Van Halen to tour in September

An August 14th article informed me that the legendary Van Halen held a press conference to announce a 25-date concert tour beginning Sept. 27 in Charlotte, N.C. After performing throughout North America, Van Halen plans to hit Asia and Australia. The re-formed group features three original members – singer David Lee Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen – along with Eddie’s 16 year old son, Wolfgang, on bass! The band has had numerous controversies and in-fighting with the Van Halen brothers (who appear to be one big entity) on one side and former bass player Michael Anthony and Roth and former singer Sammy Hager on various sides. The band has also sunk low in the eyes of longtime fans due to their treatment of Anthony, bass player for the band from the late 70s till 2006. In their new website, they removed his image from the cover of their Van Halen album (replaced by an image of Wolfgang), and the group photo from the Women and Children First album was taken off entirely.

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They may have lost a few fans in the process & having not released a new album (three new songs in 2004 is their only new material) since 1998! Man that is a long time even for a legendary rock band. And they have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. To tell you the truth, even I don’t really listen to them now. But the thought of a new album in the near future excites me. They’re in their 50s now (with the exception of Wolfie), and they’ve traded their long heavy-metal locks for close-cropped cuts, but the original members of Van Halen are back in business and promise that they’re better than ever.

Song for the day – “Jump” – VAN HALEN

Fears Come True

download chances are online Before you read this entry you could peek through this one that I wrote about the same person a little over a month ago. I was hoping that this girl finds happiness and can finally put everything behind her. And things were going alright for her and the rest of us had hoped that we had seen the last of her worries. She was quite happy and content and the situation at her new place was getting a lot better. She seemed to have settled into her new life and was enjoying it.

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watch boo online But I didn’t think that everything was all that it was cracked up to be and not as rosy as she wanted us to think. I had heard major rows on the phone and she has voiced her frustration out loud not knowing that I was in hearing distance. I tried to ignore it and hoped that it wasn’t too serious. But my fears were magnified tenfold today when she called me to inform that she wouldn’t be coming to work today and asked me to inform our department in charge. She was crying hysterically and sobbing & gasping while she tried to tell me that she has fallen in the bathroom while getting ready to take a bath and had hurt herself badly. She was sounding so desperate that I was scared and my fear was written on my face. I hoped she was fine and I informed the others.

For a long time after that she kept her cellphone switched off and it was only later in the evening that I was able to speak to her again. She said that she was feeling better and that she would come back to work tomorrow. She said that she got scared since she was along in the new house and therefore she was crying her guts out. I know that something is amiss but I hope she recovers from it in time. We can only offer our shoulders and open our hearts to her, when she needs them.

Song for the day – “She Talks To Angels” – THE BLACK CROWS

Arsenal draws, Man Utd cries

I shouldn’t find pleasure in the plight of the dumb and the wounded but I just can’t help it. Arsenal have won their first EPL match and drawn their second. Last nite, the Gunners fought an exciting match against Blackburn Rovers in a match filled with yellow cards & petty fouls. An 18th minute goal for Robin Van Persie, and his second of the League, was cancelled out when Arsenal goalie Jens Lehmann spills a left-foot shot by David Dunn into the goal.

Elsewhere in the league, Chelsea were awarded a controversial penalty by the referee and draws 1-1 against rivals Liverpool, who will feel cheated. Fernando Torres scores his debut goal for Liverpool, while Frank Lampard scored the penalty for the blues. But I love it that Man Utd are struggling. Already having lost their first two games of the EPL, the Red Devils lost 0-1 to their cross town rivals Manchester City, a lone goal scored by Brazilian Gionvanni. Ferguson must have seen red and bleed red in the locker room!

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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.

Another Meme

1. If you could be there to change just one event in history, what would it be?

a. Hmmm, there’s quite a few wars, a few massacres & accidents & other stuff. Maybe a sporting loss? Ok, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, for obvious reasons.

