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Happy New Year & Welcome 2012

Wherever in the world you are I hope you have a nice, safe New Year’s Eve party. This is one of those special days that we all celebrate around the world in much the same fashion. Good food, some drinks, having a party with friends. It doesn’t change much around the world, just the actual food and beverages according to what’s preferred. Granted it’s the end of the Christian calendar or whatever but we all follow this calendar.

2011 has been the shittiest year for me so far. When I think of all the crap that happened this year, I just hold my head in my hands in shame. Of all the years in my life, this has got to be a personal & professional low. There are just some good highlights here and there but mostly it has been bleak. I never though this was coming. Things have started to look up for me as the years ends and I’m happy for that. But I won’t forget the stuff that happened this year. It was bad. I’ve kept most of it away from my family & friends and haven’t even scratched the surface of it on this blog. Some thing are best suffered alone.

Anyways, I hope 2012 is good for me and for you. I hope it is as awesome for us as 2011 was shitty for me. And we’d deserve it a lot cause you know the world is gonna end on December 21st of 2012! Mayans!!

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2011 : A Few Photos

From MSN.com, here are a few striking photos of 2011. Ofcourse there were more events & things happening in the last 12 months but these are the ones I chose.

This sightseeing boat, Hama Yuri, was pulled 1300 feet from the coast and somehow balanced itself on a two story house during the tsunami in Japan.

Members of the national security team receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House on May 1

A University of California Davis police officer pepper-sprays students during their sit-in at an ‘Occupy UCD’ demonstration in Davis, California, one of many Occupy demonstrations.

Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupts, causing air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand, Australia and forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate.

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Temple Makes A Load Of Cash

Year end income for Thirupathy Temple, the famous shrine in the name of Venkateswara has been declared for 2011. Do you wanna know how much? Rs. 1,700 crores (1 crore = 10 million). Holy Fucking Shit! That’s just one temple, as important as it is, in India. 1,700 crores! Could you imagine what all could be done with that money?

Rs. 1,100 crore comes as cash offerings from devotees and interest on investments including gold deposits in nationalized banks, sale of daily tickets for rituals and darshan (prayer offerings) fetched a cool Rs.200 crore. Devotees also offered jewellery, diamonds,  gold & silver worth several crores during the year. Among the many VVIP visits were the ruling heads of Nepal & Sri Lanka along with the Indian president and her husband. Talk about a bullshit story – how powerful, all knowing & all mighty gods – fuckers always need a lot more money!

This is peanuts I suppose to all the other temples, churches & mosques in India. And India is a 3rd world nation, a developing nation with millions of homeless; estimates put it at 78 million (more than the population of several nations put together)! There are millions who go hungry daily, whole families living on the streets. I won’t brag – i don’t have much money, infact I am almost broke. But I try to give money to the poor on the streets. I’ve donated to small committees that have arranged food for the poor. In my very small humble way, I”ll give some cash if I can. I will never donate to any temple, church or mosque as I don’t trust them. Who knows how much money is going to their purposes, how much for the poor and how much for whatever else!

India is rich enough! A lot of it might be black money true, and a lot of it is wasted with no use to anybody. I have a plea to the citizens of India – please do not donate to temples, churches, mosques or any places of worship and especially not to any evangelists of any religion! Just find an orphanage or an institute that helps the poor & needy and donate it freely. It will benefit someone who needs it!

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Our Idiot Brother

If you like lots of laughs with gross humour – this is not for you. If you like a fast passed comedy – this is not for you. If you like a sweet, charming and slower paced movie with some really good work by Paul Rudd & a solid supporting cast – this is the film for you. Our Idiot Brother is a 2011 comedy-drama film directed by Jesse Peretz and starring Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, and Emily Mortimer. The script was written by Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall based on Jesse and Evgenia Peretz’s story, and tells the story of an idealistic man who intrudes and wreaks havoc in each of his three sisters’ lives.

Well Paul Rudd plays Ned who isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. He gets into trouble, meaning jail time, for selling weed to a cop (who really goaded him) at the organic market where he sells his wares. When he gets out of jail, he finds that his girlfriend Janet is now living in their farm house with another guy, Billy (T. J. Miller) and refuses to give Ned his golden retriever, named Willie Nelson, back. Ned is distraught over this as he really loves his dog a lot. Without a house to stay he, he moves back in with his mother for a bit.

