RIP Peter Steele

I read it on Twitter first but since there was only the one tweet and a quick check on Wikipedia this morning didn’t confirm it, I ruled it off as a rumour. But no, here it is. Rocker Peter Steele was found dead of heart failure.

Steele was the bassist, vocalist & main composer for Type O’Negative, a doom laden gothic metal band. At this moment it is not know if his previous substance abuse issues had any cause in his heart failure. Steele has spent time in rehab and even a psych ward as a result of his substance addiction.

He was also famous for his size – at 6ft 7in – and his low bass voice, perfect for his image & sound as the lead singer of a goth band. If you google his name and search for pics, like I did today for this post, you’d also get to know that Steele also gained notoriety for his Playgirl cover & spread where he is naked in several shots, holding his hogger in his hands, which is impressively almost as big as his bass guitar!

Last but not least the controversial frontman of mixed lineage (Icelandic, Russian, Polish & English) also stated in a 2007 interview that he saw himself as a Roman Catholic, after years of being an atheist (perhaps that initiated his doom).

Petrus T. Ratajczyk aka Peter Steele (January 4, 1962 – 14 April, 2010)

Arsenal 1 Tottenham Hotspurs 2

With a 2-1 win, local rivals Tottenham Hotspurs all but ended Arsenal’s slim chances of winning the English league title. Spurs’ Premier League debutant Danny Rose crashed a sublime 30-yard volley past Manuel Almunia after 10 minutes. Gareth Bale tapped in Spurs’ second from six yards after Jermain Defoe’s pass, only a minute after half-time. Heurelho Gomes made three stunning saves to keep out Arsenal before Nicklas Bendtner pulled a goal back.

But it was not enough to prevent Tottenham recording their first league win over their arch rivals since November 1999 – a run of 20 games. Both Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Spurs manager Harry Redknapp admitted prior to the match that anything other than victory would end their hopes of achieving their respective targets this season. After 34 games played and just 4 remaining out of the schedule, Arsenal are in 3rd place with 71 points. Chelsea are top with 77 and in second comes Man Utd with 73 points. Spurs are in 4th place with 61 points, just a point behind Man City.

Senators 5 Penguins 4

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Quaterfinals. Ottawa Senators 5 Pittsburgh Penguins 4.

Led by an unlikely group of heroes, the Ottawa Senators delivered a shocking blow to the defending-champion Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena Wednesday night.

The line of Chris Kelly, Chris Neil and Jarkko Ruutu each scored a goal, combining for six points, while Erik Karlsson and Peter Regin had goals in their playoff debuts to give the Senators a 5-4 victory over Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in Game 1. Ottawa goalie Brian Elliott pick up his first post-season victory. He only had to make 17 saves, but it wasn’t easy.

Game 2 is on Friday.

Stargate Universe : Episode 10 “Justice”

Justice is the 10th and mid-season finale of the first season of Stargate Universe. Spencer is found dead in his quarters, seemingly like a suicide with however one issue: there’s no gun. Greer, who found the body, reports back to his superiors and an investigation is on. Colonel Young has everybody meet in the Gate room, and announces their findings to the crew. Eli, Brody, Matthew Scott, Lisa Park and Vanessa James were playing poker in the Mess hall at the time of the murder, meaning they have an alibi, so they are put in charge of the investigation.

Eli & Scott find the gun in Col. Young’s room! Despite it being obviously a plot to undermine his authority, Young steps down as commander of the crew and puts Camile in charge. A hearing is called for with Camile prosecuting and Chloe defending. While the investigation is going on, Rush comes to Camile and asks that he will report to her but wants complete control of his science team. She agrees. Later Franklin sits in the chair and he is found convulsing and two electrodes stuck on the sides of his head.

Rush is berated by Young as being too scared to sit in the chair and hence encouraging Franklin to test it out. Destiny meanwhile comes out of FTL and the crew plan to visit a planet for supplies and anything useful. By then the Kino’s files, which have been tampered with, is recovered via backup by Eli and Young watches the screen as Dr. Rush is clearly shown removing the gun from Spencer’s room and placing it in Young’s quarters to frame him. The rest of crew is shown only Spencer committing suicide – not the part in which Rush enters the scene.

