Breakfast For Dinner

It depends on what the food items are. I kinda think that us Malayalees have breakfast items for dinner a lot. But then a lot of those dishes are considered to be for both meals. Confused? I guess you would have to be a localite to really get that.

The usual breakfast items in a Malayalee household or atleast in mine are various styles of dosas – with either chutney, sambhar, dosa podi or chammandee, idlis, puttu with either kadala (lentils) curry, payare (green gram) or banana, appam with egg curry, potato stew, or kadala curry, various upma – avil (dried rice flakes), godham (wheat) or plain, puri & lentils. That’s for the local stuff. A lot of us eat cereals, bread with eggs, cheese, butter or jam. At my home we make veggie sandwiches with tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers & coriander chamandee. And a lot of us eat most of the same food for dinner as well. That is pretty common over here. But wit the exception of sandwiches and occasionally appam, dosas & puttu I don’t like having the breakfast stuff for dinner. Dinner items should be different from the breakfast items.

That’s just my thinking. Plus I don’t really want rice stuff all the time. Lunch is almost always the starchy white rice so I don’t really like to have breakfast & dinner with a lot of the same stuff in it. Ugh! But I do because I live with my folks and that is what they like. When I get the chance I move away from the rice stuff.

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When I first saw this movie back in the late 90s, I knew that this was a film I could watch over & over and keep watching it for many years. The last time I watched it was 4 years ago but now I have a copy of it. Mallrats is a cult fav, written and directed by Kevin Smith and stars Jerry London, Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Clair Forlani, Ben Allfeck, Michael Rooker, Joey Lauren Adams and comic book icon Stan Lee as himself.

TS Quint is preparing for a trip to¬†Universal Studios¬†in Florida with his girlfriend Brandi, during which he plans to propose to her. Brandi however tells him that she cannot go as she needs to fill in for her father’s date show as the original contestant had to back out. While arguing the two break up. TS’s best friend Brodie also happens to be dumped by his girl Rene, as he prefers to plays video game hockey rather than connect with her. The two freshly dumped friends go to the local huge mall to console themselves. When they discover that the date show is to be held at the very same mall they ask the help of local drug pushers Jay & Silent Bob to sabotage the show.

Brodie is angry when he finds out that Rene is dating his nemesis, Shannon a clothing store manager in the mall. Brodie confronts Rene to find out more about her relationship with Hamilton and the two have¬†sex¬†on an elevator. Rene seems to have some respect for Brodie once more, but the latter is later confronted and¬†assaulted¬†by Shannon. ¬†Jay and Silent Bob have to come to Brodie’s & TS’s aid when the mall cops are set on them by first Shannon & then Brandi’s father. Then there is the bit with the bare breasted fortune teller with a fake third nipple! ¬†Brodie receives advice on romance from¬†Stan Lee, who was visiting the mall. Jay & Bob drug two of the show’s contestants and, after sneaking in, TS & Brodie take their place on stage much to Brandi’s father’s chagrin. During the show, Brandi recognizes the voices of Brodie and T.S., while asking he contestants some really dumb, staple, dating show type questions – to which Brodie brings the house down with his snide comments & answers. Brodie admits to Brandi that T.S. had spent all day trying to win her back.

TS uses this opening to propose to Brandi in front of the crowd and she accepts. ¬†As the police arrive to arrest T.S. and Brodie after the show is over, Silent Bob plays a sex tape of Shannon and a 15 year old girl, a friend of Brodie’s, which she had documented for a project. In a tip of the hat to Star Wars and the Jedi’s ability to move things with the power of their minds. Shannon gets arrested by the watching cops. At the end of the film Brodie and Rene renew their relationship, T.S. marries Brandi, while the show’s producers are so impressed with Brodie’s stage banter that they offer him his own talk show, dumping Brandi’s father in the process, with Rene as his bandleader.

Funny, endearing and memorable. I’ll always love this movie. 8 out of 10!

What’s Your Favorite Coffee Place?

Well it’s no secret which is my favourite coffee shop. It’s Cafe Coffee Day. They do have the best selection of coffees and snacks. You have all seen the photos I take of the coffees & sandwiches I have at CCD. Take a look at the place.

This is the one I usually go to as it is quite close to where I stay.

They have a good selection of coffees – hot & cold – some fruit favoured drinks and a selection of tea as well. Although the tea I had today wasn’t that good, I can usually depend on them to give me good tasting stuff. Their snack items are good too.

The other outlet I have been to is the one near Medical Trust. I like that one a little better but it’s further away from me. Now if only they switched on the AC in their outlets and let it be all nice & chilled!

