Castle Season 1

In 2010 May, mainly due to my pc dying on me and I having to wait 3 weeks to get enough money together to buy this current laptop that I’m using, I started watching a lot of tv. By that I mean actually sitting in front of the tv and watching shows on the various cable channels. Lucky for me they advertised that they were going to show Season 1 & 2 of Castle on Star World and for the next few weeks (they were showing the series Monday-Friday) I watched amused as Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) gets called by the NYPD when they find a killer offing people in similar manner to deaths in his novels. He is asked to assist in solving the case and the killer is caught. I started getting my own copies of the first 3 seasons.

Castle is a famous & successful crime novelist who found himself with a case of writer’s block after killing off the main character in his novels, Derrick Storm. Using his friendship with the mayor, he gets himself to shadowing lead homicide detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), going along and using his insights to assist in solving crimes. He waives off the NYPD as to be held responsible if he is is injured or killed during the cases and uses Beckett as his inspiration for the new character of his books – Nikki Heat! Beckett, is a first-class investigator who has gained a reputation for being intrigued by unusual cases. She joined the force after her mother was murdered in an unsolved case.

Watch as Castle proves to be useful in solving cases and his wit, personality & charm endearing him to the captain & other members of homicide, including a reluctant Beckett. Season 1 is only 10 episodes long (shameful) but proved to be a big success and by the end of the season we see Castle firmly entrenched as an unofficial member of the homicide squad but did he go too far in re-opening the case of Beckett’s mom’s unsolved murder? The season ends on that suspenseful note as he brings up the courage to tell her that he has found some new evidence that could shed new light into the case.

Ironing – Least Liked Household Chore

Ironing! I hate ironing but at times I just must do it. Every Monday morning a Tamilian ironing vendor (iron man?) comes around to our building, just like he does to a few other residential buildings & houses nearby, and collects the shirts, pants & mom’s sarees if any for ironing. When he is not around there is a small shop diagonally opposite our building where you can give clothes for ironing or for dry cleaning.

Now I never give cloths for dry cleaning (haven’t in ages) but on occasion I have needed to depend on that shop for pressing clothes. Usually I get by with the Monday ironing but I do find myself having to iron shirts atleast once a week or so and I hate it. I hate it because I can never get it done as neatly as the Tamilian or the shop guy downstairs, who do it like professionals. I just can’t do it the way they do it.

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Starbucks To Set Up 50 Cafes In India

After hearing of many promises since 2007-08 of the coffee giants Starbucks finally coming to India, looks like the wait is almost over. Last evening I first heard the news, from a Canadian on a 1 year work project in India, via Twitter when she sent me the link to a NYTimes article. After the government loosened rules about how single brand companies can invest here, the Seattle based Starbucks has entered into a 50:50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages for starting retail operations in the country, a year after it inked a coffee sourcing agreement with Tata Coffee Ltd.

The retail venture, Tata Starbucks Ltd, will own and operate Starbucks cafes, which would be branded as Starbucks Coffee — A Tata Alliance. The two companies are investing Rs400 crore in the venture, which will function as a separate entity and have three directors from each company. Starbucks’ decision to go with a partner comes despite the fact that the government recently allowed 100% foreign direct investment in retail. For 2012, Starbucks has an outlook of opening 300 stores in China and the rest of Asia-Pacific. India will see 50 Starbucks outlets by end-2012, with the first outlet coming up in August or September, in Delhi or Mumbai.

For the record, the largest coffee chain in India, Cafe Coffee Day, currently has 1,200 outlets and will be 2,000 outlets strong by 2014. Other prominent chains, Lavazza Barista and UK’s Costa Coffee run 200 and 80 stores, respectively. This year will also mark the entry of US-based cafe chain Dunkin Donuts in India.

Have You Ever Thought About Writing A Book?

Hmm, where do I start. I’ve always wanted to write a book and by that I mean a fictional novel. I just don’t have the discipline to have got it done yet. When I was 23 I managed a small internet cafe and that gave me a lot of spare time to sit and think out the outline of a novel and where it would be headed. So I started typing payday loans providers down stuff and thought “hey” I can do this!

You wanna know what my novel was going to be about? It was inspired by another novel and it was about a guy, who after the death of his parents, sells his family estate, splits the money that he got from it with his brother and then goes and buys a small house in a country town. He decides that he is going to take sometime off, looking into buying & setting up a small business in that town. Over nights at the local bar he meets & befriends a professor of science, who also had recently bought a house in town in order to conduct his experiment in peace away from prying eyes.