Camile relinquishes command to Young who decides to join the team that has gone down to the planet and confront Rush. The away team has found an alien vessel lying on top of a small hill. Their attempts to enter it is in vain but Rush wants to keep trying. Young sends everyone back to the Stargate and stays back with Rush in order to confront him. A scuffle occurs and when Rush refuses to agree to stop, Young head-butts him unconscious….and leaves Rush on the planet. As he steps through the gate into Destiny, he tells the others that a landslide caught Rush and that he was unable to save him.

The others do not believe Young, especially Eli, Camile and the scientists. However the crew settles back as the go to FTL. Later Rush is shown regaining consciousness and realizing in horror that he has been left behind on the barren planet.

NHL PLAYOFFS 2010

Here’s the first round pairings with my prediction of winners given in brackets

EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

Washington Capitals vs Montreal Canadiens (Capitals in 7)

New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers (Flyers in 6)

Buffalo Sabres vs Boston Bruins (Bruins in 4)

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Ottawa Senators (Senators in 7)

WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

San Jose Sharks vs Colorado Avalanche (Sharks in 5)

Chicago Blackhawks vs Nashville Predators (Blackhawks in 5)

Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings (Canucks in 6)

Phoenix Coyotes vs Detroit Red Wings (Red Wings in 7)

The Case Of The Incredible Shrinking Shawarma

This evening, I went to Royal Food Court, opposite the Ernakulam North Raiway Station, as my mom wanted me to buy shawarma sandwiches for dinner. I remember that the last time I bought some from there, they were really delicious and yummy. So I said that I would get one each for her, my dad and myself.

Imagine my chagrin – these sandwiches keep getting smaller day by day and the fucking prizes go through the roof. Rs.40 for a tiny little shawarma sandwich that an ant would find as too small! Rs.40! It cost me Rs.120 for three miserable size bites. And the fuckers serving it are very miserly with the dill pickles and carrot side servings too!

I remember when the shawarma craze first came to Cochin & Kerala. This was way back in the early 1990s and there was just that one place that served them – Kentucky Inn on the second floor of GCDA shopping complex on Marine Drive. They cost just Rs.10 and the portions were bigger. Pretty soon they were Rs.12 but the portions stayed the same. Then it was Rs.15, then Rs.20 and 3 or 4 years ago, when I started having them again, they were Rs.25. Smaller portions

6 months later, they were Rs.30 and even smaller. Two months ago the same place @ North they were Rs.35 and smaller. Now this evening, Rs.40 and even smaller. Like the skirts that get shorter & shorter each summer (but that is a good thing) the sandwiches keep getting smaller! What the fuck!!

Love In An Elevator

For the last 12 days we, the residents of Jewel Spark apartments of Jewel Homes, have been suffering as the old as the pyramids elevator finally died and the motor needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, the elevator manufactures have a spare motor only in Gujarat and it would take them all these days to bring it via a truck or some big vehicle to Cochin.

Hence we didn’t have the services of the elevator for all these days. I live on the 7th and top most floor. There’s two sets of stairs for each floor. My thighs hurt, my lungs cry out and I sweat a bucket load as I make my way up in this sweltering heat and that too after a long day at the office. It was making things very difficult. My 71 year old dad couldn’t manage and hence went to stay at my sister’s apartment until it was fixed.

I’m not surprised that the motor conked out. Some of the kids in this building use the elevator as their personal toy. There’s a small kid who won’t eat food unless he is fed while going up and down in the elevator! When some of the neighbours had guests over in the vacant apartment (owned by one of the other tenants) next to mine, they kept going up and down, up and down (as 3 brothers have apartments in this building, in different floor) and the elevator would be crying by the end of a day.

Well now it’s fixed! The new motor came in last evening and technicians spent most of the night fixing it. There was fuse that also needed replacement and that was done this morning just as I left the building to go to work. So this evening as I came back, I took the ride up from the ground level. Smooth as babies bottoms! Not a sound from the slick, new motor. It was like riding towards the clouds.

