An Orange Mocha

I wanted to go shopping today, but it being Sunday none of the shops I frequent were open. I decided to try my luck anyways. After a late morning breakfast & leisurely shower I started the day out by getting to Music World & Planet M. I bought a copy of the album featured in the previous post and a cd copy of an album I already owned on cassettes – Lost Dogs by Pearl Jam. It was a sweltering day this afternoon and I was feeling very tired after my short walk up to Shenoy’s junction. I stepped into Cafe Coffee Day which was nearby but since I have a cold & cough, I couldn’t go for any cold ones. So I decided to try out an Orange Mocha, which as the name states is a hot coffee with chocolate & orange flavours. Now, among hot coffees, cappuccinnos & irish coffees rule my world. But this one is something else altogether; the aforementioned two have a strong competitor in the mix now. Hmmm, a mix of hot chocolate and coffee, with a light orange flavour. Let me tell you that this is the way to relax; I have heard more about the cold version (orange mocha frappuccinos) but this is truly great.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  •  3 pieces of orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

PREPARATION:

Melt everything together in a saucepan, but do not let boil. Whisk until foamy, then remove the orange zest pieces. Whisk again and serve.

Sens beat Thrashers 5-3

Alrite, the Ottawa Senators are playing some of their best hockey at the moment. They took care of the Atlanta Thrashers 5-3 last night. Goals came from Peter Schaefer, Chris Kelly, Mike Comrie, Dean McAmmond & Mike Fisher. While Brian McGratton remains scratched (for 9 games at a stretch), any Sens fan’s heart would be warmed by the consistent contributions of Comrie & McAmmond. Go Sens Go!

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Guitar Virtuoso – John Williams

John Williams is one of the world’s most popular classical guitarists. An Australian born in Melbourne, he was initially taught by his father, Len, until he was a student under Andres Segovia in Italy and later he attended the Royal College Of Music in London, studying piano and upon graduation was offered to start their guitar department, which he ran for 2 years. He was also a member of a fusion band – Sky. Williams has won numerous awards for his music, mostly guitar arrangements of classical pieces. Cavatina was the theme of the movie The Deer Hunter in 1979 and was a world-wide hit single for Williams. He resides in both London & Australia. This cd is sort of like his best of and was released in 2000. It showcases his nimble and gentle style of playing the guitar. I have recently started to listen to classical styled acoustic guitar based pieces, mostly of Don Ross & Andy McKee. These two guys imbibe influences from rock, folk & jazz into their playing, while Williams’ stuff is predominantly classical.

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Arsenal 0 Blackburn 0

Arsenal failed to score in their fifth round of the FA Cup match with fellow EPL members Blackburn Rovers. It was a frustrating affair for the London club as Brad Freidel kept Rovers in the match. The American goalie made a superb double save from Thierry Henry and Justin Hoyte, which was the highlight of a largely forgettable match. The draw means another replay for Arsenal; this time it will be at Ewood Park. On a bright note, defender William Gallas came on to start his first match for Arsenal after being out due to injury for three months. In other FA Cup action Chelsea beat Norwich City 4-0, Man Utd drew 1-1 with Reading, Middlesbrough and West Brom fought out a 2-2 draw.

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Song for the day – “Horse With No Name” – AMERICA

Session Over

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Finally we have come to an end to the 26 day training program. This has been a long but thoroughly enjoyable and knowledgeable experience for me and I am sure it was the same for the others as well. My voice is cracked and I am tired – mind, soul & body. But it was worth every minute of it. The TTT being the last section of the training, done at a corporate level from the client side, we needed to be assessed on our training & presenting skills. As mentioned, I had an easy topic, but I was ill and my voice was not sounding the same I had to make a bigger effort. I tried soothing it with warm water all last night.

Today after we reached there, our facilitator from the corporate office took out the list of presenters randomly and mine was the 15th – second last. Sitting there, watching others perform was even more difficult than I imagine. Your tension builds as she analyzed the performances and gave helpful tips and correction methods. I waited and waited, then it was time for lunch and then waited some more. Finally it was my turn and I went to prepare my slide and an avi. While waiting till the guy before me was having his feedback done, I got a sudden idea to make my presentation better! I drew it up as quickly as I can on the white board beside me and I think the reaction was great. And there was one more presentation after that.

