Getting Rid Of The Cassettes

I stopped buying audio cassette tapes back in 2003. Music cds are still ridiculously priced in India (when will we ever catch up with the rest of the world?) and it was only by 2003 that I started dedicating my music collection solely to cds. What I would do before that was go with cds for my favourite artists and cassettes for the next level of artists that I liked. By 2005 I stopped listening to cassette tapes as I had gotten most of my favourite albums on cds and what sense did it make to pay your songs on a dumb tape anymore. By 2006 I no longer had a working cassette player/recorder and only listened to cds.

I didn’t have a computer from 2003 till September 2006 so once I got it, it was a long process of ripping all my cds into mp3 format and saving them on my computer hard drive and I also have a copy of the files on an external hard drive that I keep just for my music. I also have another copy of all my mp3s burned into writable cds. As of now my music collection is 51.5 GB worth ~~ fucking awesome ain’t it?  I play them on my laptop and rock along with it or copy them onto my BlackBerry so I can listen to them on the go.

Today I decided to clean out part of this big steel almirah that I have in my bedroom. I have my cds & cassettes in it – after I rip the cds into mp3s I dumb them into this almirah. So the cassettes are just collecting dust – of which I am amazed there is a lot of – in the bottom section. By the way this is only part of what once used to be a much bigger collection. I have been collecting tapes from 1987 to 2003; you figure it out. And a lot of my tapes were once blank tapes that you could buy, like from TDK or Sony, and get copies of albums recorded on to them. But when we sold our house in 2006 and moved here, I only kept around half of it and sold the rest. I have been meaning to get rid of the ones I have left for a long time as they are of no use at all. This evening, I put on some tunes and cleared out the cassettes and collected them into two big garbage bags. They will be chucked out tomorrow to scrap.

So long tapes. You gave me years of pleasure!

The Most Destructive Force to Mankind

Hands down Religion is the most destructive force know to mankind. Combined with racism and you have one tough bitch to handle. And if we are not careful religion will be the death of man. Every major war has a reason – expansion, wealth, power, greed but religion tops it all. Religion can destroy a nation and it’s people and if you though that religion is the reason for our morality – we have morals inspite of religion! The idea of a god was first created by thinking men as a means to explain that which we cannot explain but it has since evolved into something much more complex and dangerous.

Despite all the progress we have made as a species, we are still held back by the disease called religions. Imagine what all we could have achieved if it wasn’t for religions. We would certainly be exploring the galaxy by now! Religion is like a cancer; it spreads and fucks up everything in it’s past. As I type this some hindu fundamentalist leader is planning the next attack against what he thinks is “immoral”, some muslims are planting a bomb and christians fundamentalists are plotting to terrorism a non-christian community.

Religion keeps us from progressing. My family’s religion wants all of us to forgo everything and stay at temples, singing prayers and kissing the ass of some deity. Do nothing except that while our families are taken advantage of by fake “swamis” and give up our worldly possessions. Your religion does too. Most religious people don’t realize what the Bible, Gita, Ramayana, Quran, Torah really are – bad science fiction & fantasy novels! I like Star Trek – that doesn’t mean that I’m gonna be beam up anytime soon! Or apprehend someone because they violated the Prime Directive (lol, I am killing myself). Grow a brain!

“Imagine no heaven”!

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Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula

A few days ago I watched the heavily anticipated (for me) episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, “Buffy vs Dracula” which I also reviews here. While reading about the episode on Wikipedia I came to know that the guy who played the Count in this episode also played Dracula in a television movie called Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula, which was released in 2000, the same year as that Buffy episode. A few checks later and I downloaded the movie to watch on my laptop.