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What A Hot Day

And today was a very hot & sunny day designed to make you want to stay inside a giant meat freezer and bath in ice & water. Energy sapping, sweat inducing; to those women who think / say that they never perspire, they only glow – fuck you princess, you would have perspired a bucket load or two today if you ventured outside in this miserable heat! I had two meetings with friends and I also had to drop of my resume at a couple of places. First thing I did was go to the first place, drop of my resume and then head for some cold coffee and a sandwich at Fort Cafe. I tried the new salami chicken sandwich – looks like the chicken was anorexic or something! Miserable, thin sandwich with little filling that did nothing for me. And priced at Rs.110 –¬† that is highway robbery guys.

Then onto the next place. I went dropped off my resume for a totally different job but hey good pay and I have my fingers crossed. Working freelance isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be! I’m ok for another month or so but after that it will be tough goings. Ok so that done, I went to check out some discount dvds and bought 3 of them. Then I got a call that the first meeting was cancelled so I had a long wait time until I met the second friend. This was at 2:30 pm and so I did a little window shopping until it was time to meet Binny at Cafe Coffee Day. When he called me on reaching Shenoy’s Junction I was deep in meditation – starring at some blu ray collections at Music World.

No sooner did Binny and I entered Cafe Coffee Day when the power went out over there, meaning no air conditioning. Even if they did have power these miserable buggers don’t switch on the ac until a customer goes and demands it. Anyways we found a small table seating two and exchanged pleasantries, not having met for more than 20 months by my count. I had a few files that he wanted, Babylon 5 seasons 1-3 and 3 of the movies, which he proceeded to copy from my portable hard drive onto his Dell Vostro. While there he had a Tropical iceberg cold coffee while I ordered a Strawberry iced tea and a bottle of water. I must say that the ice tea tasted like a watered down version of icy cold cough syrup!! By 3:40pm we left CCD and I came back home, all tired out and dead thirsty and sleepy.

Bones – Season 1

I remember watching the very first episode of Bones on tv here sometime around 2006. Unfortunately I didn’t get to watch many other episodes as the timings usually conflicted with Saturday night English Premier League football live matches. Still I did later get to see a few episodes of subsequent seasons and enjoyed the bickering yet friendly partnership between the FBI agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and famed Forensic Anthropologist / author Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) of the Jeffersonian Institute. Dr. Brennan was asked to join Agent Booth on solving murder cases by examining the dead remains of murder victims and soon a permanent partnership was formed with Booth & Brennan also assisted by her team at the Jeffersonian – entomologist Dr. Jack Hodgins (T J Thyne), Dr. Zack Addy (Eric Millegan) who started out as Brennan’s graduate student & assistant and remains at the lab to examine bones while Brennan is on the field with Booth & forensic artist, computer software designer Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), who is also Brennan’s best friend. Dr. Daniel Goodman (Jonathan Adams) a former¬†archaeologist¬†turned administrator, who is also the director of the Jeffersonian Institute is also part of the team, albeit in a supervisory role.

Season 1 sees Dr. Brennan detained at the airport for carrying a human skull in her bag; the detention was a ploy by FBI Agent Booth to get her to help on a case. Although they have had prior working relationship, Brennan will only join in if she is allowed full access to the case Рwhich means going out on field as well. Booth agrees and the full fledged partnership is formed. The banter & bickering is funny due to an important ongoing dynamic between Brennan and Booth is their disagreement about science and faith. Brennan argues for science, evidence, atheism. Booth argues for faith, God, and the unproven. These two actors have magnificent chemistry between them. Despite the gruesome death and images of corpses, brains, other organs and decaying flesh & skeletons the show remains lighthearted due to the characters being fully fleshed out and hilarity ensues on all fronts.

The laughs are also provided by conspiracy theorist Dr. Hodgins and young genius Dr. Addy, who indulge in experiments in the lab which may not have the desired effect. Also Brennan is hilarious despite her ‘no humour’ demeanour – she is blatantly & bluntly honest and lacks proper social skills and has little to no knowledge of normal human pursuits like movies, tv, cartoon characters or sports. They also must face the fact that they inadvertently stayed the execution of death-row inmate Howard Epps. Howard had an estimated IQ of 180 and was raised by an overly religious mother who bathed him in ammonia after he went out on dates as a youngster because she felt that the girls were all “loose”. hey were successful in delaying his execution pending a further review of the evidence, but this was only after discovering, after tracing the location where the murder he was accused of had been committed, that he was not only guilty, but had killed multiple other victims; the execution was only delayed to try him for the other murders. He also claimed that it was after he read Dr. Brennan’s book saw a way out when he learned that she was working with Booth, who caught him the first time.

