The Da Vinci Code

I’ve seen the movie 3 times (I have a copy of it on dvd) before I even started reading the book. American authour Dan Brown’s much criticized & maligned and yet hugely popular and controversial novel, The Da Vinci Code, is in my opinion a very well written and though out book.

The book is a worldwide bestseller that had sold 80 million copies as of 2009 and that has been translated into 44 languages. And the theme is this – Jesus was a mortal man, learned & wise, but a man nonetheless. He had a wife, Mary Magdalene, who bore him a child. One group, the Priory of Sion protects the secret and the bloodline of Jesus and the other Opus Dei will do anything to ensure that the bloodline is never revealed for fear that the church’s stronghold on faith, religion and humans is lost!

Fascinating read with some strong characters in the protoganist Robert Langdon, Sophie Neuvu (who turns out to be very central to the whole thing) & Sir Leigh Teabing who is the unexpected mastermind behind the entire chase that leads to the finding of the bloodline. Good book; I’d say to hell with the zealots and go enjoy a nice pageturner. Go Read!

Day 1 Of Retention Workshop

I am attending a two day workshop on retaining people conducted by the Leadership Development Department of our company. As a BPO, attrition is a major challenge and especially when dealing with a domestic process – heavy call volume and lower salaries, when compared with an international process. As the training lead for the Kerala center, I’ve been asked to arrange one with my counterparts in corporate from May but due to many reasons we were unable to get one conducted for us till this week. Retention

The first batch was completed over the last two day and I was able to send two members of my team for it. Today and tomorrow, I’m sending two others and I’m attending it myself and as stated in an earlier post, we’re conducting it in a conference room in Hotel Park Residency, located near the Kakkanad Civil Station. The session was too long; most people were groaning towards the end but I guess portions had to be covered.

Lunch was the hotel buffet, which I felt should have been arranged seperately for the conference attendees but oh well! Let’s see : there was veggie & chicken soup, nan, drunken chicken (no idea who got the chicken drunk), fish curry, grilled pork chops, crab salad with 1000 Island dressing, another chicken curry, some vegetable curries, noodles, fried rice and two kinds of boiled rice with the usual sambar, avial, thoran & papadom. For dessert there was an ice cream and pudding. The pièce de résistance was the grilled pork shops – my only complaint is that it was a lot cooled by the time we ate it.

We trudged back in and we all had looks of disain on our faces when we learnt that we had to do an outdoor activity next! 35 minutes in the hot sun, we came back in. The hotel does not really have good service (we had a couple of goof ups and a couple of interruptions) and why is it that such big hotels have such bad coffee? Overall I was happy that the session has happened.

Arsenal’s 2 Match Update

Arsenal have played two games in the last 4 days but I wasn’t to watch either. Sunday’s league game was against West Ham United and Arsenal let the game slip away from them. After leading by goals the Gunner let the Hammers back into the game and it ended up being a 2-2 draw.

Last night in the Carling Cup Arsenal proved too strong for Liverpool as they beat the Reds in an absorbing Carling Cup fourth round tie. The Carling Cup is a chance for lesser lights to shine and prove their worth. Fran Merida thundered in an 18-yard shot to put Arsenal ahead. Liverpool’s Emiliano Insua equalised with a superb 25-yard dipping strike but Nicklas Bendtner shot into the roof of the net for what proved to be the winner.

Watching Young Couple From Next Door

Every morning after I get up, brush my teeth & wash my face, I get my first cup of coffee and go to my bedroom window or the balcony. It’s not just to get some fresh air and take in the morning sun. It’s to stare loving at the couple from the big house that’s diagonally opposite my building!

The family that owns the house also owns the land that’s adjucent to the building in which I live in. This land has a storage shack, lots of grass, sand and some coconut trees. The young couple come there every morning, led by a man who opens the gate for them and locks it after there. Here the young couple run for a bit and frolick in the grass. I’m sure that they both look forward to this hour or so of freedom that they get every morning.

They jump up and down, chase each other, hide behind the trees and lick each other. Sometimes, they are content to just lie on the grass in the morning sun and watch as people go by. I always enjoy watching the young couple from 7 stories up. But I want to be closer, I want to touch them and spend some time with the two of them. The only time that I do not want to be with them is when the couple also take a dump in the grass or sand of the open lot. Yes, they shit in the grass.

Cause they are both, approximately, 2 year old golden labradors. And they are grogeous.

When In Doubt…..Chicken Out!

I used to live in Thrikkakara near the famous temple, which is about 500 meters away. Living in that area, Kalamasserry South is also a place I used to frequent and about 2 minutes away from the University arch is a house build a top a slight cliff.

On the side of the house is an area which the owners had obviously been meaning to put to good use and make a profit out of it. While I was a teen, I noticed that they had a small computer course teaching center. Nothing fancy – just your basic Ms Office, Windows, Tally etc. They did a few students from the colleges nearby as well as the university. But not enough to last them a while.

