The X-Files : Season 1

I recently blogged about my rewatching the X-Files series after a gap of almost 6 or 7 years. In the meantime I’ve only watched the second movie which came out in 2008 and which I watched in 2009. I have the copy but it wasn’t to my taste and I’ve not watched it a second time. Anyway, I started downloading the first season and watching them one episode at a time and quite enjoyed this trip down memory lane.  The first season initial aired from September 10, 1993 and concluded on May 13, 1994 lasting 24 episodes.

Funny thing, before I go ahead, is that had you asked me a few years ago which tv series I would have wanted to own my own copies of (either a box set or digital copies on hard disks) I would have answered in the following order as 1. Star Trek (all series). 2. X-Files. 3. Battlestar Galactica 4. V & 5. The Simpsons. I don’t own the Simpsons yet because of two reasons – a) it’s too long at 22 seasons and still going and b) they always show it on tv here so I don’t miss it yet. But I have the other 3 and the X-Files was put on the back burner. Anyway, that is being rectified at the moment. So on we go with season 1.

We see the debut & death of Deep Throat, played  by Jerry Hardin, who appears in 7 episodes. He appears to first warn agent Mulder of the dangers he is getting himself into and offer to help him with information & guidance. We also see the iconic Cigarette Smoking Man (William B David) & towards the last few episodes Asst. Director Skinner (Mitch Pellegi). Mulder & Scully join up as partners, one believer and one skeptic, creating of the best duos in television history. The battle Tooms, the guy who has extended his life drastically by consuming the human livers of his recently killed victims and who can squeeze himself through the narrowest gaps to get to places. We see alien abduction cases in the Pilot episode, an encounter in Space, Fallen Angel, Gender Bender, EBE and the final episode we see the iconic alien fetus stored in liquid nitrogen.

Other than these we see the two agents also investigating other kinds of strange cases – like the thief who is shot and his soul is transferred to that of a dying FBI agent who was pursuing him and was shot by the thief (Lazarus) and the case of the evangelistic  healing young man (Miracle Man). We have an encounter with The Jersey Devil, a woman who lived in the wild and fed on humans, along with her mate and a small child. We see a ghost who protects his secretary, a younger woman who he has paternal affection for and reveals his killer and also the case of an 8 year old girl who seems to be the reincarnation of a young police who was killed around the same time as the girl was conceived (Born Again). Through the girl the cop is able to get his killers and make them confess to his murder. Also we have Eve, one that creeped me out a bit  – it’s about cloning or super intelligent humans. Watch that episode – you will get the creeps too.

You also have tiny bugs that were disturbed in their natural habitat, by massive logging efforts, after centuries of lying dormant and attacks people in swarms (Darkness Falls). We also see lycans, which I felt was kind of out of character for the series, in Shapes. All in all a very good first season and forged the makings of a cult hit. To see a young Mulder and sweet young Scully (David Duchovny was 32  and Gillian Anderson was 24 when shooting started). The show made the two of them stars and household names and becoming a landmark tv series itself. Onto season 2.

The News That Interests Me Most

My newspaper reading habits have changed very little since I was a pre-teen. So let’s say from the age of 12 till today at the age of 35, for 23 years, I have read the papers almost on a daily basis. And it is always the same manner – I do a quick glance at the front that lasts all of 10 seconds and then flip over to the last page & start reading the sports sections. The 2nd & 3rd last pages of the paper will also be sports and I read anything related to tennis & football and if there is an interesting article on any other sport then I read that too. This will take roughly 15 to 30 minutes depending on the number of articles that interest me.

On the second last page are the daily (minus Sunday) comics that I like so much. The Phanton, Hi & Lois, The Lockhorns, Beetle Bailey & Henry (the bald & mute kid). Always good for a few laughs and the Phantom is an all-time fav hero. After that is is a quick glance at the business page just to see if there is any announcement in the mobile sector (having worked in it for over 7 years it still is something I check from time to time) and then to the world section. Snippets and articles from across the world and some entertainment news as well. Those usually are a good read and then I scan through the rest of the National, state & city news for anything that tweaks my interest, the front page and finally check the cable tv channels airing movies or sports games for the day. Not that I watch much tv but it still is something that I check.

