Spring Cleaning My Blogroll

My frequent readers (all 10 of you) would have noticed that there’s a reduction in the number of blogs that you see in my blogroll. No your eyes do not deceive ya! It’s true; I’ve been trimming the hedges or shaving the bushes or…er sorry but why does that make me think of shaving privates? Never mind, back to the topic at hand. So, I’ve begun cropping my blogroll and the only criteria in removing a blog from the list  is that usually I haven’t found a post that holds my attention in the first page or atleast 1 out of the first 10.

In many case I’ve found that the author hasn’t updated in weeks or months and has probably abandoned the blog altogether. In some cases they have just moved their blog to another location. There are many blogs that I have only visited once in a few months and those have been removed as well. As I find that some bloggers have changed their style or content drastically that I no longer am interested in reading them. Nothing wrong with their writing just the content and me don’t gel.

Along the way I’ve also been introduced to other blogs that look interesting and I find myself linking them to my blog and hope that the author continues writing such good posts. So please check out the latest updates if you notice any.

Sevilla Stopper Squillaci Almost A Gunner

Arsenal are closing in on a deal for Sevilla center back Sebastien Squillaci, according to the Guardian. The Gunners have agreed a £5m fee with the Spanish side, and the France international has made his way to London for a medical.

It was reported last week that Arsenal had made a bid for the 30-year-old, but in confirming the bid, Sevilla sporting director Ramon Rodriguez said the offer wasn’t good enough. However, it appears that Arsenal have made up the necessary ground to persuade Sevilla to part with Squillaci, who joined the club from Lyon in a £6m deal in the summer of 2008.

Arsenal splashed out £8.5m on another French center back this summer with the purchase of Laurent Koscielny from Lorient, but there was still a need to make additional defensive reinforcements after the club said goodbye to William Gallas, Sol Campbell, Mikael Silvestre, and Philippe Senderos this summer.

And after adding an up-and-comer in Koscielny, Arsene Wenger is set to add an experienced stopper in Squillaci, who was part of the Monaco side that made a run to the Champions League final in 2004 and participated in the Champions League in both seasons he spent with Lyon and last season with Sevilla. He’s now set to take part in the tournament with his fourth different team, as due his refusal to play in the first leg of Sevilla’s Champions League playoff tie against Portuguese side Braga, Squillaci will be available to be part of Arsenal‘s Champions League squad.

Squillaci also has 20 caps for France, and along with new teammates Gael Clichy, Abou Diaby, and Bacary Sagna, was part of France’s 2010 World Cup squad. Squillaci was an unused sub in France’s matches against Uruguay and Mexico, but he started and played the full 90 in the 2-1 loss to South Africa that marked France’s early exit from the tournament.

Update: Sevilla have confirmed they have accepted a £6.5million offer from Arsenal for defender Sebastien Squillaci. The Frenchman is currently en route to England for a medical on Monday with a view to signing for the Gunners ahead of next Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

Onam Greetings & Wishes

Happy Onam to all my readers, whether you are Malayalee or not. This festival, the biggest for the state of Kerala and it’s people, marks the harvest season and the 10th day of the festival is usually the one most people note as Onam or Thiruvonam. Traditionally it is also marked as the time than an ancient, beloved king Maveli (Kerala’s version of Santa Claus, although he doesn’t bring us presents) returns to visit his people once a year.

This is a day for family to get together and have a lavish lunch of traditional Kerala vegetarian dishes in an afternoon sadhya. This is also followed by a payasam or two. The feast is served on banana leaves and is looked forward to by all the family members. Enjoy Thiruvonam with all your family members.

Countdown From 10 To Meme

I found this very personal meme at Over Cups Of Coffee and found it interesting. Although she didn’t tag me, I liked it so much that I just had to try it out.

