Knowing

Another one of the dvds that had been lying around for a couple of months and which I just watches – Knowing is a sci-fi/drama / thriller that bordered so closely to being something from the makers of The X-Files. Except for the end of the world that we see at the end of the film.

Well, Nicholas Cage stars in the film as John Kostley, as a recently widowed professor of astrophysics at MIT. At the school’s opening up of a time capsule, his son is handed a letter which was written 50 years ago by Lucinda, a girl who heard whispers and wrote a series of seemingly random numbers on the paper. John sees the paper and discovers that the numbers are the dates and geographic coordinates for every major disaster that has happened in the 50 years since Lucinda wrote the letter. Lucinda had accurately predicted each and every one of them.

There are 3 dates that are yet to come but within a few days. A day later a commercial airline crashes near John with many dead or burning to death at the exact coordinates that was in the paper. John tries to contact Lucinda but learns that she is dead and instead meets up with her daughter Diane, who does not believe him at first. After a subway crash that left many dead, Diane is convinced and approaches John. While the two search Lucinda’s home, mysterious strangers in coats come to John’s son Caleb and Diane’s daughter Abby. As John chases them, they disappear in a blinding light. Along with this having noticed that the last date on the paper is not accompanied by coordinates, further clues in Lucinda’s home lead John and Diana to realize that the “33” listed as the death toll for the final disaster is actually “EE” reversed, which Lucinda meant to represent “Everyone Else.” Meaning the end of everyone.

The worldwide catastrophe that will mean the end of life on the planet is soon found out to be a massive solar flare will soon reach Earth. Diane tells John that the four of them can hide out in underground caves with supplies but John finds out the final message left by Lucinda  – coordinates to her home in the woods! By now both Caleb and Abby can hear whispers and start scribbling numbers. A  scared Diane takes both Caleb and Abby with her toward the caves and stops at a gas station. While she is on the phone, the tall strangers drive off with her car and with the kids inside it. Diane gives chase but dies in a car crash. John leaves for the home in the woods where he finds his son & Abby who are paying with two rabbits. Turns out that the strangers are aliens in human form. They know of the destruction of Earth and have come to take chosen ones with them.

The chosen ones are the humans who hear the whispers and can predict the future. John lets his son and Abby go with the aliens in a spaceship. From space we can see that many such vessels are carrying off possible others who have been given the gift. John goes back to meet his parents & sister where they all gather together and embrace as the solar flare burns the ozone layer and incinerates all life on Earth. The children are deposited on another world in a field that features a giant white tree towards which all the kids run. This signifies a new beginning for the human race.

7 outta 10

First Time I Took My Laptop Out

I took Samantha, my  laptop, out for the first time today. I must say that I was apprehensive and very nervous. Why, what was the big issue? Lappys are meant for portability and taking one with you when you go outside is natural and the whole reason behind creating (by the manufacturers) and buying (by the customer) of a laptop. Right?

But nervous I was. Like on a real date. I showered and dressed and put Samantha in the laptop bag that I got when I bought the system. It felt so good hanging on my shoulder. Very good and the shoulder pad was well cushioned. I crossed the street and went to the ATM and got cash out. I hailed an auto and directed him towards the Bay Pride Mall. I sat right in the middle of the seat and held Samantha close to me. We got down and I took her into the computer / peripherals store in the mall. I had a small issue with the USB mouse (it’s like an accessory for a woman, rite?) and got it fixed.

Then it was onto Barista for coffee; I ordered a Barista Blast and sat in a corner, pulled out Samantha from her bag and set her on the table. She looked so good sitting on the table, like an angel. She blushed, I beamed. Within a minute I booted her and connected the mouse. The coffeeshop’s wifi wasn’t working (it just never is) so I just ran through some of the mp3s that I had on it and checked out some of the images that I had saved recently. There was a woman there who had also brought a laptop, one more expensive but I didn’t check it out. Ok, I totally did but it meant nothing. Honest!