On Sundays, it usually is a quick read of the Sunday papers and then the Sunday supplement sections of art, literature, travel, food & drink, movies and sports that come out in separate sheets. I used to spend a lot more time on these but the quality has gone down quite a lot.

Powered by Plinky

Mr. Scotty In Relics

As some of you might know, I am currently watching Star Trek TNG episodes as I download them from the net. I’m currently in the 6th season and I’ve reached a beloved episode that I remember quite well from watching it the first time on cable tv a few years ago. It’s Relics an episode in which the crew of the USS Enterprise D find a Dyson Sphere (just look up the theoretical stuff about possible Dysons sphere on Wikipedia) and investigate a crashed Federation starship, the USS Jenolan, which seems to have been there for over 75 years. When they board the vessel, the find that a single survivor has been stored in the pattern buffer of the transporter for all this while. The transporters were reconfigured in a strange manner. LaForge, Riker & Worf reset the controls and rematerialize the person in the transporter – who turns out to be Captain Montgomery Scott or as we call him Scotty.

Scotty is in for a cultural & technological shock having been out of comission for 75 years trapped in the buffer and finding himself in the 24th century. Not only does he have to get used to a luxurious & huge USS Enterprise D and get used to seeing a Klingon aboard the vessel but he is also not upto speed on the technological changes that have been made. He finds himself out of place, unwanted & unable to fit in, especially when he tries to fit in by helping in Engineering but only manages to annoy Lt. LaForge. He has a strange bonding with Data while in 10 Forward, finding reach alcohol and also a kinship with Capt. Picard. He also manages to charm both Dr. Crusher & Councillor Troi. In the end LaForge & Scotty, who are both on the Jenolan when the Enterprise is caught inside the sphere and headed for destruction, help the Enterprise make it’s way out and safe from being destroyed.

Scotty, played by Canadian actor James Doohan, decides to head out to earth on a shuttle loaned from the Enterprise, seemingly going back to starfleet for a while before retiring for good. Doohan himself was born on March 3, 1920 in Vancouver, BC and was raised in Sarnia, Ontario. At age 19, Doohan joined the Royal Canadian Artillery and fought in the Second World War, landing on Juno Beach on D-Day. He was shot six times, taking four bullets in his leg, one that took off his middle right finger, and the other shot that was heading toward his chest was stopped by his silver cigarette case. In 1965, Doohan shot the pilot for Star Trek. When reading for the part, he tried eight different accents, and chose to have his character be a Scotsman. While Star Trek originally ran for just 3 seasons, from 1966 to 1969, obviously it became a cult classic and spawned four other series. Scotty became famous for lines such as “I can’t hold it together for much longer, Cap’n!” and “I’m giving it all I got!” Of course, the most famous line associated with his character was “Beam me up, Scotty.

Paper or Digital?

For a guy who, atleast during the ages of 14 to 20, loved the idea of keeping as physical diary with something like 2 or 3 entries per week if not a daily, log of things I did, ideas, opinions etc and written by a pen, I couldn’t do that anymore. I would give up the idea of a log / diary altogether and that is because the art of writing on paper with a pen/pencil is dying. It’s not completely gone but it is a dying practice and well, I think it should die out soon. Keeping notes on paper is ridiculous in this day & age and I hope it does go out the window soon.

Electronic devices are the way to go and I know that soon people will be blogging using just their voice and the computers will pick it up and save it as text or straight as voice, as the user demands it. I prefer typing on my laptop or a desktop and on my BlackBerry and if I can ever afford a pad then on that as well. For now I avoid writing on paper and it shows – whenever I have to write for more than a couple of minutes, my fingers & my hand aches. They are not used to writing for long period of time anymore.

Powered by Plinky

50 Things To Do In Cochin – Via Priya

Priya, a fellow blogger from my hometown of Cochin, has posted about the 50 things to do if you are ever in this town. While I haven’t done all 50 I do agree with her list. Read her post, while I click off some of the things that I have done. My comments will be in italics.