Ten hows:
  1. How did you get one of your scars? I fell from the stairs in the apartment building I lived in. I was 5 years old and hit my head on something sharp. There’s 5 stitches as a memento from that time and scar.
  2. How did you celebrate your last birthday? I got pasted on the face with birthday cake at the office. That was followed by a nice dinner that I treated my team to at a Barbecue joint.
  3. How are you feeling at this moment? Tired, lonely and sleepy.
  4. How did your night go last night? As last night marked the end of an intense 6 day week with lots of overtime and stress, I came home had a light dinner, watched a little football and fell fast asleep by 11pm.
  5. How did you do in high school? I did ok. Highschool here in India at that time (early 90s) was mostly 13-15 as after the 10th grade you go to college for a Pre-degree course, now mostly done in schools only a the 11th & 12h grade. 9th and 10th grades were above average but my 8th grade I was a real rebel and had little interest in school.
  6. How did you get the shirt you’re wearing? Not wearing one right now.
  7. How often do you see your best friend(s)? Not often enough. It’s more like once a month.
  8. How much money did you spend last month? 9k went for the second installment of my new lappy. I ended up spending about Rs.14k more on various stuff.
  9. How old do you want to be when you get married? 28-30. I’m 34 now :) Yeah, very lonely and waiting for my dream woman.
  10. How old will you be at your next birthday? 35 but I will always be 18 in my mind.
Nine whats:
  1. Your mothers name? A. Rema Devi Gopal
  2. What did you do last weekend? Went out for coffee and read a book while I was there in the coffeeshop and spent a long time there. Then it was vodka & lunch at my favourite bar. Came home and slept most of Sunday away.
  3. What is the most important part of your life? Hmmm, work, my friends & family, music
  4. What would you rather be doing? I’d like to have a go at the wine industry
  5. What did you last cry over? My best friend at the office and second in command leaving the company. We were both crying.
  6. What always makes you feel better when you’re upset? Listening to music, watching my fav shows, a good meal or drinks, the little things my team members do to make me happy.
  7. What’s the most important thing you look for in a significant other? Honesty, genuine love & affection and the ability to withstand my wild sexual urges ;). No, really I mean it!
  8. What are you worried about? Lack of money, the fact that I’m no where close to being happy, the fact that time’s kinda running out on me finding a bride.
  9. What did you have for breakfast? Oh, big breakfast today. Dosa, podi, boiled bananas, banana chips, fried bananas in jaggery & coffee.
Eight yous:
  1. Have you ever liked someone who had a girlfriend/boyfriend? Yeah a couple of times. A married woman or two
  2. Have you ever had your heartbroken? Whoa. Ok pick a number between 1 and 10.
  3. Have you ever been out of the country? I was born and raise in Kuwait until I was 11 and once been to the UK.
  4. Have you ever done something outrageously dumb? Too many to post here
  5. Have you ever been back stabbed by a friend? Yes. They are no longer my friends.
  6. Have you ever had sex on the beach? No. But I would like to.
  7. Have you ever dated someone younger than you? I’m a guy and yeah mostly the women I’ve dated were younger than me. Two were older, one by 13 years.
  8. Have you ever read an entire book in one day? More than once…
Seven whos:
  1. Who was the last person you saw? A neighbour who entered the elevator along with me.
  2. Who was the last person you texted? My sister. Yeah I have such an exciting social life :P
  3. Who was the last person you hung out with? A buddy from my days in NIIT last Sunday
  4. Who was the last person to call you? My sister again. I’m so outgoing
  5. Who did you last hug? My buddy on Sunday. It was more like a brief shoulder hit.
  6. Who is the last person who texted you? A member of my team
  7. Who was the last person you said “I love you” to? It’s been a while. But in a platonic sense, I think it must be my team members.
Six wheres:
  1. Where does your best friend(s) live? One in Thrissur (works in Cochin) and the other near the Cochin University
  2. Where did you last go? Fridgehouse to look at tvs.
  3. Where did you last hang out? Friday after work at Coffee Beanz for an hour.
  4. Where do you go to school? :P
  5. Where is your favorite place to be? My bed,  guess
  6. Where did you sleep last night? In my bed. Where did you think?
Five dos:
  1. Do you think anyone likes you? Not sure, seems like she does and I do too but we haven’t spoken about it
  2. Do you ever wish you were someone else? All the time. Like the words to Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night by Bon Jovi goes “I wish that I could be in some other time & place, with someone else’s soul and someone else’s face”
  3. Do you know the muffin man? No but he works at the coffeeshop
  4. Does the future scare you? All the time
  5. Do your parents know about your blog? Yes but they haven’t read it yet
Four whys:
  1. Why are you best friends with your best friend? Because they just are. They care about me and I about them
  2. Why did you get into Blogging? I like to write and I like having a website/blog to share stuff
  3. Why did your parents give you the name you have? A nurse at the hospital I was born in suggested it to my mom. She was wise. The nurse that is!
  4. Why are you doing this survey? It’s Sunday evening and I have nothing else to do
Three ifs:
  1. If you could have one super power what would it be? The power to create things with just my  mind
  2. If you could go back in time and change one thing, would you? There’s way too many things. For just some of them read a previous post
  3. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could bring 1 thing, what would you bring? A gun. If I was stranded and had no way off the island I’d rather kill myself.
Two would-you-evers:
  1. Would you ever get back together with any of your ex’s if they asked you? No
  2. Would you ever shave your head to save someone you love? In a heartbeat
One last question:
  1. Are you happy with your life right now? No and where do I begin?

