1

A Reason To Protest

Till date I have never participated in a protest for a social cause or civil injustice. At times I think that this is something just up my alley and at times I think that I would not have the guts to follow through on it. Either way I have never had the chance to do so for the aforementioned two scenarios. But I have been part of a protest related to work.

Back in 2002 I joined a company called Aysha Infotech in Calicut. It was supposed to be a BPO and post training of 45 days we were supposed to get down straight to work. Things didn’t work out the way they planned and the training went on for 3 months. They had a lot of financial problems and their planning was not proper and things were in shambles. They kept promising us our salaries and we were getting impatient. From a staff of a 100 it soon dwindled down to 60.

After weeks of promising us our pay, we finally lost our cool. On a day when bank officials and upper management were supposed to come down to visit the office and talks of a huge loan were being discussed, we staged a protest and a strike. The 60 of us all took chairs to the front of the building and sat there in full view of anyone who happened to pass by on the roads. We chatted, we sang songs and we joked. We refused to budge until our demands were met – simple demands of 2 months salary after 7 months of being loyal to that company. The management tried pleading, tried reasoning and when those two failed they tried threatening us. No go, no way Jose! We refused to behave and co-operate.

Finally after promises that we would get our deferred salary before the day ended, we took the chairs back in just before the visitors arrived and we were model employees ad behaved. That evening we got paid as promised! Shows you what a little civil disobedience can do!

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Paul Kariya Retires From Hockey

Paul Kariya announced his retirement on Wednesday. The 36-year-old sat out last season recovering from post-concussion symptoms. The winger last played for the St. Louis Blues in 2009-10. “I would like to thank all of those who have been part of so many great memories — my teammates, coaches, team management and staff,” Kariya said in a statement. A two-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner for sportsmanship, Kariya finishes his career with 402 goals and 587 assists in 989 games with Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville and the Blues.

Kariya, who is half Japanese & half Caucasian, was selected by the Mighty Ducks with the fourth pick overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, and led the franchise to within one win of the Stanley Cup 10 years later. The Vancouver native won Olympic gold for Canada at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Kariya won the Hobey Baker Award as the top U.S. college hockey player at Maine in 1993 and was then chosen by Anaheim with the No. 4 pick in that year’s NHL draft.

It was with the Mighty Ducks that Kariya became a star, notching three 40-goal seasons — including a high of 50 in the 1995-96 campaign — and two seasons over 100 points. He also played for the Colorado Avalanche for a season & 2 with the Nashville Predators before joining St.Louis. He announced last August that he would sit out the entire 2010-’11 season after being examined by concussion specialist Dr. Mark Lovell. Kariya has a long history of concussion troubles, including one that forced him to miss the 1998 Winter Olympics and much of the 1997-’98 season following a cross-check to the jaw by Chicago’s Gary Suter.

 

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I’ve Got To Get It Together Man

One amazing music piece and William Shatner’s undeniable larger than life charisma and dramatic narrative about a man in his advanced years who has yet to achieve what he sort out to achieve and is still trying. Was Shatner referring to himself during his lean years when he barely got any work? Perhaps but whatever it maybe, this is still a beautiful song. Featuring Ben Folds, here is William Shatner’s live rendition of his song It Hasn’t Happened Yet from his 2004 album Has Been.

1

Things Did Not Work Out & So….

I’m making the best that I can out of a bad situation before it becomes worse. As you readers would know, I took a pace for rent in Chalakudy, near the KSRCT bus stand. I took it for the following reasons : 1) the rent was reasonable for 3 rooms – small room in front, a bedroom+bathroom & kitchen 2) the advance rent/deposit was just 2 months rent and it was a lot less than what most other were asking for 3) it was just 5 kms away from the office and the a brisk 10 minute walk away, which saves me a lot of time and 4) even though the house was quite old and built in the old fashion of houses predominant in Thrissur district, the tiles in the rooms & kitchen were brand new (less than a year old), including the smooth tiles in the front porch area and in the bathroom. Seemed like a good deal right? Wrong!