1.    Check the view of the ocean from the rainbow bridge at Marine Drive / Been there many times. I even had my name carved on one of the pillers when I was 17.
3.    Absorb the market chatter on the Broadway (parallel road to Marine Drive) / terrible place to drive to. Just park your car elsewhere and walk.
5.    Cover the Mattanchery, Jews Street and Fort Kochi area on foot / This is ‘tharavadu area’ where my mum’s family is from and I’ve been there many times.
6.    Take a walk around the fish market along the sea in Fort Kochi area / best fried fish you can get in India. They cook fresh catch for you on the spot.
12.    Go for a stride along the waterfront at Willingdon Island, next to Taj Malabar – Vivanta. My last visit to the island was with few friends, on a bike which we rented in Ernakulam / Been there  few times.
13.    Have beer at Taj Malabar – Vivanta, by the waterfront – and watch the sunset. Bliss! / Been there for a couple of parties. Good food & drink.
14.    Visit the Synagogue at Jew Street run by the last Jew family left in the city. Do ensure you are wearing full pants and sleeved shirt/t-shirt else you will be denied entry! / It’s a landmark for the city. Visited it twice when I was younger.
15.    Visit the Dutch Palace. Interestingly it was built by the Portuguese and only renovated by the Dutch. Soak in the history of Cochin / Kochi here. Check out the mural paintings albeit in poor condition. / It’s a landmark for the city. Visited it twice when I was younger.
17.    Learn more about Kerala through a light and sound show at the Kerala history museum, Edapally. / Went there for the full tour on a school trip, grade 9 I think.
20.    Visit Durbar Hall Art Gallery on DH Road. Once the official durbar hall of the Kochi Maharajas is now a gallery exhibiting oil paintings, old coins, sculptures,…etc.There is a studio gallery within the complex that promotes works of various artists. Entry is free. / Visited it many times. Quite nice collections.
30.    Beautiful traditional Kerala saris can be picked up from Kasavukada, near Fine Arts Hall or Karalkada opposite Pai Brothers on MG Road / members of my family often buy stuff from there and I have been with them on many occasions.
31.    Kerala women are popular for their gold, which explains the array of gold shops n MG Road – Bhima, JOSCO, Joy Alukkas, Kirtilal, Alappatt, Francis Allukkas, Tanisq, Geeripai, TribhuvandasZaveri,…etc are all present on this 5km stretch. / total women’s domain. Me & my male cousins remember our childhood passing us by while the ladies discuss, argue & dissect gold ornaments at these shops.

Most of the others are of good food & drinking places of which I have my own tastes and preferences (she does mention a couple of my favs here though). So you know what to do if you are ever in town. And oh yeah, if you are a hot babe, call me!

The Simpsons To Go On For 2 More Years

What could have been a disastrous end to the long running animated series was averted and the Simpsons have been signed on for another 2 more seasons. There was a contract dispute regarding salaries for the actors who voice the yellow family and the others in the Springfield community. Previously, Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Hank Azaria, Yeardley Smith and Harry Shearer each earned a whopping $8 million US a season, which they say pales in comparison to the profits the studio makes off the show. Fox says that they couldn’t continue making the show, which is the longest running sitcom for the network and for American Television, without cutting costs and that included the voice actors taking pay cuts.

Initially the actors refused to take the pay cut, causing concern that the series may be axed by the network as being too costly to afford. On Friday Shearer said he’d offered to take a 70 per cent pay cut, in exchange for profit participation in the show. The terms of the cast’s new deal were not announced, though The Hollywood Reporter, citing unidentified sources, said the actors accepted a 30 percent pay cut. The new deal secures the show through seasons 24 and 25. The six main voice actors behind the cartoon juggernaut agreed to undisclosed but substantial per-episode salary cuts, though not as steep as the 45 percent Fox TV had been demanding, to ensure that the 23-season-old staple would continue through a landmark 25th. Thought what will happen beyond 2014 is anyone’s guess.

I wouldn’t complain if the show came to a close; and that is only because it will have had a run of 25 years which is awesome and I doubt if it can ever be repeated. Sure there are soaps and other crap that run for many decades which I would never watch unless you gave me a million dollars (I’d sleep with your daughter for that money) but something as good as The Simpsons will never happen again. I won’t be sad cause I would have 25 seasons worth of stuff to keep me company. Later this month I plan to get a copy of seasons 1-18 that is being offered at a huge discounted rate in a store in the city. 18 seasons worth of Simpsons averaging around 22 episodes per season. With the 25 seasons, it should keep me company and in good humour until my death.