I would like to tag Meleah, Selma, Anick, Jessica & Lady Banana. Anyone else wanting to take this tag on, go ahead!

Arsenal 6 Blackpool 0

Theo Walcott registered the first hat-trick of his club career as Arsenal brought Blackpool back down to earth with a resounding win at the Emirates. Newly-promoted Blackpool, who won 4-0 at Wigan on the opening day, started well but Walcott slotted Arsenal ahead. Ian Evatt was sent off for a foul that appeared to be outside the area, Andrey Arshavin scoring the penalty, before Walcott drilled a third on 39 minutes. Abou Diaby clipped home, Walcott curled in and Marouane Chamakh headed a sixth.

Arsenal now their first victory of the season, after drawing their opener against Liverpool 1-1 and delighted manager Arsene Wenger. Blackpool did enjoy plenty of early possession and carved out the first meaningful attempt on goal when David Vaughan shot powerfully at Manuel Almunia. But Arsenal soon settled into a tidy rhythm and opened the scoring through Walcott’s side-footed finish on 12 minutes after a superb passing move between Arshavin, Chamakh and Tomas Rosicky. Arshavin, Chamakh and Walcott all went close before Rosicky put Chamakh through on goal and the Moroccan was brought down by last-man Evatt. Although the match began to resemble a training session late on, there was still time for Chamakh to nod in Van Persie’s corner for his first Arsenal goal and Blackpool substitute Brett Ormerod fire just over the bar.

Curved Cappuchino

Curved Cappuchino originally in Flickr by Dale Gillard

For the past many months I’ve added this little weekly feature, the Sunday morning coffee pic, although not explicitly name. This is a tribute to my addiction love for coffee and all the wonderful coffees out there in the world. Some truly wonderful photos are out there in Flickr and I’m using my blog as another small & humble means of sharing it with you. Happy coffee drinking Sunday!

Searching For A New TV

A few months ago my parents declared that they wanted to get a new television. The old BPL tv that we had was getting very outdated. They wanted an LSD tv. The damn things cost a lot and it was outta my dad’s budget as well as mine. I ruled it out. Then the BPL tv blitzed out and after trying to get it repaired a couple of times, we knew that it was dead. The immediately easy solution was an even older tv, but one which was still working, than an uncle of mine gave me.

