Hearts In Atlantis is a 1999 published book by celebrated author Stephen King. It consists of 2 novellas and 3 short stories, each in chronological order and connected to each other. King’s depiction of the 1960’s generation, in his view, as promising so much yet under-achieving is evident here as is the looming figure of the Vietnam War and its prolonged effect. The novel starts with the story of Bobby Garfield, a 11 year old boy, whose widowed mother is subjected to sexual torture by her boss & his cronies. Bobby befriends the newcomer in town, Ted an elderly man who is hiding from the low men in yellow coats. This novella is the only part in which the horror/sci-fi/supernatural element appears, albeit in small doses. John Sullivan & Carol Gerber are Bobby’s childhood friends. In the second novella, narrated by Peter Riley, we learn of a group of college students who while their time away playing Hearts, an addictive card game for pennies. Carol is the now 18 year old girl who Pete falls for. Getting good grades in college, which is a kind of Atlantis, is the only escape from the army draft & the Vietnam war.
Next is Will Shearman, a Vietnam war veteran, who disguises himself as a blind beggar making hundreds of dollars in donations. He keeps the bills for himself and gives the rest to charities. Will, who saved John’s life in Vietnam, used to be Willie, a bully who picked on John, Carol & Bobby.
Next we see John Sullivan, much older going to the funeral of a fellow Nam vet and speaking about why they were in the war with another veteran. On his way back, Sullivan dies of an heart attack while stuck in a traffic jam. This leads us to the conclusion and last story – Bobby Garfield returns to his hometown to attend Sullivan’s funeral. This is his first visit in 40 years, yet he finds closure to his relationships with Carol Gerber and Ted Brautigan.
The first novella was adapted into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins in 2001 called Hearts In Atlantis.
As most of you readers know, I love coffee. For the others, just click on the category named Coffee and you will know.
I enjoy my cup, whether hot or cold, and I like taking my time with it, unlike a lot of people who just gulp it down in a couple of seconds (how do they do it with hot coffee, I shall never understand). What I want in my coffeeshop is excellent coffee in various different styles. Some cookies, brownies & little snacks to go along with the coffee. A tasty looking menu that has actual images of the type of coffee that are available. Lush carpeting or wooden paneling. Comfy sofas and chairs with neat tables. Attentive & knowledgeable waiters. Decent pricing (I don’t mind spending premium cost on the coffee if its good).
Ofcourse the coffeeshop must be in a easy to reach location. Must be air-conditioned and roomy. Should be big enough that it doesn’t get crowded if 20 people are sitting at table there. And oh, even more important than the coffee’s taste – do not play stupid Hindi music or dance music and certainly do not play recordings of 3rd rate Indian bands trying to murder rock classics! It was so bad today at Cafe Coffee Day.
On Friday evening after I reached home to spend the weekend alone, I realized that I didn’t have coffee or sugar! What is that word that fits for the moment when you are confronted with a terrible catastrophe, a disaster, a terror, a calamity, a crisis? Name that word and you have the situation that I was in. I had reached late and the shops next to me were closing as I was walking on by. So there was no way that I could get any and I badly wanted a coffee at that time, since it was cold & raining.
The next morning, Saturday, I had to wake up early to get to office before 8 am. The alarm went off at 5 am and I dragged my butt out of the covers and brushed my teeth and washed my face. Barely alive, I made my way to the stove and put the kettle on to boil water and open the cupboard for the coffee & sugar and found both empty and …..aghhhh! Cruel, cruel way to start the day!
I went back to my room and switched the computer on (cause the radiation from the monitor acts just like any stimulant) and tried to read motivational topics and inspiring quotes. It didn’t work, so I went to the bathroom and did my duties. I came back when the back up alarm went off (5:30 am) and sat for what felt like an eternity. Slowly I went back to shave and take a warm bath. I decided to go straight to the office, since I was now running late and as soon as I reached there, I flung my bag on my desk and headed straight to the pantry area so I could get my fix. Ahhh! Disaster avoided.
Cool video to go along with Justin Nozuka’s Mr.Therapy Man song.
