Fish n’Chips – Much Better Version

Ok, a few weeks ago (in November) I had posted a pic of a fish n chips plate I had from Abad’s Cafe Canopy. I had labelled it as a miniature version of fish n chips and was disappointed in both the size of the dish and the taste. A few days back I tried it again in the evening after a tiring day and I must say that this time – they did a much better job. The fish pieces were bigger, juicer and more succulent. Just amazingly delicious. Can’t say the same for the chips or French fries as they weren’t that good but overall I loved it so much.

The Second Lady By Irving Wallace

I’ve read this book a couple of times – once as a 13 year old and a couple of times more recently – and it’s a fun read each time. Irving Wallace, an author known for his heavy research and sexual themes for his books, died in 1990 but is known for some of his best sellers, including this one The Second Lady. This book, published in 1980, is about a fictional plot carried out by the Russians to gain a political edge against the United States. During a good-will visit to the Soviet Union, the American president’s wife is kidnapped and replaced with a Russian spy who is visibly indistinguishable from the first lady. The Soviets need a spy close to the president in order to learn the weaknesses of an American-backed regime in Africa that is currently the focus of a stand off between the superpowers.

The ambitious & outrageous plan is the brainchild of General Petrov, who followed the American elections closely and realized 6 months before the results that a beautiful stage actress Vera Vavilova looked amazingly like Billie Bradford – the wife of the presidential candidate tipped to win the race. He puts his plan in place using the help of Alexyi Razin, a Russian born & raised mostly in the US, to groom the young actress to imitate & play the role of a lifetime – that of the first lady of the United States. Andrew Bradford does win the race and is elected president, so the KGB has Vera operated on to make her look exactly like Billie. Razin grooms her and gets her language & accent lessons and they even have a the interiors of the White House duplicated so Vera can know her way in & out. 3 years from when she started her “training” the plan is set into action and Billie is rugged and switched with Vera. The plan is to switch them back after 3 weeks, after Vera finds out vital information from the President.

If it hadn’t been for former campaign writer, Guy Parker, who was attached the White House and writing a book on the first Lady and started noticing the changes & odd details about the first lady ever since her return from Russia, they would have gotten away with it. He talks to Billie’s press secretary (and the object of Guy’s lust) and although she initially brushes away his concerns, she later starts to share them. They find out about the imposter but who can they go to? Ultimately, the Soviets decide to kill both the spy and the president’s real wife using explosives. At the end of the movie  the plan is only partly successful – one of the women survives and the other dies with Razin, but it is not clear which. The reader is left to decide whether the woman who returns to the president is indeed his real wife or the spy, because the only one who knows for sure is the lady herself!

Three Doors

In a nightmare, you’ve encountered three doors. Choose one, and let us know what you find on the other side.

The three doors that face me are equally daunting looking. Broken at places and with the paint chipped in a lot of places yet they each looked unique due to the colours. One red, one green and one blue. I had no idea which one to choose as each could be filled with dangers untold and that could prove fatal for me. Yet I knew I had to get out of this damn corridor and find a way back to my home. I needed to choose one quickly. But which one?

How much time did I have? I don’t know the answer to that one but it is imperative that I make the right choice. My life may well depend upon it. I hesitate, look to all 3 and then rule out the red door. Why? Because the colour itself signals “stop, do not proceed” and “danger”. So now it was down to two – the green or the blue. Green meant good things and to proceed so should I take that one? I reach for the door knob and almost open it but then – wait, blue is so much better. Blue is peaceful and calm. I should pick blue. I take my hand back and move towards the blue door. Yes, just looking at the door has a calming affect on me. The faded blue colour reminded me of a comfortable, old pair of jeans, the blue sky and the ocean water. I must pick blue. And so I did; stepped up and opened the door knob and fully opened the door.

Only to find a big ugly blue monster waiting for me! And it was hungry.

Wrath Of The Titans

The sequel to 2010’s Clash Of The Titans remake, Wrath Of The Titans was released last year. The film stars Sam Worthington,Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Édgar Ramírez, Toby Kebbell, Danny Huston, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson with Jonathan Liebesman directing a screenplay by Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson.

The events of the film take place 10 years after Perseus, the demi-god son of Zeus defeated the Kraken. He now lives a quite life of a fisherman in a village with his son, his wife  having died earlier. However he is called back into action as his father Zeus is betrayed by his son Ares (and Perseus half brother) and captured by his quarreling brother (and uncle to both Ares & Perseus) Hades. With Zeus other brother Poseidon killed in the ambush, Zeus is shacked in irons in the underworld prison of Tartus.  In an exchange to remain immortal and powerful, Hades and Ares plan to drain Zeus’ divine power to revive Kronos, the father of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. In order to defeat the monsters unleashed by Kronis getting more powerful and to save his father, Perseus must take up his sword and join his cousin the demi-god Agenor and the queen Andromeda and find the fallen god Hephaestus, who knows the way into Tartarus as he built the damn prison centuries ago.