Now I have decided to vacate the place by the 9th of July which will make it 1 month. The reasons that I am leaving there are 1) they do have a cockroach problem, even after I sprayed the place regularly, I keep finding dead roaches 2) and other insects keep coming in, through who knows where; every day I find dead little insects in the kitchen, my bedroom & bathroom 3) because of the construction of this old house, I don’t any sunlight into my bedroom, as I can’t open the windows & even the living room through the windows. Which also means no fresh air! The kitchen has two windows, older than fuck and opening/closing them are a challenge. If I leave them open, cats and insects will come in, so I mostly keep them closed expect for the morning time before I go to work. 4) due to the roaches & insect problem I am scared to bring food in as the packets are sure to attract them buggers 5) the bathroom needs some work before it can probably drain water out. Because of the rather small, stupid drain holes, I end up with ankle deep water & soap muck post my shower/bath, which is not good for health 6)I think my asthma is acting up because it feels stuffy and I’m spraying bug spray on top of that and finally 6) bad earthing: I’m getting shocks from my phone, which I keep for charging and the metal ends of the USB devices that I use due to the bad earthing. They need to get an electrician to completely redo the who thing in the bedroom & living room. The stuff in the kitchen works fine.

That was the last straw – I would be devastated if my laptop or hard disk got damaged and I wouldn’t be able to replace it very soon. I can’t continue using the laptop, speakers & other devices there knowing this. So I am moving back home for the time being. I will be able to stay in my sister’s house in Chalakudy if needed, especially when I switch back to night shift it will be great, and I will keep searching for another place to stay. Until then, home sweet home!

4

Summer Nights & My Younger Days

When I was young my favourite part of the summer is the days & weeks I and my sister spent in my grandmother’s house in Mattancherry. Most of my cousins would also be there along with some uncles and aunts and ofcourse my maternal grandmother. My cousins would come from Trivandrum, Calicut, Trichy & Coimbatore (where we lived) and we’d all spend our summer vacations playing and hanging out with each other. We’d play cricket & football throughout the day and as the sun sets, we’d drag our tired & sweaty bodies in and take turns in the bathroom for showers. Cleaned up and wearing fresh clothes we’d go to buy our favourite soft drink of that time – ice cream sodas.

Now don’t get any fancy ideas – the ice cream sodas that we got were basically vanilla ice cream flavoured colas that, at least to us, were only sold in one area of Mattancherry, which is Palace Road. So we’d all go and drink a soda or two or better yet, we’d fill them up in big flasks and bring them back home to drink at our leisure. That also meant we could wash down our snacks with it. Or chill it to our taste in the fridge and sip it slowly while watching movies that we’d rent from a local video store. Ah, those were the times! I remember us kids discussing what movies to rent for that evening and ensuring that there were no sex scenes so that the girl cousins didn’t have to run away at certain parts of the movie.

Many evenings we’d go to this record store and check out their collection. This store would record your mixed tapes for you, so you could select songs of various artists and then give them the list and in a week or so they would have them for you. Evenings also meant indoor games, board games, dumb charades, quiz games, Monopoly or Hind Trade (the Indian version), hide and seek in the dark (the house has many big rooms on the top floor and a lot of open space). Certain days we’d also fly kites. Ages 12 to 18 this was pretty much the life that I lived and would yearn for every year. Just get to that summer vacation stage. Or even during the Onam or Christmas break, which were 10-14 days but even a day with the cousins was a godsend. Sometimes I miss those days like crazy and wish I could relive them once again.