The team also get stuck in the lab during Christmas when a biological contamination at the lab means total shutdown with Brennan, Booth, Addy, Hodgins, Angela & Goodman all still inside. Due to quarantine taking 2 days to be completed, they have to spend Christmas eve at the lab where they make presents for each other. We also learn that Booth has a son and Angela’s dad is Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top! Brennan, who was raised in foster care after her parents both left when she was 15 and her brother Russ also abandoned her (thinking she would do better without him). The mother is dead and the two siblings reunite and find a message from their father telling them not to look for him. This will lead us to second season’s recurring theme of Brennan finding her father.

1997 Kodaikannal Trip

Back in 1997, age 21, I had joined NIIT for a two year course (Diploma in Computer Science). I really enjoyed my time spent there and I had a bunch of friends who made life enjoyable during those years. The course was separated into 4 semesters and I would change batches after my first semester, 6 months after I joined due to a medical reason for which I needed a little over a month’s time to recover from. The first group of people I spent my 1st semester with were really fun to be around and although I didn’t know it when I changed batches, I would make friends with an even more appropriate & fun loving group of people but I still remember the members of the first batch with fondness. We were 9 guys and 3 girls in the batch. Just as the semester was ending we decided that we wanted to go on a trip. NIIT would arrange a vehicle for us and book a place for us to stay during our trip. Joining us was the young female faculty member who taught our batch and a clerk / office peon. As per policy they had to send him because the faculty member was a lady.

So we decided to go to Kodaikannal (a hill station) in Tamil Nadu for a 2 day stay. We were to leave on a Thursday evening and reach Kodaikannal early Friday morning and return back home on Saturday morning, reaching Cochin in the night. By 4pm we had all gathered at Ravipuram and waited for the 16 seater tempo traveler to reach the institute. We had a couple of bottles of brandy &¬† two huge bottle of coke being chilled in a freezer belonging to a shop right next to the institute. Before we left Ravipuram, one of the guys whose name was Sreehari (I think) said that he wanted to try some brandy as he had never had any till them and was quite excited. He had a little in the cap of the bottle – and he didn’t speak to us for the rest of the duration! I have never seen anyone have this extreme a reaction to a bit of alcohol! Not one word did he speak till the next Monday! Anyways, we left Ravipuram at 6pm and the guys minus 2 (Sree Hari and my buddy Prince, who didn’t like alcohol) started drinking at the back of the van. We left the 4 ladies in the front and mixed the brandy & coke in huge glasses and were quite smashed by the time we reached Thrissur (almost 2 hours later) where we stopped for dinner.

At the hotel, 4 of us made a beeline for the bar and had a couple of pints of beer each and then joined the rest for dinner. We were having a gala time but by 10pm most of us were sleeping in the van, effects of the drinks. A romance blossomed between a guy & a girl that last the duration of the weekend :) I managed to sleep for a couple of hours but was mostly content to go up front and sit with Prince and chat or look out the window. Prince was the designated treasurer of the group and he sat in the passenger seat up front with the driver on our way to Kodaikannal and back. We reached our rented rooms in a cottage ( 2 rooms for the guys and 1 for the girls) at around 7 am and went in for cold showers and shaves and brushing of teeth. We had breakfast at the cottage and then set out for sightseeing and rides (boat rides, horse rides). We stopped for lunch and tea and by 6pm we also bought a couple of more bottles of brandy and some beer.

At night at the cottage, we had secured some firewood for a nice campfire kinda atmosphere. Food was provided by the cottage cooks – porotta & some veggie stew – and the guys drank and sang and we had some games. By 10pm the girls were tired but 4 of us guys stayed back and joined a group of 3 men from Kottayam who shared our campfire and in return they gave us some of their food which was fried chicken and beef if I remember correctly. By 12 even we were too pooped out to party anymore and we retired to our rooms and the next morning it felt like there was a Slayer concert playing in my head – moshpit and the works!! We went for some more sight seeing and then made the way back to Cochin with beer drinking in the van. On the way a bunch of us did puke – not due to the drinking but due to the effect of driving down the slopes & turns of the road. I reached home at around 11pm, changed my clothes and took a long shower and then slept for a long time, maybe 9 or 10 hours. On Monday we all reached NIIT with big smiles on our faces.

I took a lot of photos but remember this was 1997 and I didn’t have anything scanned at that time. I would get them scanned a couple of years later but I lost most of them and only found a couple. The pic below is of some of us sitting near the campfire. Great memories.