Ned has three sisters – Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) is a journalist for Vanity Fair and is ambitious. Though she has trouble finding a man to keep her interest, she and a neighbor, Jeremy (Adam Scott) have hidden feelings for each other, but would rather be good friends (Jeremy is even willing to interrupt sex with another girl just to give Miranda a hand with a maintenance problem). Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) is a young, independent, bisexual hipster living with her girlfriend, Cindy (Rashida Jones) and 5 other roommates, suggesting a very communal type apartment. Her love for Cindy conflicts with her fear of commitment, which she hides even around Cindy. Liz (Emily Mortimer), the oldest, is married to Dylan, a documentary filmmaker. Their marriage is failing as Dylan shows no sexual interest in Liz. They also have strict control over their son River, which leaves him unhappy and unable to express himself.

Well Ned stays with each of his sisters for a little while, causing some kind of havoc or the other. His intentions are good but he just doesn’t know how to handle situations – like catching Dylan cheating on Liz, causing Miranda her job, telling intimate stories about Lady Arabella, a reclusive celeb who opened up to Ned charmed by his friendliness, to Miranda and contributing a bit to Natalie having a sexual encounter with her male friend and getting pregnant, cheating on Cindy! However River opens up and comes alive whenever uncle Ned is around and people normally like him. He gets in trouble again when he tries to steal back Willie Nelson from his ex. Finally Ned gets angry and shouts at his sisters when they won’t join in and play charades properly. Ned finally loses his temper and yells at them for their selfishness and for bringing everyone else down. The outburst scares the girls who immediately regret their actions. Ned is arrested and taken to jail when he admits that he smoked weed with a neighbour but refuses to leave his jail cell even when his family pays the bail amount.

His family goes to his ex-house and asks for the dog back. Janet refuses, saying she loves the dog. Miranda yells and says that no one could love anything as unconditionally as Ned loves everything and that he deserves the dog. Despite her refusal, Billy comes out of the house carrying Willie Nelson, tired of Janet refusing to give Ned his dog. They take Willie Nelson to the prison where he is reunited with Ned. A few weeks later things start getting better for the girls; Miranda starts a relationship with Jeremy, Cindy & Natalie start talking again, Liz starts dating and River enrolls in karate classes. Ned decides it is time for him to go back to his life the way he likes it, out of the city and in a quiet area. The girls are sad to see him go, but wish him the best. Later on, Ned and Billy have opened up a small homemade candle shop together and seem to do well enough. One day Ned cannot find Willie Nelson, and begins running through town looking for him. He finds Willie playing with another dog in a park area who has also run away from her owner. The owner comes up and Ned finds he has a lot in common with the woman. When he asks her dog’s name, the owner replies “Dolly Parton” to which Ned says his dog is “Willie Nelson” and smiles.

The movie premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival[4] and was given wide release on 26 August 2011. I suggest you watch this and let the movie charm you. On a meager budget of $5 mil, the movie has only made $24 mil at the box office but it’s something all of you should see. Give it a chance. 8 outta 10!

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Here And Now – Nickelback

Band of the decade for 2000-2010. Not bad. Even as their detractor create a lot of hate and vitriol at the 4some from Vancouver, Nickelback themselves are laughing all the way to the bank. They remain classy in not responding in kind to all the nonsense that the haters put out in the internet. Does it make one difference to them or their fans? No! And hats off to you guys! Nickelback has received large amounts of criticism for their repetition of the same sound, same themes and nearly identical albums. But it is this no-selling out and not changing their sound to what is new & trendy, much like previously similarly maligned band AC/DC, is what makes a lot of their fans stay loyal.

Released on November 21, 2011,  Here And Now is the seventh studio album by the band, their first since 2008’s Dark Horse. The artwork for the album is the Gastown Steam Clock in Vancouver and the clock is set at 11:21, the date the album was released. he album debuted at number two on the US  Billboard 200  selling approximately 227,000 copies in its first week,  just 0.18% below the number one spot. Marching out with the groovy This Means War, which encourages us to headband long from the start to the finish. Booming drums from drummer extraordinaire Daniel Adair herald Bottom Ups, a drinkers anthem inviting everyone to have fun, party and drink up. The track also has a nice solo from Chad Kroeger.