2. If you could be any actor or actress who ever lived, who would it be, and why?

a. Tough choice, I have favourite film roles but to pick just one actor? William Shattner. He was famous in the 60’s, 70s, 80s, a lull in the 90s but he bounced back with his role as ‘Denny Crane’ in Boston Leagal and getting rave reviews & making new fans at the age of 75 & is still a great tv star now in the 21st century. Plus , come on, he was / is / and will always be ‘Captain James T Kirk’.

3. What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon show?

a. The obvious one – Tom & Jerry but I also loved The Flinstones & Looney Tunes equally.

4. Beatles or Rolling Stones?

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a. I was never a big fan of the Stones, although I love a few of their songs. So it’s the Beatles all the way.

5. If you could be any fictional literary figure ever, who would it be?

a. Bond….James Bond

The Missing Key

I had to remove myself from one project midway through yesterday’s session as my attentions & efforts were needed elsewhere. I spent my entire work day today running after this other stuff and I was on the phone a lot, trying to arrange things and ensure that there are no mistakes done. It is frustrating work. Neil & Vidya came back from their 4 week deputation in Hubli and we were glad to have them back. The rest of us really missed the two of them, especially during that function that our department has held.

I had a late lunch with Neil and then it was back to more waiting and more calling on the phone. In all this rush, I managed to misplace a key that opens & locks the door to one of our training rooms! Well done my boy. I had, unfortunately during all this stress, been in possession of all three keys of the three training rooms at one time or the other today, although I only needed one and that too for just a short period of time. I was holding the other two keys for my colleagues and I can’t find one of the keys. Me and my colleague had to waste an hour and 20 mins searching for it and finally we asked for a duplicate key, since we can’t keep the room unlocked and leave. There are speaker, a projector and some other valuable electronic goods that just cannot be left without proper safety measures.

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All in all, it was a harried day and I would like to forget this day in a hurry!

Song for the day – “If I Had My Way” – BIG SUGAR

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I Wanna Go To Springfield

I really wanna go to Springfield and become a character in the Simpsons world. I found another cool application online at the official Simpsons Movie website, where you can customize your own Simpsons avatar and create really cool looking characters that would look at home in Springfield. To the left is what I created of an avatar of mine that would be cool and to the left is a more realistic avatar of mine, size wise! Oh and the colours of the outfit that I am wearing is more inline with the original Battlestar Galactica Colonial Warrior uniforms. Having completed watching the first season of the new BSG has made me even more nostalgic for the original series & their much beloved characters. Sigh!

Song for the day – “Do The Bartman” – BART SIMPSON

August 15

So Independence Day, a holiday during the week to enjoy. Last night from 8pm till 11 was terrible; no electricity for over three hours. Nothing to do but to take a long nap and thank goodness for a wonderful breeze, which threatened rain but never came. It was huge relief when the lights came on just in time for me to watch reruns of Seinfeld & Friends and bits of a movie that I seen earlier and had reviewed in this blog – Blade : Trinity. That done, I went to chat with Tania for a while and then went to bed.

Today, I wanted to just get out and relax at the coffee shop, so I went out at around 11 and spent 90mins at CCD with a novel and a triple sec cold coffee. I then needed to get some cash outta the ATM machine so I went over to the ICICI office near Padma. I saw Anju there, surprise, she no longer works for the bank and is looking around for a job in HR since she has had it with sales. It was sure nice to chat with her for a while but dumbass that I am, I forgot to ask her for her phone number. Shit! Anyway, she informed me that she & her friend were having trouble taking money out from the ATM – seems that the entire ICICI network is down. They had been trying since morning to take money out with no luck, even if there was more than enough cash in their accounts. And their debit cards were not being processed at any shops at all. Major issue! Which meant that I couldn’t take any out myself. Oh well!