Disappointing Behaviour

Second instance in just a couple of weeks. I am not happy. As a manager, I do not make unreasonable demands of my team members. There’s no ‘my way or the highway” type rant. I believe in team work, sincerity, honesty, making people happy, dedication, loyalty and bonding. And I believe that the results will come naturally. Infact, if the others are in place, the results will be just that much sweeter when it comes.

As a manager (and I’m not bragging about this) I’m one of the most sweetest and people centric persons around. Don’t take my word for it. HR says that. My boss says that. His boss says that. Other people’s bosses say that. Other bosses’ subordinates say that. The center level DGM knows that. My teams says that. So I hate it when it seems as if I am being taken advantage because of it.

One of my team members has over taken her leave for her engagement a couple of weeks back. Inspite of me giving her the required 4 days and asking her to join us for a big meeting (and I only wanted her to attend the meeting and be gone back home 6 hours later). And it wasn’t like I was asking her to attend the meeting as on the same day of her engagement. This was two days before the engagement. I was angry but calmed down when she came back and it was all ok.

For her wedding leaves, I gave her 2 weeks leave – from the 5th to the 19th – and this was agreed upon without any issues. Now today she sends me a text message saying that she wants an additional week of leave and asking me to “do the needful”. I’m struggling as it is bur I wasn’t planning on asking her to cut short her leave. And is this the way someone asks for an extension of a previously agreed upon 2 week leave? I’m ashamed about this fact, very upset that she doesn’t even have the courtesy to give me a call and ask me about the possibility.

I sent a couple of messages back stating that I’m having a shortage of members in the team as it is and that I couldn’t afford it at the moment. I think she got the message.

You be Israel, I will be Palestine

I can’t stop singing along to this breezy fun song. Through & Through & Through is the first single from Joel Plaskett’s 3 disc album Three. Listen to this in the morning before going to work and you will be whistling & humming all day long. The lyrics are below. Unfortunately I can’t embed the official video for the song (it’s really cool & fun) but here is an acoustic version.

I’m the Berlin Wall, I’m a communist
You’re a wrecking ball in a summer dress
You’re the horizon line, I’m the last sunset
I might be going down but I’m not set yet
I’m as white as a ghost, digging foolish gold
I’ll man my post but I won’t do as I’m told
I’ve got a purple heart from a bloody war
I can’t take it anymore, more, more
They say that good things come to those who wait
But if you snooze then you lose
So don’t hesitate

Outta sight, outta mind, outta luck, outta wine
Don’t you say that I’m out of my fucking mind
I’ve been talking trash but it ain’t my fault
Every time I move somebody’s in my spot

You’ve got nowhere to go
I know, I know, I know
It’s only you and me
But good things come in three

You be April Stevens, I’ll be April Wine
You be Israel, I will be Palestine
Come on ‘Teach Me Tiger’, come on and show me tricks
Let me take my time and take a couple lazy licks

Are you feeling blue?
Through & through & through
Where we find you now?
Around, around, around

All the dirty blondes, playing blue-eyed soul
You won’t hear our songs on your radio
Every note we sing can’t be solid gold
Every boy can’t be Romeo

They say that good things come
To those who wait
Good things come
If you take the bait
In a rummage sale
At the Sally Ann!
Everything is cheap
Love should last a life
Or at least a year!
But it lasts a week
I’m the Berlin Wall
And that ain’t all!
I’m a total mess
You’re a wrecking ball
I’m a wrecking ball!
In a summer dress

Fracture

I saw this movie last night after it was advertised for a couple of weeks on HBO. Fracture stars Anthony Hopkins & Ryan Gosling battling it out in a game of wits. Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz & David Strathairn round out the supporting cast of this fine film.

Hopkins plays Ted Crawford, a wealthy & talented Irish aeronautical engineer, who discovers that his wife Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz) is having an affair with police detective Rob Nunally (Billy Burke). Angered, he plots to kill his wife and get away with the murder. It’s a brilliant move! What he does is that he uses the same gun as Nunally and switches them without the latter’s knowledge. He then shoots his wife with Nunally’s gun. At the house, Nunally (who isn’t aware that this is the house of the woman he is seeing) is the only one allowed in to speak with Crawford. When the detective sees that the victim is Jennifer, he rushes to her aid.

