at their heads and Only a group of pathetic, cowardly, disgusting creatures of the lowest kind would resort to murdering children for their cause. This despicable act of cowardice should rightly be condemned by anyone who claims to have even an ounce of decency. Any and all Taliban apologists – your arguments are totally invalid and rubbish. If you wish to die for your religion or cause, feel free. I hope the Pakistan military soldiers shoot each and every one of you. You deserve a grenade up your assholes.

Barbaric acts of bastards who then try and justify their heinous crimes.

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Lucy

A Luc Besson direction, Lucy is an English language French science fiction  action flick starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked and Choi Min-sik. Shot in Taipei, Paris & New York the movie is about a woman who gains psychokinetic abilities from a nootropic drug being absorbed into her bloodstream.

Lucy is an American student in Taipei and gets tricked into delivering a suitcase to Korean mob boss & drug lord Mr. Jang at a hotel by a man she just started dating. While she waits at the lobby, the boyfriend is killed and she is taken up to Jang’s suite by his goons. The suitcase contains four large vials of a new synthetic drug called CPH4 and the goons have the vials surgically inserted into the abdomens of Lucy and 3 other unwitting drug mules who will deliver the drugs to various cities in Europe. Lucy is taken away to a warehouse and while in captivity, one of her captors kicks her hard in the stomach which releases a large quantity of the drug into her system.  As a result, she begins acquiring increasingly enhanced physical and mental capabilities, such as telepathy, telekinesis, mental time travel, and can choose not to feel pain or other discomforts, in addition to other abilities. Using her new found abilities, she dispatches her captors and escapes.

She goes to a hospital nearby and has a surgeon remove the bag of drugs at gunpoint and Lucy is told by the operating doctor of the volatile nature of the drug, based on a substance given to fetuses during prenatal development, and its destructive side-effects. Lucy then goes back to the hotel where Mr. Jang stays and kills a bunch of his men, stabs the mob boss’s hands and telepathically extracts the locations of all three drug mules from his brain. She then goes to her friend’s place and uses the internet to find out about & contact a well-known scientist and doctor, Professor Samuel Norman, whose research may be the key to saving her. She does this by controlling his phones, computers and tv to convince him of her genuineness. Lucy then contacts Paris police captain Pierre Del Rio and tells him about the remaining 3 bags of drugs that is being smuggled. During her flight to Paris Lucy starts to disintegrate when she takes a sip of champagne as her cells destabilize, due to the alcohol which makes her body inhospitable for cellular reproduction. She rushes to the bathroom and ingests more of the CPH4 which stabilizes her. Meanwhile the Korean drug gang had captured the 3 mules and taken the drugs from them.

As her powers grow Lucy is able to telepathically incapacitate armed police and members from the Korean drug gang and with the help of Del Rio she takes the 3 drugs back from them and hurries to meet Professor Norman, with whom she agrees to share everything she now knows, after he points out that the main point of life is to pass on knowledge. Jang and his men now in Paris have a shootout with the Paris police while Lucy speaks to Prof. Norman discusses the nature of time and life and how people’s humanity distorts their perceptions. She has his fellow scientists intravenously inject her with the contents of all three remaining bags of CPH4. She begins to metamorphose into a black substance which begins to spread over the computers and other devices in the lab and transform these into an unconventionally shaped, next generation supercomputer that will contain all of her enhanced knowledge of the universe. She then travels through space and time back into the past and sees the oldest discovered ancestor of mankind, implied to be Lucy, and touches fingertips with her. Jang then enters the lab, having killed off most the cops and his own men all dead, intending to kill the scientists and Lucy. Just before he shoots her Lucy reaches 100% of her cerebral capacity and disappears within the spacetime continuum, where she explains that everything is connected and existence is only proven through time. Left behind are only her clothes and the oddly shaped black supercomputer.

Jang is shot dead by an injured but still alive Del Rio and Professor Norman takes a black, monolithic flash drive offered by the advanced supercomputer before it disintegrates into dust. When Del Rio asks where Lucy is, he gets a message on his phone from her that say she is everywhere. As the film fades to black Lucy’s voice is heard stating, “Life was given to us a billion years ago. Now you know what to do with it.”

I think the movie has a lot of good points and has shot some of the scenes really well. As for the science, I guess they take a lot of liberties with it but that still makes for a good movie. I still have some issue with the plot. It was a box office success, grossing over $458 million against a budget of $40 million. 8 outta 10!

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Food Review # 27

Subway’s Roasted Chicken sub sandwich with mayo, honey mustard, lettuce, jalapenos, pickles, tomatoes & green peppers on Parmesan oregano bread. And ofcourse the roasted chicken! Delicious & filling.

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Bills & Haircut On A Hot, Sweaty Day

Oh what a hot and miserable day it was outside. All I had to do was go to pay my phone bill, then to Palarivattom to pay my ISP’s bill and get a haircut and that was enough in this heat. Oh I must have sweated buckets as I went through the 2 hours or so. I left home at about 11:30 perhaps and took an auto to the Vodafone office just above Ashish supermarket. I paid off my bill and then walked over to the bus stop and entered a Kakkanad bus. It was crowded and stuffy and although I was standing near the windows, still hot. I finally got down at Palarivattom, after a delay due to traffic and the road work going on and walked up to the Asianet office.