Now the experiment goes wrong and created a ripple in time to an alternate earth, one in which there were 3 more World Wars in the 50s & 70s. The professor gets caught in this ripple and is sent into this world. After not seeing the professor in the bar for several days, the young man goes to the professor’s house to check and is also transported to this alternate world.

When he gets trough the ripple and into this alternate world he is soon apprehended and confined to a semi-jail. This new world has had lots of casualties in the 3 world wars post 1947 and the aftermath led to a world run completely by women and where men who are in short supply as slaves. And that is the world that our main character finds himself in.

I had managed to type up 13 chapters of this novel, leading upto how the guy ends up as the personal sex slave of two female military leaders, both who can’t see eye to eye but have equal claim over him. I was planning to have him use jealousy between them to help his escape plan and didn’t know how to move on further from there and in a moment of frustration I deleted all 13 chapters, about a year after I started writing the book.

Since then I have this great vision of a grandiose scifi universe, which some of your long time readers are familiar with. If not, for now just know that it takes place in the year 7013 with events that lead up to that point in the far future and how mankind had to leave earth and settle on a few planets elswhere in the galaxy. I am so ashamed to say that I just find it so difficult to get the images from my mind onto text format as it moves along happily like a movie in my head. I hope someday I will get that project going along and complete it.

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Trust

Ever since the internet & online chatting became popular the thrill of meeting total strangers who later become your friends has been real. Also the fantasy of meeting your true love / soulmate online and then meeting them in real life, getting married was flamed. I know quite a few people who hooked up with guys/girls they met on on online chat and in some cases they do get married and live happily ever since then. I will let you know about my own trysts with online chat from a few years ago and what I think of it.

The negative aspects of online chatting and getting too involved with it and naively believing whatever they tell you about them. People can easily lie about themselves as you don’t have to give out your real information when you create an account to chat online. In this year I don’t have to explain to you as to what can possibly happen but the movie Trust shows you exactly what can happen, when a young mind is caught up in a predator’s trap and the consequences that follow. Trust is a movie directed by David Schwimmer (yes Ross Geller from Friends) based on a screenplay by Andy Bellin and Robert Festinger and stars Clive Owen, Catherine Keener and Liana Liberato.

The story is simple; Annie (Liane Liberato) is a happy 14 year old living in suburban Chicago, the middle child of Will (Clive Owen) & Lynn Cameron. Annie is gifted a laptop for her birthday and while on a chatroom, she meets a 16 year old boy who calls himself Charlie. The two of them bond over messages and chats and even share photographs (in which Charlie sends some young boy’s pics). Annie tells her parents about this “dream boy” who lives all the way over in California. Over time Charlie confesses that he is actually older than 16; first he bumps his age to 20 and then 25. Although disappointed at first Annie has begun to fall in love with this person. She finally agrees to meet with him at a mall but is shocked to find a 35 year old man! She cries at this betrayal & lying about his age but Charlie manages to win her over by saying that age shouldn’t matter and complimenting her on her looks. She agrees to go to his hotel room where he coaxes her to model a red lingerie for her and he rape her, while secretly filming it.

Annie confides in her best friend Brittany who is shocked at this revelation and tells the school counselor who calls Will & Lynn and the FBI, who starts an information. Her distraught father starts his own investigation while the FBI agents gets Annie to contact Charlie and try to track him bu he gets onto it and disconnects the call. Annie is furious at Brittany for betraying her confidence and still says that she loves Charlie. The collected DNA although not identifying Charlie’s real identity connect him to 3 other girls who he also raped in the same manner. On seeing their photos Annie cries & complains that they aren’t really pretty and is devastated as she wasn’t really the special girl he claimed her to be. This finally gets her to admit that yes she was raped. When she goes online to find a website in which people make fun of her rape, posting an image of her head pasted onto a pornographic picture, even giving out her address and phone number.

This pushes her over the edge and she swallows a lot of pills in an attempt at suicide but is saved by her father.  Her friend Brittany spends the night to keep her company mending their broken friendship. The next morning Annie finds her father, who had been really aggressive in his hunt instant laons for finding the molester, even straining his relationship with his wife & daughter in the process, sitting in the cold outside.