The next track & first single is the global awareness, call for peace and cooperation When We Stand Together, the kind of track that the band always seem to slip in amongst the songs about drinking, women, strippers & partying hard. Yet with this track, catchy bouncy feel-good rhythmic and singable song, it’s time to admit – their hearts are always in the right place. Having said that and as the wonderful lyrics of that track fade away, we do get a sex-themed song next Midnight Queen has lyrics like  “She’s got the bottle of Tequila and’a lime for her lips / Laid her body on the bar and put the salt on her hips, / I was lyin’ when I told her that I’m only gunna’ lick her tonight!” which doesn’t leave much to the imagination. And Gotta Get Me Some is similar – drinking with a chick and then getting it on! About the perfect hottie, dance & rock star.

Lullaby comes out from left field, a ballad that’s about suicide and a message of hope to someone who is about to contemplate killing themselves. Chad has always been fascinated with Hollywood and it’s lifestyle and in the next song, Kiss It Goodbye, he adds New York City and it’s excesses compared to the ones in LA along with it. This seems like a criticism of the tv culture that is present in the West. We have another semi-ballad in Trying Not To Love You in which the protagonist wants out of a relationship but the harder he tries, he falls deeper & deeper into the relationship. Holding On To Heavenis a similar styled semi-ballad professing love. We get another sex laden lyrics rocker in Everything I Wanna Do (You and me, sitting in a tree F-U-C-K-I-N-G sung in a distorted whisper) – probably one of the songs that a stripper could shake her things as she writhes onstage.

As the last song Don’t Ever Let It End, a nostalgic love song which makes us look back at the feelings that we had in our life, you get a typical Nickelback album – rockers, semi-ballads & ballads. The themes are the same and it doesn’t ask too much of you other than clear your schedule for 40 minutes and rock on. Ryan Peake & Mike Kroeger add their contributions very well in making this a great album to have. Another success for the Canadian quartet, more world tours and gold / platinum records and a few awards. Life’s good for Nickelback and they always have the last laugh. I leave you with the fabulous first single.

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The Age Gap Between Spouses

How many years is the higher limit between a man & a woman involved in a relationship/marriage? And which works better – if the woman is older or the man is older?

Let me explain : I have a friend who has been living in the US for 12 years now. He is in a relationship with a white American, he’s Indian, who is 11 years his junior (he is 34 and she is 23). He finds it a bit weird, especially knowing the reactions of his family back home. But is 11 years difference too much? And what if she was older to him by 11 years? Would that be weird? What age difference is too big?

Or doesn’t it matter at all as long as the two people involved are sincere? Me personally would find a big age difference difficult to get by. A maximum of 5 years is fine. Ideally I would say, and this only for me, as I am 35 now I would think a girl between the ages of 35 to 30 is ideal. I don’t think I could have a serious relationship or marry someone more than than 5 years younger to me. And I’m also open to having a relationship / marrying a woman older than me – again upto 5 years. I don’t think an age gap larger than 5 would work either. But what do I know? It doesn’t usually work out the way we think it will. Tomorrow I might fall in love with a woman 10 years older than me or 10 years younger. And it could work out too! Who knows right?

I was attracted to a girl 7 years younger last year – not that it worked out but I didn’t find the age gap to be more than what I’d like. She was the only one that young I had considered to being in a relationship with – and it was mostly due to her interest in me. I still think she was too young for me.

I’m curious dear reader, what are your thoughts?

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Book Author, Wine Drinking & 3some Dream

Last night I couldn’t get to sleep, probably because of the fact that I had a nice 2.5 hour deep sleep nap in the late afternoon. Hey, it was breezy and pleasant and I decided to nap! So sleep was hard to come by last night. I watched movies till 2:30 am and then tossed and turned in my bed, swatting off the odd mosquito or two for another 2 hours with the lights off. And when I finally did go to sleep, I had this weird dream.