This old Sony became the tv on which we watched all our programs in the apartment. It’s 22 inches, bulky and you can’t tune S band channels on it. So that means losing out on some of the better channels that my cable company provides us. I get some good channels but it isn’t enough. I started watching tv lesser and lesser anyways. My parents now really wanted the LCD tv or atleast a brand new big tv. I was like “for watching your stupid Idea Star Singer shitty song contest with that idiot host and dumb judges and really worthless religious minded tv serials with acting abilities of donkeys?”

So buying a new tv was kept on hold for a long time. Now they seem to want one. Yesterday my sister and mother went to a huge store that has a lot of tv sets on display – LCD and other wise. The prices are about as big as the damn tv themselves. I can’t afford a big (read 29 inches and above) LCD tv at the moment. I just can’t. A 22 in tv seems to be within range and I could stretch the bank balance and get it in a few days. I went to check out a few tvs in a store near here and the 22 inch ones look good but if you are buying a new tv than I guess 29 inches is a minimum. So I’m not sure. I’ll go out tomorrow and check out some more stores and then select one model. Don’t know if I can afford a big LCD tv but we’ll see.

My Dream Vacation

Currently I do not have a desire to have a big fun filled vacation. Something like this would be ideal:

I would want a week away from the office & work, home and all my family. I do not want to pick a phone call for the duration of that week. I would want to take my laptop and would want a solid & fast internet connection. A small house or cottage surrounded by greenery, with cooler weather and quietness. A well stocked kitchen and fridge with plenty of fresh juice and the softest & freshest of bread. A good amount of popcorn and some sort of chips would be great. Ofcourse the pizza delivery guy should be able to get there quickly as well.

The cottage should have a balcony where I could sit and watch the sunset (sunrise would not be an issue as I would sleep late all the mornings). Nice big king size bed with thick blankets. A huge LCD tv with access to cable and a dvd player. A couple of good books to read.  Quite days with only the sounds of the birds breaking the silence, the sounds of the city far away from my ears. A neighbours dogs and cats for company in the lazy afternoons. Total relaxation and pleasant evenings with a couple of drinks. Ofcourse a chance encounter with a gorgeous, buxom woman who would like to get “better acquainted” with me, if you know what I mean ;)

What? Why do you think I wanted the king sized bed?

What I’d Say To My 16-Year-Old Self

What would I say to my 16 year old self if I had a chance to go back in time and meet up with him..err me? Plenty so listen up buddy boy 16 year old Roshan.

First things first; 16 was when thing started to go bad for you so pay close attention. You had no skills or talent to go for engineering / science and hence should not take 1st group in Pre-degree. Just because the cousins immediately older than you all were going for it, doesn’ mean that you should too. Instead you should have listened to good advice and opted for Economics or Commerce or Arts. That would have been a more sensible option but instead you let yourself go where you should haven’t.

Next you should have just swallowed your pride and gone to Maharaja’s college or Bharat Matha and not gone to St.Paul’s college. That was the wost choice you could make. You made the wrong selection in courses and college and now you also made the wrong choice in group of friends. They led you the wrong path. Perhaps not intentionally but yeah it was the wrong group to be with. Look at what happened in the end; they all managed to scrap through and you were left in the lurch. And within a few months you were no longer friends with them and they forgot all about you.

You also let your heart & hard on rule your head and fell for the wrong girl. 18 months of chasing & pining after her, you also lost some pride along the way but you did get her in the end. You thought it was forever but 3.5 years later it went down the drain. And for awhile you lost your pride, your wits along with your virginity and you were obsessed. Believe me that although it will hurt like hell and consume you like a black plague for years you will be glad that you didn’t end up with her. That was a disaster waiting for to happen and I’m glad that she & I were history by the time I was in my early 20s.

If only you could avoid all this stuff, you would be fine in time.

Powered by Plinky

Back In Training Mode

I haven’t a trained a batch in over a year.  June 2009 was the last time that I had conducted a Preprocess training for a batch of new inductees to the call center where I work. That time and this time now the reason why I am stepping in away from my normal profile of managing the training department and handling a batch is that my other trainers are occupied elsewhere and a new batch has come in. As  have only two Preprocess trainers and both are tied up, I had to step in.