Will begins talking to her, reminiscing about the first time she ever got in the family pool, and how brave she was to do it. He tells her that she used to be confident, and nothing frightened her. He admired the way she loved the world and trusted the people in it and how now all that has changed. He weeps and pleads for forgiveness even though he believes he does not deserve it. Annie starts to cry, choosing to embrace him believing she finally got her father back. As the credits roll, a home video reveals Charlie to be a high school physics teacher named Graham Weston, a married father of a young son.

Watching this movie with some really powerful acting by the main leads, especially Liberato who is just awesome, reminds you of the dangers in society and the real dangers that parents face when their children are online. Well acted, well made movie that tells a heart-breaking story about family. For these reasons, I’m giving it a 9 out of 10!

Terrible Pain & Discomfort

Last night was the worst that I can ever remember in my life! I was in so much discomfort & pain that I almost wanted to jump out of the terrace.

Ok, I’ve been getting gas problems from the end of last month. I remember it all started on Dec 24th, after a long day and I had a very late lunch that seemed to give me gas later that evening. The next few days I wasn’t doing much so I just rested and let it pass naturally. Then a few days later it came back with a vengeance. I started getting pain on my shoulders & arms along with my chest and this heavy feeling of wanting to burp so bad that it hurt. I used a combination of Gelusil syrup, Eno anti-acid powder (that you add in a glass of cold water) and an ayurvedic tonic that helps with indigestion. The discomfort passed in a couple of days and I was back to normal. I did find it ironic that this did happen after 3 months of no alcohol, no red meat and eating mostly home cooked food. But also that it followed 3 months of the most physically inactive that I have ever been.

Then the gas & discomfort came back again 10 days ago and I was getting pissed. Still in a day & a half I was ok once again and I went on my business. The day before yesterday it came back again but I kinda ignored it for a while. Yesterday when I was in the city, I stopped for a juice and a small sandwich at a small bakery/juice shop. The bread seemed fresh and all soft & warm, edges cut off and all, but the inside felt suspicious. It was supposed to be shopped up little bits of chicken and it tasted funny. Later that evening I got a stomach upset, bad gas problems and pain all over my arms, chest, back & shoulders. I tried taking some stuff like Gelucil & ENO to calm myself down. At night the pain got so terrible, I couldn’t lie down and instead kept walking up and down just trying to make myself burp. I couldn’t sleep and just about was able to rest while sitting on a chair.

By 7am, I managed to shower and my dad accompanied me to the hospital where they took an EGC, blood sample and checked me out. Doc says it’s a gastro infection and I’m now on meds and light food for the next few days. My BP was also up but he says to check it out once the course is complete. I came back home, took my meds and ate a little breakfast and then went to bed. Couldn’t get much sleep but the rest was welcome. By 1:30 pm I was up feeling somewhat better and had curd & rice and then back to bed and watching Castle Season 3. Always puts me in a good mood. I’m feeling a little better but I’ll wait until 2 more days to declare myself fully recovered. What an awful night I had!

The Inbetweeners Movie

I don’t usually watch much British comedy and that’s usually because, like a lot of non-Brits, I don’t get some of their comedy. I think there are some Brits who don’t get it either but no matter. Lady Banana had put up the video for this movie’s trailer in her blog a few weeks ago and on watching it I found it funny and so I got a copy of the film to enjoy. It is funny and you won’t have any problem in getting the jokes because it’s all about the same teenagers coming of age jokes that most of us enjoy, even if we have left our teens far behind (still crying over that one!)

The movie is based on the sitcom The Inbetweeners which airs in the UK. The film follows the misadventures of a group of teenage friends on holiday in Crete after the end of their final year at school together, and thus serves as an ending to the TV series, unless sequels are made.  It stars Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison as the four friends and there’s also a small role for Anthony Stewart Head as the father of one of the boys. So the four boys – Will, Simon, Jay and Neil – have finished high school and decide to go to have a holiday in the Greek island of Crete to celebrate before each of them decides what college to go to after their results come in. This also serves as a getaway from their last week during which Jay’s grandfather dies, Simon is dumped by his girlfriend Carli and Will’s divorced father tells him he has married his much younger mistress.