I was walking into a huge mall, which was semi-deserted as most of the stores were closed on account of being a Sunday (I think) and I was just walking by, browsing the ones that were open and not looking for anything in particular. I met these two really pretty girls and found out that they were fraternal twins. Really interested in making friends with them I spent a long time chatting with them. Then their mom came along and invited me to have tea with them in their hotel suite. The hotel was right next to the mall and I happened to also be staying in the same hotel, so hotel rooms exchanged, I said that I would be for tea in an hour or so. Next I’m in their hotel suite and having coffee, tea and sandwiches with the two hot twins, their younger brother and their mom as well as the manager of the hotel. And – this was surprising – the manager wanted me to autograph his copy of my latest book! Turns out I’m a writer of non-fiction and the last book had done really well.

We spent a long time discussing topics from my book until I thought that it was getting late. The manager excused himself and left and I asked to use the bathroom. While I was washing my hands, one of the twins came to me and asked me to stay for dinner and wouldn’t take no for an answer and I so wanted to stay. So I did. Only thing is their mom had to leave right after dinner along with the son as her brother had met with an accident and she wanted to be at his side. So it was just me & the twins sipping wine in the living room as the night went on. The next thing I remember is waking up in their bed – me and the two babes sleeping on either side of me. All 3 of us naked!

And I woke up for real! Shit, damn, holy fuck!!!

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Before I go into this little review of this movie, let me start by saying that I had never read the book and knew very little about the content except that it was scifi with a very British comedic approach. With all respect to Britons – I don’t usually get your humour and I think it’s safe to say that most non-Britons don’t. Except maybe Australians & New Zealanders. The only British comedy I really love are Mr. Bean, Mind Your Language & Coupling. So I was wondering how would I like the movie The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy? It’s ok I guess!

Many years ago, I remember my cousins from Scotland who used to rave about the book on which this movie is based upon and them not really being Scifi fans, I wanted to know what the fuss was all about but never did read the book. All I knew about the storyline was that it featured space travel, bunch of aliens and the answer to the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, which we all know is 42! I wasn’t sure that I’d like this movie and on watching it (late at night at around 1am) I found that it’s not meant to be taken seriously and it’ll probably grow on me and become one of my all time favs after a few repeats.

Stephen Fry plays the role of the narrator for us and at the start of the movie states that the second most intelligent species on our planet, the dolphins, who have been trying to communicate to mankind (the 3rd most intelligent species) about the impending destruction of Earth. We humans have misinterpreted their communications to be cute tricks and as the dolphins fly out (huh?) their final message is “So long & thanks for all the fish”! We have Arthur Dent whose house is about to be demolished for a bypass but his best friend Ford takes him away to drink a few pints, says the world is about to end. Ford saves himself & Arthur as the Earth, which was scheduled to be demolished by a Vogon planetary demolishing fleet appears, surrounds the Earth and announces Earth’s impending demise so they can build a hyperspace expressway. They are discovered hitching a ride on the ship and are punished by being forced to listen to Vogon poerty – which is the 3rd worst in the universe!

By now the ugly & ridiculously comic appearance of the Vogons & the British humour had almost made me loose interest but I persisted. The duo get jettisoned into the vacuum of space, and get picked up by another ship, piloted by Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), Marvin the Paranoid Android (voiced by Alan Rickman) and Trillian (Zooey Deschanel), an earth girl who had befriended Arthur at a party a few nights ago. Ford (Mos Def) is Zaphod’s “semi-half brother” (whatever the fuck that means) and he along with an overwhelmed Arthur are along for the ride to the planet Magrathea where Zaphod believes he can discover the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything to match with the answer “42” given by the supercomputer Deep Thought (voiced by Helen Mirren). However on another planet, a rival of Zaphod takes one of his two heads hostage and demands they bring him the Point-of-view gun created by Deep Thought, which allows the target to understand the shooter’s point of view.

As they go to retrieve this device, the group is also chased by the Vogons & led by Galactic Vice-President Questular Rontok (Anna Chancellor) and they capture Trillian. The others travel to rescue her from the Vogon home world bureaucracy, facing long lines and frustrating form processing. Before being rescued, Trillian is outraged to learn that Zaphod signed the authorization for the destruction of Earth thinking it was a request for an autograph. They reach Deep Thought through means of a portal and find from it that it had designed another supercomputer to do so – Earth. Meanwhile Arthur & Marvin who couldn’t go through the portal meet up with a Magrathean called Slartibartfast (Bill Nighy), who takes Arthur through the construction floor and shows him the creation of Earth mark II. Arthur goes to a remake of his house where the others – Trillian, Zaphod & Ford are enjoying a huge feast served to them by two mice. But the mice are actually two highly advanced beings who built Deep Thought and want to cut out Arthur’s brain as he is one of the last original humans alive.