I love training and especially when the batches begin to respond to me. I have a batch of 19 new joinees that got inducted to the company yesterday and I started training for them today. 7 girls and 12 boys, out which most were born in 1988-89; just two exceptions who are a bit more older. I looked at the excel sheet that contains their details and I see DOB as 1989 and I wonder; 1989? I had my first real big crush at the age of 13 back in 1989? Sheesh, that makes me feel ancient.

Anyways, I did enjoy the training for the most part. None of them seem particularly disinterested, ill-disciplined, problematic or antagonistic to me. I had their attention for the most part and had them rolling in their seats with laughter at my witty jokes. Ok, my jokes are pretty dumb and some of them are now old (I try to keep the jokes limited to the kind of work in particular and the things that I remember happening to me & my colleagues when I was a call center rep). But they were into it. I organized a couple of activities, the second of which had me give out kitkats to the winning group. I promised them more goodies during the course of the 5 day training program. I look forward to the next four days.

Nectar For The 30 Plus Man

When am I a zombie: I am a zombie during the time that lapses between waking up and sipping my first coffee. I cannot function in the  morning without having my precious coffee intake the first thing in the morning. The waking up, heading to the bathroom, washing my face and brushing my teeth are just a prelude to the day’s first real activity which is drinking coffee. The day can be as shitty as possible but without coffee you will not be able to know.

Today I woke up at 6am and was working on automatic pilot until the first sip. After the alarm rings, I hit the snooze button for 5 minutes more as my eyes just refuse to open if I threaten to pry them open with a crowbar. 5 minutes later, the shrill alarm rings again, rudely reminding me that I do have to wake up earlier than usual. So ok, I am u but my brain is on standby. I get to the loo, I wash, I brush, I pee. There essentials done I now need my coffee. The smell of coffee being made is hitting my nose & the senses are beginning to get awakened. The saviour is in town, I need coffee. I lurch towards the kitchen, boiling water & milk is being poured into a cup that contains the instant magic and sugar. I stir the spoon in the big black cup that I have and voila! Nectar for the 30 plus man.

I bring the cup to my room, switch on the laptop, put on some music appropriate for this time of the morning and sit down for the first sip. Ahhh, I am awake now. Time to plan out the day. And more coffee!

The Black Sheep

For reasons that I feel are genuine to me, I avoid family functions like it were a plague. I’m just not in a very ‘family gathering’ mood for the past few years. So that means not going for weddings, family parties, gatherings in a house/venue, child births, house warmings etc. I do not know how many kinds of excuses I can invent but large gatherings of people just make me uncomfortable at the moment and I can’t wait for it to be over. Also, I hate the same stupid questions being asked again and again which only go on to irritate me and it’s only the comfort of alcohol (if provided at the venue) that can keep me from bolting.

The last two family gatherings I had attended mandated my being there – last year we had my dad turning 70 in January and my mom turning 60 in September. Both were momentous occasions and special for my parents and therefore I just had to go and so I went and I pretended to have fun. It was more important for me to see that my dad & mom had what they wished for on that occasion and that they were enjoying themselves. But there are nosy people who, on seeing me, grab my personal space and start bombarding me with talk. And they always feel that I have lost my way and that they need to advise me. A lot of this has to do with my parents – have always felt that it is due to my father & mother that my other relatives feel that they have this ‘right’ to sit and judge, belittle and advice me. When I look at them I know that they aren’t in such higher positions that they can advice anyone! But they consider it their right. Fuck no!

Marriage is one such agenda for discussion on these occasions. I’m 34 and not married and hence that is a big topic of discussion. What these morons with half a brain don’t realize is that they are just depressing me. Oh and by the way, I discovered from a cousin of mine that there are some relatives, mostly my mom’s first cousins, who think that I have a bad reputation and am a bad influence because – get this – why would I, past the age of 30, be unmarried! Like it is a personal choice! Grow some sense you assholes. I don’t want to wimp out and let my parents pick out a girl for me (unlike most of your children have chosen) and since I haven’t found a woman myself, I am unmarried! There I said it and if anyone has a problem with that, go fuck yourself!