The best part is the differences amongst these 4 guys – while nerdy Will tries to smart talk himself into girls’ hearts, using wit & sarcasm, while Simon pines for his girlfriend. Jay somewhat obnoxious & cocky Jay is overconfident while tall, awkward & gangly Neil is bent on not cheating on his girlfriend but does make out with older women! They meet up wit 4 young girls on their first night out at a bar that is usually empty – Will chats to Alison and pokes fun at her cliched “Greek waiter boyfriend”, Simon bores Lucy talking about Carli, Neil has a non-conversation with Lisa, and Jay “gets stuck” with the bubbly, if somewhat overweight Jane. The 8 of them end up spending a lot of time with each other over the next few days. Simon sees Carli who is also on vacation in Crete with some of her friends but she will be leaving early. Plus she seems to be spending a lot of time with the rude fellow called James & his group. Simon spends the next few days trying to score cash to meet Carli on a part on a boat thing, ignoring Lucy who seems to really like him.

The next day the boys meet up with the girls at a hotel pool but things go bad when a man argues with them for taking up his suntan bed and a little boy who pulls Jay’s shorts down, ends up being pushed into the pool in return and he yells as he can’t swim. The boys get thrown out of the hotel premises for the commotion caused. Outside Jay & Simon get into a fight, which ends up with Will taking Simon aside for a walk in the town while Neil & Simon decide to hit the bars. However, desperate to buy a ticket for the boat party, Simon sells his clothes to James, including what he is wearing, but never gets paid for them and is left naked. Jay & Neil have no luck either as their foray into an expensive club hoping to meet girls ends up with them witnessing a male stripper performing autofellatio on stage. Later that evening, the four boys meet back at the bar and bury the hatchet. Before long, the girls turn up and suggest that they all go skinny dipping at the local beach. Jane attempts to kiss Jay, but he is embarrassed to be seen with her so she leaves him behind. Will has better luck with Alison until he stumbles across her Greek boyfriend having sex with another woman; Alison then runs off in tears. Lucy and Simon appear to be growing closer until he sees Carli on the beach and leaves Lucy alone in the sea.

Eventually the boys are able to score tickets for the boat party with Lucy giving her ticket to Simon and tells him to go meet Carli, while she stays back alone on the beach. As the boat sets off Carlie kisses Simon but it is obvious that she is trying to make James, who is also there, jealous. Simon sees through her and decides that she is not what he though she was and leaves her. Jay apologises to Jane, and she takes him into the toilets to perform oral sex on him. Neil tells Lisa that his girlfriend back home dumped him they feel no longer limited in the kind of sex they have. eanwhile, Alison hunts out Will and asks to be his girlfriend, which he eagerly accepts. They all get together to cheer Simon who decides to swim back towards the beach and be with Lucy but he gets tired and nearly drowns and has to be airlifted via a helicopter (grand romantic gesture dashed). After the boat party is over, the other boys and girls visit Simon in hospital, and once he recovers they all spend the rest of their holiday together as couples. Eventually, the four boys head home to the UK, looking forward to the next stage of their lives. As they meet their families at the airport, their girlfriends exit the same terminal and introduce themselves to the boys’ parents as the film ends.

Some gross scenes with feces, yuck, and wonked out humour, it’s not as gross as some people had warned me about. It’s a fun little movie that you should try out. 7 out of 10!

I’m Too Old for This!

I’m 35. I feel too old for all-nighters & video games. I used to play a lot of video games when I was younger just to keep myself entertained but I haven’t played one in ages. Plus 95% of them don’t appeal to me anymore anyway.

Most of the time I’m not in the mood for parties with wild music, one among the reasons is that I feel that it’s for younger people. This is not all of the time ofcourse, there are still parties that I do go to and enjoy myself a lot. But I prefer the quieter ones with close friends or family.

There are quite a few things I feel that I’m too old for, like taking a big risk in a business, moving to another country – that’s something that I would have loved to have done as there are a few places that I would loved to have moved to, work and settle in and make a home there. I just feel that if you are doing that you should do it when you are a bit more younger, like mid-late 20s. I dunno, that’s just my way of thinking.

There are quite a few more things that I feel I am getting too old for and it’s all swimming in my mind but I can’t seem to bring it out in words now. I’m sorry.

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Home Decoration Options – Wine Bottle Lights

At the moment I cannot afford my own place but someday I will and I would like to own a nice place with a couple of bedrooms+bathrooms, kitchen, living room, balcony and a den/library space. It doesn’t have to be really fancy as long as the place is safe and cozy and I have enough space. I’d like to paint the walls differently and decorate the apartment with some cool stuff that need not necessarily be expensive & trendy but it will still look way cool in the place.