The movie is said to be based on the historical figure, Prince Vlad III, also known as Vlad Tepes or Vlad Dracula, who ruled parts of Romania from 1456 to 1462. Vlad is the inspiration for author Bram Stoker’s Dracula legend which we all know, fear & love.  This movie tells us about his youth, growing up as the favoured older son of his father, a rich nobleman who was later murdered and Vlad (Rudolf Martin) & his younger brother Radu were captured by the Ottoman Sultan. Radu spent a lot of time with the Sultan for the latter’s sexual purposes and later turned to be on the side of the Turks, while Vlad would escape and seek help from the King of Hungary (with a wicked London accent as he is played by Roger Daltrey).

With the king’s support Vlad & his men attack & kill the Turks and the Romanian nobles who sided with them and Vlad takes over the castle his father once ruled. He marries Lidia, who is horrified on discovering what her husband does with the bodies of his enemies. She tries to take their son away but Vlad has her restrained and sent away for a while. Lidia (Jane March) keeps hearing voices, screams of those who were brutally murdered and later she kills herself by jumping from the castle tower. While Vlad & his son recover from their loss, Radu arrives at the head of an invading Turkish army, much larger than what Dracula can muster. Battles are fought and finally Dracula is hurt and carried away by his loyal right hand man Bruno (Christopher Brand) and recovers when others though him dead.

At the end of the film, Vlad is excommunicated by the Orthodox Church shortly before being assassinated by Radu and betrayed by Father Stefan (Peter Weller), a priest who was instrumental in the murder of Vlad’s father. As a result of his condemnation by the priests, Vlad is found to have risen from the grave and gained eternal life, free to roam the earth (as he has been denied entrance to both Heaven and Hell), implying that he has now become the very vampire for which his name is famous.

There are many inaccuracies in the story, major one being that Vlad did not rise from his grave. History’s penchant for superstitions & exaggeration gave him the stigma of having drunk the blood of his enemies. But he was brutal having a penchant for impaling the convicted on spears, even for smaller crimes. In reality Vlad was killed in battle with the Turks, not by the hand of Radu as in the film. Radu was already dead at the time of Vlad’s death. That being said, the movie looks authentic with some locales that look like it was from the 15th century. I’d give it a 7 outta 10.

Arsenal’s New Player Signings

Looks like Arsene Wenger’s stubbornness has dwindled down a bit and the man has loosened the purse strings to purchase a few players and strengthen his squad. This comes in the wake of last weekend’s humiliation at the hands of Manchester United and that 8-2 drubbing the club received. If that wasn’t a wakeup call then nothing is!

So let’s look at what we purchased; the big name is Mikel Arteta, the Spanish midfielder from Everton. Good signing as he will provide offense & chances for the strikers. Along with Youssi Benayoun, Arteta will serve to bridge some of that huge gap in creativity that the team has with the exit of Samir Nasri & Cesc Fabregas. But in terms of quality do not think for a second that the newcomers are of the same calibre as those who left. Benayoun joins us on loan from Chelsea. Meanwhile disgruntled striker Niklas Bendtner joins Sunderland on loan.

German defender Per Mertersacker who joins us from Werder Bremen is certainly a handful in the air at 6ft 6in tall and he’s been added to try and rid the side of their ineptitude at defending corners and set pieces effectively. However, the side may have to play a deeper line to compensate for his almost chronic lack of pace. Nonetheless, the Bundesliga’s almost break-neck speed of play is extremely similar to that of the Premier League and he should adjust fairly quickly. From AC Monaco comes South Korean forward Park Chu-Young comes for a fee around the £2m mark and with a one in three goals to game record throughout his career and significant international experience behind him, he should prove a solid squad player.

Brazilian left-back also joins Arsenal, even though Wenger had claimed that the club was well stocked at left back because they had Vermaelen, Traore and injury-plagued Kieran Gibbs to call upon. He’ll add pace and width down the flanks, even if his defensive attributes are under question. Arsenal left-back Armand Traore has joined Premier League new-boys QPR for an undisclosed fee.