After spending about an hour or so over there, I was hungry and so I tucked Samantha back in her bag and took an auto towards Padma so I could go into Oberois Bar and get some drinks and lunch. On the way a couple of rash drivers almost crashed into the auto that I was in . I hung onto Samantha like my life depended on it. I did not care if I got hurt, lost an arm or a leg or worse – but Samantha must be protected at all costs. We averted disaster, I went into the bar, ordered vodka (it was stirred but I was shaken) and some fried rice with chicken. I wasn’t so sure of taking Samantha into the bar and the couple of times I got up to go take a leak, I asked a waiter to keep an eye on the bag for me. 2 hours later, I paid my bill, bought a little chocolate and came home to watch a movie on Samantha’s dvd drive.

So that’s it – a fixing of her wireless mouse, some music, coffee, lunch & drinks, chocolate and a movie!! Just like a real date. I hope I get lucky later tonight!!

Your Face Up In Space

NASA is encouraging people to send electronic images of their faces to fly into orbit aboard one of the final remaining space shuttle missions.The “Face in Space” program allows people to select which mission they want their faces to be a part of. Discovery is currently set to launch in September and Endeavour is the last scheduled shuttle mission, planned for November, before the program is retired. But those dates are expected to slip.

“The space shuttle program belongs to the public, and we are excited when we can provide an opportunity for people to share the adventure of our missions,” said space shuttle program manager John Shannon. “This website will allow you to be a part of history and participate as we complete our final missions.” There are no plans for submitted photos to be shown publicly, although there is a disclaimer on the website that says “Whatever you post on your Face in Space page may potentially be available for everyone to see, so you must exercise caution in what you post.”

If you are not able to upload a photo, you can submit your name instead. After the flight, participants can go to the website and print a “flight certificate” signed by the mission commander. Shuttle Atlantis could get one last chance to fly in orbit next June. NASA is waiting to see if the White House and Congress approve an extra mission. Nearly 75,000 people worldwide have already submitted their images or names.

So if you want that sexy Klingon or Romulan to notice you, click www.faceinspace.nasa.gov

Blackhawks Win The Stanley Cup

A few years after rebuilding and drafting/hiring talented youngsters, the Chicago Blackhawks have ended a  49 year old drought and won the 2009-10 Stanley Cup playoffs after beating Philadelphia 4-3 in OT. Captain Johnathan Toews (pictured here on the left) won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs. Winger Marian Hossa ended a personal drought – he played on two different losing teams of the past two Stanley Cup finals; as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008 and the Detroit Red Wings in 2009.

It ended in a bizarre sequence that saw Chicago’s Patrick Kane end the game at 4:50 of the first overtime on a goal almost no one saw go in the net. Kane’s shot from along the goal line slipped under the glove of crouching Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton and just inside the post. There was confusion as the play continued, the players looking for the puck, until realizing it was in the net. In the end, the ’Hawks simply had too much for the Flyers, who made history with their comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the second round against the Boston Bruins, but couldn’t find a way to cope with the ’Hawks deep forward group. Chicago won despite not getting a goal in the final from captain Toews.

The win gave Scotty Bowman, the ’Hawks senior advisor of hockey operations, the 12th Stanley Cup of his career – nine as a coach (with the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings and three in front office positions (with the Penguins, Wings and now the ’Hawks). This is first final to be won on OT since New Jersey beat Dallas in double OT. Patrick Kane, who had the winning goal, added two assists, while Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Sharp and Andrew Ladd also tallied for Chicago. Scott Hartnell had two goals and Daniel Briere had a goal for Philly.

A Perfect Getaway

A Perfect Getaway is a psychological thriller movie released in 2009 and was a minor hit. Based solely on the awesome trailer, I really wanted to see this movie. And I did last evening – and it wasn’t as great as I expected it to be. The film was shot in Puerto Rico and Hawaii, and was released on August 7, 2009 in the US, and on August 12 in the UK and stars Steve Zahn, Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, Kiele Sanchez, Marley Shelton, and Chris Hemsworth. So what’s the movie about?

