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Her Hair Reminds Me Of A Warm, Safe Place

Back in 1988 I first heard this song on a tape that I had bought of Guns n’Roses. The album was called Appetite For Destruction and the song in question was Sweet Child O’Mine. 22 years later, I still feel a euphoric aural wave washing over me every time I hear it, as soon as the opening guitar melody starts. It’s anthemic, its nostalgic, it’s arena filling and it’s fucking awesome.

Back then and for a few more years I thought that guitarist Saul Hudson aka Slash & Guns n’Roses couldn’t do any wrong. I woeruldn’t say that Slash is one of the best  guitarists ever; he might not even make my top 25 list of all time greats. Infact, a big complain is that Slash has but one tone for all his solos. But what he made up for it was attitude & image most of all. Which rock fan could miss out the top hat, thick mop of unruly black curly hair that covered a quarter of his face, leather pants, cigarette dangling from his lips & followed by rock star poses on stage? He also gave us one of the most instantly recognizable sounds and beloved guitar riffs of all time.

So post 1993 GNR has been in name only, with Axl Rose owning & controlling the band name and piling a lot of strange musicians on stage with him for what was essentially his solo album & tour. Slash meanwhile released a solo album (sort off, he would call it a group effort) in 1996 and then later form a supergroup in Velvet Revolver and also play on stage with anyone who will have him. He recorded with whoever he liked on their released and had a great time while Axl sulked. Now, Slash has a new solo album out that he recorded with a bunch of his musician friends. I’ll be getting that soon but meanwhile here’s Slash performing live on stage at the Glastonbury festival. Joining him are singer Myles Kennedy (Alterbridge) and Todd Kerns (singer, guitarist of Sin City Sinners, former solo artist and ex member of Age Of Electric) on bass.

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A Couple Of Places I Must Visit

There are a couple of places that I’d like to go and visit that are part of my home state of Kerala. I have never been to either of these places but have heard a lot about them and yet haven’t got a chance to go there. These 2 places are Mahe & Lakshwadeep.

Mahe is a small town surrounded on all sides by Kerala and is officially a part of the union territory of Pondicherry.  The former French colony now forms part of a municipality of Mahe in Mahe district of the Union Territory of Pondicherry. With a population of just under 37000 people, Mahe is much smaller than the other towns/cities I have been to. The official languages are Malayalam, Tamil & French.

Mahé, like most union territories in India, has a low taxes on liquor This in itself makes it a haven for the alcohol lovers in the state and since Malayalees have the highest per capita liquor consumption in India, no second guesses as to why most of us wanna go there. For those of you who watch his movies, M Night Shyamalan was born here.

The other place that I would want to visit is Lakshadweep, translated to English as 100,000 islands. Only 10 of these islands are inhabited. Lakshadweep officially consists of 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks, with a total of about 36 islands and islets. By boat it takes roughly 15 hours to reach the islands and there are direct flights from Cochin to the only airport in Agatti. Tourists need a permit to visit the islands; foreign nationals are not permitted to visit certain islands. Consumption of alcohol is not permitted in the islands except on Bangaram Island. Ships are the major means of transportation for the islanders. Ships are operated from either Cochin or Calicut. There are around 5 passenger ships, but generally only two at a time operate. Advance bookings are required.

I would love to visit these places although Mahe seems much more easier to go, while I need to get a local from Lakshadweep to sponsor my visit to the islands.

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62nd Primetime Emmy Awards

Although I missed watching the Emmy’s live telecast on Sunday night (early Monday  morning for us in India), I wanted to check out the winner & nominations just to see what was currently considered to be very good as per industry standards and how many of them I would be interested in.

In Outstanding Drama category, Mad Men won and this is a series I have been hearing a whole lot of good things about. My interest is also piqued due to the voluptuous Ms. Christina Hendricks who is a leading actress in this series. None of the others in this category interest me ; I’ve seen True Blood and wasn’t that into it and neither due I like Lost.  I wasn’t a fan of any of the nominees in the Outstanding Comedy Series either, with a passing interest in 30 Rock and that’s solely due to Tina Fey. American Idol, a show that I watch a little bit, was nominated in the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program category but lost out to Padma Lakshmi’s Top Chef.