The Killing – Season 1

For the first time that I can think of, there is a police drama series about just one case, one murder. I’m not 100% sure that there are other such tv series, maybe a mini-series, but it doesn’t look like anything else I have seen. Based on the¬†Danish¬†television series with the same English title, but known as¬†Forbrydelsen (The Crime) in Danish, The Killing was developed by¬†Veena Sud¬†and produced by¬†Fox Television Studios¬†and Fuse Entertainment. The series’ first season, consisting of 13 hour-long episodes, premiered on the cable channel¬†AMC (the same network that showcases The Walking Dead) on April 3, 2011, with a two-hour premiere.

The show is about the murder & subsequent investigation of the death of 17 year old Seattle high school girl, Rosie Larsen. Weary Homicide Detective Sarah Linden gets called on her last day in Seattle to investigate a possible crime scene in the woods. A car is found in the lake and Rosie’s dead body is found in the boot. She is asked by her LT to show new comer Stephen Holder, who just transferred from Narcotics, the ropes and try to solve most of the case before she leaves to California with her 13 year old son Jack and marry her boyfriend Nick. However she gets drawn into the case due to the political angel – the car was used as a campaign car for popular city councilman Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell), who is battling the incumbent mayor Lesly Adams.

Due to pressure from her LT & her own obsession with the case, Linden keeps postponing her travel to California much to the chagrin of her fiance Nick (Callum Keith Rennie) and her son Jack who starts acting up. Her annoying & shady new partner Holder is also a different kettle of fish than she is used to. The family of Rosie is deeply affected with the mother Mitch (Michelle Forbes) getting deeply depressed and the father Stan Larsen who is a former hitman for the mob. The two young sons cope in different ways – while the middle son becomes quieter and more helpful around the house, the youngest becomes more demanding & cranky. Helping the family during their direst times is Mitch’s younger sister Terry, Rosie’s aunt. The list of suspects start flowing in. First are the two boys, classmates of Rosie, who had sex with her just before she was killed. A video recording of the two taking turns with Rosie surfaces. Also there is the young, popular teacher Bennett Ahmed, who was Rosie’s confidant and it is suspected that he was having an affair with Rosie when Linden finds his letters to the girl in her room. Plus his wife used to be one of his students in a different city & school.

While Linden & Holder investigate Ahmed they find out that he & another man were trying to help an oppressed young Muslim girl escape to Canada, in order to avoid being married off against her will. The suspicions of the cops on Ahmed reaches the ears of Belco who informs his boss & friend Stan Larsen. At Rosie’s funeral Stan offers a ride to Ahmed and confronts him; Ahmed denies his involvement in the murder. Later however, when his wife pushes him, Stan & Belco kidnap Ahmed, drive him to a quite place and beat him unconscious & near death. Mitch however finds out from the cops that Ahmed has a solid alibi and could not have killed Rosie and informs Stan, who feels guilty & turns himself in. He is later bailed out by Terry. The focus now shifts to Richmond who it turns out knew Rosie and photos of him meeting her are sent to his campaign manager & lover Gwen Eaton (Kristin Lehman). Feeling betrayed & confused she tells Linden that his alibi for the night of Rosie’s murder, being that he was in bed with Gwen, was all true as he has left in the night and returned a couple of hours later.

Through her computer, Linden & Holder find that Rosie has visited an escort site tied to a casino and that Terry has worked as an escort. Using the camera footage at the ATMS outside the casino, they find that a dolled out Rosie had been to the casino on the night of her murder and that she has possibly been moonlighting as an escort. When Holder finds photos of Richmond driving the same car and taken by a traffic stop camera with a time stamp that puts him near the casino around the time of Rosie’s death, a warrant is issued for her death. Linden leaves with her son to the airport to go to California while Richmond is arrested while at a campaign rally in front of his supporters. However, Belco, who is mentally unstable & immature, approaches the councilman as he is being led away and shoots him. As Linden’s plane is about to leave, she gets a call from the local government office informing her that the traffic signal cameras in the area near to the casino were not working – meaning either Holder forged the photos or he got them from someone who forged them. As the season ends, we see Holder meeting with his former boss at Narcotics and telling him that Richmond has been arrested.

What is the big conspiracy behind the murder? Is it a political thing or is there more to it? Is there a mob involvement, due to Stan’s past? Each of the 13 episodes in season 1 represents a day of the investigation, i.e. episode 13 takes place on the 13 day of the investigation. Some solid acting by Mireillie Enos as Sarah Linden & Billy Campbell as Richmond helps solidifying the series. Also starring are Liam James, Joel Kinnaman, Brent Sexton, Eric Ladin and Annie Corley. Brandon Jay McLaren, Garry Chalk, Patrick Gilmore & Tom Butler have recurring roles along with Rennie. Great series set in Seattle and shot in Vancouver during torrential rainfall to add to the dark, grey imagery of the theme.