I didn’t do my presentation as I had originally planned as I was nervous with the camera hovering in the way and the thought of being judged. I think I started ok and went better as it went along. I was about 75% happy with the performance and it was judged to be the best. Wow, thanks guys! The facilitator gifted me a book titled “How To Turn Customer Service Into Customer Sales” by Bernard Katz. We closed the sessions with goodbyes and thanks to Harpreeth, our facilitator and she gave out a framed photo of us with her. Before we left, Eldho and I decided to perform a song. He brought his guitar and we belted out “Horse With No Name” by America. We had thought of “Summer Of 69”, “Heaven” by Bryan Adams, “Take It Easy” by the Eagles & “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple, but this song would affect my vocal chords the least.

We made Mithun dance to “Macarena” and I have a video of that. Enjoy!!

Evaluate Me

So the final assessment is upon me and my batch at our new company; we now have to prove that we are capable enough to effectively handle batches of new joinees to the company. Tomorrow, I face the camera – for the first time in my life I am going to be shot on film, doing my work. The thought scares me shitless! I have a very simple topic and at first, as I was just handed the sheet describing what I am to present, I am ecstatic that I had such an easy & simple portion to cover.

But then I though “so does that mean that the expectation will be high? Will the evaluation be that much more harsh? Will they expect me to come out with my own examples and style of simplifing and explaining stuff?” I can’t be sure so I have tried to create my own examples and I hope that it will stand out enough and deliver an impact.

While at the ATM, I ran into Anil and we headed out for some coffee, instead of our usual drinks this evening, owning to the fact that I am not well and that I want to get up bright & sharp tomorrow for my evaluation. So wish me luck.

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Song for the day – “Turbo Lover” – JUDAS PRIEST

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Notes For 15th Feb

  • The Philadelphis Flyers trades Peter Forsberg to The Nashville Predators in exchange for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, a 1st & a 3rd round pick in the 2007 Draft
  • Shane Doan re-signs with his current team, the Phoenix Coyotes for a 5 year deal
  • Bayer Leverkusen earned a thrilling 3-2 victory over English Premiership outfit Blackburn Rovers in the UEFA CUP round of 32
  • Werder Bremen also did well by thrashing Dutch giants Ajax 3-0 in Bremen
  • Rush is to release a new album in May
  • To my shock, Hollywood is going to make a movie on fraud music duo of the 80s – Milli Vanilli
  • Joe Edwards, the guy who was the artist on the first Archie’s comics, dies at the age of 85 due to heart problems
  • And sadly for personal reasons a guy I worked with earlier, and who everyone knows as a truly nice & quite guy, has committed suicide by purposefully crashing his bike against a running train. The reason for his suicide is not known but suspected to be a failed love affair. My heart goes out to his family in their time of suffering.

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Senators 4, Panthers 0

The Ottawa Senators beat the Florida Panthers 4-0, with Swiss goalie Martin Gerber making a rare appearance as the starting goalie in place of the suspended Ray Emery. With the help of his teammates, Gerber posted his first shutout of the season, as Mike Comrie, Chris Phillips, Mike Fisher & Dean McAmmond scored the goals. Comrie scored his 14th goal of the season and 7th for Ottawa, being setup by both Dany Heatley & Jason Spezza, while Phillips was assisted in his 9th goal of the season by Antoine Vermette and Chris Kelly. Gerber, who moved from Stanley Cup champions Caroline, had a bad start to the season and was kept as the backing goalie to Emery.

Gunners in the 5th Round

Arsenal beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1 and moved into the 5th round of the FA Cup, thanks to a brace by Emmanuel Adebayor and the deciding goal by Frederik Ljungberg. With Thierry Henry rested and Robin van Persie absent through injury, the goals had to come from elsewhere and come it did. Adebayor opened the scoring and it looked to be enough for the win, until Bolton’s Abdoulaye Meite equalized in the very last minute of normal time. In extra-time Swedish midfielder Ljungberg scored a superbly-taken strike at the start of the second period of extra-time, finally taking Arsenal through to the last 16 and a match against Blackburn Rovers. Adebayor made it 3-1 in the dying seconds of the match – Julio Baptista had missed a 118th-minute penalty. Arsenal’s coach & manager, Arsene Wenger is chasing his fifth FA Cup triumph since taking over the London club 11 years ago. In addition, they are also in the League Cup final and are in the last 16 of the Champions League.

