The 83rd Academy Award: Winners

Well out of the predictions that I made for the 8 biggest awards, I was correct in 2 (highlighted in bold). Not bad as I usually have very bad predictions.

  • Best Picture: The King’s Speech
  • Best Director: Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech
  • Best Actor: Colin Firth for The King’s Speech
  • Best Actress: Natalie Portman for Black Swan
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale for The Fighter
  • Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo for The Fighter
  • Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler for The King’s Speech
  • Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Oh and although I missed it, the Oscar for best original score went to Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross for The Social Network, while We Belong Together sung by Randy Newman for Toy Story 3 won for best Original song. So glad that A R Rahman did not win anything – can’t have the copycat jackass win Oscars in a row, now can we?

Although I didn’t watch the awards ceremony I heard that it was dull, James Franco was high and the whole awards show was deemed awkward and it took Billy Crystal, 8 times host, to show people how it’s done.

My Winners Predictions: 83rd Academy Awards

I haven’t been a fan of the Oscars recently and I haven’t seen a award show for a long, long time – maybe 10 years (same as the Grammys, I find them to be a big snooze fest). I was extremely pissed off  2 years ago when Mickey Rourke was robbed of an Oscar for best actor. Well that’s my opinion but I stand by that very firmly. There were some other questionable or perhaps even ‘meh’ winners over the last few years but that one really hurt.

Anyways, the 83rd Academy awards is going to happen live a little later from Hollywood; morning in India while late evening in the US. Actors James Franco and Anne Hathaway will co-host the ceremony. I haven’t seen a single movie in the entire nominee list till date but as I have a DVD of Inception that will change in a few days. I have intentions of watching a few of the films in the list but not that many. I’m gonna go on a limb and give my predictions for the awards, not all the categories but just a few.

  • Best Picture: 127 Hours
  • Best Director: Christopher Nolan & Emma Thoma for Inception
  • Best Actor: James Franco for 127 Hours
  • Best Actress: Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale for The Fighter
  • Best Supporting Actress: Helene Bonham Carter for The King’s Speech
  • Best Original Screenplay: Inception: Christopher Nolan
  • Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Sherlock Holmes

In 2009 director Guy Ritchie came out with his version of Sherlock Holmes, a movie of the same name starring Robert Downey Jr as Holmes, Jude Law as his friend & sidekick Dr. John Watson and Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler. Mark Strong plays the villain Lord Blackwood, who has somehow returned after his execution with a plot to take over the British Empire using an arsenal of dark arts and new technologies. The film was also nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction, which it lost toUp and Avatar, respectively.

Now I am a Robert Downey Jr. fan and have admires some of his work throughout the years but I did feel that he was a weird choice for playing the famed English detective. I’ve always known Sherlock Holmes to be a tall, lanky as most people would put it, somewhat frail man, what with his penchant for cocaine and barely taking care of himself. Don’t get me wrong, Downey is a great actor but I wasn’t convinced that he was the apt choice & well that accent is not English enough for me. And at times he seemed that he was concentrating on perfecting the accent.

One actor who has no problem with the English accent, well cause he is English, is Jude Law and I thought he did a commendable effort in portraying Watson. Law plays him as an strong individual, opinionated, with his own views and not afraid to voice them. However he is a true friend and extremely loyal to Holmes even when his famous comrade is bent on brooding. He manages (barely) to find a balance between his adventures with Holmes and his impending marriage to Mary.

Rachel does a fine job as Irene Adler, not looking too young beside Downey jr (as was initially feared) and plays the thief & femme fatal role with aplomb. Although she is a former adversary of Holmes, they share a liking & strong attraction for each other. She is also intimated by Prof. Moriatty, who she says is Holmes’ intellectual equal but is more devious than the detective.

The fight scenes are well choreographed and comes out extremely good in the movie, but I wonder why they did the pre-narrative thing twice followed by the actual fighting. Just weird! I thought depecting a very dark looking London streets with lots of rain to make it seem even more somber or macabre added to the effect of the movie. I think it’s a good movie that will resurrect Hollywood watching public’s interest in the Holmes universe. 7 outa 10!