Have You Ever Written Music Or Song Lyrics?

I don’t know how to read or write music. I went for almost half a year of guitar lessons when I was 12, 3 days a week, but because I had such a bad teacher who shouted at all the boys in the class (but was oh so gentle with the ladies) I lost interest and begged my folks not to send me back. They agreed and I stopped going and I can’t play a chord to save my own life. I regret not going to another class as I would love to serenade the sexy women by playing some sensual rumba flamenco or rock the arena with some searing electric guitar soloing!

But alas the idiotic choices of the young pre-teen (asshole). Anyway, I never went to take lessons again. When I was 14 I took a turn at trying to write lyrics set to music of already released popular rock songs. So it was easier for me to make up the song as I went along. And then just words for verses and chorus without a music or prior song’s tune in mind. My earlier concern was just getting the last words of the 2nd & 4th lines of the verses to rhyme – no matter what. The first full song I wrote was called ‘Kaleidoscope’ and the second was called ‘The Broken Chair’ – both were songs about a soul in turmoil. I started writing love songs when I was 15 and wrote a few till I was 21. I lost the diary that I wrote the lyrics in and lost interest in writing more.

When I was 22 I met up with the guitarist & drummer of a local band who have since then done quite well for themselves and are now in the industry. We met at a function and I remember that I mentioned that I used to write lyrics as a teenager and they both asked me to keep at it and possible meet up to collaborate. I never pursued it further but I wish I did. I’d prefer being able to actually sit down and write a whole novel and see if I could get it published. That would be a dream of mine.

The Rite

I like horror movies, I like possessions and demons and stories about all that stuff. The only thing is I know that it’s just a story, just like all other horror, fantasy, science-fiction & adventure movies, but a film like this can also lead several religious nuts to think that they are justified in their delusions of the christian god, the devil & demons. I can watch this for what it is, entertainment.

Directed by¬†Mikael H√•fstr√∂m¬†and written by¬†Michael Petroni, The Rite is an American supernatural horror film starring Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donaghue, Alice Vega & Rutger Hauer. It is based on Matt Baglio’s book¬†The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, which itself is based on allegedly real events with Father Gary Thomas.

Michael Kovak, the son of a mortician, decides to enter a seminary school and abdicate his vows upon completion thereby getting a free college degree. Four years later as he is being ordained at the seminary, Michael tend his resignation citing a lack of faith. Father Matthew wanting to talk Michael out of doing so, attempts to catch up to Michael on the street that evening. He trips and falls on the curb causing a passing cyclist to swerve in order to avoid him and is fatally injured when she is hit by a truck. Michael is the first to go to the dying woman’s aid and on seeing his clerical garb, she asks him for absolution, believing him to be a priest. Hesitant & reluctant Michael does as asked and the woman dies. The next day Father Matthew tells Michael that he is called to be a priest despite his resignation. He also gives him an invitation to travel to Rome in order to attend a class on exorcism. Michael reluctantly accepts after being told by Father Matthew that a $100,000 student loan will be levied if his immediate resignation stands but that if Michael attends the exorcism class and still desires to resign afterwards then they will discuss matters.

So Michael travels to Rome and during the classes he meets Angelina, a reporter who is also taking the course. Father Xavier on realizing that Michael is a skeptic and very tentative in his faith, sends the young American to see a friend of his, Father Lucas who is a renowned¬†exorcist in a village outside Rome. There Michael sees one of Father Lucas’s patients, a 16 year old pregnant girl Rosario. We learn that she was raped by her father, leading to both pregnancy and possession by a demon. During the sessions the young girl coughs up 3 long nails and starts to speak fluent English (which she does not know) but Michael remains skeptical. She even reminds Michael of the loathing he has for his own father and the last body he embalmed. Angelina asks Michael to relay information to him about Father Lucas, as she tried to get an interview with him but he has always refused but Michael declines. Rosario’s condition worsens and she even tried to drown herself. At the hospital Father Lucas tries to perform an exorcism on her but during the night, she miscarried and dies herself from blood loss de major hemorrhaging. A disheartened Father Lucas feels that he has failed her.