I went to have lunch and washed it with a couple of vodkas. Then I came back for a long snooze and I’ve been listening to songs from 5 pm and trying to get ICICI’s customer care. But the suckers have been flooded by calls, no doubt by frustrated customers who could not take money out of their accounts. I have no sympathies for them; I would for any other customer care center but not ICICI. Wanna know why? Cause when I was a customer care representative for Escotel, our worst customers were the corporate customers from ICICI. Cochin, Calicut, Kottayam, Thrissur, Trivandrum – you name it, all assholes who couldn’t wait to brandish their company’s name at us. But we were never impressed. So no sympathies assholes!

Song for the day – “Pretty Child” – INDUS CREED

Outsourced Simpsons

On Independence Day, I’d like to share this truly, hilarious clip from a Simpsons episode which features outsourcing and in which the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant gets outsourced to India. Truly funny.

And what if Indians had made the Simpsons? This would be what they would look like.

She is 60

She is 60. She is still very young as a nation; in the true sense of the meaning of the word ‘Nation’. But as an ideology & a theme, she is ancient. But her subjects behave like spoiled brats. As a country, she has much more to learn, much to grow. To become who she is destined to be, she has miles to go. What we think are the greatest things about her, may actually be the worst about her. Is she a democracy? You call her the world’s biggest, but she isn’t that. Not really. Before you blindly dispute me, take a newspaper, any given day, read it thoroughly and then claim it!

I wasn’t born here! Does that make me less of an Indian? Sometimes I wonder if I qualify as being an Indian! The Reason? It’s that I cannot stand the FOUR biggest things in India (according to me) and that is Religion, Cricket, Politics & Bollywood (I would have to clump in Indian film music, regional or otherwise). I just can’t stand these 4 things. And sometimes, even as we progress in other fields, I can’t help but think that we are two centuries behind in certain matters. Differences in religion, political parties causing riots, idiots in powerful positions and backward thinking – to just name a few.

But the way I look at it is this; you think she is beautiful now? Just think of her when she gets rid of her excess baggage.

Now that is real beauty.

Jai Hind!

Halloween is back

As a fan of horror / slasher movies, I am excited to know about the new version of Halloween that is due to be released on August 31st. The 2007 ‘re-imagining’ of a cult classic is directed by Rob Zombie himself (scream ‘yeah’ and will star former WCW wrestler Tyler Mane as the re-invented character of Michael Myers, who goes on a killing spree during Halloween. Tyler Mane also appeared as ‘Sabretooth’ in the X-Men movies and also in The Scorpion King. Zombie’s wife, actress Sheri Moon Zombie, plays Myer’s mother. Malcolm McDowell plays the part of ‘Dr.Sam Loomis’ who treats Myers for 17 years. Any fan of Zombie’s music or his movies will be waiting in anticipation for this one’s release.

Sens sign two more

Oops, I seem to have missed out these signing on news about the Ottawa Senators. The Sens have signed center Justin Mapletoft on a one year deal. Mapletoft, 26, spent five seasons with the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels. In his final season, he led the Rebels to the 2001 WHL title and 2001 Memorial Cup championship. He was also named WHL player of the year in 2001. The Lloydminster, Sask., native also won the WHL’s scoring title with 43 goals, 77 assists and 120 points before joining the New York Islanders American Hockey League affiliate in Bridgeport,Conn. the following year. The Islanders’ fifth-round pick, 130th overall, in the 1999 NHL entry draft spent four seasons in their organization from 2001 to 2005. He played 38 NHL games, recording nine points (3-6) and eight penalty minutes. With the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Mapletoft had 47 goals, 83 assists and 217 penalty minutes in 240 regular-season games. Mapletoft spent the last two seasons in Europe, playing in Finland, Sweden and most recently Germany. He recorded two goals and five assists in 10 games with Nurnberg’s Sinupret Ice Tigers of the Germany Elite Hockey League (DEL).

Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray announced today that the club has signed centre Jim O’Brien to an entry-level contract. He will be at the Senators training camp, starting on Sept. 13. The club has also signed centre Ilja Zubov to an entry-level contract. Zubov, 20, was Ottawa’s second fourth-round pick (98th overall) in the 2005 entry draft.