Mountie On The Bounty

The best episodes of the entire series, an action packed & fun filled double episode that would become the flagship of the series Due South. Mountie On The Bounty Parts I & II – I just watched them last night. Ofcourse this is the second time that I am watching them; the first being during the run of the show on Indian cable tv channel Star World during the 1998-2000 era. The episodes end the shortened season 3 which ran 13 episodes (shortened compared to the 1st season which had 22 episodes and season 2 had 18 of them). The episode starts with RCMP Constable Benton Fraser (Paul Gross) & Det. Stanley Ray Kowalski (Callum Keith Rennie) being shot at by 3 gangsters and having to jump into the waters. Ray can’t swim and Fraser has to pull him out. However both of them have an argument when Ray says that he is tired of Fraser always niggling him and correcting him. The argument gets heated up and Kowalski punches Fraser in the jaw. The two go their separate ways.

When Ray comes back to the station, he finds a transfer waiting for him. If he wants, he can go back to his old life and his old name (Kowalski has been impersonating Fraser’s previous partner Ray Vecchio while the latter is undercover). It’s totally up to him. Meanwhile, Fraser finds a similarly difficult situation at the Consulate; he’s been offered a transfer to Ottawa. With the tensions between the two, it looks like they are headed for spiltsville. Fraser & Ray meet that night again and Kowalski asks Fraser to punch him back to set things right between them before they split up. However a dying man dressed like a pirate stumbles upon their car, with a knife in him, and dies. It seems they will have to solve this case before taking their respective transfers.They find a treasure map carved on his chest and investigation on the ‘pirate’ leads them to another sailor Vic Hester and the ship the Wailing Yankee.

The sailors on the docks also talk about a doomed Great Lakes ship, the Robert McKenzie which went down in a storm in 1969. It seems that some sailors have seen the ghost ship and are scared of it. They also find a gold bar in their search which is traced back to a bank heist a year or so ago. It seems that most sailors on the Wailing Yankee have criminal records. Hester is now working on the Henry Allen and our duo make their way over to that ship, undercover. A great scene occurs when Fraser engaged the sailors in singing the late Stan Rogers’ sea shanty Barrett’s Privateers. Ray is caught snooping and is handcuffed in a room. Meanwhile in the waters loom the form of the ghost ship, the Robert Mackenzie, but Fraser knows it’s nothing more than the Wailing Yankee made up to look like the ghost ship and that the ghosts are criminals. The Henry Allen is smuggling all the gold & also chemical toxic waste in an illegal dumping operation and the disguised ship was to keep away sailors from them.

Fraser has to rescue Ray and board the so-called ghost ship. Meanwhile Inspecter Meg Thatcher (Fraser’s boss) has rounded up a group of Mounties and along with Constable Turnbull & Lt Welsh mount a rescue for Fraser & Ray. A showdown happens when the mounties’ ship attacks the ghost ship and the criminals are taken into custody. The case is solved but what about our heroes? Well, both Fraser & Ray decide not to take up their transfer offers and resume their partnership having bonded more during this case. Great double episode with a guest appearance by Janet Wright (from Corner Gas). But the episodes are punched in with added vigour due to the song Robert McKensie, clips of which appear all through the 2 parts and the whole song is played during the attack on the ships.

Paul Gross intended to use the Gordon Lightfoot song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in the episode and Lightfoot granted permission on the condition the families of the sailors (the ones who died on the real ship The Edmund Fitzgerald, on which the song is about) agree. But reluctant to cause the families additional pain, Gross and Jay Semko instead wrote and composed Robert Mackenzie for the episode. It’s one of my top 10 favourite songs of all time. There’s even a slower piano only version of the song that plays during parts of the 2nd part. Here is the music video to the song.

The Green Hornet

I have never seen the movies serials of the 40s or the 60s tv series of the Green Hornet and was not familiar about this vigilante crime fighter or his sidekick Kato, except that Bruce Lee played Kato. I wondered how would Seth Rogen fare as a secret crime fighter and he does his way – he plays Brit Reid his alterego The Green Hornet as Seth Rogen himself! And it didn’t really work out! Written by Rogen & his friend Evan Goldberg, the movie also stars Jay Chou as Kato, Cameron Diaz, Christopher Waltz as the villain & Edward James Olmos in a small role.