  • Cydney & Cliff are on honeymoon in Hawaii and spending it by hiking to a remote beach. On the way over there they hear about the gruesome murder of another couple, whose teeth and fingers were cut off after they were killed. They still go on the trip.
  • On route they meet Cleo and Cale, a rough looking couple who intimidate them. They manage to insult Cale without meaning to.
  • Cliff & Cydney then meet up with another couple Nick & Gina who are vacationing there. They join up to hike to the remeote beach. Nick claims to have titanium plate in his head, a souvenir from his tour of Iraq. He plans to propose to Gina while on the beach but she has no clue.
  • It looks like the rough couple are stalking Cliff in an effort to intimidate him. Already looking suspicious, at some point on the island, Kale and Cleo are arrested by the police and are found with a container of pulled teeth in their bag.
  • Now you think that the criminals are caught but in a twist to the tale, the timid looking Cliff turns out to be a phycho killer an he shoots Nick while the two of them go canoeing. Nick is stunned but is saved due to the titanium plate in his head – which is what the bullet hit.
  • Meanwhile Cydney is cooking and Gina discovers  that the seemingly loving couple aren’t who they say they are. She had idly picked up Cydney’s digital camera and gone through the photos when she realized that the camera actually belonged to the couple who were murdered. She runs to warn Nick and Cydney runs behind her.
  • The girls tangle with each other and Cydney managed to stick a knife in Gina’s leg, but the latte pushes the former into the ocean. Cyndey swims back to the beach while Cliff (while hanging onto a cliff) tries to get to Gina. She stabs the knife into his hand and runs away. She meets up with a few people from town who came looking for the canoes that were rented. Cliff confuses them for a while by claiming that Gina is his stoned wife but the people don’t fall for it. Cliff shoots them all dead as Gina runs.
  • Meanwhile Nick recovers by this time and catches up with Cliff. He jumps on top of him with a mini axe swinging – it slices Cliff’s hand in two. With the other hand still wounded by the stabbing that Gina inflicted, Cliff is unable to properly pick up a gun and shoot at Nick. Nick gets the upper hand and almost shoots Cliff dead but Gina tells him not to.
  • While this is happening, Cydney has flagged down a police chopper and directs them to the scene. She tells them that she has found the killer and that he is planning to kill again. The cops sees the two men and asks which one is the killer. Instead of pointing Nick out and saving her husband Cliff, she tell the cops that Cliff is the killer. The cops see Cliff crawling to pick up a fallen gun and they shoot him dead. Why?
  • Turns out that Cliff, whose real name is Rocky, took Cydney out on a date many years ago. She thought that he was a perfect gentleman and just after they made love, he showed her the dead carcass of a neighbour’s dog. He had killed the dog and threatened to kill her if she told anybody. He dragged her into a life of murdering couples and stealing their identities – in  bid to stay immortal, as he claims Cydney saw a chance to get away from that life and that’s why she told the cops that Rocky aka Cliff was the killer.
  • And in a sappy ending, Nick, strapped to a stretcher proposes to a weepy Gina while they leave the island in a helicopter. But wait a minute – what the fuck happens to Cydney? That’s a question left unanswered.

Surprise casting; funny man Steve Zahn, who I have always liked, as a psycho killer. The dude is very convincing. And Mila Jovovich as Cydney plays a believable almost ditzy & dumb, woman in love until she shows her true colours. Keile Sanchez, who I have only seen in Married To The Kelleys, is also good. Overall I’d give it a 6 outta 10.

The World Cup Is Near

I’m excited about the upcoming football World Cup which is being hosted in an African country for the very first time. First of all, I refuse to call it soccer! People, it’s football and not soccer. American football is not even played with a ball…it looks like a big viagra pill in a different colour. Football is a game played with 22 people, 11 per team on the field, outta which one is a goalie and they kick a round ball. A ball. It’s round. Not the American football. Call that soccer if you want to. I refuse to call my favourite sport soccer. Football. Case finito!

Ok, so back to the World Cup. I’ve watched most of the games in every world cup from 1990 in Italy to the last one in Germany 4 years ago. Actually, I couldn’t watch that many games of the 2006 WC as work kept coming in the way as a hindrance. But my first real experience of the World Cup was the Mexico 1986 cup in which Deigo Marradona captured the hearts & admiration of  millions across the world (except for England ). This was such a colourful event which I as a 10 year old watched on tv back in Kuwait. Kuwaitis love football and being bo’rn there I imbibed the love of the people’s game and have followed this sport with similar passion. I remember the final when Argentina beat West Germany and how Maradona become a world icon. I got this book which was themed around the World Cup and you could get this stickers that featured the images of all the players from each country playing in Mexico. You had to complete the entire list  and send it in to the company that was behind this contest and they’d give you a prize if you had the whole lot.

