Worst Start To A Season In 15 Years

The Senators are 0-2-1 after earning a point in a 3-2 overtime loss Monday at the Verizon Center. A chance to build on a decent performance against the Capitals — and put a halt to what is already their worst start in 15 years — presents itself Thursday when the Senators host the undefeated Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Place. The Senators will have captain Daniel Alfredsson in the lineup against the ‘Canes, who are 2-0 after a couple of one-goal victories over Minnesota in Helsinki. Alfredsson left the Washington affair late in the third period, raising concerns of his availability for the second home game of the season.

Coach Cory Clouston said Brian Elliott will make his first start in goal, either against the Hurricanes or Saturday in Montreal. Pascal Leclaire played well in the first three games, but put a knot in Clouston’s shorts with the way he allowed Alex Ovechkin’s soft wrist shot to slip between his legs 32 seconds from a shootout. Otherwise, Clouston is feeling more comfortable than he did after the loses to Buffalo and Toronto. Although it is extremely early days, our power play, which, at 0-for-14, ranks last in the NHL. A couple of wins should get us back on track.

Kirk Maltby Retires From NHL

Detroit Red Wings forward Kirk Maltby officially retired from the National Hockey League on Tuesday after a 16-year career. A four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, Maltby served as a member of Detroit’s “grind line,” along with Kris Draper and Darren McCarty, designed to shut down the opponents’ top scoring line.

The 37-year-old totaled four goals and six points over 52 regular season games last year before his season was cut short in February by surgery on his arthritic shoulder. He did not play in the post-season for the Red Wings, who were knocked out in the Western Conference semifinals by San Jose. Maltby agreed to a one-year, two-way contract in September, but despite playing well in the preseason did not earn a spot on the NHL roster and was sent to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. He decided not to report.

Maltby has scored 128 goals and 260 points in 1,072 regular season games over 16 seasons for the Wings and Edmonton Oilers — the team that selected him in the third round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft — and added 16 goals and 15 helpers in 169 career playoff games.

The Red Wings announced that Maltby will remain with the organization as a professional scout.

“I look forward to my future starting as a scout with the Wings and spending time with my family and watching my children grow,” Maltby concluded.

Fool For Your Loving

I took this musical tag from Psych Babbler.

The Rules:

* Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, IPOD etc. on shuffle.
* For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

So here we go

1. If someone asks you, “are you okay” you say:

Nobody’s Fool by Cindrella

2. How would you describe yourself?
Born Again In Dixieland by Jason McCoy

3. What do you like in a guy/girl?
18 & Life by Skid Row

4. How do you feel today?
Better Off Broken by Lisa Brokop

5. What is your life’s purpose?
The Healer by John Lee Hooker & Carlos Santana

6. What’s your motto?
Against All Odds by Phil Collins

7. What do your friends think of you?
Bobcaygeon by The Tragically Hip

8. What do your parents think of you ?
Silent Scream by Children Of Bodom

9. What do you think of often ?
Money For Nothing by Dire Straits

10. What is 2 + 2?
I Would Walk 500 Miles by The Proclaimers

11. What do you think of your best friend?
Lucky Man by Emerson Lake & Palmer

12. What is your life story?
Give Yourself A Hand by Crash Test Dummies

13. What do you want to be when you grow up?
In Hiding by Pearl Jam

14. What do you think when you see the person you like?
Shiny Happy People by REM

15. What will you dance to at your wedding 4th anniversary?

Baba O’Reilly by The Who

16. What will they play at your funeral ?
Tom Sawyer by Rush

17. What is your hobby/interest?
Hanger 18 by Megadeth

18. What is your biggest fear?
Thunderstruck by AC/DC

19. What is your biggest secret?
Your Sweet 666 by HIM

20. What do you want right now ?
Let’s Make A Night To Remember by Bryan Adams

21. What do you think of your friends?
Paradise City by Guns n’Rose

22. When you want to rush to the toilet, what do you think?
We Built This City On Rock n’Roll by Starship

23. Person you hate the most is in front of you, what will you tell the person?
A Cigarette Is All You Get by the Crash Test Dummies

24. You have just won a lottery. What will you sing?
Rockstar by Nickelback

25. What will you post this as?
Fool For Your Lovin by Whitesnake

So that’s it. I quite enjoyed doing this tag. Anyone else who wants to take it on, please do so.

Ghosts? Are They Real?

I do not believe in ghosts. In the movies and books – oh hell yeah! I like the concept that a human spirit is trapped on earth even after his body dies. In certain cases it is due to the way he/she died or it is because of unfinished business. Countless movies have been made to get the idea of ghosts on your brain. Some good stories and others….laughable!