What a family mess! Anyway here are my thoughts on the movie:

  • The whole story is a ram-shackling mess. There is barely any time for the characters to fleshen out. Having said that the film is quite fast paced after the first 10 minutes or so.
  • There’s a little humour in the movie – mostly from Tobby Kebbell as Agenor – but even that doesn’t save this movie from being a bit one-dimensional and to be honest, a bit boring and predictable. The two brothers – Zeus and Hades fighting and then reunited after an emotional little plea  by older brother Zeus and voila! Hades forgets his quest for revenge for being banished to the underworld.
  • None of the actors are to be blames for seemingly be too wooden – it’s the script!
  • The special effects and locations are once again just fantastic. Loves the fight scenes and the creatures and the two cyclops (hugely underused).
  • The others were right – Sam Worthington looks ridiculous in that hairstyle!
  • While I liked the previous movie and the original 1980 one as well, this one just passed muster with me. I even got a little bored. I highly doubt I’ll see it again. Unless I want to do a two parter Titan movie.

I’d give it a 6.5, just slightly above passing grade for me.

Flashpoint – Season 3

Season 3 introduces us to Ed’s younger brother Roy (played by Colin Cunningham) who ignored Ed’s order not to approach the situation, and got his partner killed. A planned raid on an escaped convict sees the man take a teenage boy and a baby hostage at a drive-in motel. Team One raids the room and ends the stand-off, but the teenager inexplicably vanishes. Discovering a hidden trapdoor leading to a sewer and a cache of information that suggests the teenager is a serial killer, Ed leads Sam and Wordy in an effort to stop the boy before he kills someone. However, Parker and Jules discover more information about the boy that suggests he is not a psychopath, but has Asperger syndrome. The second episode is about a woman (Kelly Rowan) who has recently been released from prison and is looking to reclaim her children, who were put into foster care when she was convicted. The girls were legally adopted while she was in prison, however, and she has no legal claim to being their mother. When one of the girls has an allergic reaction, the woman takes hostages in a drug store, demanding that they treat her daughter and that the SRU allow her to leave with her daughters.

Team One is tipped off to a white supremacist group who is planning a spate of bombings against immigrants across the city. The team is able to apprehend most of the members, but three bombers escape and the SRU must find them before their bombs are detonated. One is caught before he can plant his bomb, but his capture alerts his friend, who announces his intention to detonate his bomb in a busy office building. While Sam and Jules try to talk him down, Ed and Wordy chase the group’s leader, who has planted the third and final bomb with the girlfriend of the man who alerted the police. Sam and Jules convince the bomber to give up moments before his bomb detonates, while Ed disarms the third bomb. The leader is taken into custody, but the young men reject his teachings. The SRU responds to an abduction of a high school student, Carlton, but he flees once he has been rescued. He is spotted on the roof of his school the next day, threatening to jump. Parker approaches him, and the SRU learns of a disturbing culture of silence and abuse in the boy’s basketball team. Distraught that the kidnapping has left his friend suicidal, a second basketball player takes the coach hostage as revenge. After talking Carlton out off jumping, the SRU enlists his help to stop his friend. When Team One responds to a “shots fired” call, they discover Ed’s brother, Roy, is deeply involved with an arms dealer. Suspended from duty and suspected of stealing $100,000 from an evidence locker, Roy has infiltrated the arms dealer’s operations as a buyer to prove he is a good officer, and intends to get revenge against the man who sold the gun that killed his partner in “Unconditional Love.” Roy leads Ed and the SRU to the heart of dealer’s operations, but is forced to break his cover to save Jules. The arms dealer shoots Roy before being shot in turn by Sam. Roy survives, as he was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Ed admonishes his brother for being stupid, but also shows him respect for his initiative.