I waited in line at the payment counter for a few minutes, long enough to heard one customer’s rant and complaint about his bill blah blah blah. The need to get their offices sorted out, things are so cramped there. Once I paid it I walked back to find the bustop and got a cold lemonade to quench my thirst and help me beat the heat before I took a ride on a Padma bus. I got down at Padma and went to my current barbershop and got my long-ish hair cut short. To see all that hair on the floor and the bald patch on my head – why the fuck do some of us men have to go bald? What the fuck is up with that? Anyways, I was on my way back when I started feeling hunger pangs and went to McDonalds and got me a Double Masala Grilled Chicken with fries and a coke. And then I came back home.

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High School House Leader

What was a good high school memory?

Well I shall name one of my favourites. Back then in Kerala (and I think most of India), almost all schools that were following the state syllabus were only up to the 10th grade (age 15). After that you could could either join a central school (CBSE) for your 11th & 12th or join a college for a 2 year pre-degree course, which was the norm. So high school for us back then was 6-10 until the late 90s when the system changed. In grade 10 I was a quieter & more subdued version of myself, especially when compared tot he 8th grade when I was a rebel and seemingly getting into trouble a lot.

But my 9th grade & the beginning of my 10th grade I was back to being the popular, friendly kid and teacher’s pet. I had a bad experience with my school principal on the very last day of my 9th grade but the bitch even knowing that she was wrong and had accused an innocent kid for a wrong he didn’t do, never admitted her mistake. But a couple of months into the new school year I became one of the house leaders. Now I dunno how common this is elsewhere but in India (atleast during my school years) we had 4 houses or groups that the students would be divided into and you had a house/group leader that would be from the final grade. So the principal comes into the 10th grade one fine morning and asks for volunteers, even though she says she has 4-5 people in mind. I dunno what made me do it but I raised my hand, then my best friend did too and 2 other guys joined in. Only 4 of us volunteered and the principal said “Yes, the 4 guys I had in mind!”

Stunned as I was, I officially assigned as one of the 4 house leaders and we picked names for each group (I think mine was eagles or hawks or something bird related) and we went to each grade (we only had one class per grade as our school was still new at the time) 6th to 9th and picked our house members. Basically the four of us stand at the teacher’s desks with pens and books in our hands and select the boys and girls one by one. I remember having a little fun at my cousin Sandhya’s expense as I didn’t pick her until the very end when she was the last student in 9th grade remaining to be picked – I had planned it with the other 3 guys and everyone was laughing at that, including the teacher. Yet when I went to grade 6, I picked my cousin Navin (Sandhya’s younger brother) as my first pick! That was a great memory. The houses would go on to have several arts and sports competitions with a winner picked at the end. I think we won one of the events.

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Arsenal 4 Newcastle United 1

Arsenal put their recent Premier League troubles behind them to move to within two points of the Premier League’s top four after an easy win over Newcastle. Arsenal score four for second straight game and are now two points behind Man United. Olivier Giroud headed the Gunners ahead from Alexis Sanchez’s cross and Santi Cazorla’s cute finish made it 2-0. Giroud added his second with a clever close-range finish, and Ayoze Perez gave Newcastle hope with a header. Cazorla completed an emphatic win with an audaciously taken cheeky penalty, to celebrate his birthday, after Paul Dummett’s foul on Danny Welbeck.

Newcastle had arrived in north London buoyed by their victory over Chelsea. Yet Alan Pardew’s side struggled to hit the heights that they reached in ending the Premier League leaders’ unbeaten start to the campaign. Arsenal dominated the opening half and should have led by more than Giroud’s 16th-minute header. Per Mertesacker had already been denied by the crossbar, the Germany defender’s back header from a Cazorla corner cannoning off the woodwork, before Giroud struck. Newcastle’s marking was non existent as they failed to pick up the France international’s run from Sanchez’s excellent delivery, Giroud planting a powerful header beyond Jak Alnwick from 12-yards out. Danny Welbeck thought he had doubled the lead with an 18th-minute chipped finish but his effort was ruled out for a foul on Daryl Janmaat, a harsh decision judging by television replays. Welbeck was unfortunate with an ambitious 32nd minute volley that flashed narrowly wide of Alnwick’s post.

Arsenal extended their lead when Cazorla skipped over Fabricio Coloccini before beating Alnwick with a cute 55th-minute finish. The Gunners went 3-0 up four minutes later as Giroud produced an exquisite piece of skill to beat Alnwick with the outside of his foot. Perez gave Newcastle hope with a stooping header from Colback’s free-kick, but Cazorla cemented an impressive home display from the spot after Welbeck was felled by Dummett. Bellerin, Debuchy & Chamberlin had good games for the side. 16 games played, 26 points.

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Poor Man’s Weekend Feast

With money being tight going out on a regular basis or even on a semi-regular basis is not really that possible. So for the weekend I have to make due with a budget so I can enjoy myself while I watch some football or movies in the comfort of my bedroom. So I went out to the store this evening and made a few purchases. For today evening I had a packet of cream biscuits – the cream was Vanilla and the cookie part was chocolate – along with my coffee. Dinner was the tried & tested masala instant noodles a la Maggi with 2 duck’s eggs that I scrambled and mixed with it. And ketchup. I had a 600 ml of Pepsi to wash down dinner.

Later on tonight at 11 pm I will be watching some football which will start at around 11pm. If I am not too sleepy once the game is done, I might watch an episode or two of  one of my favourite tv shows. Tomorrow will be an easy & simple day, some coffee and a light breakfast. Post lunch, which will be the usual rice, veggies and a curry, I will have some more biscuits with spicy & tangy peanuts for the evening while I watch either more football or a movie or two! Simple stuff and that is weekend enjoyment on a tight budget.

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