0

Leafs & Flames In Multiple Player Swaps

A huge deal between two Canadian teams just got confirmed in the NHL. And it’s a whopper!

The Calgary Flames and the Toronto Maple Leafs have swapped multiple players in a deal that looks to shake both teams up and hopefully get the wins coming in faster. From Calgary we have star defenceman Dion Phanuef, forward Fredrik Sjostrom, and defenceman Keith Aulie move to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forwards Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and defenceman Ian White.

The Maple Leafs and Flames have been working on the components of this blockbuster for a week to ten days, but sources say the details of the deal didn’t fall into place until late last night. The Flames were mired in its worst slump (0-6-3) since an 11-game losing streak in 1986 before getting on the winning side of the tracks on Saturday night with a 6-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in the Battle of Alberta.

The Maple Leafs are coming off a dramatic loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday evening, giving up a three-goal first period lead before falling 5-3. With the loss, coupled with Carolina’s 4-2 victory over Chicago, Toronto now sits 29th in the NHL standings.

0

Stargate Universe : Darkness & Light

Stargate: Universe follows a more continuous style of flow to the series rather than the more normal episodic or different story type versions as compared to SG1 or Atlantis. The first 3 episodes were in fact 3 parts. The same follows for episodes 4 & 5 – part one is Darkness and part two is Light – very appropriately named as you will soon find out.

A day after the life support has been fixed (which was at the end of episode 3), Dr. Nicholas Rush attempts to repair other systems on the Ancient ship Destiny. Tired & shaken an exhausted Rush snaps at others when they ask for his opinion and finally has a nervous breakdown. The crew discover 90,000 liters of water which is good enough to loosen the reins of rations. The systems are being drained of power which is a major concern. The crew meanwhile decide to record individual messages on the Kinos in case someone discovers the ship years later.

Lt. Scot is ordered by Col. Young to work on the working shuttle and Adam Brody is fetched to translate the controls from Ancient to English to help the process along. While Chloe takes a shower Eli is confronted by many of the crew who want him to be their man within the military personnel and Rush and inform them of any developments. Soon many systems start failing due to lack of power and finally the FLT drive also stops. Destiny approaches a star system.

A now calmer Rush enters into the shuttle with Young, TJ, Greer and Scott. Rush remarks that some of the stickers with the translations Brody added were backwards. With the ship going to pass through a gas giant (which Scott names Big Bertha), they will use its gravity to slingshot the ship deeper into the star system, hopefully finding out if any of the planets are habitable. They have six minutes until this happens. By then, they have to spread the word for everyone to brace themselves for the upcoming turbulence.

The plan works, however Rush notes that the trajectory has altered more than they expected and Destiny is headed straight for a giant star and what they know is instant doom!

Espiode5, Light, starts with the crew looking at an inevitable crash into the star and despite 3 planets nearby they have no way of altering the ship’s course. However the second shuttle is working and it has power and can sustain 17 passengers. Col Young, as leader of the mission, announces to the crew that they are to have a lottery to decide who are the 13 people selected to go on the shuttle – he has already decided that 2 people must go by default – Lt.Scot as only he can fly the shuttle and TJ as she is the only medic.

Young has already decided to exclude his own name from the lottery and later Dr. Rush also decides to do the same. Eli watches in pain as Scot & Chloe go hand in hand to be alone, where they kiss and then make love. In Chloe’s mind, she is saying goodbye as she doesn’t believe that she will be going. Meanwhile two of the 3 planets are rules out – one is too hot and the other too cold. That leaves the 3rd which is harsh and it will be tough but they will be able to survive there.

At the predetermined time the remaining 13 are called out and they enter the shuttle along with TJ and Scot. The rest of the crew retire to their quarters and wait for the inevitable death as the ship reached the star. A little later Rush comes out of this quarters and notices a system coming online – the ships’ shields are protecting it and the crew from burning up and the ship is also drawing in power from the star! Lights start coming on everywhere in the ship and power is being restored. The ship actually is programmed to approach a star to recharge it’s power.

Now the crew on board the Destiny inform the shuttle of the situation and after a tough maneuvering, Lt. Scot is able to land the shuttle back onto Destiny and the jubilant crew is reunited. Although he initially commends Dr.Rush on his bravery & sacrificing his chances on the lottery, as the scientist dismisses it, Col. Young suspects that Rush knew all along that the ship had a plan to recharge all along.