Thoughts Of Leaving An Office

As I approach my last week as an employee in my current company, I am filled with a lot of thoughts mulling around in my mind. After 4 years, during which I was promoted once in profile and once in grade, there are bound to be many memories good & bad. I have a few close friends who I will be leaving behind when I shut down my system for the final time come Saturday evening. I remember the initial days after I joined the company (also chronicled in this blog, January 2007), the feeling I got of joining up, the induction & the training, conducting my first training batch in a temporary office (that was the hottest and stupidest place in the city), the feeling of being lost when we finally got our new office up & running, some moments of despair and some of happiness.

Amongst the most memorable moments coming back home from the office and crossing the railway track, are once when I was lost in my thoughts and just missed being hit by a train, another night when I tripped in the darkness and fell onto the railway track, glasses & phone flying in different directions. I also got to be the lead for two awesome of teams with some awesome individuals. I became wary of the dreaded con-call (or waste of phone calls) and the even more dreaded reviews. Being in this company has also shown me what a bunch of dullards people in corporate can be and how arrogant & hypocritical people can be. One or two departments ruling & bossing over the others and being so high & mighty. And how the rich keep getting richer while the entry level & those just slightly above them are kept poorer.

I will miss a lot of people from the office here in Cochin and a few in other centers. I am not naive enough to think that I will be able to keep in touch with all of them, even in this day & age of affordable phone charges, internet, email, Facebook and chat. It just doesn’t work like that anymore. Life & work gets in the way for that to happen but maybe a couple here and there will keep in touch and call or chat once or twice a week/month. I’m willing to settle for that.

Kovalev Moves To Pittsburgh

Joining his former team mates in the exodus from Ottawa, Alexie Kovalev was the latest Senator to find a new team as he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7th round conditional draft pick. Kovalev, who used to play with the Penguins for 5 seasons, said being involved again with a franchise run by Mario Lemieux made Pittsburgh a very attractive destination for him.

In the past month the Sens have shipped  veterans  Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly,  Jarkko  Ruutu and Brian Eliott out of town while receiving several draft picks but little in the way of actual players other than goalie Craig Anderson. An Olympic gold medalist with Russia in 1992, Kovalev has scored over 400 goals and recorded over 1000 points in his 18-year NHL career.

Earlier in the season Kovalev went public with his general unhappiness in Ottawa and openly complained about his role under head coach Cory Clouston who demoted Kovalev to the fourth line for a period of time.  Although Murray could not define exactly why Kovalev never quite seemed comfortable in Ottawa, but admitted that his relationship with Clouston may have been a factor.

It has been a disappointing tenure for Kovalev in Ottawa after signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the team as a free agent in 2009; however the enigmatic Russian sniper has turned up his game as of late.  He has 14 goals and 13 assists in 54 games this season.  He waived his the ‘no-trade’ clause in his contract in order to get the deal with the Penguins done. He said his biggest regret was being unable to help turn things around in Ottawa.

Not The Riverdale You Knew

Here’s a fan made trailer for a re-look at Archie’s comics characters. Although they don’t have a full length movie out this trailer is awesome and completely reboots the characters that we all know & love. What are the changes?

  • Archie has sex with Betty, she gets pregnant and goes for an abortion
  • Jughead is gay!! And is in love with Archie and kisses him!
  • Reggie is a junkie and forces himself on Veronica when she admits that she is with him only to make Archie jealous
  • Moose is a pathetic, jealous guy who turns to performance enhancement drugs to play well
  • Dilton is a shy nerd and when Veronica makes fun of him, he gets a gun and decides to blast people away
  • And the school gets burned down!!

Whatever will they think of next!

Planning A Picnic

I was reading in another blog about trips and favourite memories of trips taken to their favourite places to visit. That reminds me; I’m going on a one day trip/picnic with my team members on the 2nd of March. Kind of like a personal farewell & thank you to the team that I have had since September 2009. A former member is also joining us as she is very dear to us and I asked her to join us. My last working day at the office is the 5th of March but since the 2nd is a national holiday due to Shivarathri, it’s perfect for us to take a trip and keep one for the memories.

One of my trainers, Rajeesh, has bought a car recently. A second hand white Ambassador and it’s big and spacious and perfect for the 7 of us to go on a trip. He’ll drive and the rest of u will squeeze ourselves into the front & back seats. That also means that we also save on the cost of hiring a vehicle for the trip and we only need worry about the fuel and buying food & drink for the day. That easily puts our budget at just under Rs.500 per person and we can enjoy some good food that we will buy on the road and eat in the form of a picnic at the venue. That’s a plan and I am excited.