2

The Evening Back In Chalakudy

Well I am back in the rented place in Chalakudy. Glad to know that the place looks the same as when I left it two Saturdays ago. Once I reached the office I was greeted with no internet – the cable got cut near the office and therefore we have no internet. Luckily for me I had my laptop and my USB data thingy and could get online. I had received the details of a new project that we might take up and work on. Most of my afternoon was spent discussing this. I was alone in the office for about 90 minutes and felt about the most loneliest that I have ever felt in a long, long time.

I was in the office till 6pm and then I hailed an auto taxi to take me and my luggage to Chalakudy. On the way over here I bought some instant noodles, bread and jam for my food – looks like these will be my staple food as long as I live in this house. I hope to get the garbage thing sorted out over here. I apprehensively opened the door to the section of the old house that I am renting. Its still darker than most place that I have been to but luckily it looks ok. The place smells a little damp as I had left some clothes to dry and since, like I mentioned before, the place gets very little sunlight and I had closed all the windows, it wasn’t a surprise. I hope to air the place once it is morning.

Nothing much to do here. I’ve been chatting with a former colleague Leslie who is now living & working in Wayanad. He has taken up an apartment in Sultan Bathery on rent and soon his wife will join him. He is bored over there, just like I am here, and bought some small burgers (more like buns with bits of meat cutlet inside) and is waiting for dinner time to eat them and then go to bed. Me? I will make my noodles, eat them at the laptop and watch some Stargate : Atlantis. Sleep is far away.

2

My Feelings Toward Online Dating

When I was much younger, around 23-24 years of age or so I had created a profile in an online dating service. It was around 10-11 years ago and the internet wasn’t what it is now. I spent most of time online in online chat rooms or reading up on famous people and nothing else much. Imagine, no Youtube at that time. That was when someone introduced me to online dating and pointed me in the direction of one such portal (I can’t remember the name of it, since I haven’t visited the site in ages).

All I remember of it was creating the profile and then getting a few replies. None of the girls who replied were in my city. Heck they weren’t in my country either. I knew that there was no way that I would be able to meet any of these women and hence made up some stuff for the emails that I sent to them. It was crazy and I got bored pretty soon.

Except for some photos that some of them sent and which I must have saved on a CD somewhere, while backing up my then hard drive, I don’t have any connection with it. I never got anything from it and wouldn’t try it out now either.

0

Ottawa’s First Round Picks

Ottawa Senators picked Mika Zibanejad from Sweden 6th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. Watch the video with some background of the young forward.

Ottawa Senators picked Stefab Neoson from Texas, USA 21st overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. Watch the video with some background of the young forward of the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.

Ottawa Senators picked Matt Peumpel 24th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. Watch the video with some background of the young forward from Essex, Ontario of the Peterborough Petes of the OHL.

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Stargate Universe : Episode 27 “The Greater Good”

A late, unusual for him, Col. Young is brief by Camile that Homeworld Command is happy with the help & co-operation that Ginn has shown to them and would like to speak to her, using the communication device. As Camile goes to Ginn’s quarters to inform her of this, the lateness in the latter answering the door, flustered look and Eli’s shirt lying on a chair leads Camile to the truth as to how far the relationship between the two young people have moved on. She smiles, indicating that she is happy for Eli. Meanwhile Destiny has come out of FTL and there is no planet near by but….the crew spot a battle damaged ship.

They send a kino over to investigate and the ship appears to be empty, leading the crew to assume that it was abandoned after a losing battle. It is decided that Rush & Young will suit up in the environmental suits with 6 hours of breathable air in the tanks. They board the ship through a breach in the hull and explore it through the low ceilings barely high enough for humans. There are open pods like the alien that they had encountered on the other ship. Although life support is down, the ship does have artificial gravity, making it easy to move around. Rush is able to fix life support and get the lights going, as well as establishing communications so that the two do not have to rely on the suits. But soon the engines catch fire and the ship moves away from Destiny.

