Songbird is an open source software media player that is billed as the ‘Firefox’ of media players and rightly, Mozilla is supporting it. It’s a lot like itunes, but I can’t use Apple’s iTunes since it is not yet launched in India (and rest of Asia, if I’m not mistaken). Firefox users will find it quite similar, since the two softwares use the same infrastructure and in useage feels a lot like a browser. I downloaded Songbird, having read about this tool from Modsuperstar (thanks James) and on reading about it, promptly downloaded the free desktop Web player, which is also a digital jukebox and Web browser mash-up. Like Winamp, it supports extensions and skins feathers.

Songbird is a Cross Platform player supporting Windows, Mac, Linux available in 30+ languages as well as providing 64-bit support. The music browser and player works well enough, and has context menus when you right-click on your files which allow you to search on music related websites, and search Google for the lyrics of your songs. Try it out.

Eight Below

I just happened to catch this movie playing while I switched channels in between watching Sunday night football. It can be quite the tear-jerker, although there are parts which can be a bit disturbing. Being the dog lover that I am, I found some scenes too much but I know it is just a movie and it has a great, happy ending. Eight Below is a Walt Disney movie, inspired by a Japanese mission to the South Pole & the movie Nankyoku Monogatari based on the mission. Paul Walker plays ‘Jerry Sheppard’ a guide on an Antarctic mission to find a rare meteorite led by scientist Dr.Davis McLaren (played by Bruce Greenwood). They are told to head back due to a storm but Dr.McLaren asks for more time. He however gets stuck in the freezing cold water when he steps onto thin ice. The lead dog ‘Maya’ crawls out to him, goaded on by Sheppard, to put a rope around McLaren and pull him back to safety as he battles hypothermia. The duo are then pulled on a sled by the 8 dogs that are part of the mission. Once they make it to base camp, the entire crew have to evacuate in planes but there isn’t enough room for the dogs as well. Since the storm is fast approaching, the hard decision is made to leave the dogs there and come back for them later.

Sheppard is upset but there is nothing he can do, so the dogs are tied to their harness while the humans leave. However the storm is worse than expected and a return to the camp can only be done in a few months. Sheppard feels anguish in leaving the dogs behind. Meanwhile, the dogs escape their harness and roam around for food; a memorable scene is where their fight a leopard seal for the meat of a dead beached orca whale. Sheppard is joined by two others who were there in the camp (Moon Bloodgood & Jason Biggs) who approach Dr.McLaren. After seeing his son’s drawing of the sled dogs and proclaimation to being his heroes on rescuing his dad, McLaren arranges for the money to take them back to Antarctica.

Two of the dogs, Old Jack & Dewey die during the 5 months alone on the continent. The others make their way through the snow & ice (there is a memorable scene where the dogs play with the Aurora Borealis) and Maya’s leg is hurt by the seal. However, the rescue team are able to find the dogs and Sheppard is happily reunited with his best friends. They are cared for and taken back to their home on the ship which was hired for the rescue. The two who die are Dewey and Old Jack with the six survivors being Buck, Max, Maya, Shadow, Shorty and Truman. 8 outta 10.

Stupid Ants

I hate ants! They bite, they swarm in alarming numbers and they are a stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I have had some big problems with ants in the apartment. This place has an ant problem on an enormous scale. I haven’t had this kind of an issue at our former house in Thrikkakara. But this is so ridiculous. We have had problems with ants crawling all over the clothes hung on the line to dry on the balcony. Drop a small morsel of food, any tiny piece and watch in a few minutes as the tiny buggers attack in high numbers.

A couple of times I have woken up with bites on me. On certain nights, if I leave the windows open, a dumb moth or some other kind of insect will fly in and hit against the blades of the ceiling fan and fall injured or dead on my bed. The ants sensing ‘food’ will find their way towards the dead insect on my bed and will inevitably start biting me as well. Well fuck you, ants!

The worst part – and this has happened to me twice – is that these morons seem to be attracted to my asthma medicine, inside my inhaler! They have crawled into my pants pocket and got into my inhaler. The first time, I thought that it was because of a leaking Vicks cough tablet that I had in the same pocket. But the next time, it wasn’t so, as I didn’t have anything else in my pocket except for a dry handkerchief and the inhaler. So those two times I took my inhaler out, shook it and opened the cap and put the nozzle to my mouth, pressed the inhaler cylinder and inhaled – and got a mouthful of ants in my throat along with the medicine. Numerous, coughing & spitting & gagging followed until I clear my throat of the nasty little buggers and drank water & juice to clear it. No wonder I kill every ant that I find. Nasty, stupid ants!

Song for the day – “Bugs” – PEARL JAM

Arsenal Update – 19th Aug

I am worried about the strength of the squad, wondering if this team is enough to win the EPL and out a strong challenge in Europe. On paper, no, not enough strong players.

They did start well, with that 2-1 win over Fulham in the league. Then on the 15th had a strong game against Sparta Prague in their Champions League third-round qualifier. Spaniard Cesc Fabregas and Belarus international Alexander Hleb (again) scored the two goals in an away win that all but guarantees the London club a place in the group stages of the Champions League proper. I think it’s gonna be real hard for Sparta to mount a big comeback against the Gunners in London.

And now, today being Sunday, I await the match between Arsenal & Blackburn Rovers in the evening. Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky (knee) and winger Emmanuel Eboue (ankle) join Abou Diaby, Emmanuel Adebayor and Gilberto on the sidelines, while summer signing Eduardo da Silva could make his league debut after recovering from a minor ankle problem.