Most important thing to finalize is ofcourse the venue. Personally I don’t give a rat’s ass where we go as long as I can spend the day with them, it’s not too hot and we can find some shade and we can sit in relative peace & quite and enjoy ourselves with some good grub. Cherrai Beach? Athirampilly waterfalls? Vagamond? Munnar? Allepey? Boothathankettu Dam? Ezyattumugham? I dunno which one to settle on. Munnar & Vagamond seem to both be long drives for us and I want to restrict the driving to a 90 minute or so, one way – cause who wants to sit in a car in the blazing sun? In the next two days we will finalize on the place and then pool the money together and then decide on what to buy for food. I wish it is a gorgeous day with less sun but lots of cool breeze.

Ottawa Ends Home Loss Skid

A depleted Ottawa Senators still managed to win 5-1 against the Florida Panthers & stop a 10-game home losing skid in the process. Wednesday night at Scotiabank Place new goalie Craig Anderson made 21 stops, Jason Spezza had a three-point night, Bobby Butler scored twice and Milan Michalek and Ryan Shannon also scored as the Senators won for the first time at Scotiabank Place since Dec. 26. Only Florida’s Chris Higgins was able to beat Anderson, acquired from Colorado on Friday. It’s only the fourth time this season the Senators have back-to-back victories.

Butler has got 5 goals in his last 5 games. A Senators’ loss would have tied a franchise-worst record of 11 straight losses at home dating back to Dec, 1993 — the club’s second year. The Senators finished the game without rugged winger Chris Neil. He left with a lower-body injury he suffered in the second period when he ran into the boards. A subject of trade talks heading into Monday’s deadline and two Tampa scouts in the building, Neil went to throw a check and Keaton Ellerby moved. Neil ended up ramming himself into the boards.

 

 

If I Could Read Minds

now

Now that’s a dream wish that I would love to have. Imagine a situation where you could read people’s minds and find out what they are actually thinking when you are discussing things with someone. Like whether they actually think it is a good idea or if it’s a pile of dog doodoo. Or whether they are smiling now but actually plotting your downfall in the meantime. In the corporate world that would be a huge weapon that you could wield to your advantage.

Discussions, meetings, reviews and conference calls – you would be like Wayne Gretzky at his peak against a first time goalie defending a football sized goal! They would never be able to pull one over you and you’d have the edge all the time. You can catch them off-guard, destroy their confidence, take away their best argument points and basically rip down their underwear for all to see. Don’t you wish you had that power?

I know I do!

Buffy & Cordy Back In My Dreams Again

As there’s not much good that I feel like watching on the cable tv channels (it’s been this way for the past 3 years) I’ve ben on a downloading spree ever since I discovered the world of torrents. My main intention was ofcourse to get the tv series that I have loved over the years, the ones I will never get tired of watching over & over again. And ofcourse also find newer series or ones that I have never seen at all and see if those are ones that I will like.

One of the best over the years and a personal favourite of mine (and yours too I hope) is Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Probably responsible for teaching a whole generation of people about vampire folklore & creating new ones, Buffy was a worldwide phenomenon that lasted for 7 seasons. You could not help but include references to Buffy and her friends into your daily academic or work culture. Heck the series was so popular that we even named a Dobermann dog that belonged to my cousins, after the lead character! My cousins got a female Dobermann (or is that Doberwomann?) puppy and while naming it we immediately thought of the name Buffy. And it was because of our combined hatred for the jerkoff an aunt of ours had married, we named her – Buffy the (insert relative’s name here) killer!

Anyway, watching this series brings back lots of fun memories for me. I watched it with a fierce passion – for the sexy young actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar & Charisma Charpenter (in the latter’s cases for 3 season and then I watched her in Angel). I still hold magnificent crushes & flames for both women and watching them in the early episodes is just fueling my old desires. Watching them here…..younger, ripe, nubile, sexy……..oh sorry, just drifted off for a minute. Don’t know what happened; my vision went blurry and my mouth is drooling.  Anyway, I love the show and I’m about halfway through the second season and enjoying every nostalgic minute.