Britt Reid is a 28 year old spoiled rich son of the publishing giant James Reid, who owns the Los Angeles paper The Daily Sentinel. Britt sends his days partying and drinking. When his father is found dead from an allergic reaction to a bee sting, Britt sobers up a bit. He fires almost all the staff aside from a maid and re-hires Kato, who is an ace mechanic and a martial arts expert. Britt & Kato bond over the excellent coffees that Kato makes and they both say that they hated James. One evening after getting drunk, they cut off the head of James Reid’s memorial statue and then save a couple from getting mugged. The cops mistake them for criminals but Kato is able to evade them in a car chase.

To make things interesting Britt convinces Kato that they should pose as criminals and fight crime instead, as the Green Hornet, which is what Britt calls himself. Kato develops a car outfitted with several gadgets and weapons, which they call the Black Beauty. Their target for capture is a Russian mobster Benjamin Chudnofsky. Add to the mix Lenore Case (Diaz) a smart assistant and researcher, who Britt hires to do a series on the Green Hornet. The duo blow up some of the Russian’s Meth labs and leave their calling card to instigate him. The Russian mobster calls them for a peace meeting which is a trap and they barely escape. Britt & Kato have a massive fight after an argument and Kato ends up getting fired.

Chudnofsky offers $1 million for killing Britt, not aware that he is the Green Hornet, because of the articles in his paper. The crooked police chief invites Britt to dinner and reveals that he arranged for James Reid’s death. Kato arrives to fight off Scanlon & Chudnosky’s men and their chase ends up at the Sentinel’s office. Scanlon & Chudnosky are killed by the duo who escape from the cops and meet up at Lenore’s house where they confess everything. Britt needs to be treated for a gunshot and although Lenore is initially shocked, she agrees to keep their secret and help them fight criminals. Later, the duo weld James’ stolen bust back onto his memorial statue.

Cameron Diaz has almost nothing to do in this movie and she looks a lot older than Rogen to be a love interest convincingly. Jay Chou is superb when fighting & dazzling us with his martial skills. Rogen is a misfit in this role. The movie offers us nothing much and I was highly disappointed as Rogen’s movies usually are funny. I would give this movie a 6 outta 10!

We Rock, You Suck!!

Ha, I’ve been ranting about this for a while now but let’s kick it up over here once again. One of the phrases or slang words that I hear a lot is “(insert name of company/product/person/movie/event) rocks!”. Or this thing is rocking and it rocks. Now I mean this mainly for my fellow Indians and I tried to take it in stride people, believe me, I really did but it is just getting on my fucking nerves. Indians over use this phrase “rocks or rocking” so much that it has lost it’s original meaning and the one connected to rock music so badly. And being a rocker & a music lover – it pisses me off!

So let’s get this correct – Hindi movies or Bollywood movies do not rock! I don’t care if you get a big bombastic budget and a blasting soundtrack by that asshole A R Rahman! I also do not care if you have a movie about a rock band or call the movie rock star – it’s usually just a poser who doesn’t know anything about rock music pretending to play guitar anyway! And your crowd for these videos – come on can they be any more lame ass? That goes for Tamil movies too! Fashion shows do not rock! Politicians do not rock! And Anna Hazare does not rock and neither is a rock star!!!

Cricketers do not rock and they suck in the commercial ads too! Models do not rock! Indian Classical music is not rocking & classical musicians do not rock! Pop music is not rocking! A public event without a rock band or rock music is not rocking. Use some other terms or phrases; why do you have to steal from us rockers? I know it is cool but stealing is still stealing!! So get with it!

Indus Creed are rocking or were rocking until they split up. Millenium were rocking – I do not know if they gave up the music business. Parikrama were rocking and they are still around. And from down south where I am from, Avial rocks. The band and not the curry of the same name. All these bands are Indian, so what’s your excuse? Get it right people.

Powered by Plinky

The Year I Was Born

I was born in 1976.