Arthur kills the mice at the last moment by bludgeoning them with a teapot. Outside the Vogons surround the house and a shoot out takes place and Marvin is shot through the head but not fatally. As he used the Point Of View weapon on the Vogons they become depressed and unable to fight. As the Vogons are taken away and Questular rejoins with Zaphod, Arthur chooses the opportunity to explore the galaxy with Trillian and lets Slartibartfast finalize the new Earth without him. So the now group of friends head off to a restaurant for breakfast and then onto new adventures.

While I found some of the stuff funny, like the spaceship changing to many odd & random things as it takes off and Sam Rockwell with his hilarious two heads (one below the other and interchangeable) and some of the dialogue is also funny, it really is an acquired taste. Very British and some of their humour is only funny to them! But I still liked the movie and with a 2nd & 3rd watch might come to adore it. 7 out of 10!

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Beer Types – India Pale Ale

Ok, hands up Indian drinkers – how many of you actually knew that there is a type of beer out there named after our country? India Pale Ale – I only came to know about this type of beer sometime in 2006-07. It was first brewed in England in the 19th century. The first known use of the expression “India pale ale” comes from an advertisement in the Liverpool Mercury  newspaper published January 30, 1835. Before January 1835, and for some time after this date, this style of beer was referred to as “pale ale as prepared for India”, “India Ale”, “pale India ale” or “pale export India ale”.

They are made with more hops and have stronger malt backbones. As a result, they are heavy, bitter beers with a strong citrus character. Considered to be best when accompanied by: spicy food, seafood, greasy food.

Here’s Beeradvocate‘s definition of IPAs :First brewed in England and exported for the British troops in India during the late 1700s. To withstand the voyage, IPA’s were basically tweaked Pale Ales that were, in comparison, much more malty, boasted a higher alcohol content and were well-hopped, as hops are a natural preservative. Historians believe that an IPA was then watered down for the troops, while officers and the elite would savor the beer at full strength. The English IPA has a lower alcohol due to taxation over the decades. The leaner the brew the less amount of malt there is and less need for a strong hop presence which would easily put the brew out of balance. Some brewers have tried to recreate the origianl IPA with strengths close to 8-9% abv. Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-6.5%

The image I have featured here is Fuller’s IPA – only fair to go with a British beer.

Double India Pale Ales (abbreviated Double IPAs or DIPAs) are a strong, very hoppy style of pale beer. Also known as Imperial IPAs (or IIPAs), these beers have high amounts of malt and hops. Double IPAs typically have alcohol content above 7% by volume. IBUs are in the very high range (60+). To add to the confusion however, is the fact that American “regular” IPAs (most notably the Ballantine IPA of Newark, NJ) long had an ABV of 7.5% and 70+ IBUs. Ballantine products were regularly available from the mid 1930’s through the 1980s.

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Evening Stroll Along Marine Drive

It had been a couple of months since the trio had met up and today Anil called Madhu and me for a nice evening outside. He called at around 4:30 pm and said that we’d meet for coffee. A shower & shave later I stood outside Coffee Beanz waiting for my two best friends to arrive. They both came and we decided to go across to the walkway on Marine drive. We had a little snack at Ann’s Bakery, which for years was so famous & prestigious as being one of the best bakeries in Cochin. I remember people from Trivandrum, Trichur & Calicut coming over to Cochin and saying that “we must buy marble cake and some snacks from Ann’s”! It was that famous but nowadays competitions seems to have beaten them down and the place look drab and deserted.

Then we walked along the walkway for a while, found ourselves a nice spot and sat and yakked for an hour or so. We always seems to discuss similar topics but this is the first time since two significant things have happened – Anil is going to be a dad as his wife is expecting. It will be around June July when the baby is due. And Madhu has got his visa for going to Qatar. He will be leaving in a month’s time. He has relatives of his wife in Qatar and they have arranged a job for him and the work visa. So Anil & I will be saying goodbye to him for atleast a couple of years. Hopefully before he leaves we can get together again and have a nice lunch or dinner and spend a lot more time. I hope he does well.