I’m sure that most of you reading this can relate a ghost story or 10 that you would have heard from your childhood by an older relative or even from your circle friends. Ghost stories told over a camp fire in the woods is a favourite activity while camping (although in the movies that is usually followed by a rampant killer on the loose chopping the campers to bits).

Heck I’ve been involved in scaring people – the old chicken blood in syringes squirted into a hostel room while the guys are sleeping and spraying it on the wall – and even told a bunch of ghost stories and even made some of my own. Some of my favourite books / movies involve ghosts.

But do I believe in them? Not at all. Perhaps it’s because the very fact that I read so much about them, invent stories about them, watch movies about them is why I do not feel affect at all by them. I do not believe in ghosts and I do not think such a thing exists.

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Cafe De La Rosh

One of my wishes, if I had wishes from a fairy godmother or if I had the money to invest, is to start my own coffeeshop. I just so love the cafe culture and spending hours in a quite coffeeshop with a good book to read or a laptop and some good coffee is a favourite pass time of mine as well as so many others.  The smells of coffee being made with various flavours and in various styles are some of the most pleasant things in this world.

All this coffee drinking needs a good setting, with good wooden tables and chairs. Some comfy couches in a couple of areas will also be great. The chairs will be so comfortable that once you seat yourself in them you will not want to get up for a few hours and will order 2 or 3 cups of coffee – cause they are so good! I’d have knowledgeable & talented baristas who make many, many different varieties of coffee – espresso, cappuccino, mochaccino, cafe late, cafe au lait, mocha cafe, mocah latte, macchiato, iced latte, frappes, etc. Oh the taste will knock your socks off and leave you craving for more.

Along with the coffees, I will also serve you flavoured teas – raspberry, lemon, honey, herbal – both hot & cold. And delicious hot sandwiches, muffins, hod dogs, cookies, donuts, meat rolls & patties as well as cakes & tarts. And if you don’t have a book to read, I would provide you with magazines, newspapers and some novels – fiction & non-fiction. You can also buy books from my shop as well as decorative coffee cups. And to keep you just in the right mood – I’d have some music playing! Flamenco, rhumba from; Spanish guitar melodies & rhythms to fuel your soul. More acoustic finger style guitar music, some piano & jazz music. You’d never want to leave.

Black Gives Way to Blue – Alice In Chains

Not many people, fans & critics alike, expected to see a new Alice In Chains album of original material materialize after the death of frontman Layne Stayley. I included myself in the majority but – the first Alice in Chains album in nearly fourteen years, Black Gives Way to Blue was released last year in September. Its their first release with new vocalist/guitarist William DuVall, who took over from Staley. This is their first album released on Virgin Records and their first venture away from Columbia, who handled all of their previous releases. The album has been certified gold by the RIAA on May 26, 2010, with shipments exceeding 500,000 copies.

The layered guitars in All Secrets Known allow the lead off track to retain the group’s heat-choked atmosphere while adopting a melodic flair. It sounds like the AIC of their peak in the early 1990s. We then come to the corrosive lead riffs of Check My Brain. You have to just hear the ‘Oh yeah” and you know that this is the band at their prime. The song is about the excess of Los Angeles and California. Duvall fits right in with his singing & guitar playing. This is the first time an Alice in Chains song would hit #1 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart since their 1994 single No Excuses. Check My Brain received a nomination for “Best Hard Rock Performance” at the 52nd Grammy Awards. Duvall shines in the heavy Last Of My Kind, as he barks his aggressive lyrics.

My favourite track is up next – the fourth track of the album, Your Decision features an acoustic rhythm and breaks from the dark, aggressive leanings of the previous songs in exchange for a more upbeat feel. The single has, so far, reached number one on the Billboard Rock Songs chart, number one on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and number four on the Alternative Songs chart. This makes Alice in Chains the first artist to have two songs top the US Rock Songs chart. It’s a bit like saying that the decision is yours if you want to give in to the pressure and take the easy way out. Life gives you the options and obstacles and it’s your decision as to which path to take. After that ballady greatness, we head to more heavier things in A Looking In View. The song basically speaks to any number of things that keep you balled up inside and offering a window to your soul. A steady guitar rhythm starts off When The Sun Rose Again, and then what sounds like a tabla joins while the two singers sing the lyrics. Jerry Cantrell provides us with a minimalistic solo.

