One Week

I first heard about this movie when I watched an interview of Joshua Jackson on George Stroumboulopoulos CBC talk show The Hour. Then last year this movie was given a good push on Twitter and my interest was peaked.

One Week is a Canadian road movie directed by Michael McGowan and starring Jackson, up & coming Liane Balaban and narrated by Campbell Scott (who appears as, what seems, to be an older version of the Jackson’s character).

The movie starts off with Ben Tyler (Joshua Jackson), a Toronto elementary school teacher, finding out that he has stage 4 cancer from his doctor. With a ten percent chance of survival and most likely two years to live, the doctor recommends that he go into treatment immediately to give himself the best odds. Leaving the doctor’s office, he meets an elderly man (Marc Strange) selling his bike as his eye sight has become bad. Knowing well that his fiance Samantha (Liane Balaban) detests motorbikes, Ben takes it for a spin and then buys the bike.

After drinking a Tim Horton’s coffee, he rolls up the rim to see if he has won a price – instead he sees the words ‘Go West, Young Man’. At his father’s 60th birthday party, Ben informs Samantha about his condition. He then states that he wants to take a 2 day ride on his bike and have an adventure before he goes in for treatment. He sets off from Toronto but quite soon questions the wisdom of not going in for treatment immediately. However his faith in his trip is soon renewed when he meets two guys from Newfoundland, who are trekking cross Canada on just $400 for a case of beer.

He meets a fellow biker (played by the Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie) who also overcame cancer. They have a conversation about how he overcame it and about life & love. Continuing on the road out west, he stops to take photos next to various landmarks. In Manitoba, he see the Stanley Cup, placed on a table on center in an empty rink. It seems that Derek Vincent (Gabriel Hogan) of the Anaheim Ducks has brought it there, entitled to a day with the trophy. After being allowed to kiss the Stanley Cup, Ben watches as the Ducks player skates around with the trophy alone on the ice.

When his bike breaks down, he meets a middle-aged female farmer who fixes his bike and then takes him on horse back to see a beautiful panoramic view of the Saskatchewan prairies. There’s a good cameo by Joel Plaskett as a busking singer/guitarist, who Samantha listens to. In Banff national park Ben meets a backpacker (singer Emm Gryner) who makes him sing along to a French song at a campfire and they make love at night. He wakes up blissfully but that is short lived as Samantha has come to meet him at his hotel and he tells her about his unfaithfulness. She takes off after he admits that he has not loved her completely.

Ben makes his way to Tofino (on Vancouver Island and about as West as he can go). While he is in a restaurant, his bike is damaged by a truck. He rents a surfboard & wet suit and swims far out into the ocean and then is elated to see a humpback whale breaking out of the water. Concluding that he had found ‘Grumps’ a childhood imaginary creature his father had told him about, he heads back home, meets up with Samantha and then goes to his awaiting parents & sisters to begin his treatment.

This music heavy movie ends as the narrator (Campbell Scott) is shown concluding the story and focuses on a book by Ben Tyler called ‘One Week’. It is implied that the narrator is an older Ben, seemingly free of his cancer. I found this movie appealing and funny in places, shadowed however by the probability of death. It’s a good movie to watch on an afternoon, lounging on your sofa.

8 outta 10!

A Bike You Can Yike

Here’s a motor-powered bike that fits in your coat closet, and under your desk at work? It’s light and portable and no harder to lug around than a messenger bag or that suitcase you call a purse? So say the creators of YikeBike.

YikeBike Created in New Zealand the strategy is this: “use smart technology to solve the problems of our increasingly congested, polluted and stressful cities.” Weighing around 22 pounds and costing between 4 and 5 grand this mini bike goes 12.5 miles per hour and folds up in a minute flat. Sustained by a clean energy lithium battery one charge lasts you 6 miles. Taking just 30 minutes to charge back up again, it seems like fun to go around town on it.

Plus it looks like it won’t hurt your back – it breaks the ‘lean forward over the bars’ paradigm of biking.

Arsenal 2 West Ham United 0

Arsenal welcomed fellow London club West Ham United to the Emirates Stadium and after 5 minutes & some smart interplay between Denilson and Bendtner resulted in the little Brazilian scoring a neatly taken goal, slotting the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Arsenal were off to a good start. And then….

Just before half-time, Arsenal conceded a penalty and Vermaelen was sent off. But fortunately, like the Champions League semi-final against Villarreal, our goalkeeper saved the resulting penalty and we went into the break 1-0 up. After that Song dropped into the back line, and as a team we defended excellently. Cesc clipped the ball up onto Upson’s arm in the 82nd minute, and scored the resulting penalty, 2-0.