Pakistan & Bangladesh started diplomatic relations, 5 years after the Bangladeshi liberation war which ended 5 years ago. An earthquake killed 22,000 people in Honduras & Guatemala in February of 76. Also Karen Ann Quinlan, who was in a vegetative state due to consumption of drugs & alcohol, was taken off medical ventilation after her parents requested the hospital to discontinue active care and allow her to die. The hospital refused, and the subsequent landmark legal battles made newspaper headlines and set significant precedents. The tribunal eventually ruled in her parents’ favor. She would continue to live in the vegetative state for almost 10 years; she died in 1985. An earthquake hits the Friuli area in Italy, killing more than 900 people and making another 100,000 homeless. Hundreds of Western tourists are moved from Beirut and taken to safety in Syria by the U.S. military, following the murder of the U.S. ambassador.

Palestinian extremists would hijack an Air France plane in Greece with 246 passengers and 12 crew. They would take it to Entebbe, Uganda. Israeli airborne commandos free 103 hostages being held by Palestinian hijackers of an Air France plane at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport; 1 Israeli soldier and several Ugandan soldiers are killed in the raid in June. I remember this incident due to watching the movie Raid On Entebe about 10 or 12 years ago. It starred Academy award winning actor Peter Finch, Charles Bronson & Yaphet Koto as Ugandan Dictator Edi Amin.

Seychelles gains independence from the United Kingdom. North Vietnam and South Vietnam unite to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In New York City, the “Son of Sam” pulls a gun from a paper bag, killing 1 and seriously wounding another, in the first of a series of attacks that terrorize the city for the next year. The Great Clock of Westminster (or Big Ben) suffers internal damage and stops running for over nine months. Jacques Chirac resigns as Prime Minister of France; he is succeeded by Raymond Barre. The first known outbreak of Ebola virus occurs in Yambuku, Zaire. Chairman Mao Zedong, of the People’s Republic of China, dies. The Battle of Aishiya is fought in Lebanon – Oct 19. Jimmy Carter wins the Presidential race against Gerald Ford. Bob Marley and his manager Don Taylor are shot in an assassination attempt in Kingston, Jamaica.

In January of that year the first commercial Concorde flight took off. The first commercial supercomputer Cray-1 was released by Cray Reaseach. In March, the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team is created and boxer Rubin ‘Hurrican’ Carter is retired in New Jersey. Apple Computers is formed by the now deceased Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak. One of the funniest British actors Sid James (famous for his roles in the Carry on series of films) died. The Ramones releases their debut album. Czechoslovakia beats West Germany 5–3 on penalties to win Euro 76, when the game had ended 2–2 after extra time. Toronto sees the completion of the CN Tower.

The Summer Olympics were held in Montreal, Canada where Nadia Com?neci earns the first of 7 perfect scores of 10. For Space enthusiasts the Viking 1 lander successfully lands on Mars. NASA released the legendary & famous Face on Mars photo, taken by Viking 1 a few weeks later. Viking 2 enters into orbit around Mars in August. The Viking 2 spacecraft lands at Utopia Planitia on Mars, taking the first close-up color photos of the planet’s surface. For music lovers a rock classic album, Hotel California by The Eagles is released. Some movies that came out that year (which I have seen) are Cannonball, Carrie, Logan’s Run, Rocky & The Omen.

Powered by Plinky

Guitarist From Russia

This is my new friend Tatyana Kalinicheva, a 25 year old Russian guitarist. She has a couple of videos up in Youtube, including this one. The other one is a finger tapping extravaganza. Both videos seem to be for showcasing the amp from Engl but she can really wail on the guitar, which is a PRS custom 24. She responded to my comments and befriended me and sent me a couple of messages today. So I thought I’d feature her in my blog. She says she wants to put an album out in a year or so. I hope she does.

Turner & Hooch

One of my favourite movies from the 80s, Turner & Hooch came out in 1989 when I was 13 years old. I must have first seen this movie on VHS around 1991 or 92. I remembered this movie well but since I didn’t have a copy of the movie or watched in since the mid 90s (I think) I thought I should watch it again. It’s one of those movies that made Hanks from just a likeable and moderately successful actor to one of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time. And this was before he went colossal just 4 years later with some really bombastic performances.

Along with Hanks as Detective Scott Turner are Mare Winningham as the love interest, Craig T. Nelson, Reginald VelJohnson (from Die Hard) and the most ugliest dog you could ever find – Beasley the dog as Hooch. Yes ladies & gentlemen, Hooch is the ugliest mutt you could ever know but we all loved him. Beasley was a was a rare Dogue de Bordeaux, a French dog.