Bryan Cranston & Kyra Sedgwick won best actor & actress in the Drama category for shows I haven’t seen or heard of yet, while Jim Parsons & Edie Falco won it for the comedy sections. If I had my way Tina Fey would win best actress in a Comedy for 10 years! The Outstanding Lead actor in a mini-series or television film had a very talented list of nominees this year – Al Pacino edging out Michael Sheen, Ian McKellen, Dennis Quaid & Jeff Bridges. And hey, Archie Panjabi, who played the hot, sexy older sister in Bend It Like Beckham won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for playing Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife. And Neil Patrick Harris won Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for playing Bryan Ryan in an episode of Gleewhich was just shown last week here in India (I saw the ad, I don’t watch Glee).

The show was hosted by Jimmy Fallon, who I do not find to be funny!

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Notes For 30th August, 2010

  • I finally have my whole team back in the office. One fellow was on deputation in our TN office for a month and he reached back here on Saturday. Another was in Bangalore for a few days and a third is just back from a 10 day leave, during which she was also laid up in a hospital due to viral fever. Feels so good to have all 6 together at the same time.
  • With them coming back in I also feel that things will be a lot more easier on me and at the same time we will have lots to do as well. I’m fine with that as long as I have people free to do stuff.
  • Nice long day at the office today without any issues to sort out. 3 hour meeting. Got some stuff done.
  • Left the office late today and got a ride till Edapally kavala. I had to wait a while for a bus to come along, so I also stopped to get a very cold Sharjah shake. It gave me brain freeze.
  • There were exactly 9 very drunks mofos in the bus. It was about 9 pm when I boarded it and I was so annoyed at the racket that they were making. So were the other passengers from the dirty looks they gave those 9 idiots.
  • While having a quick dinner of appam & potato curry, I watched another awesome episode of Criminal Minds, fast becoming one of my favourite shows of all time. The only thing I have against this show is that they don’t spend much time on character building.
  • I’m also helping a friend of a friend buy a laptop with the exact specifications that he wants and for the cheapest possible rates currently available in the city. It’s also fun doing shopping and bargaining for a laptop even if it isn’t for you.

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Alternative Tea

A couple of years ago my cousin Shalini & her husband went on their honeymoon to Austria. Among some of the gifts that they had bought was a packet of Hibisku-Ginkgo Tee (or Hibiscus Ginkgo Tea) from Germany makers Bad Heilbrunner. I do not think that my dad has liked the taste but I have.

Hibisbus tea is made from the hibiscus flower called Hibiscus sabdariffa. Hibiscus tea comes from the genus Hibiscus, in the mallow family (Malvaceae). A recent study revealed that hibiscus tea contains a number of different antioxidants that may help to protect against cell-damaging free radicals. These teas also may help control high blood pressure & also for lowering cholesterol. It is helps to enrich your immune system as it is rich in Vitamin C. Added with Ginkgo it is a revitalizing & refreshing alternate to our normal tea & coffee. It also makes a splendid ice tea (I had mine served hot this evening) and adding some juice to it gives it an added kick. I only added a few squeezes of lime.

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Stargate Universe : Episode 17 “Pain”

On the Destiny, some of the crew are being affected by hallucinations so strong that it’s affecting their judgment and impairing their day to day activities. Lt. James hallucinated that Lt. Scot has sex with her and then leaves her behaving rudely saying that he cannot be with her. She demands that he chooses between her & Chloe but he brushes her away. She lifts a lamp and hits him on the back of the head with it and is horrified that she has killed him. Dale Volker who has claustrophobia is unable to open the door to his quarters and starts yelling. As others later open the door he chalks it off as a simple malfunction but in the hallway he finds himself trapped within walls that didn’t exist a while back.