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Ripping CDS 9

This week I am busy with trying to completing the TTT program as successfully as I can and getting certified and giving it a good show. But I still have some time to rip a few more into mp3s. Take a look :

  • Slang – Def Leppard
  • Brave New World – Iron Maiden
  • Use Your Illusions 1 – Guns N’ Roses
  • Lean Into It – Mr.Big
  • 5150 – Van Halen
  • Blow Up Your Video – AC/DC

All classic bands & classic albums, if I do say so myself.

A Lonely Heart On Valentine’s Day

It is that time of year again. When you are supposed to be all ga-ga and your eyes go into heart shapes, when you stop to smell the flowers and there appears a naked lad with a bow and arrow, ready and aiming at your heart. This is Valentine’s Day but sadly most of us have nothing exciting to look forward to.

On the other hand, maybe we can avoid comical situations like “Chandler” gets into with “Monica” in a re-run of the Valentine’s day episode of “Friends” that I saw today evening. “Chandler” is unable to make a Valentine’s Day gift, for “Monica”, on his own as he had promised. It is the day to exchange gifts and after a few unhelpful ideas from the rest, he finally finds a tape of some love songs that he has. He gives it to her not knowing that it was actually a gift from his ex-lover, Janice, and in it she had recorded her voice after a song and declares her love for him. “Monica” is not all happy about it and ‘banishes’ “Chandler” to sleep on the sofa. Lol !

Song for the day – “Hunting High & Low” – A-HA

The Macarena?

Well today I wasn’t sure what to expect form the session of Train The Trainer. I suppose that those of you who work in huge MNCs or other such companies and work in their customer care, quality or training divisions may be familiar with this term. It is molding the trainers (and in this case the Process or Team leaders) to be able to impart the required tools to properly train and guide the entry level trainees and customer care representatives. I did not have anything like this in my old company and I wish I did. I had to develop my own techniques and styles and methods as I went along. I may have to unlearn what I have learnt all this time. So we went in to meet our trainer coach, a lady from the corporate office in Mumbai, to the sounds of Celine Dion belting out ‘I’m Alive’ playing on the speakers attached to the laptop! WTF? Anyhow we met her, a tall Punjabi gal originally from Chandigarh and now posted in the client’s corporate office in Mumbai. She greeted us and got us to introduce ourselves. She started it out with a game and promised us chocolates when we contributed correct answers for the many tricky quizes she had arranged for us. For the record I had properly got one right and was ‘rewarded’ with a chocolate bar! I didn’t eat it thought, instead giving it to the rather pretty Quality person from our client’s Kerala office we had befriended and who was sitting behind me.

The session was interesting and gave me lots of ideas but was also a bit dragging. In the afternoon it was a fight to keep our eyes open. Knowing this, she had already devised a plot to make us dance to …… ‘Macarena’! WTF again??!! Anyway, she got one of the guys to do the lead and soon we were all shook up! The evening did drag on, although again I must say that she does speak very well and is a very poised and confident person and I did learn quite a bit from this session. We have another 4 more days to go – I just hope she doesn’t make me sing & dance to ‘The Ketchup Song’.

My ICICI bank account problems seem to be solved and I deposited my cheque in my account this evening.

“IF I SPEAK AT ONE CONSTANT VOLUME AT ONE CONSTANT PITCH
AT ONE CONSTANT RHYTHM RIGHT INTO YOUR EAR, YOU STILL WONT HEAR”

Song for the day – “A Small Victory” – FAITH NO MORE

Primeau Honoured

Below is a transcript of Primeau’s comments following the presentation.

“I have been preparing for this evening for about a week or so, and I am going to try and keep my composure. I have a lot of things to say so I want to make sure I get it all in.

“When the Flyers first brought to me this idea, I tried to think what this night is about and for me, this night is about the opportunity for me to say thank you to all those people who had influences on my life and my career.