4

Head Cold, Stuff Nose…The Works

I’m down and almost out.

I was ok this morning when I left for work but I fell ill within an hour. The AC is kept at a very high temperature and by 11 am I was sure that I was gonna catch a bad cold. And sure enough I started sneezing away to glory.

I was sneezing and sneezing so much that at one point I notice my brain come outta my nose. At a later stage I saw that that the force of my sneezes had moved my chair (on wheels) to quite a distance! At lunch time I thought that a good hot meal may take care of it but the rice was cold and the chicken gravy was just warm.

I couldn’t take it any more but decided to stay and complete the more important work. By 5:15 pm I took a company cab and got dropped home. We had to take a different (read that as long) route as there was a traffic block and I ended up taking a nap in the car. One cup of strong black coffee has not done it’s job either. Gonna nap for some more time.

2

Apple iPad – Is It Worth It?

The menstrual jokes apart, I did look forward to hearing, seeing & getting to know the iPad from Apple. It feels like a great idea and we can finally carry a gadget around like the scientists we see in Sci-fi movies and tv shows.

Starting from $499 customers can get the iPad, similar to the iPhone shape but larger in size. The iPad has a 9.7-inch touch screen, is a half-inch thick, weighs 1.5 pounds and comes with 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of flash memory storage. It comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity built in. Steve Jobs says the device has a battery that lasts 10 hours and can sit for a month on standby without needing a charge. The basic iPad models will cost $499, $599 and $699, depending on the storage size, when it comes out worldwide in March.

Apple will also sell a version with data plans from AT&T Inc. in the U.S.: $14.99 per month for 250 megabytes of data, or $29.99 for unlimited usage. Neither will require a long-term service contract. Those 3G iPad models will cost more — $629, $729 and $829, depending on the amount of memory — and will be out in April. International cellular data details have not yet been announced. It does not however have a camera and does not offer voice calls. Network will be GSM only.

Is it worth it? Personally I am not one of the hordes of salivating Apple geeks (I’m smiling thinking of the comments that may come my way) who’s main source of motivation in life is waiting for the next goodie to be released by Jobs and co – but it does look cool. Although I do not know how practical it would be for the average Joe (err..or average Arun) to be carrying this tablet around. We’ll see once it hits the mainstream market. Not sure when that will happen in India.

0

Sens Update, 29th Jan

The Ottawa Senators have turned their season around and made it 8 wins in a row. Just how did they achieve this? Secondary players stepping up and scoring while the name players were out injured. Teamwork!

On the 21st of Jan, Ottawa welcome the St.Louis Blues and won 3-2. Milan Michalek, Peter Regin and Chris Phillips scored the goals with Regin assisting on Phillips goal. Brian Elliott stopped 27 shots to win his third straight start and Michalek also scored on the power play in his return after missing seven games because of a concussion.

Two days later in Boston, Daniel Alfredsson & Jason Spezza scored to give the Sens a 2-1 win against the Bruins. But what the Sens really wanted was a win against the New Jersey Devils who have long had the upper hand against the Ottawa side. On the 26th of Jan the Sens beat the Devils in Ottawa 3-0. Michalek, Spezza & Alexie Kovalev had the 3 goals. Elliott earned his third shutout.

And just last night the Sens visited defending Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh and came away with a 4-1 win. Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Nick Foligno and Spezza scored the goals while Elliot made 30 saves to win his sixth consecutive start and the Senators tied a club record with their eighth straight win.

0

An Update On My Friend

I’ve blogged about her before so you will have to read these posts in this order first second third fourth fifth sixth & seventh post. Read them all before you read the rest of this post.

If you have you will know as to how much this girl has gone through, has taken her family through and how much better off the lives of four people would have been if she hadn’t gotten herself involved with that bastard who she now calls her husband.

I’ve stayed in touch with her ever since she left the office. At first as I was quite concerned, I would call her atleast once a week and she would call me about 2 or 3 times in a month and we’d chat for a few minutes. As the weeks & months passed my calls to her dropped to once every 30 days and recently it became once every 2 months. That’s also because I haven’t been able to see her in a long time and well, work & life interferes. Also it is because, like each & every one of her true friends, I disapprove of what she has done and that moron she has chosen to spend her life with.