My Sense Of Humor

I am what is considered to be a funny guy. I like cracking jokes and making people laugh and from the last 5 to 6 years I don’t mind being the source of that laughter as long as I can control the jokes. I like dirty jokes the best and the dirtier they are the better. I guess I have a reputation over here of being able to make dirty jokes a lot more dirtier and it’s all with ‘no harm intended’ tag attached. So much so that if an opening arises and it’s obvious that the discussion is just begging for a dirty joke or two….people immediately start looking in my direction, wondering when I will deliver the punchline!

My favourite jokes also involved a little bit of the sex angles and I just love to discover a new joke or one-liner with the angel involved. If it is a limerick – all the better. I like comedies that are +18 rated and will worship a comedian who specializes in dirty jokes.

Sometimes, and I don’t know where this shit comes from, but we will be discussing something and all of a sudden a brilliant comment will come outta my mouth. Like a downright killer that brings the house down. Like if I was a standup comic, this kinda material will kill some members of the audience, cause they will laughing so hard, falling in the aisle that they forget to breathe and then die! Killer material! Even funnier that at 50% of these times, I wouldn’t even be trying to be funny just innocent observations. I’d love those to happen all the time!

Looking For A Place To Rent

So the time is running out on me leaving this current company and joining the small start up company that I previously blogged about. I’m coming up on the last 2 weeks of work left in the current company, after which I am gone. And since the company is located in Koratty – about 90 minutes away by car – I need to relocate or face a daily commute which will eat up most of my free time. I don’t like a long commute; I think I hate it more than the average guy. I currently live about a 30-40 minute bus from my current company, depending on traffic, and that is something I hate. So there is no way that I am going to continue living in Kacheripady and work in Koratty. The only answer is to move.

Now, I will look at a couple of options and only then move. My budget is small and hence I don’t think I can get a 1BHK within it. That’s what I would love to get; my own place and one that I can call my home (at a rent/lease). That would be so fucking awesome but I have to be realistic. Even though Koratty is a much smaller town than Kochi and as far as I have heard the rates are much cheaper, I do not want to get anything more than what my budget allows. And that means a compromise but I’m sure that later I will be able to find something better.

What I will have to get is a single bedroom with bathroom attached. I value my privacy and I draw the line at that; compromises for the sake of compromises be damned. I had asked people I know in the new company and a cousin who lives in Aluva (about 30 mins away from Koratty) to make inquiries about places for rent for me. This evening a colleague called me up to say that his relative had informed him about a place that’s right near my new place of work. It’s the top floor of a big house that the owners have converted into rooms for rent. It’s a bedroom, with a cot (you have to bring your own bed), a desk (for my notebook) and a chair & with a bathroom attached for about Rs.2000. At those rates, I think I will have to take it up. I’ll still be looking around and maybe I’ll find something similarly reasonably priced and hope to settle in without much hassle.

Losin’ Lately Gambler – Corb Lund & The Hurtin’ Albertans

The alt-country tunes that Corb Lund puts out with his backing band The Hurtin’ Albertans always stands in a class by themselves. They have released 6 albums to critical acclaim and have created a loyal following – of which this South Indian is also a part of. With their latest (actually released in 2009) album Losin’ Lately Gambler, Corb continues his semi-narrative style of singing, which along with the roots based music, is just screaming for beer, whiskey and a bar where everyone dances & listens to what the singer has to say.

We start off with Horse Doctor, Come Quick about veterinarians and about scoring drugs of the doctor, a situation that was just begging for a song. “Well I know you been busy pullin’ all them calves, But you got somethin’ that the other vets don’t have”. Corb always sings about horses and riding and this album is no exception. The next song is Steer Rider’s Blues – a bar dance kinda song. Lyrically it’s about a boy who’d rather be riding in the rodeo that be in school. A Game In Town Like This is about a gambler who has hit the long road to loses and it’s also from where the album title comes from. He has seen his share of wins but now he is losing money and is trying to cut his loses and hopes things get better.