I’ve had it with people judging me based on their assumptions and preconceptions. I might say something back which is so obvious on their lives and ask them what makes them such experts that they can give me advice. Some of them are well meaning but their ill-conceived methods far outweigh the good intentions. At the last couple of events I could see a couple of relatives, faces lighting up on seeing me and marching in my direction, with me finding no place to hide. And at my father’s 70th birthday an uncle passed an unwarranted comment at me, to which I replied something sarcastically but he was too stupid to understand. I wanted to say something more but then I looked at the sorry figure this asshole was and thought to myself “fucker, the joke’s on you”!

And there are some others who I don’t care about and I know what they think of me and the thing is I think even worse of them. Loser, moron, half brain, moocher, numbnuts, kiss ass, pathetic fool, wind bag, idiot who doesn’t count in the big scheme of things – these are the names I’ve given to some of these relatives who think they are bigger than what they actually are. So do you think that the next time I hear a comment, I’m going to lay low like an obedient dog and pretend to roll over? No, I’m going to give it back to them, two or three insults, faster than they dulled brains can even think back a retort. But then things would get strained between me and my parents and as it is my mom and I don’t get along very well. She does not care if I am right; her family meaning brothers, sisters, cousins – can’t do no wrong. So why push it?

For any of these reasons, I am not going to suffer fools lightly.

Stargate Universe : Episode 16 “Sabotage”

During a meeting in the gate room Col. Young confirms to the rest of the crew that Destiny is flying across the void between galaxies. This means that Destiny won’t make any Stargate connections any time soon, so Young is imposing strict food and water rationing. Rush then informs Young that Destiny will fall short of her next jump and is beginning to conserve energy. He also suggests getting in touch with a scientist back on Earth, Amanda Perry, a quadriplegic who might be able to assist them in increasing the FTL drives’ efficiency.

Initially Vanessa James volunteers to switch bodies with Amanda but she is soon spooked by the effort it takes to use the ventilator and move in a wheelchair, so Camille Wray takes over. Camille is willing to get used to the difficulty just to get to spend some time with her lover in their home. As Amanda gets to work with Rush and the others, the ship is rocked by a violent explosion. Perry and Rush are working in the gate room, when the Stargate starts dialing in. Concerned, Rush radios Greer to send a team in.

Quickly, Greer and other military personnel prepare themselves and run to the gate room. By the time they arrive, Greer tells the two to leave, but Rush assures him that they don’t need to be concerned. To his surprise, Chloe, Eli and Scott make it through. When they lower their weapons, Greer and Scott joyfully reunite. Eli tells the others how  he noticed Destiny’s address on the bottom of the kino. Then they discover a robot who makes repairs on the ship and can fix the damaged sections which got affected by the explosion. While they wait, Brody introduces his moonshine, which he made in his lab, to the others who all relish the opportunity to have some alcoholic drink no matter how bad it is.

While taking a break from working, Amanda and Rush let their mutual attraction for each other get the better of them and they kiss. However Rush stops it as he says that he just had to go through his wife’s death again and cannot go  through with it. They do comfort each other. They also discover how the sabotage happened – when Lt. James freaked out, she left the stones with cleansing it; a blue alien also took the stones at their end and switched bodies with James and sabotaged the ship. Franklin, still in a catatonic state since using the chair, now briefly speaks to state that he wants to be led to the chair. The reason is that the alien ships start to attack Destiny and by using the chair Franklin can guide Destiny away from the aliens. However, he vanishes once the work is one.

Amanda and Rush say their goodbyes and she switches back into her body while Camille bids her lover farewell and rejoins the crew back on Destiny.