In order to help them with the equations for moving Destiny closer to the ship, Rush asks the crew to contact Dr. Amanda Perry and have her switch bodies with someone in the crew. Camile briefs Ginn before the former Lucian Alliance member swaps bodies with Amanda. Amanda is able to access the bridge, which still remains unknown to the rest of the crew, and Rush makes her promise not to tell the others.  However Eli, Brody & Volker stumble upon her talking to Rush on the bridge and they are furious. On the other ship Young confronts Rush & Rush is forced to admit that he gained control shortly after the Alliance attack. Young sets his gun down and attacks Rush in a rage, claiming he should have killed Rush when he had the chance.

They fight and Rush becomes unconscious. After he recovers he & Young talk about the reasons for the deception & Rush’s belief that Young is no longer fit to make command decisions. Rush then tells him about Destiny’s true mission – to find out the origins of a pattern buried deep in the cosmic microwave background radiation, one that could not have been natural in origin. Rush believes that as the current crew of the Destiny, it is their duty to continue on the mission to follow that pattern that will lead to a better understanding of the universe. Rush & Young have to now jump across in space & land on Destiny in order to make it back safely.

Towards the end of the episode Rush & Perry (in Ginn’s body) catch up and later kiss. Eli walks in on them, embarrassed as it is Ginn that he sees. He & Rush leave off to meet Young on something urgent. As they leave, an unguarded Simeon enters Ginn’s quarters, unaware that Amanda is in her body and sinisterly closes the doors to her room.

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The Winnipeg Jets Are Back!!

So it’s official – the Winnipeg Jets are back. Winnipeg’s new NHL franchise will be called the Jets as announced in Minneapolis just before the NHL Draft of 2011.

Let’s take a brief look at the history for clarity’s sake – it’s not the same franchise. No, the original Winnipeg Jets began play in the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1972, moving to the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1979 following the collapse of the WHA. Due to mounting financial troubles, in 1996 the franchise moved to Phoenix, Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes. They were the original Jets.

Since 2005 there was a movement in Winnipeg, headed by True North Sports & Entertainment (TNSE) to bring back NHL hockey to Winnipeg and they preferred trying to purchase the Coyotes from Phoenix as the franchise had been losing money badly each season ever since they moved back and two years ago after the owner became bankrupt, the team has been financed by the NHL, who were looking for new owners for the franchise. With the sole exception of captain Shane Doan, who only played one year in Winnipeg (and that too his rookie year just before the franchise was sold and moved to Phoenix) and the rest of his career in Phoenix, no other player on the Coyotes roster have ever played as a member of the Jets. However for reasons of pride (having failed to have  hockey succeed in the Arizona desert) and perhaps others, Commissioner Gary Bettman wanted to hold onto the franchise in Phoenix and after 2 season of the NHL owning the Coyotes, the city of Glendale (a suburb of Phoenix where the team actually is located) has agreed to foot an additional $25 million to adjust some loses of the team.

Which meant that the Coyotes were not going anywhere, atleast for another year and TNSE immediately turned their attention to another team in dire financial situations – the Atlanta Thrashers, a franchise established in 1999 and whose owners could not continue maintaining the team as they were losing money fast. Discussions later, the sale of the Thrasher to TNSE was announced on May 31st and the team would be relocating to Winnipeg to play in their new home, the MTS Center. Now what remained is the name of the team. You can’t just have a nameless team or call the team the Winnipeg NHL franchise! You need a nickname, something to identify the team, make the fans bond with it and have a logo proclaiming the name proudly to all & sundry.

Initially I was among the minority that did not want the team to be called the Winnipeg Jets! I had strongly felt that if the Coyotes were the team that would be bought by TNSE and moved back to Winnipeg, back where they belong, then the team should be called the Winnipeg Jets! If it were the Thrashers or some other team being sold & moved to Winnipeg, the name should be different, a new one for new beginnings. The internet was filled with opinions, discussions and polls and it was clear that the overwhelming popular choice was still the Winnipeg Jets. Other names in the fray were the Falcons & Polar Bears. Some even thought that the team should be named as the Manitoba ‘somethings’, including the whole province instead of just the city.

