Bye To Another Friend

serendipity movie Another friend at the office is leaving us. I knew this was coming, since most of us were not happy with recent changes at the work place. Several of us, including me, wanted to quit and I came close to quitting almost a month ago. A recent change in profile has kept me since that time, otherwise I would have taken that crappy job in Palghat that I was not really happy with but anything to get out of the problem that I was in.

So my friend Shalina is off to another organization to take up a better offer there. The role is pretty much the same but the pay is much better and I think she will be quite happy there and do very well. She was a huge star here, she gave excellent performances as part of her work. I’m gonna miss her jokes & the talks with her. We all are. I found out yesterday morning that today would be her last day at the office and when she came to tell me about it later I was sad. She knew I would miss her and so she gave me a hug to say that she was going to miss me too.

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Sens 4 Canadiens 2

Last night, the Montreal Canadiens raised former NHL great Larry Robinson’s # 19 to the rafters but on what was supposed to be a night honouring one of the Habs best players, Ottawa had different ideas. The Senators won the game 4-2 n front of 21,273 fans at the Bell Centre. Daniel Alfredsson took a loose puck off the left-wing boards and simultaneously shook off a Montreal defender before making a hard pass to Patrick Eaves in front of the net. Eaves fired a one-timer past Montreal goalie Cristobal Huet as the Sens took a 1-0 lead. Ottawa doubled its lead when star center Jason Spezza found forward Chris Neil in front of the Montreal net, and the latter was able to tap the puck past Huet at 8:57 of the opening stanza. Montreal cut the deficit in half when second-year forward Guillaume Latendresse beat Ottawa netminder Martin Gerber with a backhand power-play goal at 10:18 of the middle period.

But Ottawa regained its two-goal lead at 14:35 of the second period, when Ottawa forward Dany Heatley beat Huet with a wrist shot, which snapped his six-game goalless drought. The Senators went ahead by three just 76 seconds into the third period, when Spezza fed Heatley with a cross-ice pass that found Heatley to the left of the Montreal net and Heatley’s wrist shot by Huet but Ottawa forward Chris Kelly was there to bang in the rebound. Chris Higgins also put an end to a six-game goalless slump, scoring the second Montreal goal.

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On the 15th of November, Ottawa had beaten the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 with two goals by Alfredsson & the winner by Shean Donovan. Two days later they however lost to bitter provincial rivals 0-3 at the ACC. That makes it 19 games plays, 16 wins & 3 loses for a league leading 32 points. Great start as long as we get a Stanley.

Batch # 47

This is for the 17 kids who were in my Preprocess batch from the 22nd of October to the 26th of October. After those 5 days that they spent with me, they went to spend 15 days (not counting Sundays) with their Product & Process trainer and then went for their assessments. They came out with flying colours and we are so proud of them. I was so happy about these guys & girls and I feel so special to have been part of such a group. I kept on meeting these kids and wished them well.

I think that they are a fabulous bunch! They have to be, cause they went along with all my crap, with smiles on their faces. I had a ball. I was the one enjoying all the time that I spent with them. I didn’t want to let them go as I had gotten so attached to them and I think they got attached to me. But I have to wish them well and watch from the shadows as they go about their daily work. I want them to do really well and I hope that they do. I’m sure that they will. So as I start other batches I find myself comparing the new ones to Batch # 47. It’s not fair but that’s just the way it is.

Ice Beer

Why is it that you can’t or you never add ice to your beer? Why can you do that to every drink that is there on this world except beer? I mean, I remember once that I was about to add three huge ice cubes into my glass of beer which had become lukewarm and the reaction I got from my friends was as if I had pissed on the bible or some other holy book! They told me under no circumstances was I to add ice into my beer, so my options were to either put the beer into the fridge or to drink the damn thing lukewarm! I chose the first option.

But why do we not add ice into a glass of beer? If it melts in it, just stir it and the taste will be the same. I mean you do it to your whiskey, brandy, gin, vodka, cognac & others. So why not beer? And is that the same for wine? I don’t get to drink wine here but I think that the situation is the same – you don’t add ice in your wine glass. You can drink it chilled if you want to but no ice! What kind of a rule is that?