Yesterday afternoon I was in the 2 member interview panel for existing call center agents to move to another center for a deputation period of just 30 days. We have a new center starting up and it’s the same product, although there will be lots of changes in the details, but it’s a different city, culture & language. However, the customer care there will have an option for choosing English as the language of communication. So our guys will also be eligible, provided that they can speak English good enough and can actually frame some sentences without making too many grammar mistakes.
Ah, easier said than done. We had a tough time. Apparently there were about 40 people who had applied for the 30 day option to go to the new center and before I came into the picture, about 10 were already interviewed. They asked me to come in by 3pm and the two of us spoke to 22 agents, all guys, and we selected 8 of them. Out of that bunch, 3 were my former trainees and since I had a good idea of how well they can speak, those 3 were easy enough decisions. I only selected 1 out of the 3.
Funny part was one fellow, who I hadn’t spoken to before at all. I asked him 5 questions…..and he gave me the same answer for each! There was no way that I was going to select him. But he was also the most genuine guy out of the 22. What a shame!
In Palarivattom there is a restaurant on the opposite side of the road of the small hotel that my 3 colleagues and I used to frequent when I worked for a small marketing firm. This was back in early 2002. It was called Hotel Paragon and it had a huge neon light sign that had each letter separate. A couple of years ago, while the owners were having some repair work done on the roof of the building, a big pipe swung in the wrong direction and broke the ‘P’ in the word ‘Paragon’!
The damage was so severe that the whole light in the shape of the letter ‘P’ was broken off from the wall, except for a small piece. After they had the portion cleared off, the owners thought that they would wait for a bit before getting the sign repaired. As the days went by, people started referring to the hotel as Hotel Aragon and soon the name stuck. Soon the owners decided to just stick with the name Aragon and that’s the way it has stayed for 4 years! If you notice the sign, there’s a bigger than normal signed between Hotel & Aragon!
I am borrowing a term used as the title & theme of a song by the Boston based band, Extreme. I know its not government or state run politics but I believe that every corporate company has its own brand of politics. Its inevitable and its disgusting and its expected! That is the shame. However, when it hits you point blank in the face and you are expected to grin and bear it……Fuck you, I am not going to play along.
I have decided to quit my job on the 1st of July. The training DGM will be in town by the 30th of the month and I have to speak to her about a few things and make some things clear before I give my resignation papers but the fact remains that for the sake of my sanity and what little pride I have left, I must leave. It’s clear that this is not the place for me or for anyone who wants to work hard, have fun, do the right thing and work decently and enjoy their work. This is a place for ass lickers and their ilk. Take it! You can have it! I have had enough.
The Ottawa Senators have also made some changes to their squad, although unlike Toronto, these changes were expected. The Sens placed goalie Ray Emery on waivers and once he cleared it, he became an unrestricted free agent after being bought out by the Ottawa.
Emery was owed US$6.75 million over the next two seasons. Senators GM Bryan Murray put Emery on waivers after he couldn’t find a market for the mercurial goalie. “I’ve attempted to trade him,” Murray said Friday. “Like I said at the end of the season, it’s an opportunity for us to move on and him to move on.
Despite have a great season and leading the Sens all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, getting lots of accolades for his goal tending, earning himself a fat raise along with a new contract, the Hamilton (Ontario) area native found himself quickly falling from grace. He has had some controversies and disciplinary issues and lost his no.1 spot to Martin Gerber. But he is still only 25 and could easily bounce back in a new team.
The Sens also traded tough guy Brian McGratton to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick in 2009. The Coyotes tendered McGrattan the required US$605,000, one-year qualifying offer before the 5 p.m. ET deadline in order to retain his rights. He is a restricted free agent. McGrattan, 26, has 287 penalty minutes in 143 career NHL games. He had three assists and 46 penalty minutes in 38 games with the Senators last season.
A new movie featuring their club makes it to the theaters and all of a sudden the Toronto Maple Leafs starts ditching their players like a ego-centric diva dumping her plainÂ high school boyfriend & pretending that she has no relatives! Toronto have announced that they are buying out fan favourite Darcy Tucker’s contract. Tucker has 3 years left on his contract.