The Longest I’d Want to Live Without Internet

WHAT? Live without internet access? Are you crazy? How would I get entertained and spend my free hours? The longest that I have gone without internet is 3 weeks; forced to do so as my desktop pc had died on me and I was like a zombie during those hours. I used to have internet access at the office but a few months before that they had cut internet access to all those who had direct access to our client’s data. Thus only the highest management and people who worked in HR, Tech & Admin got to go on the web from the office. So other than sending a few emails from a tech guy’s laptop, I didn’t use the internet at all.

I hated that time period. My blogging suffered and I couldn’t get online with my buddies who lived far away. I was so bored outta my skull when I wasn’t at work and hence would go to coffeeshops on alternate days just to have something to do after I left the office. I did watch some tv but was glad when the 3 weeks got over and I could buy a new laptop. It was such a relief when I got the net connected once again. Other than that gaps away from the internet have been either 2 or 3 days at the most due to my ISP having major work at their end or a cable gets cut.

I might however not mind being without internet access if I do get my holiday trip planned. I need to save some more cash and if I do I will take a week off and go to a small cottage resort and spend a peaceful week there. Internet connections are hard to come by there and hence even my USB device will not work there. I will take my laptop but only to watch movies & tv series and maybe some advance blogging which I can post once I reach back home. That would be the only kind of choice I would make to go without internet access – a week but only if my terms are met.

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If I Could Be a Professional Critic

Hmmm I like the thought of these three things – food, movies & books. Choosing between these three is easy if it comes down to a crunch because, think about it. If you are a good film critic, people will send you dvds. If you are a good book critic, people will send you books or ebooks. And if you are a good food critic……get my drift? Or get invited to go check out the food at fancy restaurants.

But the lure of the food aside, I would like books & movies more because I’d be entertained at the same time as I’d be doing my job. And I’d be a polite and sweet critic; I’d be more Paula Abdul than Simon Cowell. What I do know is that I won’t be Randy and keep saying “hot” and “dawg” all the time. So yeah books & movies is what I’d like to do more off. Only thing is that I do not read as much as I used to and blame it on the internet cause I spend almost all my free time on it and then there’s movies & tv series galore to watch. So that would mean that movies & tv series would be my first pick, books next and food third.

I find it funny to see wine tastes go all snobby about certain wines and the way they taste the wines and then spit the damn thing out. Even if it is a good wine! Beer tasting & beer critics seem so much more relaxed and down to earth. Yeah I’d like that job. Roshan the beer critic. International burper extraordinaire. Send me your ales, lagers & your porters. It’s beertastically fantastically great.

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RIP Wade Belak

The sport of ice hockey is spinning with the news of another death hitting the internet, radio & tvs. And guess what? It’s another enforcer.

Wade Belak who retired earlier this year from the NHL as a hockey player after being placed on waivers by the Nashville Predators was found dead in his Toronto condo yesterday. Reports are that it looks like a suicide. He was 35. Going unclaimed, Belak was assigned to the Predators AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, but decided on March 8, 2011 to retire and remain with the Predators in an organizational role.

Born in 1976 in Saskatoon, Belak began his NHL career in 1996 with the Colorado Avalanche, played three years with the Calgary Flames and spent seven seasons as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played two years with the Florida Panthers and had been with the Nashville Predators since 2008. Known more for using his fists than stick-handling, the 6-foot-5, 223-pounder, played 549 NHL games, scoring eight goals and 33 points, racking up 1,263 penalty minutes.

He leaves behind his wife Jennifer, young daughters Andie Marie & Alex Grace. You never know what the real reasons are unless he has left behind a note or an email. But it doesn’t seem like he had to take his life. Enforcers always seem to get depressed once their time playing is up. It is such a shame. And he was my age! Off the ice, the Toronto media portrayed Belak as a charismatic, easy-going person who loves to joke, contrary to his aggressive style of play. Rest in peace Wade.

Wade Belak (July 3, 1976 – August 31, 2011)