What AIC were famous for was the slow heavy guitar riffs that drone in your head as you listen to it – that’s perfectly observed in Acid Bubble. “I am the child that lives and cries in a corner, Dies in a corner, Alone inside your mind”, is powerful enough to blow you away in it’s intensity. Lesson Learned is about taking the hits and the lows and using that a learning a lesson and move on. Even in your darkest hour you will find a shining light. I’m not sure who is the ‘she’ that is mentioned in Take Her Out; it might be a metaphor for pain, life or love. It could be an arena favourite. A bit slower comes Private Hell, with vocal harmonies parallel to the Layne/Jerry era. It’s about keeping your issues to yourself and being very private about it. And finally we come to the title track, a dedication to Stayley. Elton John joins the band on piano as the pain of losing a friend is finally opened up as Cantrell sings Black Gives Way To Blue in memory of the departed singer/guitarist.

I like this album a lot and will line it up against Dirt & their self-titled 3rd album as matching their best. Here’s the video for Your Decision – and stop staring at the hot chick and enjoy the awesome guitar solo.

How I’ll Remember 10/10/10

It’s a big fuss over nothing. So yeah, granted that these kinda odd or cool looking dates come up once in a while and not many in your lifetime but so what? I mean how is this day any different than any Sunday for you or me?

Here’s what I did – I spent the day alone in my apartment. I woke up very late as I had slept late having watched some tv series on my laptop. It was 9:45 am by the time I woke myself up from my bed.The wind picked up and we had a lovely breeze throughout the day in my part of the world. Hence, with the windows open it was cool throughout.

After coffee and a little breakfast I spent most of my day online, watching lots of music videos on Youtube. I ordered a nice big pizza for lunch and washed it down with a Sprite. As I munched my pizza I watched Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage, a documentary about the legendary & influential Canadian prog rock band. Thoroughly enjoyed it and once my pizza was done, I snuck into my bed, under the sheets and watched more Sci-fi series. Evening was more coffee and more videos. That’s it. I’m chilling & hanging out at home.

10.10.10 my ass! Lucky we didn’t have the media and internet back when it was 6.6.6!!

Now that would have been cool!

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Star Trek: TOS Women 8

As I watch the episodes of Star Trek: TOS for the first time since I was a very young kid, I realize that they had some really repetitive and for this Sci-fi & Star Trek fan atleast, very weak premise. You know, the Enterprise rendezvous with either another star ship or Star Fleet members who haven’t been heard of in a while or have been out of communication after their last mission to a planet whose inhabitants haven’t yet reached warp drive capabilities. As soon as the crew beam over or beam down, we see a very Earth like setting, usually early to mid 20th century or much older. The missing Starfleet people are either dead or held captive by the inhabitants of that planet. And there is a corrupt former captain! And the inhabitants are very human like! And they have been influenced by some aspect of Earth culture, which we have long abandoned by the 23rd century, and the Enterprise crew has to intervene as they are caught in the thick of things.

It’s Roman or Nazi or American culture and it gets very repetitive. I prefer the other episodes. Anyway, the episode I saw this afternoon features a culture on a planet which is much like old Earth, but with some roles reversed. Chinese or Native American looking Kohms (or communists) and outwardly savage Yangs (Yankees) who look like European origin North Americans but with Native American similarities in culture. Amongst the Yangs are two who are caputured – Cloud William, a leader and Sirah, played by Irene Kelly.

Sirah was an inhabitant of the planet Omega IV and part of a cultural faction on that world called the Yangs. In 2268, she was captured, along with Cloud William, by the Kohms. The Yangs were at war with the Kohms, who were being helped by Captain Ronald Tracey in violation of the Prime Directive. While Captain Tracey was trying to trick Cloud William into executing Captain Kirk as a heretic and blasphemer, Spock used his telepathic abilities to cause Sirah to acquire a captured communicator and activate it. As a result, Lieutenant Sulu transported down with a security team and arrested Tracey, thus fulfilling the Yang superstition that “good must always overcome evil”.

One look at Irene as Sirah is enough to bring out the primal urges in me. Red hair, busty, curvaceous, long legs….need I explain? Red hair and big bust is enough for me to go gaga but that whole cave girl, tribal chick look gets me hot & bothered. Granted all she seems to do in the episode is scream and then is forced to bring the communicator over to Spock by his mental powers. Still, she fits the bill.

My Neighbours

So let me tell you a bit about my neighbours. I live on the top floor of a 7 story apartment building and there are a total of 14 apartments in all, 2 to each floor. It’s a small building and although each is a 3 bedroom apartment, the 3 bedroom is kinda like a really small 2 bedroom apartment instead. Which means that space is a premium. So you get a picture of how narrow the building must be? OK.