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A Shorter Work Week vs. Working From Home

Ok these are just my opinions and I don’t know how many people will agree with me but I like the working from home option. If we are talking about WFM full time and only going out for the occasional meeting or presentation then I think that is a great idea depending on who you are, what is your living situation and what kind of job you do. It’s especially not for three kinds of people: a) people who are easily distracted and waste lots of time doing other exciting stuff b) people who have families especially small children who tend to pull you away from work or even adults who keep interrupting you and c) people who need to have that face to face interaction and need to have other people near them when they work. I think I’m a combination of a & c and so I would say that working from home isn’t for me.

If you are a person of category b then you either need your spouse or another adult to field all calls, doorbells and tackle said small kids to other areas so as you are not disturbed. My cousin Raju works from home and has been doing it for over 6 years if I am not mistaken. He has a wife, a young daughter & his mom living in the same house. Plus recently he also got a Rottweiler puppy – total distraction for anyone along with the daughter. But he has set a nice comfortable routine which works out well for him and daughter, wife & mom get plenty of quality time. Oh puppy does too! Whereas I have a friend from my school days and he says it didn’t work out once he & his wife had kids. They already had two dogs who demand attention all the time, meaning he got distracted way too much. He now works in an office.

I personally would miss the banter, the jokes, the coffee breaks, the long lunches and leaving the office in groups. I wouldn’t mind working from home on occasion, maybe on certain days if the option is provided but not always. As for shorter work weeks, i.e a 4 day work week and 3 day weekend – when can we start?

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Stargate Universe : Episode 38 “Epilogue”

As We’re getting close to the end of a really good tv series that was cancelled way too early and as you will know if you have watched it, will end at a “what will happen” stage.

So in episode 38, the crew of Destiny along with the descendants are above the planet Novus, white the shuttle lands on the planet near a large statue of Col Young. They go to an underground bunker which leads to the planet’s archives. The archives shows them arriving on the planet 2000 years ago and finding shelter. In order to save as much data as possible, Eli manages to establish a communication link between the bunker and Destiny and upload the data to the ship’s computers. Some of the crew also look for salvageable supplies and Rush finds, Varro and a number of soldiers in the food storage area. Greer calls him over to show him a package of beef jerky, amazed that knowledge of it would survive 2000 years. Meanwhile the archives Kino footage shows the crew settling on the planet, building shelters, looking for material to make weapons and fences to keep possible predators away.

They also find out that in the alternate timeline, Volker was the first to die from the group. His kidney problems were not treatable as TJ lacked the equipment to do so. As Volker listens to the comments he is unable to say anything and leaves in the shuttle to Destiny. As the days, weeks & months pass by we learn of the crew settling down and people getting married. TJ & Young marry, Greer & Park marry, Scott marries Chloe and Varro and James make a connection during the wedding.  Later we see the women giving birth to their kids. We also learn that Lisa Park names her son Dale in honour of Volker. Also Eli is surprised to know that his alternate self hooks up with corporal Barnes and that they marry and have kids. We also see Wray speak about dating a woman from the crew but also admitting that she had found her soul mate and doesn’t need another.

The recordings also show the progress of TJ’s condition as she has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). A visibly upset TJ is comforted by her friends and she knows it’s only a matter of time before she starts to see the symptoms. Knowing that the archives also have a large medical database with cures for various diseases, Eli says that once the download is completed they should search for a cure in the archives. Meanwhile the videos shows the crew with their children grown up and them having kids too. They find out that the first school had Eli as their teacher.

Finally Eli is able to explain what happened to the Novans and as he tells Young, the gate got buried by a volcanic eruption decades ago. Many had already evacuated by then, but some remained. The two countries, realizing that they stood a better chance by working together, reconciled and built massive starships to cross the void between Novus and a nearby colony world. The world is ten days travel by FTL but hundreds of years by their more primitive propulsion. Soon the earthquakes cause the bunker to start breaking up and the crew has to abandon the rest of the salvaging and they only manage to get 1/3 of the archives uploaded to Destiny. As they evacuate Varro gets injured as he takes a fall. As they leave the planet Eli informs TJ that the cure for ALS wasn’t in the part of the database that they were able to download but that they could still develop a cure using the rest of the data.