I really like this red wall and the awesome looking wine bottles with night lights bunched up inside them. They not only look great but are probably one of the best decoraty- showcase items that you can get to make your place look cool. And practical too – you still get a little light from them in the dark and it adds a certain character to your home.

Once financial things improve, and that will take quite some time as I would want to ensure that thing settle down and not take a huge risk, that’s when I will get that place and do a slow & thorough search for things to make my place the way I want it to be. Personally I can’t wait to do it and start right now but practically I just cannot.

On One Of The Worst Crimes

Many years ago a girl, who I had come to know & become close friends with just a few weeks before, told me in a moment of utter, open honesty that she suspected her father of having raped her when she was just 5 years old! 5 years old – how any sane man can think of harming an innocent girl of that age is beyond me and how can he even think sexual thoughts about her is also alien to me! And the fact that it was her own father; I must admit that although I was 21 at the time, I was still quite naive and still innocent to a little extent that I was quite shocked at this revelation by her.

“Are you sure?” was what stumbled out of my mouth at the time. She said that she herself wasn’t sure but a few years ago during an argument in which all her siblings &  her parents were involved in, she supported her father’s point of view and her mother was so angry that she took her aside and asked why did she always blindly side by her father and didn’t she know that he had molested her when she was a child! The girl was shocked and couldn’t speak for a while. She retreated into a shell and didn’t speak to her parents or her brothers & sisters for a couple of days. Her father came and told her later that it wasn’t true, that her mother didn’t know what she was talking about, she was very simple minded and not very educated (she had only completed high school while he was a respected doctor). She believed her father for a while but in the back of her mind she knew that he had raped her.

I would late come to know through other sources that yes he did molest her and there was infact an official enquiry into it but without sufficient evidence against him it was ruled out. Her parents separated for a while but due to lots of other reasons, which I can’t go into detail over here, her mother felt that she had no option but to stay with the father for the kids sake. I came to know of how the mother came to initially suspect something was wrong, how their relatives tried to intervene but because they lived in another country, there was only so much that they could do. The details, which I got to know from several sources are gory and I even managed to read a couple of letters that her mother had sent to her family back in India at the time.

Back to the day this girl, who is just a year older than me, told me about this stuff. My shock must have been all over my face cause she was more worried about me and changed the subject and speak of more cheery things to say. I didn’t quite know how to react and felt like a douchebag afterwards. I remember laying in my bed for an hour afterwards thinking how someone could do that to a 5 year old girl and how could someone do that to his own daughter or to anyone for that matter. I also remember going for a walk to clear my head and walking for almost 3 hours aimlessly. I’ve heard a lot of stuff happening to a lot of people since then and perhaps I am better adjusted to helping & talking to someone who has gone through that but I will never forget that time when this girl told me about it.

Contagion

Much in the vien of Outbreak from quite a few years ago, Contagion is a medical disaster movie that is also a kind of horror – the kind that really frightens me because it’s a possibility! Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the film has an ensemble cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet with no real leads and is shot in such a way that it almost looks like a well made documentary. The story is of a highly deadly virus disease that almost shuts down the social order in the wake of a pandemic.

Following several plot lines inter-woven along the spread of this disease, the movie takes us from the initial outbreak and attempts to contain it, to panic and decay of social order, and, finally, to the introduction of a vaccine. Starting off with a business woman Beth Emhoff who while returning from a business trip to Hong Kong, stops in Chicago to meet a previous boyfriend, develops a cold before returning to her husband and family in suburban Minneapolis. In two days she starts getting seizures and is taken to the hospital by her husband, where she dies. Her husband Mitch returns home to find that their young son has also died from the same infection. Mitch is however immune and he is later released to take care of his daughter, who was away at the time and luckily did not get infected by the virus. Mitch struggles to protect her from the virus, not knowing if she inherited his immunity, while coming to terms with his loss.