Soon after that Father Lucas shows signs of being possessed himself. Angelina & Michael find him sitting in the pouring rain outside his house. Father Lucas tells Michael that he (Michael) must perform the exorcism on him. Michael try desperately to contact and find Father Xavier; however, they learn that he is out of contact for three days. After a barrage of continuous rebukes from the possessed priest, Michael is able to regain his lost faith and commands the demon to leave Father Lucas’s body by drawing out the name of the demon – Baal. The exorcism complete the demos leaves and Father Lucas recovers. Michael returns to the US and becomes a full fledged priest.

The movie leaves a lot to be desired and it’s very predictable. I always love Anthony Hopkins’ acting and he delivers a good performance here but the rest is just forced. 6 out of 10!

No Internet But Great Food

Well hello there! It’s been a couple of days and I miss blogging. Well, my internet cable got cut on Saturday morning when this stupid asshole bulldozer driver wasn’t careful enough. My rich neighbours of who have a huge house opposite my building, also have a business in the building to our left and a vacant lot with some trees and a workshop on the right. The bulldozer doing some work on the vacant lot ripped out the cable connected to a post on it’s way out to dump some of the excess dirt & stone it had dug up (for who the fuck knows what). That asshole denied me my internet! Now I raised a complaint to have it repaired but Saturday being a local holiday in Kerala due to Vishu, they could only fix it by noon today. So two days without internet – great!

I had season 3 of Bones to keep me company and I also started season 4 of it as well. That was still fun. But having stayed in bed for the past few days due to a very bad cold, sore throat and cough, I was itching to go out on Sunday. I called my cousin Sujith to see if he was game to go out and he was. We met for a late breakfast at Coffee Cube on Convent Junction and enjoyed a 90 minute session over there. I had a sandwich and delicious hot mocha latte. He has the same sandwich and a cold nut butterscotch frappe. After that we went to Marine Drive for a long walk and some window shopping at both GCDA complex & Bay Pride mall. We went to walk on the walkway behind the malls which is right by the water but it was a boiling hot day and with me just recovering from the cold, cough etc the heat soon got to me. I got dehydrated and needed some water. We went into the Food Court in Bay Pride and I bought a couple of Tube waters – fresh sparkling water packaged in these tube shaped plastic bottles. We sat at a table and drank the water and chatted for over an hour or so as I recovered.

Feeling refreshed and with my strength back we took and auto to Ravipuram and went to Golden Dragon, an authentic Chinese restaurant. I have boasted a bit about this hotel which I have visited a few times, once in their Kakkanad outlet. We went in and sat at a table and ordered hakka noodles, dragon prawns, dragon chicken and chilli pork. The food was great with the exception of the pork. We also had beer – I know; I couldn’t resist – and sat there until almost closing time (the hotel closes at 4pm and reopens at 7pm for the evening crowd). Then we walked a bit and went out separate ways home. A nice day out.

Charmed Season 2

Well it has taken me a long time, a lot longer than usual to complete watching season 1 and about the same time to watch season 2. This was a series I religiously watched for a few seasons when it had it’s original run on Indian cable back in 2002 till 2006. Although the series actually completed airing in 2006 (it’s 8 season) and didn’t start airing season 1 in India by 2001, they did show the seasons in quick succession so that we saw the series finale only a month or two after the show ended in the US. As previously stated this is more of a television version of a chick filck with supernatural elements but I was a fan when it first showed. Perhaps watching more serious & quality shows since then had made me chuckle at the acting & storylines of Charmed.

But even though I do not consider myself to be a real fan now when watching the show again, I still do find some of it funny & (pun coming up) charming. Also from a few Youtube users I get the feeling that most of their hatred & ridiculing of the tv show is aimed at Phoebe Halliwell – the youngest sister until the half-sister Paige shows up – aka the actress Alyssa Milano. And even though some of the Youtube reviewers have not explicitly said so, from the others I can gauge the reason why they hate her. She has this tendency to do a baby talk especially when she is in the presence of an older relative / family friend or Piper (Holly Marie Combs). It’s not an attractive quality when a grown woman does that. In 1998 when the show started, Milano was 25.

Plus the cheese & cornyness of the series – the slow acoustic guitar background music whenever Piper & Leo meet and talk, all that tension about true love not being able to be together. Plus Shannen Doherty character changes a bit in season 2 – while she was more serious and a no-nonsense eldest sister when the season started, she also becomes a lot more playful and a bit ditzy as the season progresses. Also, both Doherty & Milano compete for more revealing outfits in season 2 – with plenty of cleavage and a lot of bouncing around going on :D How can I take this show seriously when I’m wondering which itty bity blouse of these two I should stare at on the screen? And if you have seen one two many bimbos how about the male version –¬† new neighbours¬†Dan Gordon¬†and his niece¬†Jenny move in, Dan becomes Piper’s new love interest and man is that guy a dumbo. The actor has nothing much to do except be the hurdle that Leo must overcome to re-start his love life with Piper. Piper goes out with Dan but we all know that she is pining for Leo – there’s that guitar music whenever the two meet – and she must decide to let her heart have it’s choice.