This year I don”t think that I will be able to watch many games. The timing when the matches are being played will be mostly late night in India and I don’t want to stay watching the matches and then drag my sleepy ass to office the next day. During the 1998 World Cup (France) I was studying in NIIT – classes from 7 am till 12pm. The matches got over at 2am – I’d sleep for 3 hours, get up at 5 am and go to class at 7 am. I’d come back home for lunch and sleep till the late evening and get ready to watch the matches. That was fun, tiring but fun, at the age of  21-22. Not so much for a 33 year old! So it’s gonna be mostly online scores, watching highlights in the evening and maybe a few late night games on the weekend. If I am lucky.

How I Was Almost Paired Off….Kinda!

Sometimes I am reminded just how much my team likes me and care for my happiness. They know that I am close to them and that I like for them to be happy and they wish the same for me. So they do some crazy stuff. Like registering my name in a couple of matrimonial websites. Calling up a contact who works in one of them and telling him to send them the details of best looking girls! I have my own mini-pimp team! Lol!

Well I broke the news to them that I didn’t believe in arranged marriages and wasn’t all interested in going through that route even though I am almost 34 (in less than 3 months people) and am still single with no hope in sight. So they are going by an alternative route. Checking their friends circles to see if they can find a compatible girl / woman who has similar interests as mine. And what would that be like? A Scifi loving, atheist lesbian into hard rock & blues? Your guess is as good as mine. Which brings me to the next incident.

A colleague, who I have never met but spoken to on the phone asked me for my cell number via an email as she had lost it. So I sent it  to her.  She then sent another mail asking for my photo!!! Err why? Well she wanted to put together a ppt of all the people in the same profile across 7 states and do a profile of each. She then called me and asked me to send her my pic. I said ok. Standing right behind me two girls from my team, waiting to ask me something. I didn’t see them. They heard me talking over the phone, saw me smiling, read the couple of lines on the screen in front of me and put 2 an 2 together…..and got 22!

A few minutes later, I sent the colleague in question my pic and asked her for hers in return. She said that she would send one. I went to get coffee – my entire team is giggling and smiling at me. I asked “what’s up” and realized what had happened. “Who is she, what’s her age, what does she look like?” and many other questions followed while I stood like a deer in the headlights. They wanted to see her pic so I said that I would show it to them when I received it. I almost blushed.

A day later she sent me a pic. She was ok. Apprehensively I showed it to my team and they were fixing my wedding plans. This was crazy. Now I really started blushing. They are absolutely nuts and I had to calm things down and tell them that this was the first time I had had casual conversations with this woman. We were getting to know each other as friends and sent a few messages to each other. The honeymoon cannot be planned at this moment.

The disappointment was there to see and it was hilarious! Such fuss over a few innocent messages. But it melted my heart that they were genuinely excited and wanted me to settle down. I will, someday I guess, and I hope it’s someday soon when I find the girl for me. But guys, team…err…stop pairing me with colleagues, will ya?

And here is the crazy bunch!

Mrs. Perfect Little Bitch

Although I came to know about this in January, I kept it buried in my mind for the last few months. It didn’t seem like a big deal, an inconsequential piece of drivel said by someone I would not be able to identify in a lineup even if my life depended on it. But it did affect me. I didn’t know it at the time but yes it did affect me.

Some of you readers would know my cousin Sujith and I came know about this through him. See, around the same time that I came to know Sujith, he introduced me, online only, to our then 16/17 year old niece (who is the daughter of my second cousin). Now I have never met my second cousin, or atleast I would have probably met her but can’t remember her, but I got to know this niece over gtalk mainly because she has an awesome taste in music and she sings. However a few months later she cut all contact with me without an explanation. I tried contacting her but she was never online it seemed. Gradually I forgot about her; didn’t seem like a big deal.

When Sujith and I met in January, he told  me that the reason this niece of ours stopped chatting with me because of her grandmother, who is my mom’s first cousin. She, her grandmother, said that it wasn’t advisable to keep contact with the “likes” of me and because I have a “bad reputation”! Now I’m no angel and I never pretended to be. I’ve make my mistakes and I’ve made quite a  few. But the last controversial thing I did was way back when I was 18 years old and I’m gonna turn 34 in 3 months! The only other thing I can think of that some people in the family would not like is that I’m an atheist and do not go to any temple at all. Is that it lady?