Beer @ Oberois

I woke up at 5:12 am wanting to pee like hell and also thirsting for some water. So I went to the loo and relieved myself and then went to the kitchen to quench my thirst. I couldn’t really go back to sleep and started playing some tunes. My folks came back home a little after 7 am and I went back to sleep for another 4 hours! That was a solid Sunday morning sleep.

the black cauldron movie I lazed about the entire day, just doing nothing and watching a little youtube and listening to Jerry Seinfeld comedy skits on mp3. By 6 pm I was so bored that I took a shower, changed and went out to get me some beer. Oberois was so quite, with just a couple of other patrons in the bar other than me. I settled for a couple of King Fisher beers and a little snack.

Funny thing, this guy comes in and sits at the table next to mine. He asks for a HoneyBee brandy and a warm soda, pours the soda along with the brandy and then puts in a huge piece of ice! Why the warm soda? Beats me!

I enjoyed my beers and then went for a walk and later bought some food for my folks and came back by 9:30 pm. It was an enjoyable walk and a quite evening.

Gordon – Barenaked Ladies

I absolutely dig this band, one of my two all-time favourites. The Barenaked Ladies are a pop-rock, novelty rock, funny band of 5 guys from Toronto. Their hilarious, unique, fun-loving, thoughtful, at times insightful and at times personal lyrics are backed by excellent musicianship that makes for some very good songs. BNL debut album and first major-label release Gordon was released in 1992 in Canada and went double platinum in record time. The album was a massive success in Canada, where it topped the album charts for 8 weeks and sold over a million copies. Although US interest was virtually nil, with Gordon never charting there at all, the album eventually did earn a gold record in America after their sudden rise to fame there in 1998 with Stunt.

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The album starts with Hello City, a hate / rebuke of sorts to the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The reason for this is for the really bad crowd reactions that the band got in the city. You’ve found an enemy in me sings lead singer Steven Page. Next comes Enid : The song’s title was inspired by Enid Léger, a waitress at Spanky’s Pub in Moncton, New Brunswick. The band found it interesting that “Enid” spelled backwards is “dine.” However, the song is not actually about her. The song was nominated for Single of the Year at the 1993 Juno Awards, although it lost to Beauty and the Beast by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson.

Grade 9 is about the uncertainness & clumsiness of being a geek & a nerd in high school. This is a great sing-a-long song and it contains a shout out to Tom Sawyer by Rush and the movie Star Trek II : The Wrath Of Khan. Brian Wilson a tribute to the singer of the band The Beach Boys, is one of the most famous & loved BNL tracks and still a concert favourite. The end part is an instrumental fest, especially the bass & drums. And the next is Be My Yoko Ono, one that makes me laugh everytime I say the title out loud. It’s a funny little song that basically tells us to back off blaming Ono for breaking up the Beatles and comparing the protagonist’s lover to the famous artist. Wrap Your Arms Around Me sounds like a foreboding love song.

What A Good Boy is one of their best songs ever and it’s live version is my favourite BNL song & not the way they play it here. The live version is very emotional & atmospheric and the songs is very special to me. It’s about the differences between a boy growing up and a girl and how despite all the highs & lows, how the boy still needs the girl to make himself compelte.

The King Of Bedside Manor is a cartoon kinda song, as best as I can describe it. Box Set is a long song to a girl who is crazy of the protagonist and he is singing the song like it’s part of a Box Set of cds. Very original thinking and it has some cool time changes during which it sounds like its’ a whole another song all together. I love You is a silly love song. New Kid (On The Block) is a funny shout-out to the now defunct boyband. Blames It On Me contains a tribute to the infamous Milli Vanilli & their hit single (Blame It On The Rain).

The Flag & Crazy complete the cd but there is a superb & unique love song left. If I Had $1000000 Dollars is considered a live must play and a funny look at a lover telling his lover what he would do for her if he won a million dollars. It is a fan favourite and almost a second national anthem in Canada, especially for the band’s fans. One of the best songs on the planet on a great album.