Now the NHL owns the rights to all team names, including the Jets, and were willing to give it to the new team in Winnipeg. The owners of the team were interested in going in a new way. However all over Facebook, Twitter, blogs and chats the fans wanted their ‘Jets’ back. Even a vast majority of fans of other hockey teams seemed to be in favour of naming the franchise as the Jets. I had long back jumped on board and wanted the team to named the Jets. And yesterday, bowing to fan pressure, TNSE’s chairman Mark Chipman announced that the team would indeed be called the Winnipeg Jets just as they were going to select their first round pick in the NHL Draft, to the raucous sounds of joy and excitement by the fans. However, the team will have a brand new logo – which is ok, most teams change their logos, even if it is ever so slightly , after a decade or so – and new colours, which will be very different from the old colours.

So the fans get what they want and will now wait for the day that the team colours, logo & jerseys are revealed. The management is going to look at trades and building up the team and drafting for the future. What will the new logos look like, what will the jersey colours be? Time will tell.

0

Smyth Back In Edmonton

Former Edmonton Oiler faithful, Ryan Smyth, is heading back to the place where he belongs and never wanted to leave. The Los Angeles Kings forward was traded to the Oilers in exchange for forward Gilbert Brule and a fourth-round draft pick. Smyth is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $4.5 million this season, although the cap hit is $6.25 million.

Earlier in the week, Smyth asked the Kings to be dealt back to the Oilers, where he spent the first 11 seasons of his career. He’s been on three other teams in the last five seasons, the last two with the Kings. He had 23 goals and 24 assists with the Kings last season. Smyth has 355 goals and 405 assists in 1069 career games.

Back in 2007, due to failed contract negotiations, Smyth was traded to the Islanders for part of the 2006-07 season. Becoming an unrestricted free agent in the subsequent off-season, he signed a five-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche. After two seasons with the team, he was traded to the Kings in July 2009.

A crying Ryan had held a conference before leaving for joining the Islander – that was the scene that stole the hockey headlines at the time of the trade that sent him to Long Island. When it became public that his contract extension was denied on the  basis of just $100,000 the whole thing seemed very avoidable by the Oilers management. Now things seem to be set back in place and a 35 year old Smyth can return to his beloved team and perform a more supporting role and help mold the youngsters there.

Update: Looks like I spoke too soon, the trade may be in jeopardy. It seems that the LA Kings have raised an issue with forward Gilbert Brule’s fitness. Kings were to get Brule and a fourth round draft pick in exchange for Smyth. We’ll have to see what happens.

Second Update: The deal to bring Ryan Smyth back to the Edmonton Oilers is complete. The Los Angeles Kings traded to Smyth to the Oilers in exchange for forward Colin Fraser and a seventh round draft pick in 2012 on Sunday

2

Fed Up Of Tata Indicom Broadband

I’m really tired of Tata Indicom Broadband now. My ISP has really been screwed up for the last 5 days. Each of these last 5 days – Sunday to Thursday  – the internet connectivity has been down countless times. Each day it goes off atleast 4 to 5 times and each time I call up to their customer care center I get the same answer. “I will raise a complaint and it will be rectified within 6 working hours”.

Each time it doesn’t really take 6 hours to fix but it goes off again and I get the same message. They are having some major problems and are not informing me as to what the actual problem is. “I will mention in the complaint that you are facing this problem regularly and it will not be repeated henceforth”. Guess what junior – your company just did that again & again & again & again. It’s reached a point where I am no longer complaining but contemplating as to when I should cancel my connection.

Their service has become pathetic and one of their customer care representatives was so rude that I put him in his place. He even tried to avoid my questions a couple of times and was just reading off some stupid script! What a moron! I think enough is enough and I should try to find another wirelan connection for the apartment and as soon as I finalize on that, I will cancel my subscription with Tata.