Now, this cousin of my mom’s is someone I can’t remember having met. I can’t remember having met her. So….what the fuck does she know about me? And who the hell is this bitch that she can pass such judgment about me. Fuck you! Are you so fucking perfect that everyone else is so below you? I don’t get it, she does not even know me. And then a few weeks ago, I spoke to my mom about it and she didn’t care. According to  her, first I must correct my wrongs. Gee, thanks mom. I didn’t realize that everyone in your family except you son is perfect. But that is always how it has been; her family, and by that I mean everyone her generation and above always passes judgments cause they have the sun, the moon and the stars shining outta their asses!  I’ve felt this hypocrisy my entire life and I’m tired of it.

So to this cousin of my aunt, screw you!! Kiss my fucking ass  bitch. You better hope that we never get to meet in a family function cause I’ll tell you what I think of you.

Videos, Unboxing & Review Of The G550

Ok just a couple of videos of the Lenovo G550 and then I promise to shut up about my laptop (I lie). I just love using a laptop (finally) after 3.7 years of using my desktop that I’m just so in love with it. I know it’s  not a high end model or design and it’s more of an entry level notebook for the 15.6 inch  display, but it’s a big deal to me. So here is a professionally done overview of the laptop by a technical magazine.

Then there’s an unboxing of the lappy by a tech guy who bought it for his personal use

and a review by the same user! Enjoy.

The Keralite’s Weather Obsession

The people of Kerala are very predictable. If you want someone to start talking and keep ranting on & on, just make a casual remark about the weather. I do from time to time – to the random auto driver, bus conductor or passenger, shop owner etc etc. Then I stand back and listen to a barrage of ranting about the way the current weather. And the complaints!

If it’s hot then there’s complaints. If it rains, then there’s the complaint that it’s too cold. There’s mostly only only two kinds of weather in Kerala. Monsoon or Summer heat. There’s no other weather. That’s the way it has been for as long as it has been. I dunno for how long it will continue (cause we are fucking up the earth, you know). So I dunno what the big complaint is. We do live in the hottest place on the planet (I guess so).

And after a few complaints & rants, I’m also treated to a history lesson in weather in Kerala. How last year it was so & so. And the few years before that. And two decades ago. And the years just before my birth. And the ones before my parents were born. And my grandparents. And before the British were here. But it has always been hot when it doesn’t rain. That’s why our forefathers created the dhoti and the mundus. So air can find it’s way to our thighs and keep it from sweating so much. Predictable yes, original yes.

Now, it’s not like I’m saying that it’s you Keralites and you Malayalees are like this and I’m not. Cause, this particular post is a rant. And what have I been ranting about? The fucking weather!! I’m just as predictable as you guys.

USB Wireless Mouse Blues

 alt=Now that I have the laptop, I thought great. I love the system but there’s a couple of minor pains – one of which I will address here. The second one is for another blog post, when I fix that particular issue. This one is about using the scrollpad or touch pad.

I just don’t like it that much. I haven’t used one till now and the late start could be the reason but I don’t see myself using it if I had a choice between that and a mouse. A mouse is so much better for my hand. So I went to buy a USB wireless mouse today. The prices surprised me a lot. I settled for the cheapest one that they had, a model made by iSmart which cost me Rs.900. It’s a cute enough model and although it’s not the picture here, it looks pretty much the same.

After spending the afternoon out, I came back home and opened the packet to try the mouse out. I inserted the usb stick and then tried the mouse. Oh you need to put batteries in. Ok, a little later, I went to the shop nearby and bought pen torch batteries, which would prove to be dumb! See, in my inebriated state, I hadn’t check the size; it was of a smaller size than the usual pen torch batteries. So I bought 4 batteries for nothing! Shit, I didn’t feel like going out again. So I’m gonna wait for tomorrow and see if I can buy the right ones.

An Evening With Friends

A couple of weeks ago, on a Friday evening, as I left the office I was to join a member of my team and 3 former members of our department. We had all joined together back in January of 2007 and now the 3 of them work in different cities. The guy, Neil, now works from Kannur, Shalina works & lives in Trivandrum & Vidya has just come back from studying in Australia. So we’d planned this for a few days and finally the day was decided. Now we needed a place to meet up and have a little dinner.