Alexis, a grade-school girl who has built a relationship with a 911 operator over the course of a series of false alarms, appears to be threatened with a real kidnapping that sees her mother shot. When more shots are fired in front of the assembled police and the SRU, Team One learns that Alexis and her family are federally protected witnesses, after she witnessed the murder of her friend by three corrupt police officers, who are now in pursuit. With her mother in the hospital and her father taking one of the corrupt officers hostage, Alexis believes she is left alone in the world. Longing for friends of her own and wanting to finally stop running, she is confronted by one of the officers in a playground before he is shot by Greg Parker. Meanwhile, Greg’s son, Dean, comes to the station. Team One becomes the subject of an investigation into its handling of a horrific killing spree at business party held in a city museum. Facing criticism for taking 37 minutes to bring the situation under control (when similar situations had been contained within 15 minutes), the team members recount their actions. Initially suspecting it was a random killing, evidence emerges that the killings are targeted. The perpetrator is a woman distraught at her husband’s death from an allergic reaction to the binding agent in a drug made by the business hosting the party. When her attempt to force the company to change the drug with a lawsuit fails, she decides to take revenge, killing everyone involved in the case. Meanwhile, Ed discovers that the investigating agent is on a witch hunt as she blames Parker for her partner’s death when he joined the SRU.

After his wife’s testimony on his behalf at his murder trial of their daughter doesn’t go as planned, Frank McCormick (Jonathan Scarfe) finds himself in a prisoner transport van with a fellow prisoner who has an escape plan. Team One initially focuses on the prosecuting attorney as Frank’s likely target for revenge. In a desperate attempt to restore his wife’s (Cara Pifko) trust in him, Frank uses his escape to try and prove the evidence presented at his trial is faulty. After capturing the other prisoner and his accomplice, Team One changes its focus to Frank’s wife as the most likely target, which in turn leads to Frank to take the coroner (Barbara Eve Harris) who performed the autopsy on his daughter hostage. It turns out that his daughter died from a rare disease and not was not shaken to death. As the standoff ends, Ed gets word that his wife is on the way to the hospital due to complications from her pregnancy. What looks like a man anxious to withdraw a large sum of money from his own account turns into a bank robbery. Team One discovers that the man, whose identity was stolen by the bank robber, has been kidnapped, and a ransom of $40,000 is demanded before a bone marrow donation will be done to save Chris, a child with leukemia. Jules goes to the hospital where she finds Ava, the Chris’ mother. She reveals who is the real Chris’ biological father. On Jules’ day off, a man with a handgun holds patrons hostage in a restaurant. The suspect is convinced that there is a terrorist bomb about to go off, and demands the presence of the restaurant owner (who is of Middle Eastern descent) who is accused of being the lead terrorist. The SRU interviews the owner, who admits donating to a charity that was later discovered to be a front for terrorism money laundering, however the federal investigation concluded that the owner was not connected to any terrorists. The SRU also finds that the suspect is schizophrenic, which, combined with recent terrorism news coverage, heightens his suspicious.

When a police car transporting prisoners crashes with a bus, the prisoners escape to the bus with the unconscious officer’s gun. When the police officer responding to the crash is shot, the SRU is called to the scene. When the driver of the car involved in the crash is identified as Sgt. MacCoy from 52 division, Spike is desperate to rescue his mentor. With the bus on fire, the prisoners and Sgt. MacCoy flee. Until a report of a police officer carjacking a woman is received, Spike believes Sgt. MacCoy is a hostage. When it is revealed that he pulled rank to get the prisoner transfer and that he insisted upon doing it without a partner, Spike has a hard time accepting that his former mentor and training officer is involved with corruption, drug dealers, and an attempted gang execution because he was so devoted to taking care of his recently deceased wife and troubled daughter. Jackie (Rachel Blanchard) was caught skimming credit card data and is now working as a snitch on her boyfriend Alexander Carson’s (Tim Rozon) operation cloning, high-limit credit cards of big spenders all over the city. When Jackie reports that the in-person meeting between her boyfriend and Mark Griffin, a big player in data theft who is looking to buy the operation, is going to happen that night at Carson’s club, Detective Merry Danner (Natalie Brown) from the financial crimes division works with Team One to shut them down. Carson’s best friend, Tom (Richard Chevolleau), inadvertently ruins Team One’s plan to contain the bust when he unlocks the interior door to the room where the deal is going down. In the confusion, Carson and Jackie escape, forcing Tom to come with them.

While waiting for a delivery of money from his off-site office, Carson questions who told the police about the meeting. When Tom accuses Jackie of being the snitch, a fight breaks out and Carson shoots Tom. Team One catches up with Carson and Jackie at the airport as they were about to escape on a plane that had already been chartered as the return flight for Mr Griffin. All the while, Ed is struggling with an ultimatum from his wife. In an emotional season finale (but part one of twoparter) Members of Team One try to figure out who has it in for them when a military psychologist (Victor Garber) with the reputation of being a ‘team breaker’ is brought in to run their routine psych evaluations. Meanwhile, Eds life is on the line after a case of bad timing results in being shot more than half a dozen times away from the team.