She knows that but she also knows that I will forever be her friend and no matter what I’ll be someone she can turn too. Earlier this month she called me and said that she was attending an interview with Infosys and that she hoped to get the job in Bangalore. She also said that I wasn’t keeping in touch with her as much as I used to and I begged the stress of the job as an excuse. I still wanna be her friend and I do miss her.

Well, a couple of days ago I got a message from her new number and I called her up. She had joined Infosys and was in training right now. I was glad to hear her being excited about working in a big company and she was going on & on about the place where she was staying. I hope this is a big positive change in her life. I’m not sure about what her husband is doing and I didn’t ask and neither did she volunteer any info. Not that I wanna know. For now she is happy & safe and that should be good enough.

2

Notes For Jan 28th, 2010

  • Someone once told me that I have a lot of love to give. And I think I do too. I just don’t have a girlfriend or wife or kids to give it to.
  • My team made me feel proud of them today when they stood in front of the DGM and pointed out the issues and stood firm as a team.
  • I’m enjoying a big piece of chocolate as I type this. Unfortunately, it is reminding me of my oath to exercise more this year – which as of now has come to a standstill.
  • Going to meet my best friends Anil & Madhu this Saturday. I wish we could make our visits every weekend instead of once a month. But hey, something is better than nothing.
  • Got a nice colourful diary from the client’s sales department for helping them to achieve corporate sales count. Me and 2 others in the office got them as gifts.
  • Got to know about a scandal in the office. Not sure how much of the stuff is made up but knowing this lot, I’m pretty sure that it is a sizable portion.
  • Had some issues with Echofon (Twitter app for Firefox) in that I couldn’t view the tweets! I uninstalled the application and then restarted the system before reinstalling the latest version. It seems to be working fine now!
4

11 Years & Going On Strong With Hotmail

I just noticed – I had received an email from Hotmail with a thanks for using their email services for over 10 years! It’s actually a little over 11 years.

Holy crap, has it been that long? I do remember that the first time I ever visited the web was back in 1997 and it must have been either that year or the following that I started the Hotmail account. Yes, I’m pretty sure that it was during the year 1998.

My Hotmail & Yahoo ids were both created around the same time but I only continued with the Yahoo email services for a couple of years. I lost interest in Yahoo as an email service provider and as a search engine as well. But what about Hotmail? I love Gmail and there’s no one who can beat them. I still use my Hotmail account as my primary email id for official purposes, with the sole except for office work which ofcourse goes to my office mail. But for every other official work, I use roshangk@hotmail.com.

0

Scorpions To Splitup After Final Tour

German rock legends Scorpions have announced that after 40 years of making music, the band is to split up. Their 17th and reported to be last studio album Sting In The Tail, which was recorded in their home base city of Hannover, will be released this year. Post that the band will embark on a 2 year farewell tour which they say will see them hit 5 continents and end in 2012 or even early 2013.

Scorpions was formed by Rudolf Schenker in Hanover, Germany in 1965, gaining a huge following when he was joined by his younger brother Michael and singer Klaus Meine in 1969. Their first album, Lonesome Crow was released in 1972. The band has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide. Over the years, only Mein & Rudolf remain as the original members of the band which has seen 5 former drummers & 6 former bassists.

2

Training Team Offsite

As posted earlier, I wanted to take my team out of the office – away from the stress of work and all the bullshit that usually goes on. A day away from work, where I could make sure that they enjoyed the team, bonded a bit, played some games and a little workshop as well. Ofcourse, I wanted them to have a good lavish meal as well.

I knew what I wanted. I wanted to take them out to a hotel, use one of their board/meeting rooms, conduct a couple of sessions, throw in some games and team bonding stuff and feed them. This costs money and I ended up getting it this way – the team would put a nominal figure, the company would pay some and I’d fund the rest. I got almost exactly what I wanted as you’ll see once you read.

Offsite

The main part was the venue – no problems there as the company has tie-ups with a couple of 3 star hotels in the city and we get some concession and we get it on credit. Ok, so Hotel Park Residency near the Civil station in Kakkanad was chosen and I made the booking through the Admin department in my office.