There’s a lawyer & his family on the 1st floor. This guy rarely sleeps atleast due to the fact that he always seems to be working at all times of the night. Back in 2007 I used to do a lot of late evening shifts and whenever I come back around 2pm, this guy is still working. There’s a guy who works in some business or the other, who I talk to once in a while. I’ve met his wife and small kid but don’t know much about them. Mostly chats while riding the elevator or passing each other on the stairs. The young kid, about 3 years old, used to be afraid of me at first but now he seems to have warmed up to me and even gave me a couple of hi-5s last month! But he was fast friends with my dad.

There’s 3 brothers who have taken up 3 apartments in this building and live with their families. The son of the eldest also has an apartment of his own in which he lives with his wife & little daughter. The second eldest brother also owns the apartment opposite ours, which is given on rent. They are Muslims from the Northern parts of India (not sure where) and have been here for many, many years. However none of the women seem to work or speak Malayalam. They always lots of guests over and many families visiting from other parts of India. Some of these relatives of theirs are noisy and a bit obnoxious. But these guys are very hospitable, especially during Ramazan. They always send snacks like samoosas, cutlets, pudding and payasam to their neighbours.

There are other families in this building and some have left over the 4 years that my parents & I have made this apartment our home. I’m not close to anyone but keep a reserved politeness and chat for a bit when they talk to me. I’m a gentleman to the women folk, hold the elevator door open, ask them which floor and stuff like that. However I might not even notice if people move away and new people come as I don’t keep a personal touch with anyone.

The Instrospection

A long, emotionally draining, professionally & personally disappointing and upsetting week for me. I deserve a quite two day weekend without any fuss or fanfare.

How do I plan on spending it? Lots of me time. Lots of reading, lots of music, maybe watching a movie or two and some series. This will be sandwich between lots of time spent on introspection, looking back and planning forward. I’ve kept a brave, happy face but I’m not feeling so good inside. My team knows that I am not happy and that things aren’t too rosy at the moment.

So no going out (unless I have to) and no drinking. Just some coffee made at home, my thoughts and me. I guess I should have done this a while back.

When I am ready, I’ll blog about it but it will be password protected and only those people that I am really comfortable with will get to read it.

A Free Ride to the Moon? Yes Or No?

I guess the moon has held mankind’s fascination & fantasy for as long as……we existed! When pre-historic apes or cavemen looked up at the night sky and wondered in awe at the big, white-ish globe in the heavens, they must have said to each other “ugh ropp agh”! Lol, that’s ancient human language for “there’s the moon”!

Jokes aside, even now the moon is a beautiful, mysterious and fascinating object to behold and spin stories about. I remember stories about the man in the moon, the moon being made up of cheese, the full moon affecting people so much that they start howling and become wolf-like in nature & appearance! The list is long and endless.

So why would I not want to get a free ride to the moon? Be one like Armstrong, Aldrin and others who have set foot on her. Look up or is it down at the Earth and see our home in all her splendour. And it is at that precise moment, having gone were so few have gone before, achieving what so many millions have dreams about and standing on the surface of something that is not the earth, I will fill my lungs with air in my spacesuit and scream……


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The Wolfman

Anthony Hopkins, Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Art Malik & Geraldine Chaplin star in The Wolfman, a remake of the 1941 horror classic of the same name, with lots of changes. Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro) returns to his hometown of Blackmoor on the death of his brother Ben. It was Ben’s fiance Gwen (Blunt) who sends him a letter informing about Ben’s disappearance. We see at the beginning of the movie that Ben is mauled to death by a creature that looks part man and part wolf.

Lawrence meets Gwen and his estranged father Sir John (Hopkins) and is horrified to see the remains of his brother. Among the belongings are a gold medallion which leads him to a group of gypsies who love outside Blackmoor. While there, local townspeople force the gypsies to hand over a dancing bear who they suspect to be the Ben’s killer. Just the the werewolf attacks and kills many of the people at the camp. Lawrence gets his shotgun to kill the werewolf and runs after a boy who takes off into the woods alone. Lawrence saves the boy but is attacked by the werewolf and is bitten on the neck. The rest of the people chase the lycan away and Lawrence is taken to be tended to.

Gwen returns to Talbot Hall to nurse Lawrence back to health. He has several fearful dreams but after a few weeks appears to have completely healed. Lawrence is also investigated by Inspector Aberline (Weaving) and brings up Lawrence’s tortured past of being in an asylum as a child. One evening after Gwen returns back to London, Lawrence follows his father Sir John into a crypt kept in memory of his wife, Lawrence’s mother. Lawrence has memories of his mother committing suicide by silting her throat. He finds his father in the catacombs beneath the crypt, in a shrine to his dead mother, a shrine that includes a chair specially fitted with restraints. Sir John tells Lawrence that he has been “dead” for years, and then locks himself in the room alone. As Lawrence tries to leave, he turns into the Wolfman. Rampaging through the woods, he kills several townspeople who had created a trap in hopes of catching the monster. The next day, Sir John leads Aberline and the local police to where a dazed, bloody human Lawrence is hiding.