Crawford use this moment to switch back the guns. So, Nunally now has the murder weapon and Crawford has his unfired gun. The police are stuck – they have the shooter and a full confession but they have no murder weapon. Or attempted murder weapon – Jennifer is not dead but in a coma. Rising star deputy district attorney William “Willy” Beachum (Ryan Gosling), initially sees this as an open & shut case but is foiled when an initially seemingly uninterested Crawford, serving as his own counsel, instigates Nunally to attack him in open court.

With no evidence to seal the case, the judge is forced to let Crawford go free, especially when the latter says that the confession was coerced out of him by the detective, who was sleeping with his wife. Beachum, who was to join a very lucrative post in a big law firm, is in tatters. He is also unable to stop Crawford pulling the plug on his comatose wife and she dies at the hospital. It is by chance, while his phone & his colleague’s similar cell phone gets switched by accident, that Beachum stumbles onto the plot.

He has the bullet removed from Jennifer’s head and confronts Crawford, tricking him into a full confession. Crawford boasts about the double jeopardy clause, but Beachum reveals that because Jennifer is now dead, Crawford can now be prosecuted for murder, having previously been tried merely for attempted murder. If he had not pulled Jennifer off life support, he could have been protected by the double jeopardy clause. Crawford is arrested by the waiting police.

8 outta 10

Wenger Stresses Focus on League

The Champions League has left us behind. Despite a good 2-2 draw in the first leg against the defending champs, Barcelona were too good on their home ground and won 4-1 and 6-3 on aggregate. And now, like manager Arsene Wenger has stated, Arsenel needs to focus their complete attention to the English league.

The Gunners are 3 points away from Chelsea FC and the top of the table and will face local rivals Tottenham Hotspurs on Wednesday. Wenger believes his third-placed side must bounce back with a win at White Hart Lane on 14 April if they are to keep alive their hopes of avoiding a fifth successive season with any silverware. Manchester United has a point advantage over Arsenal and sit in second place.

Their visit to White Hart Lane is one of two remaining matches against teams in the top half of the table for Arsenal this season, with Manchester City coming to the Emirates on 24 April. Their fixture list is completed by away trips to Blackburn and Fulham and a final-day clash with Fulham at the Emirates.

District 9

Quite a few months late but I finally got to watch District 9, the much talked about, praised and discussed film by director Neill Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson. For those who have not seen it, it’s very realistic shot; a lot of the movie is like a news documentary with some news footage & interviews thrown in. With themes of xenophobia, racism, segregation of sections of society, District 9 is inspired by events that took place in District Six, Cape Town during the apartheid era.

As you may know, a large mother ship approached earth and is stuck hovering over Johannesburgh after a peice of vital equipment drops onto our planet. The arthropod-like aliens are given refuge on Earth and are forced into slum like area called District 9. Humans have racist attitudes towards the aliens and derogatorily refer to them as ‘prawns’.  Sharlto Copely does a fine job as Wikus van der Merve, an MNU employee who is promoted to lead the movement of the aliens to a new area, district 10.

As the movie unfolds, Wikus is exposed to a dark liquid that the aliens use to power their ship. It is also has an adverse effect when some is spilled onto Wikus – it mutates his DNA into that of the ‘prawns’. He is soon treated as a lab experiment, as the MNU scientists discover that Wikus can now operate the alien weapons, which previously no human could do. When they decide to cut him open, Wikus escapes and as a fugitive finds shelter in District 9 and with ‘George’ and his son.

George & Wikus break into MNU and get the liquid fuel. After a tremendous stand off with the soldiers, Wikus let’s George & his son escape into the spaceship. George promises to come back in 3 years and help a mutating Wikus get back to be human again. Soon Wikus’s mutation is complete and he resembles the aliens completely. He makes metal flowers as gifts to his wife who hasn’t set eyes on him since the first signs of mutation. The illegal experiments on the aliens is brought to light and they are successfully moved to District 10.