2

From Bumbling Comic To Tragic Hero

Today I watched episode 14 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 3 (let me state it here that I have already seen the series, missing perhaps a few episodes, when it came out on cable here in India but I am now downloading the series from then net to re-watch it) called “Bad Girls”, which marks the debut of the character Wesley Wyndham-Price in the Buffyverse. Portrayed by American actor Alexis Denisoff, who mastered an English accent and mannerisms for the role, Wesley is one of the best characters & perhaps most tragic and beloved that series creator Joss Whedon has created.

Wesley’s debut is that of an irritating foil to & a replacement for Buffy’s watcher Giles, who was fired from the Watcher’s Council for his fatherly affections towards his ward and for failing a test (which Giles thought was unfair). His pompous attitude & slight arrogance is lost on Buffy, who will only accept Giles as her watcher and when Faith comes even she rejects him. He fails to get any respect from Giles or the slayers and soon is to nurture a crush for Cordelia, who flirts with him and uses him to elicit jealousy from her ex Xander. Soon Wesley becomes a comic foil and leaves Sunnydale.

Initially the character was meant to be killed off and only last part of the 3rd season but he became popular among the creators of the show and they wrote him into the spin off series Angel, where he would be a regular leading character. The evolution of Wesley is amazingly done well; from bumbling comic relief character in 9 episodes of Buffy’s season 3 and the first 2 of seasons of Angel, he becomes a worthy fighter, source of knowledge against the dark forces and for a while even the leader of Angel Investigations, surprisingly successful. It’s in the 3rd season that we see the character blossom even more; as he nurtures his love for Winnifred Burkle, who is in a relationship with Gunn.

Fiercely loyal to his friends, Wesley keeps a respectful distance. When a false prophecy causes Wesley, who has only good intentions, to betray his friends, which leads to Angel’s son being kidnapped by his nemesis Holz. Banished from being with his friends, Wesley forms his own evil fighting team and begins a sexual relationship with the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart’s laywer Laila. As he begins to feel genuine affections for her, she is killed. Later as he rejoins Angel and co as the leaders of  Wolfram & Hart, he finally realizes his greatest wish. He & Winnifred become lovers and within a few short weeks that happiness turns to despair, as Fred dies and her body is taken over by an ancient demon, who becomes part of the team. In the last episode, Wesley is killed and dies in the arms of the demon who is in body of Winnifred.

Wesley Wyndham-Price is that tragic hero, fallen, betrayer but with good intentions. He also suffers from series creator Joss Wheedon’s obsession with not allowing couples to last long within his series, adding more tragedy & heart-break along the way. Oh and one little anecdote: Denisoff was in the running for getting the role of James Bond that eventually went to Daniel Craig!

0

That Caramel Taste

Simple day out. I just had to go out of the apartment as it was driving me crazy that I had been cooped inside with a really bad cold & cough for the past 4 days. I had to get my haircut. I needed to check out and see about repairing my spectacles. I also wanted to get some good food after 4 days of resting in my home. So off I set at just around 11 am. Itinerary was medicines, work meeting, coffee, haircut and late lunch.

I did all that. Medicines bought I quickly finished the meeting which was more of a few presentation rounds, all 15 minutes each and soon I was out of there. Time for some coffee. So how do you think one should recover from a nasty cough & cold that puts you out of commission for 4 days? How about one of these? No, make it too. Caramel Lattes from Coffee Cube are really good. Hmmm caramel yum. Plus ogling some young beautiful babes also helped!

Then it was time for an overdue haircut. I went to my usual hair cutting saloon and got my sides and back chopped. The front & top – well we just won’t go there. That quickly done, I was on my way when I happened to run to an old classmate, from my 2 years spent in St.Paul’s college for my Pre-degree years. I don’t know how he recognized me as it has been close to 17 years since I last him! I would never have been able to pick him out of a crowd but he says that I haven’t changed much, other than putting on a lot more weight and losing a lot of my hair. I guess some people just are difficult to forget (says the charismatic & humble man!)