The movie then moves on to the containment attempts, the race to find a cure or a vaccine against the spread of the disease. We see how Dr. Erin Mears, sent to investigate and study the disease is soon infected herself and succumbs to it. The initial cures prove to be fruitless leading to frustration as the illness spreads and more people die. Added to the plot is a conspiracy theorist freelance journalist/blogger Alan Krumwiede  who posts video blogs about the disease, and in one of them appears sick and later claims that he recovered using a homeopathic cure called forsythia. Panicked citizens rush to various pharmacies to get their ‘cure’ causing fights, destruction of property and also accelerate the contagion as infected and healthy people congregate. Krumwiede himself becomes famous and is on tv channels nationwide.  During a television interview, accuses Dr. Cheever, of the CDC, of informing friends and family to leave Chicago before a quarantine is imposed.

It is later revealed that Krumwiede wasn’t infected and forged his infection & cure after being hired by investors of the manufacturers of the drug. He is arrested but is allowed to go free as his internet followers collect and pay his bail. Dr. Leonora Orantes, an epidemiologist from WHO to trace the origins of the outbreak, is kidnapped to get the cure for a rural Chinese village. Orantes spends months living in rural China with the villagers until the vaccine is announced. Feng exchanges Orantes for the vaccines, which turn out to be placebos. Orantes rushes away when she is informed of this, presumably to warn the village. A real vaccine is finally created & its production is rapidly ramped up and the CDC awards vaccinations via a random lottery based on birth dates for one full year until every survivor is vaccinated. The movie ends by tracing the origin of the virus from a bat nesting in a tree being cleared by Emhoff’s mining corporation. The bat flies to a nearby pig sty and drops a banana where it is eaten by the pig, presumably transferring the bat virus into the pig. The pig is sold to and butchered by a chef in a Macau casino who greets Beth Emhoff without washing his hands of the pig’s blood, transferring the bat-pig hybrid to her and creating the human strain of the virus.

The movie shows us that at any moment we could be affected by a global epidemic but also that our advanced civilization could be close to a breakdown created by our own doing, inadvertently though it may be. Hats off to this ensemble cast and Sodenberg’s direction for what I call a true horror movie. 8 out of 10!

Favourite Street Food

Almost everyone, citizens & tourists alike, will agree that the best kind of food in any decent city is the street food. And if you don’t get god street food in your city then sorry, your city isn’t worth spending time in! It’s true that you have to be careful of which street vendors you buy your food from but once you find a decent, clean vendor, chances are that you will be a frequent visitor to that place. Kerala has their “thattukada”, the restaurant on trolleys, a road side eatery / fast food outlet and in this state you have lots & lots of them.

Dosas, puttu, porottas are some of the staple food served in thattukadas with a variety of dishes accompanying them. Pictured here is a plate of Kerala style porottas with a kada (quail) fry. Absolutely delicious. Similarly other dishes like the popular beef fry, beef roast, egg burgi, omelets, egg masala, fried chicken, chicken roast/curry, tomato masala, kadala (lentils) curry etc etc. You can sit there and try out a variety of stuff. Choose a bigger thattukada or ask your friends & relatives for the nicer ones (there are places called 5 star thattkadas in the city) where the food is cooked in the same style but they are extremely neat & cleaner than the smaller thattukadas.

This post has made me hungry! I would love some karimeen (pearl spot) fry for dinner.

Mind Your Language : Season 1

From one of my earliest recollections of sitcom, humour & tv in general, comes the universally loved & highly popular British series Mind Your Language. I recently completed watching the first season composing of 13 episodes. The series originally ran from 1977-79 and 3 season of 13, 8 & 8 episodes respectfully before it was cancelled and then revived for another 13 episodes in 1986 (no doubt bolstered by syndication popularity). Considering it’s hugely popularity and countless number of reruns throughout the years since, I’m actually surprised that there were so few episodes in the original run.

Anyways, as most of you know, the show is about n the adult students of an English foreign language class taught in early evening classes in a London college and their teacher or “professori” Jeremy Brown. The students have varying proficiency in English and nd much of the humour of the show is derived from the students misunderstanding English words or terminology and plays heavily on the cultural stereotype of their individual nation of origin. The jokes & punchlines are quite simple and this might also explain it’s huge popularity in the nations  including Pakistan, Sri Lanka,  India,  Malaysia,  Kenya,  Nigeria, Ghana, and Singapore. Other than the UK it was also popular in South Africa, Australia & New Zealand.