2013 Oscar Nominees Are….

These are some of the categories (the ones I have an interest in)

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”
Hugh Jackman in “Les Misérables”
Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”
Denzel Washington in “Flight”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Alan Arkin in “Argo”
Robert De Niro in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones in “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained”

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour”
Quvenzhané Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Naomi Watts in “The Impossible”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Amy Adams in “The Master”
Sally Field in “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables”
Helen Hunt in “The Sessions”
Jacki Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best animated feature film of the year

“Brave” Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
“Frankenweenie” Tim Burton
“ParaNorman” Sam Fell and Chris Butler
“The Pirates! Band of Misfits” Peter Lord
“Wreck-It Ralph” Rich Moore

Achievement in directing

“Amour” Michael Haneke
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Benh Zeitlin
“Life of Pi” Ang Lee
“Lincoln” Steven Spielberg
“Silver Linings Playbook” David O. Russell

Best foreign language film of the year

“Amour” Austria
“Kon-Tiki” Norway
“No” Chile
“A Royal Affair” Denmark
“War Witch” Canada

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“Anna Karenina” Dario Marianelli
“Argo” Alexandre Desplat
“Life of Pi” Mychael Danna
“Lincoln” John Williams
“Skyfall” Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice”
Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted” Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
“Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi” Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
“Skyfall” from “Skyfall” Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
“Suddenly” from “Les Misérables” Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Best motion picture of the year

“Amour” Nominees to be determined
“Argo” Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
“Django Unchained” Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers
“Les Misérables” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
“Life of Pi” Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
“Lincoln” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
“Silver Linings Playbook” Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
“Zero Dark Thirty” Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers

Achievement in visual effects

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
“Life of Pi”
Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
“Marvel’s The Avengers”
Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
“Prometheus”
Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
“Snow White and the Huntsman”
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

The Very First Day Of School

How many of you remember your first ever day of School? I seem to remember quite a lot about that day. I must have been age 5 when I first went to school. Until then I think I was sent to a playschool near my home in Kuwait. But at age 5, I was enrolled to Carmel School Kuwait – a school run by catholic nuns, mostly Indians, and the same school as where my elder sister went. Infact, joining my big sister and going with her was the big exciting factor for – yeah I was a kid and stupid, move past it!

So days before the opening of school, I got my school uniform and we went shopping for a school bag, water bottle, lunch box, pencil set and stuff. New shoes etc. The previous evening I wouldn’t calm down and I think my parents must have secretly fed me some drugs to make me finally go to sleep as I was so excited. The next day I woke up, brushed my teeth, took a bath and  had breakfast. I couldn’t wait to dress myself in my new uniform (light blue shirts and dark blue pants) and was admiring myself in the mirror. “Hot dog, don’t I look snazzy?” My sister led me to the pick up point just outside the building we lived in, and there were a few other kids from my building going to the same school but only I was going for the first time, and we waited for the school bus. Once it got there, I couldn’t even sit in my seat for more than 2 minutes at a time as I was super excited. And then we reached the school!!!

How cruel of my parents to send me to a bunch of strangers? A lot of grim nuns who didn’t look too friendly (not surprising) and a bunch of other women who tried smiling too much at us. In a class of 45 atleast 38 were crying – including me! I cried in the first period and the 2nd. The next while till lunch must have been more friendlier, and then lunch where my sister came to check up on me. More crying when more teachers came in and then it was time to go home. With a still sticky face I went to meet my sister who led me to the bus that goes to our route. I survived! I endured the horror and I was heading home. Home where mom was waiting with a cold glass of milk and a snack. Watching cartoons till dinner time and explaining all the details to my dad when he was home. And I must have noticed the wry smile that was passed between my parents – cause they knew what was going to happen next!

I woke up the next day and oh no – the horror has to start again! How cruel!

Scars Of Dracula

The next movie in the Hammer Horror series is Scars Of Dracula in 1970, with Christopher Lee returning as the Count. Carrying off from where the last movie ended, Dracula is resurrected when a large bat comes in and drips blood over his remains (his cape, a scattered pile of red dust and dried blood). After a year or so in Dracula’s homeland, the villagers are angered by the death of another young woman. With a priest’s blessing, they rise up and set fire to Castle Dracula. However, the Count is safely asleep in a solid stone crypt. When the villagers return home, they find that every single woman and child in the village has been slaughtered in the church by bats. Much later a playboy, Paul Carlson having just spent the afternoon making love to the burgomasters’ daughter, gets ready to leave for the birthday party of friend Sarah Framsen (whom Paul’s brother Simon covets). He is falsely accused of rape by his lover when her father walks in on them and sees his daughter naked but for a sheet.