Lunch, late as it was, was chicken hakka noodles and garlic chicken. Noodles was good and so was the chicken but the gravy wasn’t up to par. All this activity pooped me out and I came back home and crashed on my bed. Snooooooooze!

0

What’s Wrong With You?

I’m a little worried about the youth of Kerala. I’m pretty sure that other states & countries as a whole must have similar problems but this is looking out of control. For the record let me say that I am 34 years old and will soon turn 35 in less than 6 weeks. The demographic that I am talking about is the lower middle class, middle class and some of the upper class. I’m less worried about the 3rd group as they seem to have enough money to take care of their issues and plus their folks will also ensure that the status quo is met.

At the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy (I wish I knew what this term means) I am actually scared at the grooming of the youth of Kerala. There seems to be some problem somewhere and I wish we could all join together and get to the bottom of things. As I type this I can see a group of 6 guys from the windows of the cafe that I am in. They are on the side street next to a building complex car & bike parking area and sitting on 3 bikes and smoking. Well 4 of them are sitting on the bikes and smoking, 2 others are standing near them and chatting with this chick. 4 of the guys look – well if I use the word disheveled, the meaning of the word would get upset at me! One of the dude looks like he put his t-shirt & jeans in a washing machine, along with dirt, muddy water and manure instead of clean, warm water & detergent.

His friend looks like his head was used to clean the toilet – that hair has got to be toxic at the least! The rest have some sort of facial growth on their faces – half of their face are full grown goatees and half 4-5 day old stubble. Is this what is considered cool these days? That and smelling like the last day that they took a bath was a decade ago. If I were their father I would grab them by the scruff of the neck, fill a tub with water & Dettol, dunk them in for a day atleast and get some people to use brushes on them and then a haircut and a shave! A proper shave.

This whole unshaven look seems to have also hit the movie industry. On Sunday night, while having dinner, my parents were watching a movie awards show. Most of the male actors were unshaven – full mustaches but atleast 5-7 days worth of stubble. Is this suddenly so cool that even they must stoop to wear their facial hair like this? And it’s not the actors under 30 or even under 40 – even the above 50 superstars sported these so called ‘beards’!

And is there some rule that if you are under the age of 25, you must wear your shirt with the top two buttons off? Everywhere I turn I see these buggers dressed like this; going to colleges, to the movies, to parties, hanging with their friends etc. Don’t let them in public places dressed like that. Also some of these morons like to show off their underwear – they wear these baggy pants or low waist stuff and flash you their underwear. Some cops have been nabbing youths at bus stands if they seem to be showing their undergarments and I think it’s a good thing. Fine them a little and maybe they will change their ways.

In my previous office we’d get call center agents coming in unshaven, sporting 5 day stubble on their faces or worse – with what looks like a bee hive on their chins! You know what I’m talking about; it’s no mustaches but a big growth of hair on the chin. And they’d wear stupid pants that are on the verge of falling down. There atleast I’d throw  them out of training and push them towards the HR & Recruitment desks. In my current office atleast the guys are all decently groomed & dressed. I can’t do that to people on the street but can I call the cops on them?

0

Good Neighbours

Notice the spelling of “Neighbours” and not “Neighbor” – it’s not an American movie but rather a movie from their good neighbours (pun fully intended) to the north. Jacob Tierney has directed two really good, intelligent movies, quite out of the way of the usual Hollywood stuff that you get to see. Both these movies star his good friend and rising star Jay Baruchel.