BarCamp Kerala

BarCamp

is holding it’s first event in our green state; BarCamp Kerala is to be held on the 24th of November. A cozy gathering where anything tech related can be discussed and debated at length, BarCamp Kerala will he held @ the UST Global ZENITH Hall, 6th Floor, Bhavani Building, Technopark, Trivandrum.

Now I would love to be able to go and attend the event as I have read about various BarCamps held at different cities across the globe and have been following a couple of them closely through blogs of my online friends (in Vancouver & Boston mainly). However, I will be starting off a training batch on Tuesday and it ends only on Saturday, hence I will have to be contend to read about it in the websites of my fellow Malayalees.

Home Boy

The folks have gone to Chennai with my sister, brother-in-law and their kids. No noise and religion for three days. Peace and quite and I can relax, watch some football on tv and just take it easy at home. I love to be alone at home; if I have a choice, I’d rather stay at home with a good book, a couple of good movies and play my mp3s all the while. Unless ofcourse some of my friends have different ideas and want to go for drinks.

So I went for work and had a busy day at the office but kept thinking about the quite and empty apartment most of the time. 7 pm could not come quick enough for me. I had to arrange the graduation ceremony for a batch that I took Preprocess training, as they had just successfully completed their Product & Process training. Infact they have completed it as the best out of 47 batches in our center! They have raised the bar considerably as their average is the highest. I’m quite proud of them.

At 7 pm I left the office and headed back home. I got something cold to drink and bought some chicken for my dinner. I was in the apartment by 7:50 pm and as I poured the first drink of that fruit juice into ice filled glass and switched the tv on and put my feet up, I felt the most relaxed. Nothing good was on tv, so I made some instant noodles and cut up the chicken into tiny pieces to mix into it. Later, I took the bottle of juice to my bedroom and watch my dvd of Star Trek : First Contact and I plan to sleep while listening to songs. Goodnite.

Spirit Of Giving

“By the end of the calendar year, I will send a tangible, physical gift to each of the first five people to comment here. The catch? Each person must make the same offer on her/his blog.”

I found this neat idea from a blog I just read for the first time today and it felt like a true epitome of the blog world spirit. So I offer the same for the first 5 people to comment in this blog entry. And you in turn must offer that to the first 5 in your entry.

The Performance

I shall give you a run down of the event in a timeline :

7:00 am : Woke up and had coffee and played a few tunes

7:30 am : Wide awake now, I played the songs that I needed to perform and went through the lyrics

9:00 am : Showered, shaved & dressed I went out to bus stop

10:00 am : I’m at the office and proceeded to work, since Eldo said that he was in the city and would be back later. Met Patrick and we decided to get some work done as we wait for Eldo.

11:00 am : Eldo comes down to the office and announces that Tony will in fact play with us. He knows the songs well and he wanted to join us on bass. Great!

11:15 am : Eldo gets pulled to the venue as he is also in charge for a lot of the organizing and the others lost the paper in which he had mentioned all the details. He said that he would be back in 30 minutes.

1:15 pm : Since there is no sign of Eldo I went for lunch with Manoj, our MIS guy. Came back and worked on some reports and mail at leisure. It was quite at the office and I enjoyed it.

3:00 pm : Eldo finally makes it back to the office. We still haven’t practised today and he is going nuts due to the pressure of the event. We manage to get everything hooked up and practise Smoke On The Water & Summer Of 69 a couple of times. Tony comes with his bass and also brings with him the tracks for the two songs and also one for It’s My Life by Bon Jovi. We play it once and the guys all want it to be included so we agree to do so.

5:15 pm : Packed up, we head out to the venue nearby in Tony’s car. Two guitars, a bass, an amp & keyboards are finally balanced in along with 4 guys in a small car. As soon as we get there, we keep the equipment safe in the changing room and go to enjoy the other events in the show.

7:30 pm : I begin to wonder if we will ever reach the stage. There are way too many programs in the show and I am beginning to get nervous.