Lt. Scot imagines that he sees his son Matthew running in the hallways and chases after him. Dunning starts scratching at an itch and gets panicky feeling that a snake is inside him and is cutting himself to get it out. Greer imagines that he sees Wray conspiring with other civilians to take over the ship and starts to spy on her. Rush sees shadows but when he approaches it there is no one there. As TJ examines the ones affected it soon becomes apparent that the ones affected have all been on a planet recently and suspects that something affected them there. Just then, T.J. radios Young, telling him she has found the cause. T.J. presents Young with what she has found; a tick-like bug is embedded in Scott’s scalp, just above the back of the neck. She passed it over on her first examination because it is so small. T.J. speculates that the ticks inject a venom causing the hallucinations, and believes that removing them is the way to solve the problem. Scot is first to go and he reacts violently at first. The tick goes from him and jumps onto Chloe, who while passing another section of the ship sees her dead father.

Meanwhile Greer sees Wray & Rush talking privately and says that he will not let the two of them conspire to take over the ship. It is Eli who finds Chloe talking to what she thinks is her father. Rush finds himself in a tank filling with water and then suddenly he is out of it but sees a blue alien stalking him. Using the venom from the squiggly alien, TJ is able to remove the ticks from the others and they are killed. Rush prevents Greer from killing Wray, although she gets a deep wound. Scot then subdues Rush who is still seeing more blue aliens and TJ clears everyone from the ticks. As the episode ends, Destiny drops out of FTL and dials to a planet that seems habitable. Young decides to send out a team, not letting the tick incident deter him. He radios Scott and orders him to ready his team.

0

Clearing My Head The Fun Way

I really had to get out and spend some time by myself and clear my head. Things have come to a head at the office and I’m always thinking about the major issue that I currently have in my work & office and the hostility that is brewing and making it difficult to work. Worrying about all this stuff does take a toll on you and I needed to not think about it for a few hours and enjoy myself. Although I woke up early and was feeling lazy and comfortable sitting in my room in the cold, I decided that I would go out.

By 12 pm I was showered, shampooed and ready to  go out. It had been raining for most of the morning but it stopped around the time I went down in the elevator, so I didn’t bother to take an umbrella. As soon as had I stepped out on the road it started to rain again. I hailed an auto and went to Shenoy’s junction. In the same building as Planet M, there’s a small book store that sells second hand books and I browsed through their selection on three rows. Ahead of me was the dusky looking babe with a nice figure so I had something to ogle at while I pretended to look at book titles.  The tight pants sure does help!

Selecting two books for myself, The Last Juror by John Grisham & The Guest Of Honor by Irving Wallace, I paid for them and then went over to Cafe Coffee Day where I had a choco frappe and relaxed. I spent about 90 minutes there sipping the frappe and reading the Grisham novel. It’s really good by the way and I’ll post a review on it soon. I was thoroughly enjoying the book and it was 2 pm by the time I paid for the coffee and left to go to Oberois bar. I ordered a beer and a plate of Chopsuey. I really like the American Chopsuey as it has most of my favourite stuff in it – a bulls-eye egg, oodles of noodles, small pieces of beef, chicken and shrimp mixed in along with veggies like carrots, green peppers, cauliflowers & tomatoes. I continued to eat my food, drink my beer while I read the novel.

Soon the first beer was all gone and I ordered another one. There wasn’t much of a crowd in the bar as it was late afternoon and pretty soon it was quite. A small group of 4 men came in around the time the waiter got me the second beer and then asked the bar owner if he could turn down or switch off the air conditioner as the oldest man in their group wasn’t keeping well! Why would you bring the poor bastard into a bar you moron? And then inconvenience the other patrons of the bar by asking to switch the ac off? Idiots. Fortunately the bar owner gave them a separate table at the other end where the ac’s effects would be very marginal.

By 4:30 I left the bar and took an auto home and was soon lying on my bed watching some tv series. The plan worked, I feel a lot more relaxed and I’m not too worried about stuff for the moment. More relaxation on Sunday to follow.

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Arsenal 2 Blackburn Rovers 1

Andrey Arshavin grabbed the winner for Arsenal as they showed the steel needed to overcome a committed Blackburn. Theo Walcott gave the Gunners the lead at Ewood Park, powering an angled shot past Paul Robinson after a slick move. But Mame Biram Diouf tapped in from an El-Hadji Diouf pass as Rovers impressively equalised. Arshavin threaded in the winner after a Cesc Fabregas effort was deflected into his path and the north Londoners held on to complete a hard-fought win.