Speaker-less, Music-less Me

As regular readers of my blog and those who know me well will know, music is my passion. If I had to live without my music – that would be a fate worse than death. I need my music, almost about as much as I need oxygen, water, a roof over my head, food and coffee. You get the picture! I listen to my huge collection of mp3s on my pc and I have some of them also stored on 1 GB space on my iPod shuffle and my BlackBerry Curve 8320, so I can listen to them while on the move as well.

While listening to music through the earbuds on the Curve & the ipod is a necessity when you are out in public, I do not really like it. I like to be in an open room and let the music pour out through my computer speakers (at this very moment, it’s a classic: We Built This City On Rock n’Roll by Starship blaring on my system). So you can guess my despair when I came home on Wednesday night and switched on my computer, clicked on Winamp and tried to play a couple of Metallica songs and…..nothing! No sound. I checked and saw that the speakers were light up. A quick check told me that the adapter was plugged in right and everything seemed to be in order but still there was no green power light to indicate that the speakers were working (the speakers adapter is plugged in to another outlet). I rechecked and pulled the plus out and checked to see if the wire was loose. No it wasn’t. Bugger!

I haven’t realized how much I have come to depend on my routine – listening to music once I come back home till around 11 pm and then watching a movie or tv series episodes until I feel sleepy. Without sound these things are not possible. I’ve also been accustomed to having music playing while I read my favourite blogs or browse aimlessly through images & websites.

Wednesday night went by with me just reading for a while as I waited for sleep. Thursday evening, post work, I walked all the way from Shenoy’s Junction till Kacheripady looking for an electronics store from where I could buy a new adaptor that would suit my purpose. There were none. Dejected I drank a couple of stiff vodkas and came back home. I read and waited for sleep. Friday I went out around 12 pm to Palimukku and on Electronics Street, I found a shop that had the same brand & make of my now broken adaptor. Rs.180 exchanged hands and I was back home in 30 minutes and watching the pilot episode of Caprica.

Caprica : The Pilot

Caprica – although I’ve read about and heard about this prequel to Battlestar Galatica (Sci-fi has fallen to the prey of prequels big time) for a while, it was only two nights ago that I thought of getting a download of the pilot and watching it. I was/am a huge fan of the original series and although I get the new BSG, I’m not a fan of the very Earth like appearances that they have. Like cars, clothes (suits, hats & ties), houses, politics & religion. It’s all so Earth-like! I know a whole bunch of people like that element but this is a world that is supposed to be thousands of light years away from us and that existed eons ago. Why would they have the same things that we do, albeit a lot more advanced? That is just so that non-Scifi geeks (unlike geeks like me) can get it through their un-imaginative brains!

Lol, all jokes aside, I do like the new BSG and now Caprica too – well going by the pilot, it is a little dull in places but my interest is high. The pilot starts 58 years before the destruction of the 12 colonies and William Adama is but a young kid of 11. We see the two central families of the series – the Adamas & the Graystones – brought together in grief over the deaths of loved ones in a religious terrorist attack. Daniel Graystone (Eric Stotlz) is a wealthy scientist who creates the first Cylon, the mechanical race destined to destroy the Twelve Colonies. Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) is a boarder-line corrupt lawyer tied to the Tauron mob.

The terrorists believe in one god, while the rest believe in many gods. Graystone lost his daughter, Zoe (Alessandra Torresani), a 16 year old genius who created a virtual reality world. Her feelings, memories & emotions are stored in an avatar in this world. Adama lost his daughter & wife in the same terrorist attack – Ben Stark (Avan Jogia), who along with Zoe & Lacy are tied to the one god religious thinking, detonates a bomb in the train in which he, Zoe & Adama’s wife & daughter are travelling in.

When Daniel discovers this virtual world & Zoe’s avatar through her best friend Lacy, he has but one aim – to bring forth his daughter into a new artificial body. The first attempt is to download her avatar into his metallic cylon (so happy to see the original design here) but it looks like a failure. Adama is initially intrigued at seeing his daughter’s avatar in the virtual world but is soon disgusted with what Daniel wants to do. He does not think that the artificial bodies will substitute for their lost daughters and wants no part of it.

Towards the end of the pilot, Graystone gets the contract for a government project to build & distribute his cylons, after a convincing demonstration of it’s military aspects. And then the cylon with Zoe’s downloaded avatar reactivates itself and is horrified to see that she is in a robotic body and panics. She contacts Lacy for help.