8:30 pm : Finally, we are announced as the office rock band and quickly we set up the keyboards, bass & guitars. I ask the crowd “Are You Ready?” and I am met with a thunderous roar of eagerness. Holy Shit! The lights are directly in my face and I can’t see anyone clearly. I was handed a mic which was not that great, so one of the MCs taps me on the shoulder and hands me a new mic – in the middle of the second verse of Summer Of 69! What the fuck? I fumble the timing & the lyrics but we manage to get back on track and finish the song. The audience didn’t know what happened as they don’t know the lyrics!

We blaze into Smoke On The Water and it’s going great. Except that I can’t make out that it’s actually my voice coming out of the mic! I sounded like a 14 year old kid. Some of my friends are rocking out nevertheless and we finish it in a flourish. I wanted to stop there and was about to make my way off the stage when the others insisted on us doing It’s My Life. I fumbled the que to start the first line, so we stopped and start in a jiffy. Surprisingly, most of the crowd do not know the song and stand still. However there is a section of the audience who are dancing their asses away and they join us on stage towards the last chorus. I grab onto a guy (drunk) so he won’t bang into Eldo and pretend that it’s great.

So we finish and I was not happy with my vocals. I get lots of plaudits for my performance! My AM, my colleagues, some of my trainees are so happy and congratulate me! Really?

Anyway, I was so done, that I went and did something that I haven’t done in years. So many many years. I went for a smoke! Yeah!

Get Your Lighters Ready

Well, we have a change in the song choices and in the members that make up the band. Neil hadn’t come in today for practise as his uncle had passed away and he won’t be in tomorrow as well. Plus he really hasn’t practised with us at all. Our proposed bass player Tony has also not come in and won’t be joining us. He too hasn’t played with us all but we thought he would only need a day with us since he knows the songs and is very capable on the bass. And as you already know, our drummer didn’t even want to set up and take a shot!

So we are now down to a trio – Eldo (guitars), Patrick (keyboards) & moi (vocals). We spent quite a long time today perfecting our songs and Eldo showed Patrick the tracks he needed to program into his Yamaha. We got into a groove and have really got a killer version of Smoke On The Water, which we are pretty happy about. I think that we can really give a good performance of this song. I even managed to add a scream after the second verse, just like I’ve seen Ian Gillan do it on live shows.

While playing Hold My Beer a couple of times, we realized that the song is too complicated for just the three of us to do it, so even though we love the song, we have decided to abandon it. It proved to be too much for us. We thought about just going with the one song, even though we are scheduled for 12 minutes of performance on stage. But since we had a good feeling about Smoke On The Water, we thought it would be ok.

However, we were inspired by a visit by two lovely ladies from HR, who wanted us to do Bryan Adams’ classic song Summer Of 69. We decided to try a somewhat slowed down version, more semi-ballad than arena rocker, and worked it out. The two ladies approved and have us a big thumbs up. They sure liked it.

I am hoping that the slower version will bring more emotion to my voice and get the audience all choked up and bring out their lighters. I think with a couple of hours practise during the morning hours we will ace this one. So we play this one first and after the crowd are all emotional, we plan to rock their socks off with our version of Smoke On The Water. Yeah man, I think it’s gonna be fun.

Smoke In My Beer

Well, the day after tomorrow is the big day! The office festivities day has been postponed and postponed and pushed and finally settled on the 14th of November. It’s also Children’s Day! We have the office staff or rather some of the office staff preparing some programs like a fashion show, a few group dances, a skit and other shit. As I entered here a couple of weeks ago a few colleagues & I have decided that we were gonna throw caution to the wind and play a couple of songs on stage. We hardly ever practiced but finally did so on Friday, Saturday & last night. So we have in the band : Eldo Paul on lead guitar, Patrick on keyboards & programmed drums, Neil Stephen on acoustic guitar, Tony Thomas on bass & yours truly on lead vocals & overall sex symbol!

Yeah, no drums since our drummer didn’t want to play plus we had difficulties in getting a drum kit. So Patrick has programmed the drums parts into his giant keyboards and he & Eldo seem capable enough, since they both have been playing for ages and have been parts of a band and a church group respectively. Neil atleast has played his acoustic guitar with a bunch of his friends and in school. Tony was a respected bass player in bands and stuff in his younger days but a bike accident left him with problems with his left arm. So he quit playing for years and only recently started playing for a few hours at his home. But he is good enough to play a couple of songs.