For some time after that it became a storage space for a local company. That went on for a few years. A couple of years back  I saw that they had refurnished the place and painted it (a shocking pinkish red) and it had become a local CPIM office! Renting your land to a political party may not be a good idea but there it was, with a huge banner above it! But here comes the clincher!

A few days ago, as I was passing the area, I saw that yet again the owners had changed ventures and decided to go with a safer option. It has now become….wait for it…….no rush….wait for it…… A Chicken Hut! Yes, get your fresh chicken fry, chicken roast, chicken curry and enjoy good fingerlicking grub! And, according to a person I know who lives in the area, they are doing well!

2 Day Workshop On Retention

I’ve got a lot of work to do in the next two days. Corporate wants the sun, the stars, the earth & the moon from us – and they want us to throw in a few asteroids & comets as initiatives & value adds! This is causing me to lose my hair at an alarming pace. And some sleep as well but – I can still catch up on my sleep on the weekends.

Another reason for me putting extra hours the next two days (I’m just back from a 12 hour shift today as well) is that I won’t be in the office on Friday & Saturday. I’ll be attending a Train 2 Retain program conducted by the Leadership Development & Management department in conjunction with HR. This is a 2 day session that I’ve been looking forward to for a while. I was supposed to co-ordinate for this training to be conducted back in June but due to many reasons, it could not happen till now.

So I’ll be attending the program with about 22-24 others from the center at the Hotel Park Residency from 10 am-6:30 pm for two days. I hope it’s fun as well as a good learning experience.

New Soul Cowboys

I’ve been a fan of Anthony Gomes since 2006, when I just happened to google him based on the advice of a blues-rock enthusiast. The search led me to his official homepage where I streamed his 2006 release Music Is The Medicine (and which I reviewed in January 2007 here). The New Soul Cowboys is his side venture, a power trio that dwells into the Southern blues-rock scene.

So let’s dish up the fried chicken shall we! Painted Horse is about the freedom of the road, travelling on choppers aka painted horses and living the adventurous lifestyle. Following on similar themes, thought a much more lighter sounding, is Rebel Highway. Once again it’s about guitars, travelling the American south, following in the footsteps of their heroes and playing in bars to enthusiastic audiences. Gamblin’ Man follows the lines of the outlaw life and take a chance when making your fortunes.

What’s It All About is a clap along, sing along cheerful bar dance of a song. It’s about falling in love and letting the object of your affection know about your feelings. Somebody’s Missing is a ballad about being alone and reminiscing about the one that got away. Purple Whiskey Sack is a 2006 song, off Gomes’ solo album Long Road Home. It’srspray download is a down & dirty blues-rock song about fending for yourself and having no one to trust. The purple sack in the song is about Crown Whiskey, a Canadian brand.

Born To Ride once again follows the central biker theme and outlaw lifestyle. Carolina is about a a special & beautiful girl, who the singer falls for. Your Are Amazing is a song about dedication & affection to the woman in your life. The sorta autobiographical song about the trio is the title track; New Soul Cowboys is a funky song. A little southern voodoo rocks up Chicken Cross Bones and the band ends the cd on the ballad Losing You.

Paranormal Is Top Halloween Movie

If you want to know how to make a movie really sell and do well, take a page from first time director Oren Peli. The Israeli born director, who also wrote the movie, made 2009 horror hit Paranormal Activity on a budget of $15000 with a small unknown cast.

The movie has made $62 million at this time and is the #1 movie in the US going into the week of Halloween. The movie has become a horror sensation because of online fan buzz. The fictional movie unfolds like a homemade documentary as a couple copes with apparitions and supernatural phenomena in their home. It features footage captured on a camera setup by the couple in their bedroom.

Dust In The Kerala Wind

My room has collected a lot of dust. My desk at which I sit and type, the keyboard and the sliding tray on top of which the keyboard sits. That’s probably what’s making me sneeze and stirred up my alergy. It’s on a bag near the window that I left there almost 3 years ago. It’s on the floor underneath my bed.

We have a lady who comes in to clean but she conviniently forgets to sweep under the bed unless someone reminds her. My computer needs a good wiping but I’m scared to let her do it, cause she may destroy something. Guess I’m going to have to use a wet handerchief, cover it over my face (nose in particular) and clean it myself. I should have done it sooner but I’m such a lazy klutz!

Star Trek : TOS Women

I’ve been enjoying watching downloaded episodes of the original Star Trek series or TOS. One of the things that I have noted, and this is not the first time that I have noted this, is that they seemed to be no dearth of hot women in the show.

Also, it seems to me that women in the 60’s just seemed to be more sexier than the ones in the decades since! I dunno why that is but I know that I’m not the only one who feels like that. Or put it this way, the ratio of sexy women seemed to be much higher back then. And Star Trek was no slough is showing us the hotness.

Case in point is Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, played by the delicious looking Sally Kellerman, in the pilot Where No Man Has Gone Before. Sally is more famous for playing Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the movie M*A*S*H. Another movie of hers that I love is Back To School. She was about 28/29 when the Star Trek pilot was filmed and she is absolutely beautiful & sexy here. And she is just one such example.