After weathering the Rovers onslaught and earning the right to play, Wenger will be encouraged by the character his team showed to come out on top and enhance their title credentials. Robin van Persie became Arsenal’s first casualty as he was forced off with an ankle injury. Bu tAlmunia played the ball out and, six passes later, Walcott ran on to Van Persie’s measured ball and took a touch before sending in a shot at the far post.

2

Master Of The Game – Sidney Sheldon

At the age of 12 I first read this Sidney Sheldon novel, the first “grown up” novel that I can remember ever having read. It remains one of my favourites and also brings me nostalgic memories of a much simpler & care free time.

Master Of The Game is about the almost Queen like Kate Blackwell, on her 90th birthday still running a huge company. We are flashbacked to her dad, Jamie McGregor, who at 19 moves to South Africa to find his fortune in diamonds. He is cheated by the richer Saloman Van Der Meer and as revenge Jamie seduces and impregnates the former’s daughter Maggie. Jamie rises to power based on the wealth of his diamonds and soon starts a company called Kruger-Brent. Second child of Jamie & Maggie, Kate does not get to know her father and brother as both are killed in South Africa’s slave uprising. Maggie runs the company with the able help of Jamie’s young deputy, David Blackwell.

As Kate grows up she falls in love with David and despite the age differences, she uses her power as the heir to a huge company to manipulate things in such a way that David stays with her and they finally marry. David dies in a mining accident before his son is born and Kate raises young Tony to take over the business – but the young man has other plans. Always shy & retiring in front of his mother, he loves the arts and wants to be an artist in Paris. However, Kate interferes by first arranging for a model to fall in love with Tony and then sabotaging his art carrier by buying a critic to write bad reviews on Tony’s paintings. Tony marries a young German woman, who dies on delivering twin baby girls and Tony finds out that Kate encouraged his wife to have the kids against doctor’s advise.

Tony snaps and shoots his mother but she doesn’t die while Tony is admitted to an asylum. Kate raises the twins, Eve & Alexandra but it turns out that Eve is a jealous, ambitious & selfish brat who wants everything for herself. She can’t even share things with Alexandra, who’s oblivious to Eve’s jealousy & hatred and worships her older twin. Ever sleeps around and has flings, lies and tries to get Alex killed a few times. When Kate finds out, she disinherits Eve. Eve meets George Mellis, an abusive, ambitious & sexually violent handsome Greek and sets him up Alexandra. The plan is to kill Alexandra and get all her family’s wealth for herself and then get rid of George. However complications with the Greek make her change her plans and she kills him instead. She is later punished by a doctor who blackmails her to marry him and though he loves her, he purposefully damages her face in a plastic surgery that was done to actually get ride of some of her wrinkles.

With Eve punished, we now come back to Alexandra. Distraught over the death of George, she seeks comfort from a shrink, Peter Templeton. He & Alexandra marry and have a son Robert, who at the time of Kate’s 90th birthday is only 8 years old. He wants to be a classical musician and as we end the novel we read that Kate is interfering with his life by saying that she will recommend him to a friend who happens to know famous music conductor Zubin Mehta. Kate still believes that she acted properly, even though everyone in her family has been negatively affected by her actions.

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Bagged By The Hag

When I was 14 I was punished for a crime (in the eyes of the school principal) that I did not commit. On the last day of school (grade 9), a bunch of us wanted to go out to the town post the final exams and watch a movie together. Usually on the last school day we don’t wear our uniforms and come dressed in jeans and t-shirts or any other casual wear. However that year the principal declared that the students must wear their uniforms on the last day. Now we didn’t want to go to the theatre in our uniforms, so we had an idea. All the guys who were to go for the movie would pack our jeans and a shirt in our school bags and once the school was over we would go to the back and change into the casual clothes and then go for the movie.