Piper also opens P3, a nightclub that she somehow manages to single-handedly establish into a happening place with top musical acts playing on regular nights. BTW, a lot of the music on Charmed reminded me how much bad music the 90s had (Dishwalla indeed) but here is the cool stuff – The Cranberries appear on the show! Phoebe decides to return to school to complete a degree in Psychology and Prue leaves her job mid-season to follow her dream of becoming a photographer. She also has a brief relationship with¬†Jack Sheridan whom she meets at Bucklands before leaving. This season also sees the sisters’ powers growing as they begin to gain more control over their powers. Phoebe learns to command premonitions, Piper selectively freezes objects, and Prue gains the power of astral projection. They also begin to learn how to write and cast their own spells and to create their own vanquishing potions. And bounce around more efficiently!

I’ve already started season 3 and I hope it gets better. During the show’s run on Indian tv, I missed most of the first 3 seasons but watched the rest a lot more.

Brown Man Down

What’s up good people? I’ve been down but not out for a couple of days and just back on my feet. On Wednesday morning I went out for some errands and it was a hot, sweaty & muggy day. I was back home by afternoon and we had heavy thunder & lightning with lots of rain in the evening hours. By around 7pm I felt that I was getting a slight temperature and a bad cold coming on. I went to bed early, relaxed with a movie and then slept a long time. It didn’t work!

I woke up on Thursday morning with a bad sore throat, cough, cold and a runny nose and overall feeling sick. No temperature though and I was atleast glad for that. But I had bad sneezing bouts which usually trigger breathing difficulties for me (as I suffer from bronchitic asthma) and I was mostly resting in bed. I took some vicks drops and also did a little inhalation followed by lots of hot water, coffee & resum for my throat & cough. I felt all yucky throughout the day. Another early night for me as I went to sleep watching Bones season 2.

I slept a lot last night, almost 10 hours and woke up very late too. Spent almost 90 minutes just starring at the ceiling and not feeling that great but once I did get outta bed I felt much better. I managed to even take a shower at 5pm, cause I was sweating as the day was hot and my clothes were starting to stick to me. So I showered and I feel much better. I still have a blocked nose but it’s getting better. By Sunday,I’m sure that I will be back to normal.

Earthquake Hits Indonesia; Tremors Felt In India

At 2:10 pm Indonesia’s geophysical agency has reported an earthquake of 8.6 on Richter scale off Aceh, and has issued a tsunami warning. Soon on twitter, people were talking of tremors in Mumbai, Delhi, Ooty, Chennai, Trivandrum and ofcourse we felt it here in Cochin as well!

It felt weird. I was lying down on my bed watching a movie on my laptop. I felt myself shaking and then the bed shaking and at first thought I was having a dizzy spell. Then no! It continued on for a couple of minutes and I couldn’t really register as to what was going on. Soon my folks called me as dad had felt the same and he was out on the balcony trying to see if there was anything on the street that could be causing it. We checked the news and it was an earthquake!

In some offices people have been asked to clear out and stand in open areas and areas designated as assembly points until further news could be provided. No reports of damage, injury or any deaths so far. I did see some clips of cracks on old houses and buildings in parts of Kerala.

On the beaches at Chennai, policemen used megaphones to ask people to leave, with little effect.  Mobile phone networks were jammed in the city till 4 pm.   In Andhra Pradesh, fishermen  were  asked to return from sea.  In the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, civilians  were asked to move to higher ground.  In Kolkata, metro trains were stopped at 2.40 pm for nearly an hour; as a precaution, passengers were evacuated.

A second round of tremors was felt in India in cities like Kolkata and Chennai at 4.25 pm as a tsunami alert remained in place for 28 countries including India.  Indonesia has issued a new tsunami warning following an aftershock that hovered around 8.2 on the Richter scale. Officials in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have prepped for emergency processes and remain on high alert.  Press Trust of India reports that the government has evacuated some people from South Andaman as a precaution.

Last Library Visit

It’s been ages since I was last in a library. When I was a teenager I had two library memberships – one was a very small collection above a supermarket (which was then the only actual supermarket in the city and hence we went there once a week) and the other was a proper library with a solid collection of books, occupying a half floor of a building. The one above the supermarket had to share it’s space (all 4 large shelves of books) with a video tape rental, a dry cleaners, a gift shop and an ice cream parlour.