“I would first like to thank the two people who obviously have the greatest influence on not only my career but in my life: my parents. With their selfless dedication to me, my brother and my sisters, (they) enabled me to stand here today and I thank you.

“To my beautiful wife, Lisa, and my children, Corey, Kylie, Chase and Cayden who are my support and my strength and who gave me so much of my motivation to succeed. I love you guys.

“The Detroit Red Wings, Mike and Marian Ilitch for giving me my start and the opportunity to play in the National Hockey League, thank you.

“To the Philadelphia Flyers, my teammates, Mr. Bob Clarke and Mr. Ed Snider who have been more than gracious to me and my family for which we can never repay them for their generosity and support and for their faith and confidence they showed in me. Thank you.

“And now for me the most important thank you of this evening, and why I stand here so humbly. I learned early on during my stay in Philadelphia that you need not be the most talented, the most skilled, the best goal scorer or the best playmaker, but if you play with passion, desire and a blue collar attitude you would and could be embraced more than you could ever imagine. I took great pride in putting on my Flyers jersey because I felt as though every time I did I had your support. I will always give credit to the fans in Philadelphia for creating my identity as a player and as a person and for that I humbly thank you.”

A fitting honour for a great player. You can read more about Keith Primeau in my old blog here.

Update – Trainings Over

Ok people, the 21 day strenuous training period is over finally. I can say that I will miss it because there is a certain element of being carefree and, dare I say it, a feeling like you are back in college! You see we would have training from 8:30 in the morning till 3:30 in the afternoon, with a 30 mins lunch break and two breaks for coffee. By the session end, you chat for a little while and head home for a nap if you so choose to. In an hour or two you wake up refreshed and have coffee while reading your emails and chat online or check out what’s on tv. It was not all fun and games, as I have mentioned below.

And not that the training period is over completely. No sir, we have another 5 more days of TTT (Train The Trainer) program. This is basically if you want to head a team or be a trainer in this organization (I had opted for the later), they need to certify you as per national level standards. It will be even more intense and interactive and they film you doing your presentations (something I am not looking forward to at all).

We left pretty early today but hung around for some other stuff. We were presented with some caps with the client company’s logo, a keychain in the shape of the logo, some writing pads & files and a watch – also courtesy of the client. That was nice, I am going to dangle my apartment keys on the chain pronto.

Song for the day – “Loosen My Strings” – DEEP PURPLE

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Good Day For My Teams

Today was a good day for the teams I support – both in the EPL (Arsenal FC) & the NHL (Ottawa Senators) – as they won their respective matches. Although technically it was Saturday night when Ottawa beat their rivals the Montreal Canadiens, for the second straight time, it was in the morning hours for us in India. Mike Comrie and Chris Kelly scored in the first period to build a 2-0 lead midway through the first 20 minutes for the Senators, only for Montreal to counter back with two of their own with goals by Steve Begin & Michael Ryder. Sens Defenceman Wade Redden scored to make it 3-2 for the Sens and in the 3rd period two quick goals by Mike Fisher & Jason Spezza made it 5-2. Andrie Markov would get another one for Montreal. With this Comrie has six goals and five assists in 16 games with Ottawa since he was acquired from Phoenix on Jan. 3. It seemed like an odd & surprise move for both the Edmonton native & the Senators; Comrie once the darling of the Edmonton Oilers was criticized for his lengthy holdout over a contract dispute and subsequent move to the Philadelphia Flyers. From there he moved to Phoenix Coyotes and now is with the Sens.

Arsenal’s victory on the other hand is a typical comeback which showed their guts and determination in winning 2-1 over a surprisingly strong Wigan. Led by Thomas Rosicky, who headed in Julio Baptista’s cross with five minutes remaining, just moments after the luckless Fitz Hall had put the ball into his own net. Wigan seemed to be headed for an unlikely win and be the first to beat the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium with dogged play. A fantastic long range goal by Dutch midfielder Danny Landzaat put the visitors up 1-0 and for a while it seemed that the score would remain at that. Wigan claimed a penalty which was not given and also had a couple more great oppurtunities to increase the scoreline in their favour. However it was the Gunners class and determination that proved the winner in the end. Arsenal have one more game in hand over the teams above and below them and they should secure fourth place if they win it.

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