Positives: – strong cast, character depth and a strong plot (even if I hate the religious overtones that post 9/11 has affected television) and good special effects. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the story unfolds.

Negatives:- what is more than a nod to Islam (Yousef Adama indeed), too much Earth like appearances, with an unimaginatively disguised tennis court & game, Earth clothes, shops, buildings & general outlook. Come’ on Ronald Moore!

New BlackBerry Phone & OS?

There’s rumours that a brand new Blackberry device called the “T” would be launching next month. Supposedly the “T” will be a new flagship device designed to combat the iPhone and it will launch in the US and Europe. The image on the right (click to view the full size) is supposed to be two screen shots of the new BlackBerry 6.0 OS, which has been leaked online.

Screen resolution is in line with a Storm or Storm2 style touchscreen device, and the buttons certainly look to be sized for finger input.  That would also fit in with the BlackBerry slider – codenamed “T” or “Talladega” – which is expected to have a large touchscreen along with its pull-out QWERTY ‘board.

RIM also look to be playing with the idea of using homescreen widgets, which would be a significant departure for the company.  The BlackBerry faithful are already poring over the two images to see if they a) look real, and b) look suitably enticing, though comments already heard include the fact that the whole thing looks “too busy” for their liking.

Star Trek : TOS Women 4

An absolutely stunning imagery of womanly sex appeal & beauty combined with a touch of class. My computer monitor almost melted when the first scene featuring the lovely Miss Sherry Jackson was playing!

Truly a magnificent example of my theory that women in the 60s were just sexier than of any other decade – plain goddamn simple for anyone with a brain & eyes to see. Sherry Jackson guest appears in the season 1 episode What Are Little Girls Made Of? as Andrea, a female android built sometime between 2261 and 2266, by Roger Korby. By Human standards, her behavior was quite simplistic, to the point where she would duplicate patterns of learned behavior.

To demonstrate that she was merely a machine and unable to feel emotions, Korby ordered her to kiss and then strike Captain Kirk. Later, when Kirk kissed her again, she next attempted to strike him, as she had done earlier. This time he kissed her much more passionately, and she became confused and upset, claiming she was “not programmed” for Kirk. William Shatner is one of the luckiest actors on television ever!

Ordered to protect the complex after Ruk’s destruction, Andrea mistakenly destroyed the android copy of Kirk. When she found Korby and realized her mistake, she became emotional. Perhaps threatened by his love for Christine Chapel, perhaps seeking his approval, Andrea began to kiss Korby passionately. This may have convinced Korby that Kirk was right, and the androids were vulnerable to unprogrammed emotions, for during this kiss, Korby activated a phaser, destroying himself and Andrea.

Senators Slumping

What has happened to the Ottawa Senators? They have fallen apart so badly post the Winter Olympic break that they are no languishing. With just 12 games left in the regular season, the Senators’ post-Olympic troubles hit a new low Tuesday night with an ugly 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in front of 20,405 spectators at Scotiabank Place.

Ottawa’s record in its last seven games is now 1-5-1. That one win was against the league’s bottom team – The Edmonton Oilers. Nobody is sure what happened to the Senators team that reeled off 11 straight victories. Scoring is certainly an issue — the team has just nine goals in its last seven games. Goaltending is another source of concern. Brian Elliot seems to have established himself as the coach’s guy but he just isn’t top goalie material for a team that wants to win the Stanley Cup. Pascal Leclaire has failed to live up his his previous lofty expectations.

Won’t You Open Up & Rain On Me?

It’s raining in Thrissur! It’s raining in Alappuzha! It seems to be raining in Palghat as well! But it ain’t raining here :(

After all the heat & humidity that the poor people of Palghat have been suffering (42 degree celcius) and the heat strokes, I think they deserve some rain. Quite a bit of it mind you. And I won’t begrudge my Thrissur brothers any rain water that is showered their way. The same for the people of Alappuzha.

But about poor old us? The people of Cochin. The land called the Queen Of The Arabian Sea. The commercial hub of the state of Kerala. We need our rain too. I just hope that the rain clouds come our way soon, before my hometown start resorting to rain dances!

Angels & Demons

Ron Howard directed this movie as a sequel to his previous The Da Vinci Code but Angels & Demons the novel predates the former.

Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon, summoned by the Vatican after the death of the Pope, to uncover a kidnapping of the ‘preferiti’ (the four most likely candidates to be elected pope) by a group claiming to be the Illuminatti. Also summoned is Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) from CERN, where a vial containing the largest particles of anti-matter substance is stolen. They threaten to kill one every hour and then destroy the Vatican in a burst of light at midnight. A stolen security camera shows the missing antimatter vial, which will catastrophically explode when the vial’s battery dies and the magnetic containment field fails. Langdon listens to the Illuminati message and deduces that the four cardinals will die at the four altars of the “Path of Illumination.” However, no one knows where these altars are located.

The four altars are of earth, wind, fire & water and Langdon & Vittoria are able to decipher where the altars are & lead the Vatican police to them but they are unable to save the first 3 cardinals. Langdon successfully saves the fourth one, Cardinal Baggia, weighted down in water. They find out that the final victim is to be the Camerlengo McKenna (Ewan McGregor) and they discover him branded with the Vatican’s symbol on his chest and Commander Richter near him with a gun. Richter is shot and killed but he gives Langdon a key to his office.

The vial containing the anti-matter particles is saved and Camerlengo McKenna takes it aboard a helicopter at the Vatican and as the auto-pilot takes it high into the sky, he parachutes out. The resulting explosion causes some damage but the Vatican is saved. As the wounded McKenna lands he is lauded as a hero and possible favourite to succeed as Pope. However, Langdon & Vittoria use Richter’s key to watch a security video showing that the mastermind behind the murders of the original Pope and the preferiti and the antimatter robbery, in fact, is the camerlengo and not the Illuminati. In the security video, while Richter tries to arrest McKenna, the priest brands himself with a seal that resembles Saint Peter’s upside-down crucifixion and accuses the commander being a member of the Illuminati.

Cornered & realizing that his plot has been uncovered, McKenna burns himself with oil from one of the 99 holy lamps inside St. Peter’s Basilica. The movie ends as the new Pope is designated & walks out on the balcony to the cheering crowd in St. Peter’s Square. 7 outta 10!

Firefox 3.6

Well once you upgrade to the latest version of WordPress, you might as well upgrade your browser as well. So that is exactly what I did. Firefox version 3.6 is downloaded and upgraded within the span of a few minutes and it’s working awesomely fine – well for the last 1 hour anyway, and I haven’t been using many pages on it yet. But what I have seen of it seems to be doing a-okay, wham bam, thank you ma’am!

One of the first things that I noticed is that 3.6 comes with a whole lotta personas that can customize the look of your browser for you in easy to install themes. I might try a few of them myself as I am a big time believer in customization. It also promises lots of add-ons to make your browsing experience that more enjoyable and to make your browser you own. One click bookmarking and storing your favourite URLs without saving huge link addresses are other two features.

And it’s supposed to be much faster than before!

Upgraded WordPress To Version 2.9.2.

I’m losing count of the number of software upgrades that I have done for WordPress. I can’t even remember the very first version that I had downloaded and installed in my webspace and started this blog upon. Probably 1.6 or 1.7 something. I dunno.

Since then WordPress has gone leaps and bounds and they kept knocking the versions outta the ball park. Until this late afternoon I was using version 2.8.6 which was done a few months ago. If I am not mistaken, they’ve had 3 more releases since then 2.8.7 and then 2.9 and 2.9.1 before this puppy came out on Feb 15th. Today was as good a time as any to check it out and I did a quick upgrade and………I can’t make out any visible differences!

Everything looks about the same. I’m told that the only difference between v 2.9.1 and 2.9.2 is a problem where logged in users can peek at trashed posts belonging to other authors. WordPress alerts us to upgrade to 2.9.2 if we have untrusted users signed up onto the blog and have sensitive posts in the trash. But no differences that I can make out from 2.8.6 & 2.9.2.

Oh well, I hope version 3.0 is going to be well worth the wait.

Arsenal 2 Hull City 1

It took an injury time goal by Nicklas Bendtner to give Arsenal the whole 3 points and bring the club level with Chelsea on 64 points at the top of the league table. The 2-1 win was looking very improbable right until the end and Twitter updates had almost all Arsenal fans groaning that this was the kind of match that usually spell doom for the Gunners. We are so glad to be wrong.

Arsenal struck first with a typically incisive move that ended with Andrey Arshavin firing in from close range. Sol Campbell’s foul on what looked an offside Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink allowed Jimmy Bullard to fire Hull level from the penalty spot. Hull battled well after George Boateng was sent off but Bendtner fired home in injury time to give Arsenal victory.

It was a vintage performance from Arsenal and it wasn’t pretty. Doesn’t matter, we need to win the odd ugly match here and there.