Turner, a detective who is getting transferred is showing his replacement the ropes in a small idyllic town. We meet Hooch’s crusty old owner who is just a bit less crustier than his ugly dog. Turner does not like Hooch at all but is forced to take him in when the owner is murdered after witnessing what seems to be a smuggling racket in a factory opposite his house and Hooch seems to be the only ‘witness” to his master’s murder. Now, Turner is a meticulous & clean freak and Hooch in a playful mood wreck the house when the detective is out shopping for supplies. Turner is mad but they soon bond.

Turner also meets Dr. Emily Carson, a vet who he takes Hooch to and they soon start a romantic relationship, with Turner even painting her walls. Hooch has fallen for Emily’s beautiful female collie. Turner finds out that his police boss, Chief Hyde (Nelson) is behind the smuggling racket and confronts him at the factory. Hooch saves Turner’s life by taking a bullet to his chest which was meant to kill Turner. And we are left to see a struggling Hooch drag himself slowly to take a bite off Hyde who is about to off Turner, enabling our hero to take the gun away from the chief. Turner rushes Hooch to the clinic but there is nothing Emily can do to save our brave dog. Turner breaks down as the dog dies.

We close the movie with a few months away. Turner & Emily are married and Emily is pregnant. Her dog was impregnated by Hooch and the bitch had a litter of 4 girls, all of which look like their mom. But there is one boy, a puppy who is a spitting image of Hooch and reassuring to us viewers has wrecked some of the home. Turner gives the same speech to the pup as he did to Hooch when he first brought Hooch to his house.

Tell me you didn’t have a lump in your throat when Hooch was dying (and no I’m not taking about that hot dog which you swallowed by mistake) and that there wasn’t a hint of tears as the pooch breathed his last. Not much in terms of a plot but pleasantly a feel good movie even if the death of our co-star was a downer. The chemistry between Hanks & the dog cannot be missed and they give of a great performance. Just for that I’ll give the movie an 8 outta 10. Nostalgia unbound, I’ll watch this movie many times over.

RIP Steve Jobs

Woke up this morning to the news that Steve Jobs has died. He has has a battle with cancer and underwent a liver transplant in 2009. The co-founder of Apple Inc, one of the world’s great entrepreneurs, was surrounded by his wife and immediate family when he died in Palo Alto, California. His ill health has always been a part of the man; he had taken a few leaves of absence to receive treatment and recover during his career.

Earlier this January too he had taken a medical leave. Jobs announced his resignation from his role as Apple’s CEO on August 24, 2011. In his resignation letter, Jobs wrote that he could “no longer meet [his] duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO”.

A college dropout, Buddhist and son of adoptive parents, Jobs started Apple Computer with friend Steve Wozniak in 1976. The company soon introduced the Apple 1 computer. But it was the Apple II that became a huge success and gave Apple its position as a critical player in the then-nascent PC industry, culminating in a 1980 initial public offering that made Jobs a multimillionaire. Despite the subsequent success of the Macintosh computer, Jobs’ relationship with top management and the board soured. The company removed most of his powers and then in 1985 he was fired.

Apple’s fortunes waned after that. However, its purchase of NeXT — the computer company Jobs founded after leaving Apple — in 1997 brought him back into the fold. Later that year, he became interim CEO and in 2000, the company dropped “interim” from his title.  Well you known what comes next – Macbooks, MacAir, iPod, iTunes, iPhone & iPad and many others. The guy was a genius and a visionary. He was also CEO of Pixar until Disney purchased the company in 2006.

I never liked Apple products. I was always a Windows & I love BlackBerry when it comes to smartphones. When I can afford to upgrade from my current outdated BB, I will choose a newer BB model. My laptops will always be PC & Windows models. When I can afford t buy a tablet pc it will be BlackBerry. I wasn’t too impressed with iPhones or Macbooks. I’ve used both – a friend’s laptop briefly and for 2 months an iPhone kept in my custody for work. I admire the company and their success and their beautiful line of products but they were never for me. But mostly I liked the man behind them – Steve Jobs will be sorely missed by his legion of fans.

Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)

Selma – The Wonder From Down Under

This is Selma.

She blogs at Selma In The City. She is a wonderful writer.