We go into ballad nation with Alberta Says Hello, a lover’s letter to his ex who he misses a lot. She has moved her and gone to live in Montreal which he is still living in Alberta. And that although he’s finding life without her very difficult he’s glad that she is doing well. Takin’ Veternarian Blues is about a son learning from his dad, who is a vet, that it’s always better to get cash for the doctor’s bills instead of getting trades from farmers. More advise of life as a vet is followed in that talking blues-country style that Lund is famous for. Its Hard To Keep A White Shirt Clean, is a swinging country number of a hard life. It’s a fun little ditty that is sure to put a smile on your faces. Long Gone To Saskatchewan is a foot stompin’ number, which almost sounds like it was commissioned by the Province of Saskatchewan to get more farmers to migrate. The song’s about a cattle farmer & his wife who finds making a living tough in his native of Alberta and so he packs up and moved next door. Except for the chorus, the song is a narrative style sung fun loving number.

Sounding like something from the 1950s Devil’s Best Dress is about the heart breaking woman who has left the singer & many others in a pile of bloody mess in her wake. The Only Long Rider I Know a rockin country song is about a legendary rider just like any country band should sing about. This one should be a single and if it’s not a hit, well then there is no justice in this world. A Chinook Wind is a warm wind during the winter that hits the Canadian west; it’s also the name of the next song. Proud of his prairie roots and his Alberta home, This Is My Prairie is a ballad love song in tribute to the province.

All in all a good, strong album. I guess my fav Corb Lund album will always be 5 Dollar Bill but this one comes mighty close. One for the ages and evergreen for ever.

Elliot Traded To Avalance; Hello Anderson

The Senators will have a new No. 1 in net. Goaltender Brian Elliott became the latest goalie sent to a new home when he was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche Friday in exchange for goaltender Craig Anderson. While Anderson will be a UFA on July 1, the Senators are expected to sign the eight-year NHL veteran to a contract extension once the dust settles on the deal in the coming weeks.

Senators GM Bryan Murray said Anderson will arrive just before puck drop and dress as the backup to Robin Lehner tonight when the Senators meet the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Place. Murray said he wants to give Robin Lehner time to develop a bit, as the 19 year old has shown promise but needs more games & space in between to grow into what the Sens hope will be a franchise goalie.

Coach Cory Clouston said he is pleased with the move and stated that it would be good for Elliot to get a fresh start in a new organization as he has had too much pressure in Ottawa. This is the fourth trade in just over a week for the Senators, who dealt Mike Fisher to Nashville for a first-round and a conditional draft pick; Chris Kelly to Boston for a second-round pick; and Jarkko Ruutu to the Anaheim Ducks for a sixth-round pick.

The Baby Formula

The Baby Formula – I watched this movie solely on the strength of the trailer that I just happened to click when watching trailers on Youtube. This was several weeks ago and I can’t remember if someone recommended it to me or I just found it by pure chance. Whichever way it is so, the trailer is so funny that I just had to watch this Canadian indi movie.

The Baby Formula is a mockumentary of sorts, about a revolutionary medical process which allows women to get pregnant by other women! By using the stem cells from another women to create artificial sperm in order to get a woman pregnant. Athena & Lillith are two such women, a lesbian coupe who are desperate to have their own biological child. They take a chance on an experimental scientific process and make sperm from their own stem cells. Pregnant with humor and unexpected twists, their journey ultimately confirms that all life is a gift and all families are crazy.

The families involved make the movie even more fun – Athena’s family is originally from Scotland and her henpecked father is ruled by the iron hand of her mother, a religious minded woman who does not like the fact that her lesbian daughter is ‘playing God’ by getting herself impregnated in this manner. Athena’s brother Larry (Dmitry Chepovetsky) also believes that he is in fact the father of Lillith’s baby – having previously been asked to donate sperm, he had let her masturbate him.

Lillith’s family is more accepting of her choices – she was raised by her gay uncle and his partner. They shower the two ladies with love, even if their flamboyant lifestyle of smoking weed & drinking has driven Lillith bonkers on occasion. However tragedy strikes when Athena’s father, who has cancer, kills himself so as to be a burden to his wife. While recovering from this, Athena’s mom grows more closer to her daughter. The film ends with a gay pride procession during which Athena goes into labour and delivers a baby girl in the hospital. Lillith follows a couple of months later and the two women are proud moms of two beautiful girls.

Highlights include the interactions with the two families, Larry’s obnoxious ranting and the grandmother – gotta have a funny grandma in all movies like this. Loved it, and rated 7/10.