The Leafs have also put goalie Andrew Raycroft & center Kyle Wellwood on waivers. The promised overhaul has begun as the Leafs finished for the 3rd year in a row out of contention for the Stanley Cup. Raycroft had lost his starting job to Vesa Toskala during the past season and Wellwood seemed to be losing interest. However, the Vancouver Canucks have quickly claimed Wellwood off waivers and he will likely suit up for them next season.
Along with the management allowing the Montreal Canadiens to speak to captain Mats Sundin about a possible trade, the Leafs seem to really mean business.
I can’t believe it how fucking stupid my company is. They promote this fucking stupid moron who doesn’t have a decent bone in his body. A corporate whore, sonofabitch, asshole, motherfucker, father’s cock sucker, idiot asslicking dickhead! And he is a manager. He is the worst kind, arrogant to the core, doesn’t do any work and pushes his weight around because he is favoured. A manager, this idiot! Well, we are all united in the fact that we hate this bucket of shit!
He got promoted to as assistant manager only because he was the previous GM’s bitch! That big bugger used to say ‘bend over and spread ur butt cheeks’ and this jerkoff obliged as far as he could. And he blew him and he sucked and he swallowed. And he licked ass. And he is a bastard! And they pick him!
My time is up at this company. And I don’t want to get promoted here as then I will have to report to this piece of shit.
I was reading about intruders & breaking-ins at my Australian friend Selma’s blog and about sleeping through catastrophes in general. While reading about a couple of breaking-ins in that article, I was reminded of the couple of cases that we have dealt with in my family. Our break-ins have been of the comical variety, some of these robbers are pathetic to say the least. Here is a trip down memory lane:
- When I was 11 or 12, my entire family on my mother’s side (uncles, aunts & cousins included) went on a summer vacation trip to places like Bangalore, Coimbatore, Mysore etc and when we came back, I noticed that someone had tried to steal a portable tape player, from the room I shared with my sister, through a window that was left open. It was not possible for him to do so since we had bars on the windows and the space was too narrow for the player to go through. I guess in frustration, the dude tried to take a couple of cassette tapes which probably fell from his hand fell as I later found them in a puddle of mud next to the house. I still remember which albums they were – my sister’s copy of George Michael’s Faith & my copy of John Norum’s Total Control. Needless to say, we had to get new copies of both.
- On returning from a weekend trip to my dad’s family house in Irinjyalakuda, we noticed that something was amiss in the backyard. A thief had jumped the gate or the wall but he couldn’t break in! So he stole a tubelight that was lighting the back area of our house!
- I must have been about 13 or 14 when a drunk but known thief tried to climb the wall between my grandmother’s house and the next door neighbours’. He slipped and fell and the neighbours caught him. People came from the area and beat him up. He reportedly spent some days in a jail and then moved to some other town.
- A few years later, I was spending the weekend with my grandmother, my uncle, aunt and my two cousins at the same house, when we heard a ruckus outside. A lot of people were coming through the gate. When we opened the doors and checked as to what it was, it seems that the hotel owners opposite the house had caught someone coming into our compound and going away with…..a wicker chair!!! It turned out that the supposed thief was a local simpleton and drug user and he was hopped out of his mind on opium at the time! He got away with a sound thrashing and we got the chair back :)
- Last but not least and my favourite one was at my uncle’s house, who lives two houses away from my old house in Thrikkakara. When he and my aunt were away to see their daughter at her college, a thief had broken in through the back door. The evidence was there to see for us to see and the next day I helped my uncle fix a new & tough lock on his door. As I inquired as to what was missing, my aunt & uncle broke into sheepish smiles! It seems that all that was missing was a bunch of – wait for it, you will never guess it, hold your breath – bananas!!! There were two tvs there in the house, one old & one new, a spanking new computer, two huge stereo systems, many house hold appliances, some 5000 bucks in a cupboard drawer and some other stuff, but no! Our Mr.Thiefy apparently had a potassium deficiency that he needed to take care of.
Not that I am complaining, you know. I am glad that none of these incidents were dangerous.
My cousin Manoj introduced me to this little guitar god. Just listen to the kid play some songs on his guitar.
He is 11 year old Sungha Jung from South Korea. What an amazing talent!