A final flashback shows the dedication of Eli Wallace Elementary by his grandson, the principal. He tells about how Eli put his life into creating their system of education, and that he plans to uphold that legacy. He turns over the podium to Wray, the last surviving member of the expedition and current mayor, as well as author of their constitution. She recites the same words of greeting Yaozu gave when they first met in the main time. She gives a speech about how the crew thought they had failed their mission when they arrived, but now realizes that it’s the journey that matters. An aerial shot of the town shows how it evolves over the generations, progressing from a simple town, to an early industrial city, then finally to an advanced metropolis. The final shot shows one of the Novan starships launching from the city.

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Sint (Saint In English)

So you all want to have Santa Claus come to visit you and bring you presents eh? How about the Sinterklass from the Dutch film Sint (which is the Dutch word for Saint) who comes to your home and kills you?

Based on the original story of Sinterklass of Dutch origins, director Dick Maas has created a horror-comedy with a  distorted tale of the old Saint – who had nothing to do with Christianity by the way! But he is the main source of the creation of Santa Claus. Anyways, the version of the movie I downloaded has English dubbing done. The movie starts off in 1492, on the 5th of December in a Dutch villager, where the evil Bishop Saint Nick and his followers are killed by the villagers fed up by the constant looting & demands. The boat on which Sinterklass travels is burnt along with him. In the years to come if December 5th happens to be a full moon night, he returns as a murderous ghost.

Now we switch to 1968 and Goert, a young boy is the only survivor in his town as everyone is killed by the wicked Saint who rides along rooftops on his white horse. Goert finds his parents, brother & sister massacred by the evil legend. In present day Amsterdam, Goert is a veteran police detective who is the only one who doesn’t buy the story of a benevolent Sinterklass, handing out presents on December 5th, 2010. He alerts his chief of the full moon on December 5th but his ranting is taken to be stress and he is told to take a vacation.  As Goert predicted, Saint Nick and his equally evil followers of black Petes returns, and kills hundreds of people in the city.

It is only Goert and a teenager Frank who face up to the evil one. Frank barely escapes a couple of attempts on his life by Saint Nick and is arrested for suspicion of killing his friends as he is also dressed up as the famed Saint, just like quite a few others as per tradition.  While the gang is immune to bullets, they are finally chased away by fire, as all those  years ago when the Saint was burned in his boat. Goert takes Frank to the Saint’s boat and in the end it is Frank who ignites the flames on the boat chasing away the Saint & his gang. However in the end, as we see Frank recovering in his hospital bed and a girl he likes coming to spend some time with his in his room, the camera pans away to a large tower a few blocks away on which stands the charred figure of Saint Nick. The legend is not dead yet.

Despite some gruesome killings and a few shocks due to well timed sudden movements, I got a bit bored watching this movie. It promised a lot more but fails in the end. Still I thought it was appropriate viewing on Christmas Eve. 6 out of 10!

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Visit Back To Kalamassery

Today after many months I went to my old office in Kalamassery as I needed to apply for my PF to be transferred to my bank account. I should have done it a long back and although the last time I was there I actually took a copy of the form to fill up but I didn’t send it in. Today felt like a good day to go and so I left by 11:45 am and reached there just before 1pm. I was delayed as I waited a long time at the bus stop as most buses headed towards that side were crowded.

I signed in the visitors log and then met with some of the employees including two of my former team members. I also met some of my friends from my years there and it was good to see some of my former trainees too. I had a nice long chat with them as I filled in and submitted my application. By 3pm I left the office and had a late lunch at hotel Mezban – the scene of many lunches with the team and colleagues over 4 years. Ah! I was sitting there by myself but surrounded by memories. I reached home by 4pm, very quick trip back considering the long time it took me to reach the office.

For Christmas eve dinner, my folks and I ordered in fried chicken from Roosters a new KFC style restaurant that started recently. They are quite near my apartment and delivered the order – 8 piece chicken, 6 buns, 1 litre Coke and 2 large French fries – in 25 minutes. Yum!