Random Sunday Blog Post

Well, I haven’t been feeling all that well. It’s mostly just a bad cold that stuck with me for most of yesterday. I was off from work and so tried to lay in bed as much as I can. I was quite bored and so I watched 3 movies yesterday. Juno (for the 2nd time), Journey To The Center Of The Earth (also for the 2nd time) and last night I watched Knocked Up (for the 3rd time)!

I’ve always thought that Katherine Heigl was a babe but I think she’s even more prettier in this movie. I find myself laughing to the crude jokes in the movie almost as much as I did when I first saw it. What else? Ah, I have some lovely, juicy apples of which I had one for dessert right after lunch. Lunch was bland and almost saltless but I wasn’t hungry enough to be bothered.

I was dissappointed that their showing the Arsenal vs West Ham match on ESPN and not on Star Sports – the stupid old tv that we are using at the moment cannot carry most channels. I can tune to Star Sports but for some reason not ESPN and it irritates me that I can’t get many other channels as well. Well, it will have to do until I get a new tv.

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Criminal Minds : Blond Women Killed

Once again Criminal Minds gives us a good episode with a stellar guest star cast to boot. However, this time I do feel that they left out some of the build-up to the actual criminal and the dwelling into the lives / minds of our main cast is missing too. Well, there is a bit of that but not to their usual standards. That’s usually what makes this series so good.

The premise is the abduction, murder & embalming of 3 blond women in a town in Washington state, over the period of 9 months with a gap of 3 months between each woman. Their hair was cut to the same style (by the murdered) and they were given double piercings of diamond & pearl earrings. The killer is altering these women’s appearances to look like that of his late au pair, Abby who was from Holland. After they submit to his whims, he kills them and has sex with their corpses.

The guest stars for this episode are Mercedez McNab, Michael Biehn, Lolita Davidovich & the elegant Cybil Sheppard. It’s a shame that Cybil was only in it for a small part, she still looks radiant.

Shutter

I’ve actually seen this movie once before but never got to writing the review. It’s another one of those Hollywood remakes of an Asian horror movie (a 2004 Thai movie in this case).

The story is about Ben, a photographer & his new bride Jane, who go to Japan shortly after their wedding as Ben has got a lucrative gig in Tokyo. Ben has previously worked in Tokyo and had an affair with a Japanese girl. When she got too clingy & needy, Ben wanted out. His friends Adam & Bruno drug the Japanese girl, Megumi, and rape her, while Ben took her pictures in order to blackmail her and get rid of her from his life. So she commits suicide in shame but her ghost is still around and hunting for Ben. While they are driving to a cabin, Jane thinks she hit a girl but they can’t find the body after they get out of their crashed car & look.

Meanwhile Ben gets a pain in his shoulder, which they think was caused by the car accident. He gets to his new job but Jane starts seeing things. The photos that they took come out with mysterious white lights in them, which are identified as spirit photos. A man who investigates paranormal activity says that the lights are spirits, manifestations of intense emotions trying to communicate. As Jane investigates, she finds out the ghost is a girl named Megumi and that she used to know Ben.

Ben tells Jane that yes they had an affair and that he dumped her. Later, Ben’s friends, Adam and Bruno, are killed by Megumi. A horrifying night in their bedroom leaves both Jane & Ben stunned. After they find Megumi’s decaying corpse in her house, they have the body cremated and then leave for New York. However, Jane finds Megumi’s spirit in their apartment and she is led to a camera with the photos that Ben took of his friend’s molesting Megumi. Enraged Jane leaves Ben.

Ben is angry and starts calling out to Megumi while taking pictures of the apartment. When he throws the camera on to the floor, it takes a polaroid of him – showing that the ghost is sitting on his shoulder! This explains the neck pain. Freaked out, Ben trys to electrocute himself and is rendered catatonic. He is institunalized and as we close the movie, we see him at the hospital with a smiling Megumi clinging to him still! Creepy! 7 outta 10!

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Top TV Roles

This is my top/favourite tv roles of all time, the kind of roles I wish I could do if I was an actor. Mind you, there may be several more yet for me to discover but these are certainly some really good and even offbeat roles.

  • Constable Benton Fraser (Due South) – Paul Gross
  • Remimgton Steele (Remington Steele) – Peirce Brosnan
  • Ed Jeremy Stevens (Ed) – Tom Cavanaugh
  • Agent Fox Mulder (The X-Files) – David Duchovny
  • Angel (Angel & Buffy The Vampire Slayer) – David Boreanaz
  • Captain James T Kirk (Star Trek) William Shatner
  • Michael Knight (Knight Rider) – David Hasselhoff
  • Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica – original) – Dirk Benedict
  • Cade Foster (First Wave) – Sebastian Spence
  • Dr. Rodney McKay (Stargate : Atlantis) – David Hewlett
  • John Crichton (Farscape) – Ben Browder