Which leaves me as the lone shmuck in the group! What the fuck do I know about singing? I have never played on stage before, never! Oh well, how bad can it be? I guess we will find out.

The two songs chosen are :

  • Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
  • Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett

Note : – I have typed many posts in my blog and deleted a few. If you ignore the deleted ones, this particular entry is entry number 666! Is that symbolic?

Sens 3 Canadiens 1

Ottawa recovered from a loss to the Washington Capitals by beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 at home. The game entered the 3rd period with Montreal leading by a solitary goal, scored in the 1st period, but two goals from the Sens just 1:40 secs apart sealed the deal for the Ontario team. Daniel Alfredsson & Chris Neil had those two goals and the Swede had another goal to lead his team to victory. Martin Gerber stopped 28 shots for his league-leading 11th win.

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A couple of nights back, the Sens fell to Washington 4-1. Alfredsson scored his 11th goal late in the second for Ottawa, which lost for just the second time in 15 games (13-2-0).
Ray Emery stopped 31 shots in his third start of the season for the Senators. Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov left the game in the first period because of a bruised right thigh.

Registered For Another Year

Well I have successfully registered my domain name awakeanddreaming.org for another year. This url is mine for another 365 days from November 15th onwards. That was the day from which my account would have lapsed, had I not renewed it. I am bummed about the price that I had bought it though – last November I got it for just Rs.100 but this time I had to shell out Rs.500 to renew it! The price I got it for last year was at a discounted special offer. This time no discount.

But I can’t let this url go as I like it a lot. So got it I did. I went and dropped a check for Rs.500 at the post office and I received an email confirmation that my check has reached them and that the renewal has been confirmed. Now I have till Jan 1st to renew my server space account. That will cost me another 500 bucks.

Maybe We’ll Turn It All Around

Three Days Grace is a band that I have slowly come to like during the past three years. I first heard their music while I happened to see the video for their hit single Just Like You on Channel V. I immediately liked the song and wanted to know more about the Ontario, Canada based quartet. I soon got to download an mp3 of that song and another one Home from their eponymous big label debut, released in 2003. They started touring heavily behind that album and in 2006 released their follow up One-X which also gave them some chart success. Out of this album and probably their best song, is Never Too Late a song which has a controversial video about child molestation & anti-suicide. This is a good song and a good video so take a look.

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Where’s Mendy?

A few years ago, I became a fan of Spanish midfielder Gaizka Mendieta. He was Valencia CF’s captain, playmaker & midfield general, the heart and soul of the team. I watched as this very talented footballer lead his club to the top 4 of the Spanish League. Valencia were a very talented team and they won many admirers throughout the football world with their exciting & passionate play, based around the gifted Mendy, as he is affectionately called. He led Valencia to two consecutive Champions League finals in 2000 & 2001 only to lose both. In 2001 he made a big move move from Valencia to Italian giants Lazio for 48 million pounds but he had a very disappointing season with them. Lazio loaned him to Barcelona for the 2002-03 season and then to English side Middlesborough in 2003-04. He made the move to the EPL permanent and is still a member of the ‘Boro squad.

In his time at Middlesbrough FC, Mendieta was part of several memorable footballing moments including Carling Cup glory bringing Middlesbrough their first ever silverware, and also an inspriational performance against Manchester United scoring two goals. However injuries and long durations to gain match fitness has seen him relegated to the substitutes bench and falling out of favour with the bosses. But many fans are vocal about their support for him and to see him playing in the first team. Mendy hasn’t featured in a long time and it would be wise for him to see out his career at another club.

This brings me to think about several other good players whose careers suffered after moving to a much bigger club. Don’t get me wrong; Valencia is a big club with plenty of support. But I am talking about the really big giants like Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio, AS Roma & especially Barcelona & Real Madrid. Ironically, after Mendieta moved from Valencia, they have gone on to win the Spanish La Liga twice, the UEAF Cup & the UEFA Super Cup once each!