Will the aliens return? Will they attack? Will George keep his promise and help Wikus? Unanswered questions that this wonderfully acted but dull at times film poses at the end. 8 outta 10.

2 Day Web Hiatus

Hello! I’m back after a forced two day gap from the internet. Why forced? Because there was a problem with the broadband cable that connects to this building and as a result I was disconnected from the net from Thursday morning till this afternoon. I only started using it again this evening as I was out.

Tata Indicom, my ISP, could have fixed the problem earlier though. After I called up their customer care department on Thursday night and registered a complaint with all details given, one of their service engineers calls me on Friday morning and asked me “Sir, we came to know that you have a complaint? What seems to be the problem?” I’m like, moron I have registered all the details. Can’t you look”? but I gritted my teeth and told him the issue. Then he asks what time I would be at home. Again, this was something I told the customer care guy – I leave home at 10 am and I would be back only after 8pm. Then I said that my mother was home, so go ahead and check out what the issue with the connectivity is.

He says that he will call me back and hangs up the phone. I wait but get no response back. At 8:30 pm after I reached back home and checking with my mom to see if anyone had come by, I called up the customer care again and registered another complaint. A little pissed off, I recanted the whole story so far. They registered another complaint. By 12:30 pm some guy comes over, after I have left the apartment to go outside, and fixes the issue. So, two days later, I’m back online.

The Love Guru

I’m a huge fan of Mike Myers, I dig Jessica Alba and I love the sport of hockey – but I gotta admit; this movie failed big time! A box office failure and a critically panned film, The Love Guru seems like an oddly put together, badly acted and badly scripted last minute rush. Here’s my take:

  • The best parts are the songs: 9 to 5, More Than Words & The Joker sung by Myers. The scene with Myers singing the Extreme ballad playing on a sitar along with Manu Narayan on guitar is good.
  • Bad casting – Verne Troyer as the Toronto Maple Leafs coach. Terrible!
  • Bad casting – Justin Timbersucks; can’t sing, can’t act. Is a douchebag!
  • The overuse of an actresses’ name as a Sanskrit greeting : Mariska Hargitay! They could have atleast had her cameo appearance at the end of the show instead of towards the beginning.
  • The Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup – hahahaha!
  • Jessica Alba is wasted in this movie, more like a prop rather than the female lead.
  • I did not like Romany Malco as the hockey star. Really bad acting.
  • And oh my sweet Satan! What the fuck is Ben Kingsley doing as a really badly cartoon version of a guru. Guru Tugginmypudha – perhaps the name is the funniest part. What a bad accent and dumb acting.
  • Ok, I gotta admit it. Watching white people singing & dancing to Hindi songs is funny.
  • Myers is funny in places (doing the cool handshake thingy) but overall, it’s a waste of a really good talent.

Bad movie, bad acting, silly script! It all went wrong. The trailer was funnier and more entertaining to watch! 6 outta 10.

Sens Update, 7th April 2010

On the 30th of March, The Senators went to Washington to face the Conference leading Capitals. In the clash of the two nations capital city’s teams, the Sens were victorious. The Senators, looking to be in top form for the postseason, won their fifth in a row Tuesday night, blowing an early lead before rallying to beat the Capitals 5-4 in overtime. Jason Spezza with two goals led the attack followed by goals by Peter Regin, Alexei Kovalev & Chris Campoli.

Two days later on the 1st of April, it was back home in Ottawa where they hosted the Carolina Hurricanes. The Sens needed a shootout to gain victory 4-3. Erik Karlsson had two goals, while Alexander Volchenkov also scored one. Kovalev had the shootout goal win.

The New York Islanders derailed the Ottawa train and stopped them from getting their 7th win in a row. At the Islanders home ice, Martin Biron had 28 saves to lead the New York Islanders to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Matt Cullen’s close-range goal late in the third ended Biron’s bid for his 27th career shutout.

And last night, on Daniel Alfredsson’s 1000th NHL game, Mike Fisher scored twice to help Ottawa beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 Tuesday night for their seventh win in eight games. Jarkko Ruutu, Karlsson and Chris Neil also got goals for Ottawa. Pascal Leclaire made 32 saves on a rare start for him.