She really does have a way with words; her short stories are so good you can get mental images of the people, places and events she is writing about.

She lives in Sydney, Australia. My first Aussie friend.

But she was born & lived in Scotland for many years.

She has a wonderful husband and a wonderful son.

I don’t know when she first stared visiting my blog. I think I visited hers and started commenting on some of her blog posts and then she started doing the same on mine. I think it must have started in late 2007 , December of that year. It was on a post about my fav Neil Young songs that Selma first entered my life. And she has been a very loyal friend who means a lot to me. Just as much as  my friends over here.

She is a soul who I have never met but has come to mean so much to me. Along with a couple of others, I refer to Selma as one of my cheerleaders! Cause that’s what she does, she cheers me on and encourages me and makes me feel that I am something better than what I am. She likes my writing, thinks I am funny and laughs at my weird sense of humour. She is always supportive and has a good thing to say about me. Can you blame me for liking her a lot? As far as friends go, Selma is someone I consider to be among the closest that I have ever had. Even if I haven’t met and probably never will.

She recently hit 300 comments in my blog. That is something I celebrate and feel proud of. This is a big deal for me. So this blog post is for you Selma. Thank you for being my friend, thank you for being there for me. Some days when I am down and I log into my blog and see that you have comment on something recently, it brightens things up for me considerably and makes me smile. I love you. Thank you buddy!

Jason, Machete & Hockey Mask

I’ve been thinking of getting the whole set of Friday The 13th movies, the 11 movie box set. This particular one looks very cool and nice; just look at how the spines match with an image! It does not include the reboot movie which came out in 2009 but I already have that one. Very nice set ofcourse; I may not be able to afford them all at one shot but it would be nice. What do you think? Any Jason fans visiting my blog?

What’s In A Surname?

My full name, given to me after birth is Roshan Gopal Krishnan. Now, peculiar to almost all other states in India but rather common to the state of Kerala, I have no surname! My father’s name is C. Gopalakrishnan, which is what he was named at the time of birth but when he moved to Kuwait, the Kuwaiti embassy wanted a full name, i.e 3 names. To avoid a problem & confusion he did the reasonable thing that could be done without a drastic change in names. He expanded his initial C as Chakambath (which is a family name for the area his family has) and split Gopalakrishnan to Gopal Krishnan. And Krishnankutty Menon is his father, my grandfather’s name. Now when I was born, the Kuwaiti authorities had a rule that you must have 3 names as your official full name, with your dad’s name & granddad’s name following your name in case you didn’t have the Arab name format or the Christian name format. So it was easy for my dad when naming me – Roshan (my name) Gopal (my dad’s name or atleast part of his name) Krishnan (which is my granddad’s name). The same applied to my sister.

Fast forward many years later and I am at times referred to Mr. Krishnan by non-Keralites who do not understand the naming style of our state. And it is a stupid style; a lot of people have just a first name and an initial, which is usually the family name like Roshan R. (where R would be the initial of the family name) or R. Roshan! If you are lucky you get two initials, like R.O. Roshan or Roshan R.O. Too simple and the problem is there will be many people with the same first name and same initials. Complicated? Well how do people formally refer to you – Mr. R or Mr. R.O.? Silly right?

The proper way to refer to me formally is Mr. Roshan Gopal Krishnan and not Mr. Krishnan. If you want to shorten it, Mr. Roshan is appropriate. I know, I know it’s not how names should be. I have very often criticized this naming style for us Malayalees as it is rather dumb. Some people may like it, I do not. My opinion! Now, I can actually easily use Menon as my last name and that would be appropriate. Menon refers to the caste that my family belongs to and therefore my name could be used as Roshan Menon or Roshan Gopal Krishnan Menon. I have seriously though many times of officially having my name changed to Roshan Menon or Roshan Gopalakrishnan Menon to make it easier for me but somehow I just never got round to doing it.

The reason I posted this is because I had 3 calls today from non-Malayalees; two were regarding job applications and the other was regarding my cancellation request of the Reliance Netconnect+ USB device & connection that I was subscribing to. Each of the persons who called me referred to me as Mr. Krishnan. I could only sigh and say ‘Yes, speaking’! resigned to the fact of being called erroneously. However, 2 hours ago I was called from another business enquery and I was called Mr. Roshan! Thanks buddy!