Lawrence is taken to the same asylum where he was incarcerated as a child and put electro-sock & ice water therapy. A visit from Sir John reveals the truth behind the creature – Sir John was bit by a young werewolf while in India and he killed his wife on a full moon night. As Lawrence had seen the death, he was subjected to treatment in an asylum and forgot the details of the incident. Sir John killed Ben when he found out that Ben was planning on moving away from their house in Blackmoor after his marriage to Gwen, who it seems had also won the admiration of Sir John. In a fit of rage he lost control and let loose on the countryside and attacked his own son. Later in an observation room, while Aberline watches, Lawrence changes into a werewolf on a full moon night and kills a few people and escapes. He meets up with Gwen and they share a kiss. He leaves to confront his father, while Gwen researches lycans.

She is led to the gypsy woman who tells her that the only release from the lycan curse is death. Gwen hurries to Blackmoor as Sir John & Lawrence, changed into werewolves, fight each other to the death. Lawrence kills off his father by kicking him into the fire and then beheading him. Aberline and the cops attempt to kill the werewolf but Gwen interferes and Aberline is bitten. A chase into the woods, leaves Gwen at the edge of cliff and she pleads to the werewolf. He hesitates for a bit and he recognizes Gwen but as the approaching mob startle the werewolf, Gwen shoots him with a silver bullet. Lawrence transforms back to his human form and thanks Gwen as he breathes his last, lying in her arms. As the movie ends, the camera pans back to a wounded Alberline, the screen goes blank and we hear the howl of a werewolf.

It’s an ok movie, although why we needed another period movie about werewolves is beyond me. Updating the effects of a man changing into a werewolf – ok I did like that and there are errie parts to the movie. But I’m not surprised that it flopped and hasn’t yet broken even. I’d give it a 5 outta 10.

Haunted By A Dream

I had this dream last night that left me with a longing & a yearning.

I was to travel to another town in the state for some work related requirements. I was planning on finding a suitable hotel and looking up inquiries online for one that fitted my budget and wasn’t too far from the venue where I had to go to. Not finding one I started asking my folks and relatives if they knew of any place there. Two days later, I was given a call by an aunt. She asked me to stay at the house of a distant (and by distant, I mean really distant relative only connected by marriage) relative. I was hesitant as I had only met this relative a couple of times, although she was very nice and pleasant and we had hit it off. So I declined but later that evening, this relative called my mom (they are about the same age) and said that she insisted that I stay at her house while I was in that town on work.

I finally relented and said ok and thanked her for her hospitality. The day came when I had to leave for work and I took a train to my destination. The original plan was that I would be there for 3 days and 2 nights, leaving on the evening of the 3rd day. So I had to stay in their house for 2 days and part of the 3rd day. I wasn’t really looking forward to it but it didn’t seem too bad. So I reached there early morning and what do you know – the meeting for work is called off for a day due to a political strike called on for a day. So I reach the relative’s house and meet up with her. She tells me that I should stay there for a couple of extra days due to the strikes & protests happening due to the murder of a popular political leader. I’m not liking this but I’m resigned to this fact and brace myself for staying there for 5 days.

I meet her two daughters; the eldest one who is married and had a lovely little girl is someone I had met earlier but I wasn’t quite prepared to meet the younger daughter. At 35 she is a year older than me and….she is beautiful, intelligent and warmly welcomes me to their home. She is single and I’m dazzled by her charms. 5 days staying here! Glad to! Over the next 5 days I get to know her better and I didn’t really believe in love at first sight (lust yes but love? not so sure). When the strike is over and I can get on with my work, I make sure that she and I get to spend some alone time in a coffeeshop and slowly I know that she too is interested in me. I can’t believe how close I’ve become to her in just a few days and how much open we’ve both been with our lives. As the last evening of my stay ends (I have to catch the train early next morning), I thank her for the time she has spent with me and say that  I’m sorry that it has to end soon. Her look tells me all I need to know. Away from the rest of her family, we embrace and kiss and make plans for her to meet me back in Cochin.

The train ride is long and my heart breaks as I sit and think about her. The rest is a blur but I remember us meeting up during her visits to Cochin and spending a lot of alone time. We discuss breaking the news to our families. That is when I woke up.

Unfortunately alone in my bed! Sigh, I hate these dreams. And I don’t even remember what her name was supposed to be in the dream. But I will remember that smile and that face.