This seemed like a good plan and we went to write our final exams the last day. Now grade 9 students had only 1 exam paper that day and the rest of the day was free for us. We spent the afternoon chatting and spending time with our teachers. Now there was construction being done on the second floor of our school and some of my friends & I went to check out that area. We were soon told by the principal’s clerk that none of us were to be there and to come down immediately. We all did —but some of my friends had an idea to smoke. So a little later they went back up. I wasn’t with them but I had left my school bag with them. I was in the school grounds with some other classmates a little while later when I saw that those friends of mine were running towards the back gate of the school and they looked like they were running for their lives. As they passed me by, one of them yelled out to be ‘bag, bag’! I couldn’t make out the rest.

I went back into the school building and looked around for my bag. I found it in front of the principal’s office lying in a heap along with some other bags. Not knowing what the issue was, I took my bag and went back to the students I was talking with. A little later a clerk called me to the principal’s office and I was confronted by the bitch. She was quite angry and explosive and yelled at me. She demanded that I give her my bag. I said that it was mine but she thought that I was handing out the bags of those friends of mine who had ran away – they had ran because the principal had caught them smoking and standing in the section of the building where she had earlier forbidden us to be in! I didn’t know that but stood by my claim that this was my bag and I was just taking back what was mine.

She slapped me across the face. Hard, it stung like a bastard for most of the day. I went back to my teachers who knew that I was innocent. A couple of them even went to the principal and explained to her that I didn’t do anything wrong and went only to get my bag. The fucking woman (and I use that term lightly) refused to listen and confiscated my bag and said that I wouldn’t get it back. Even after I named all the items in it & described them to her she still refused to give it back to me. I was furious and it was only my favourite teachers who could console me. I went back home and explained the situation to my folks who spoke to the principal a few days later at her house. By then she understood that I was innocent but her fucking pride prevented her from saying so. She laughed with my parents and said that ‘oh I know he is a good boy”! Bitch.

The next year, grade 10 and the final year of high school for us I got my bag back from her. At the time she said “Oh I admire your patience and your control. You never came to ask it back from me”. Yeah you old hag; also admire the fact that I so controlled my temper and didn’t knock you back flat on your arse. To my surprise, she also wanted to make me a school leader (one of 4 that takes charge of school activities and stuff) and I did get selected. I would rather have gladly arranged her funeral.

Anyway, of you are still alive you bitch, for this and for all the other shit that you have done to the students, I hope you die slowly and painfully and I also hope that you rot in hell.

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Who’s Marking Whom?

David meets Goliath seems to be the title that sparks from most people’s minds when they see this image. Tottenham Hotspur’s Peter Crouch (right) is marked at a corner by Anmar Jemal of BSC Young Boys in their Champions League playoff second leg match at White Hart Lane in London on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010.

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ROSHAN’S ELEVEN : Police Series

This is my list of favourite tv series with the central theme being cops. This is my list, which may differ from yours. So if you don’t like it, bite me!

  • Cold Squad
  • Law & Order : SVU
  • ChIpS
  • CSI : NY
  • N.Y.P.D Blue
  • DaVinci’s Inquest
  • CSI
  • CSI : NY
  • Hill Street Blues
  • Blue Murder
  • Castle

I did not include shows which focussed on individuals who were cops (like Due South, or TJ Hooker or Kojak) or which focussed on just a couple of cops (Starsky & Hutch, Dempsey & Makepeace etc). I wanted it to be a group effort. Although Da Vinci’s Inquest is named after the Coroner Dominic Da Vinci, the show revolves around a group of Vancouver’s cops, patholigists etc.

3

Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

The base of fresh dough made from all-purpose flour and semolina flour. Then, it’s layered with Mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sausage, black olives, mushrooms, green and red bell peppers, onions, pizza sauce made from scratch and topped with a generous helping of Parmesan cheese!

7

Arachnophobia

Last night I had one of the biggest shocks of my life. I was sitting at my desk using the laptop at about 10:45 pm and felt something on my left leg. I was wearing a brand new lungi (dhoti) and since it was rather stiff (brand new lungis are always stiff until the first couple of washes) and laying rather heavy against my leg, I thought that’s what it was. Then I moved the cloth away slight and saw something move onto the table. It was a huge spider!