From the age of 12 till 17 I used to  go to the small library and rent a couple of novels for a week or two and return the books always well in advance. Their selections were poor but for a bookworm like me that was the only real place I had to go. Until I joined Elloor lending library which was near three major colleges in the city and hence always have a heavy flow of students who also liked to read coming and going at all hours of the day. I used to love this library because they had very cheap membership fees but had an awesome collection. I used to rent 2 to 3 big novels, a bunch of Archies comics and maybe a Tintin or Astrix ever two weeks from the age of 17 till 20. I loved reading and since there was no internet at the time reading was the major way I spent most of  my free time.

Also I had a girlfriend at the time and we used to plan our meetings at the library, spend an hour there and then go to one of the ice cream parlours that served as the only meeting place for young lovers to spend some quality time (wink, wink) with each other during those years. Ofcourse after the year 2000 the number of such places to hang out mushroomed, making me think that if only I was born a few years later! Anyways, I haven’t been to a library since 1999 when I was 23 and I went and cancelled my membership as I didn’t want the yearly fees to be incurred. I started buying more novels and trying to maintain a good home library.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a 2010 fantasy adventure film, produced by¬†Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by¬†Jon Turteltaub, from Disney. Starring Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Theresa Palmer, Alice Krige & Monica Bellucci. The film is named after the The Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment in Disney’s Fantasia (with one scene being an extensive reference to it), which in turn is based on the late 1890s symphonic poem by Paul Dukas and the 1797 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ballad.

The plot of the movie is Balthazar Blake’s (Cage) hunt for the Prime Merliner, who he finds is a young 10 year old boy living in Manhattan named Dave Stutler and who will one day inherit the powers of the great sorcerer Merlin. Balthazar, a former appretice of Merlin, has to fight off Maxim Horvath (Molina) another of Merlin’s students who betrayed him to y joining forces with the evil sorceress¬†Morgana le Fay¬†(Alice Krige). In a fight between Morgana/Horvath against Balthazar, a third apprentice Veronica stops her by imprisoning Morgana and Veronica in the Grimhold, a magic prison in the shape of a¬†nesting doll. Throughout history Balthazar imprisons Morganians, sorcerers who try to release Morgana, including Horvath, into successive layers on the Grimhold while he searches for the successor.

10 years before the main events of the movie Balthazar finds the Prime Merliner aka Dave who happens to visit his antique shop. However Dave accidentally releases Horvath and while battling for possession of the Grimhold, Balthazar and Horvath are imprisoned in an ancient Chinese urn with a ten-year lock. No one believes Dave as when others enters the store, there is no trace of the battle. 10 years pass by when the urn is opened, releasing Horvath & Balthazar. Balthazar must now recruit Dave, convince him of his abilities and teach him to use his powers. Horvath meanwhile takes a famous magician to assist him in his endeavors. Throw in the love angle of Dave (Baruchel) and his childhood crush Becky (Palmer).

Visually I loved this movie and the effects are convincingly enough for even the most cynical fan to appreciate this film. Plot & acting wise there is nothing special to the movie; you basically know how everything is going to work out. Jay Baruchel basically provide all the fun elements of the movie with his humour and ranting. Cage is cool & suave as the grizzled veteran and I always like Molina as a villain. Unfortunately both Alice Krige & Monica Bellucci have very little screen time and are underused in the movie. Theresa Palmer is lovely as usual. There’s the¬†animated steel eagle created out of a¬†Chrysler Building¬†gargoyle, a charging metal bull & a Chinese paper dragon that morphs into a real fire-breathing one. Good enjoyment for an afternoon.

7 outta 10!

FS Old Training Team Boys Reunion

Well I’m back from a little party / reunion. The old guys in my former team in First Source wanted to have a reunion with some booze and food and we picked today evening to have it. The date was fixed two day ago but the timing and venue was another thing altogether. We couldn’t finalize on a place or time for our reunion until the very last minute and since a couple of them had to leave before it got too late, we choose Velocity bar & restaurant for the venue and picked 5pm as the meeting time.

Things didn’t go exactly as planned due to various reasons (including taffifc blocks, office stuff & the rain) but it was still a very enjoyable evening.

We ended up having a few drinks (vodka, brandy & beer) and some snacks at Velocity until 9pm when 4 of us later went to have some dinner at a Arabian food place. We had some alfam chicken with khuboos for dinner, which was delicious. All in all a good evening.