After a few days, Ajeeba (who is still in my team), found out that a new restaurant based on the Kentucky Fried chicken concept had opened up on SRM Road. It was called Chicknik and was quite and spacious. So we would meet there. After a review with the clients, I left to join the four of them. I was quite late and by the time I reached they were almost done with dinner and had ordered for me. As I sauntered in, I saw the four of them sitting at a big table, relaxing after a nice meal of fried chicken, buns, cream cheese & mayo. I joined in and quickly sat down and greeted everyone. I went to freshen up and then quickly ate my meal as I wanted to talk with the 4 of them. The time I got to spend with them was short but it was worth it. I miss all of them a lot.

The restaurant was a nice setup and quite but classy. I really liked the place and their layout was nice. I think it’s a good option if you want a quite peaceful place to eat some chicken and have a good conversation with your buddies or with family.

The Associate

Probably the author who writes the most readable and enjoyable novels in the world, John Grisham delivers with yet another page-turner in The Associate.  In this, his 21st novel, young law student & editor in chief of the Yale Law Journal,  Kyle McAvoy is approached by the mysterious Bentnie Wright, who blackmails him with a video of his 3 roommates and him at a party. At the party, two of his buddies have sex with the local party girl, while Kyle falls asleep on the sofa. The girl later claims that she was raped while she was unconscious, a charge which was refuted by the cops. However in the video, a friend clearly asks the question, although drunk, “Is she awake?” With this tape in his custody, Bennie threatens to expose Kyle and his buddies unless he cooperates with his plan.

The plan is for Kyle to join a huge law firm as an associate (he was offered a position there) and to provide information to Bennie details about an upcoming case on aeronautics which is held in secrecy and is bound to be one one of the most expensive court cases of all time. The thought of the shame and embarrassment that would be caused for his family if this tape was played in public, makes Kyle agree with the plan. However, Kyle is a smart & resourceful individual. Read how he outwits and stays one step ahead of his blackmailers by using his brains. Kyle recruits his buddy Joey (one of the guys who had sex with the girl in the video) to help him out and despite the tragic murder of another friend, Kyle is determined to not play into the hands of the blackmailers. He seeks the help of a seasoned litigator and the FBI to expose the secret organization behind the blackmail.

Unfortunately Bennie and his associates elude the Feds but Kyle is now free to leave the big NY firm and go and work with his dad. The threat of being targeted by Bennie and his associates is still in the air but the young lawyer refuses to let that stop him from living his life.

Frost / Nixon

All of you who have heard of this movie may be aware of the history behind it. The story of American President Richard Nixon who resigned from office in leiu of the backlash from the Watergate scandal & you may have heard / seen television presenter / journalist & talk show host David Frost. David Frost is huge part of my childhood, having seen him on numerous tv specials throughout the years I spent growing up in Kuwait. But I wasn’t aware of this series of interviews that the British journalist conducted with Nixon.

The movie is a strong, mostly dialogue driven classy bit of cinema that I shall always remember. So nice to know that such movies are also being made. Here’s why I loved the movie:

  • Some crafty casting – Frank Langella, who many have seen as Draculla, Sherlock Holmes and as Skeletor in Masters Of the Universe, did a fantastic job as Nixon. The 70+ year old actor truly did deserve to be nominated for an Oscar.
  • And Michael Sheen did a terrific job portraying a playboy, partying and glamorous Frost, who when it came down to it, was also an intense interviewer. I didn’t recognize the Irish actor as the same fella who played ‘Lucian’ the werewolf in the first and third Underworld movies.
  • And the supporting staff were wonderful too – Oliver Platt plays an understated supporting role as does Kevin Bacon and Sam Rockwell. I really like Rockwell’s acting in the film.
  • Rounding out the cast is the beautiful Rebecca Hall, who plays Caroline Cushing, Frost’s girlfriend who he meets on a plan and who becomes his support & confidant during the trying times that surrounded the interviews.
  • The interview sections were some of the best tet-a-tet acting that I have ever seen and is worth watching over and over again. You can cut the tension with a butter knife.

Great movie. 8 outta 10 for me!