So here is the list I demanded –

  • I needed a small room to conduct the session. The hotel would give us a board room
  • I needed a laptop, since I didn’t have one, and a projector to show the ppts and other stuff on
  • I needed speakers in order to play some music on
  • I wanted a 11 am fruit juice with a snack for 10 of us
  • Lunch at 1:30 am
  • Coffee/tea and biscuits at 4:30 pm

Offsite_3

What I got was the tiny boardroom called ‘Login Board Room’ which they keep for meetings. Anymore than 10 (our exact numbers) would have been a stretch @ the table. The laptop was an old Toshiba that was on the verge of extinction and the speakers that they gave us were older than me! Something you would have dug up from the Titanic! So playing music didn’t pan out the way that I had expected.

Unfortunately one of my Trainers, Wasim, couldn’t make it to the event as his uncle had an accident and was hospitalized in a critical condition. And another trainer, Firdous, could only make it by 1 pm as he had to go for his cousin’s housewarming as well. Manoj, my MIS guy, was the only one who had a car, so he piled Rajeesh, Anusha & Rekha into it and I asked them to bring along a projector from our office. The rest of them joined me at the hotel by 10 am and we settled into these amazingly comfortable chairs, that you see in the pic here. Too bad we couldn’t take them back with us

I had wanted to take them through a psychometric test for office purposes and got that done with at the very beginning. It was a 29 question test that we’d taken from some website and which I’d submit to the corporate team. By then we were brought our fruit juices, which turned out to be pineapple, and the snack – which were very light but quite good club sandwiches. The sandwiches came along with some spicy chips and cucumber & tomato slices.

Offsite_1

I made them play some games; I hope you know what Lighthouse is. It’s basically a team bonding game where you blindfold a person and one team has to guide them to the ‘lighthouse’ or safe zone and the other team has to misguide them by saying the wrong directions. And the lighthouse has two large KitKat chocolate bars – which I kept changing positions to make it even more interesting. We did that and then I made them play Two Truths & A Lie.

Offsite_2

We had one more session which I made my second in command, Ajeeba, take us through. It was a brief ppt that I had made on Building Rapport. By that time it was 2 pm and we were hungry and ready to build a rapport with the food waiting for us. So we marched on through to the dinning hall and ate nan, fried rice, chicken kadai, some veggi kadai, gobi manchurian & fish curry. There also was some curd and salads. I did not like the desert that they gave us – looked and tasted like jam with banana & some other fruit pieces.

However, stomachs full, we came back to the room and relaxed with some music. For the rest of the time, other than a brief respite for coffee & biscuits, I pitted the girls versus the boys in a quiz competition that was mostly on questions on our company. Certain prizes were the loads of KitKat chocolates that I had bought for the occasion. The girls thrashed the boys in the battle of the sexes based on the number of chocolate bars that they piled up on their side of the table.

I bet they brag about that for the rest of the week too! As soon as the long game ended, I asked for the bill and signed for it. We then piled up our stuff and made our way out. Pretty soon we were on our way back to our respective homes. I hope for more such days like this.

2

Give Me (Shower) Head

I’m a shower man as compared to many people I know here who prefer to bathe with water from a bucket that’s poured onto their head by a mug. This is most common way for Indians to bathe but showers have taken over for most people below 45.

I love showers but found the miserly piece of steel that was fitted in my bathroom was piss poor in comparison with the rain head showers that I kept seeing in apartment videos on Youtube or on the tv. Getting a plumber to come to this building is a task in itself. So I adjusted to the damn stupid thing that was installed by the previous owners.

But for the past few weeks the trickle had become even more miserly that I moved to the bucket and mug method. I needed the shower head to be changed but getting a plumber here was difficult. Until a couple of days ago – he came and changed it in a jiffy! Finally after 3 years and 4 months I have a much better shower head and I was in a hurry to test it out.

You know what? It might not be the rain-head that I was envying or big in any way. It’s pretty close in size and design to the one pictured here. But you know what – it does it’s job pretty well. Showering is a pleasure and look forward to standing under it’s river of refreshing goodness every morning. And some evenings. Showering is fun again.

3

Power Of Four

Found this in Tina’s blog

Four places I go regularly: work, home, dreamland, where no man has gone before

Four favorite smells: coffee, hot pizza, lavender talc, ocean

Four people I think will respond: got me stumped

Four TV shows I watch: Stargate Universe, Bones, Criminal Minds, and reruns of Star trek

Give me your four; would love to hear from you.