Not just any ordinary spider, a huge mutherfucka of a monster and boy was it ugly & mean looking. Disgusted I pushed my chair away and yelled out. It moved towards the wall and the door. I couldn’t let the bastard escape. I looked around for something to beat it with and found a Rolling Stone magazine from 2009 and picked it up and charged at the spider—–only to leap back as the sonofabitch had leaped at me. I folder the magazine and beat the stupid spider 3 times and killed it, squashed against the floor. Dead, the bastard was dead!

I cleared the carcass of the dead spider & then washed my hands & feet with soap but going to sleep was a big problem. I kept thinking about the spider and whether it had some friends nearby and would I be visited by them soon. I tried watching some tv series to take my mind of the creature but it was of no use. I kept imagining a similar sized spider climbing my bed and crawling under the sheets to get to me. So I tried reading and fell asleep with the lights on.

I knew that I wouldn’t get much rest until the room was thoroughly cleaned and swept, so I had a cleaning lady move the bed aside and clear the entire place and move a cartoon of clothes (perfect hiding place for monsters) off to storage. The spider most probably came from outside the building, through an open window but I wasn’t taking any chances. The room looks much cleaner now anyway and so does the rest of the apartment.

BTW the perfectionist blogger in me was so upset that I couldn’t get a photo of the spider to show it to you on this post. But believe me – it was like it crawled its away from a Discovery channel special on arachnids!

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Life Starts Now – Three Days Grace

One early morning in 2003 while heading home from work in a company cab, a colleague introduced me to the music of Three Days Grace via a couple of mp3s on a mixed cd. Soon I became a casual fan of the band while watching their music videos to their hit songs like Home & Just Like You. That casual fan status would continue however I must admit that some of their songs are just fabulous like the anti-suicide / child molestation single Never Too Late. I’ve got all their albums including the one reviewed here in this post, Life Starts Now.

This is the 3rd album of the Norwood, Ontario quartet, released on September 22, 2009. It is the band’s second album produced by Howard Benson. After being on the road for five years with Three Days Grace, bassist Brad Walst stated, “We all came home and got a hard dose of life,” which the band then used to create a more “musically in-depth and personal album”. He describes Life Starts Now as a record about “confronting life and how fragile it can be”. Opening track Bitter Taste is evidence hinting that the band haven’t changed too much from their previous releases – a simple riff starts the song, and singer Adam Grontier follows with a typical verse and chorus structure and delivers a hook.

In a similar vein but with a lot more radio friendly tune is Break, the first single off the track, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Rock Charts. Catchy guitar riffs and a thumping drum beat sets this song apart. It’s about breaking free from the situation that you find yourself in and one you do not like. World So Cold is next; a typical 3DG song about a bitter & unfriendly world after a heartbreak. Lost In You is probably going to be a single for the reasons that it’s radio friendly, appeals to multiple listeners, is the obligatory, catchy song of affection, and has a certain degree of repeated listenability. The song sounds a lot like Default to me. We get back to harder riffs in The Good Life.

No More is a good song and should have been released as a single; lyrically it’s a vulnerable look at living in fear and stating that its not the kind of living we should live. The piano led Last To Know is a ballad about broken love and is a moving song. Someone Who Cares is a song about the desperate longing for people to care about each other in a bleak looking world. I really like Neil Sanderson’s Freese-worthy drum performances throughout this album and on this track he lays down a strong groove. The eerie sounding Bully has “creeping-up-behind-you” kind of vibe that cunningly carves out a perfect setting with Grontier’s distorted vocals for the verses. Without You is the protagonist wondering what life would be without the person he is singing about. Walst’s best work on the bass comes in Going Down,  and we end the album with the title track Life Starts Now – which is about starting afresh and removing all the negativity. Guitarist Barry Stock who does a bang up job all over the cd, pays homage to the Jerry Cantrell / Alice In Chains sound in his rhythm guitar and lead breaks. Overall a very solid album although it doesn’t beat it’s predecessor.