At the beginning we are introduced to Mr. Jeremey Brown who joins as an ESL teacher although pompous & uptight principle Ms. Delores Courtney prefers a lady teacher. A diverse group of ten foreign adult students in London, hailing from nine different countries. From Europe come two au pairs, the flirtatious and beautiful Danielle (France) and prim and proper Anna (Germany); two young single men, Giovanni (Italy) and Max (Greece); and a laid-back middle-aged bartender, Juan (Spain), who speaks no English. From Asia come a revolutionary-minded secretary from the Chinese Embassy (Su-Li) and a Japanese businessman (Taro), as well as three students from the Subcontinent: a devout Punjabi Sikh (Ranjeet); and an unemployed Pakistani Muslim (Ali), who are constantly at each other’s throats; and finally an Urdu-speaking housewife (Jamila) who can’t speak a word of English. The school principal, Ms. Dolores Courtney, nearly dismisses Mr. Brown immediately as she had requested a female teacher, but he is allowed to stay on a trial basis.

The first season, which also seems to have been the most popular one, has Mr. Brown trying to teach his students while funny incidents occur like him mistaking the school board inspector to be an African student, Ranjeeth asking for help from his arranged marriage, getting locked in the school, Mr. Brown having to fight for the honour of Danielle with an obnoxious fellow teacher, Ali wanting to marry Su Lee and take her as his second wife, Ms Courtney dismissing Mr Brown but regretting her decision when his replacement turns out to be a very intimidating woman and ofcourse the finale where the students have to take their Lower Cambridge test while Brown has a bad encounter with their examiner. All interluded with moments of pure fun & hilarity.

2012 Academy Awards Nominations

From the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverley Hills, the nominations for the 84th Annual Academy Awards are in and here are just the categories that I’m interested in. I have only seen one movie that is nominated, Bridesmaids, but some others are in my ‘to be watched’ list for the coming weeks. Sheesh, only one movie. Anyway here is the list:

Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir in “A Better Life”
George Clooney in “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin in “The Artist”
Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn”
Jonah Hill in “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte in “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer in “Beginners”
Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis in “The Help”
Rooney Mara loans no credit check direct lenders in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain in “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer in “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer in “The Help”

Animated Feature Film
“A Cat in Paris” Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
“Chico & Rita” Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
“Kung Fu Panda 2? Jennifer Yuh Nelson
“Puss in Boots” Chris Miller
“Rango” Gore Verbinski

Directing

“The Artist” Michel Hazanavicius
“The Descendants” Alexander Payne
“Hugo” Martin Scorsese
“Midnight in Paris” Woody Allen
“The Tree of Life” Terrence Malick

Foreign Language Film

“Bullhead” Belgium
“Footnote” Israel
“In Darkness” Poland
“Monsieur Lazhar” Canada
“A Separation” Iran

Music (Original Score)

“The Adventures of Tintin” John Williams
“The Artist” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse” John Williams

Music (Original Song)
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from “Rio” Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Picture
“The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer
“The Descendants” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Scott Rudin, Producer
“The Help” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
“Hugo” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
“Midnight in Paris” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
“Moneyball” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
“The Tree of Life” Nominees to be determined
“War Horse” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

Visual Effects

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2? Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
“Hugo” Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
“Real Steel” Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and cheapest credit Swen Gillberg
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Writing cialis 5 (Adapted Screenplay)
“The Descendants” Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
“Hugo” Screenplay by John Logan
“The Ides of March” Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
“Moneyball” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)
“The Artist” Written by Michel Hazanavicius
“Bridesmaids” Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
“Margin Call” Written by J.C. Chandor
“Midnight in Paris” Written by Woody Allen
“A Separation” Written by Asghar Farhadi

On Asking for Help

Usually when I get ill – I hate asking for help like going to the hospital and consulting a doctor. This is mainly because I don’t like hospitals and doctors. Love nurses though! Unless I am totally unable to handle my illness I will choose not to go to a hospital or clinic. Like a fever – unless it’s extremely high, I will choose to stay back at home and rest, take some medicine that helps and eat light. I fight fevers with a few tablets, soup, home made remedies and sleep. There have been a couple of cases, once in 2007 and once in 2009 where I fell so ill with a high fever that made me so weak that I had to go to the doc and get a shot to bring the fever down. And I hate the fact that the shot, it’s always on your bum!

Other than that I usually do ask for help whenever I feel like it’s needed or I am in over my head and have no problem in asking for it. Atleast I think it’s not something that I really avoid.

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