The movie also stars Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire & Anne-Marie Cadieux and has a cameo by Jacob and his brother Kevin. Victor (Baruchel) has come back to Canada, after spending a while in China, to teach in a school and live in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood. This is in 1995 during the Quebec Referendum where Canada was almost torn apart as Quebec was voting to see if they should or shouldn’t separate from English Canada. As Victor moves in to his apartment building he meets two people who he will spend a lot of time with – Louise (Hampshire) a waitress in a Chinese restaurant and Spencer (Speedman), a cynical young widower who lost the use of his legs in the car accident that claimed the life of his wife. Louise and Spencer have bonded over their fascination with the killer stalking their streets, news shared over old newspapers and nightly glasses of Scotch, and Victor wants in.

At the same time there is a terror on the loose; a serial killer who rapes his young female victims before murdering them has the city in a panic and after her co-worker is killed, Louise asks her new neighbour Victor to escort her back to their building every night after her shift ends at 7pm, which the love struck young man is only eager to do. Louise meanwhile reserves her affections for her two cats. Then there is the Francophone nieghbour who keeps yelling on the phone with her husband and scream at Lousie to keep her cats away from her garbage. Finally angry and fed up, this lady poisons the two cats who are later found dead by Lousie.

Eager for revenge she plots and waits for an opportune moment. She bonds with a cat that Victor has got and later has sex with him but instead of throwing out the condom she used the semen onto a dildo, climbs up to the lady’s room and kills her. Then she uses the dildo on the dead body to make it seem as if someone has raped and killed the women, leaving suspicion onto the unknown serial rapist/murder. Meanwhile at night, we find out that Spencer has only been faking his disability, even managing to fool his physio-therapist and infact is the rapist! He sneaks out at night trough his window, meets young women, rapes and then kills them. While leaving for one of his jaunts, he runs into Emily and is later seen by Victor’s brother (played by Tierney) and then Victor himself.

Both Spencer and Victor approach Louise to do the other off and it’s clear that she isn’t really that bothered. She does however set up Spencer who thinks he is going to kill an asleep Victor, but the latter however is awake and waiting for him. In the movie’s showdown, a much stronger Spencer seems to have the upper edge but while the two tussle on the fire escape, a flailing Victor pushes Spencer down to the road and to his death. The police who had been investigating the apartment console Victor as the movie ends, happy that the killer is dead.

While containing a brutally harsh yet hilarious murder scene, one you might never have expected to see, the dialogues and tension amongst the 3 main characters provide the best scenes in this fascinating movie. It’s slow to pick up but you’ll enjoy it all the same. 8 outta 10.

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The Hallowed Turf In England

This week & the next are all about the Champions, Wimbledon or simply Wimbledon. It’s the most prestigious tennis tournament in the calendar, held at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club located in the London suburb of Wimbledon ever since 1877. For professional tennis players this is the Stanley Cup, FIFA World Cup or Superbowl put together. Winning a single title here ensures your name in the history books in more ways than one and also get you a lifetime membership at the club.

The singles trophies, pictures here on the left, are beautiful & amongst the top 5 most prestigious trophies to win, certainly the most prestigious for an individual sport. The men’s trophy is easily the most handsomest trophy of all. It’s just so well made. Each year the winners get a smaller scale replica of the trophies for theirs to keep.

The first time I came to know about Wimbledon was during the 1987 championships. I remember watching Pat Cash winning the final and climbing the stands to hug his wife & family, leave a lasting impression on my 11 year old mind. My favourite players were Stefan Edberg, Mats Wilander, Steffi Graf & Martina Navratilova. Ever since then watching the 2 week tournament was a yearly tradition for me till 1998. That year, I rediscovered football with a flaming passion and lost most of my interest in tennis as a sport. The last Wimbledon that I actually watched more than just bits of the final was in 2001, when veteran Goran Ivanisevic won his first and only Grand Slam title. I’ve watched bits of Roger Fedderer’s wins and maybe a set of Rafal Nadal win last year but that has been it.

I’ll probably never get into tennis as much as I used to but Wimbledon continues to always be magical for me. Maybe I’ll watch the finals this year.