Paul escapes from their house and goes to the party but soon leaves when the cops show up looking for him. Paul runs into the woods and jumping into a nearby coach which, though driverless, heads off at great speed and stops at Dracula’s mountain top castle. Initially he is welcomed by the Count and a beautiful woman named Tania who later reveals herself to be a prisoner of Dracula as his mistress. Paul later has a liaison with Tania who concludes their lovemaking by trying to bite his neck. Dracula enters and, casually throwing off Paul’s efforts to stop him, savagely stabs Tania to death with a dagger for betraying him. The vampires servant Klove dismembers her body and dissolves the pieces in a bath of either holy water or acid. Trapped in a room high in the castle, Paul uses a line to climb down to a lower window but the line is withdrawn by Klove and he is trapped in a dark room with only door locked and a coffin at the center of the room.

Simon & Sarah go in search for him and find a tavern in the old village where Paul briefly stopped and get directions to the castle from the bar mail who almost made out with Paul. Dracula welcomes them and immediately decides that he must have the beautiful Sarah but so does Klove, who falls in love with the lass on seeing her. He refuses to remove Sarah’s crucifix when she is sleeping and thus is whipped by Dracula. Simon, having enlisted the help of the village priest, goes back to the castle to look for his brother. However, the priest is attacked by a large bat and killed and Simon is betrayed by Klove, ending up in the same locked room as his brother. Opening the coffin in the middle of the room, Simon discovers the sleeping Dracula, but the vampire’s power reaches through his closed eyelids causing the young man to collapse before he can take action against the Count. When he recovers, Simon finds Paul’s corpse and then sees that Dracula has his bat remove the crucifix off Sarah’s neck.

Just then, Klove arrives on the battlements attacks the Count with the dagger the vampire used to murder Tania. But the servant is hopelessly outmatched by the vampire’s inhuman strength and is thrown over the side of the castle by Dracula. Simon arrives and throws a heavy iron spike at the Count with the intention of staking him in the heart. the spike pierces the Count, but on the wrong side of the chest. Unharmed, Dracula raises the spike ready to impale Simon. But the spike is struck by lightning and Dracula, is immediately engulfed in flames. Staggering in agony, the Count collapses and topples over the castle’s battlements before falling to the far ground below where his corpse continues to burn fiercely.

6 outta 10! The movie was kinda boring in places.

Supernatural – Season 5

Season 5 is by far the best season of the tv series. The whole season is so cool because of the element of Lucifer. Now I’m not sure I agree with the casting of Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer or rather the human form that Satan takes over, or even some of his portrayal as the fallen angel but the season overall makes up for it. The revelation comes that Sam is supposed to be the true vessel for Lucifer and that only the archangel Michael’s sword can defeat him – and the sword is actually Dean, Michael’s true vessel! Bobby is left without the use of his legs after being possessed by a demon and Castiel can’t save him as he is cut off from heaven and left without most of his powers. He tells Dean that he wants to find God, the only one who can defeat Lucifer and leaves. Later Dean & Cas lure out the archangel Raphael in his human vessel, hoping he can help them find god but Raphael even says that god might be dead.

Meanwhile Zachariah does everything he can to convince Dean to agree to become Michael’s vessel, even transporting him into the future to show him the consequences of saying ‘no’; a bleak future with people ravaged by a disease and Lucifer in Sam’s body. But Michael stays firm and rejoins Sam and begins hunting again.  Dean tells Sam that starting the Apocalypse isn’t his fault alone as he himself had broken the first seal and that they shouldn’t think about the whole vessel thing too much but instead fight together.

While investigating a homicide apparently executed by the Incredible Hulk, Sam and Dean are trapped inside TV land. They suspect the Trickster is the reason for it, and attempt to track him down. Sam suggests they ask the Trickster for help fighting the Apocalypse, and Dean reluctantly agrees. They encounter him several times, but are unable to trap him until Dean remembers a warning from Castiel about the Trickster, which leads the brothers to believe the Trickster is in fact a far more powerful creature than a simple demigod. They manage to lure him and trap him in a burning circle of holy oil. Since the Trickster is unable to escape, it confirms their suspicions that he is actually an angel. He applauds them and admits he’s actually the Archangel Gabriel, who voluntarily fell from Grace several years before as he grew tired of watching his brothers fight each other. He trapped Sam and Dean because he wants them to agree to be Lucifer’s and Michael’s vessels, respectively, in order to end the Apocalypse. Gabriel also states that the lives of Sam and Dean mirror the lives of Lucifer and Michael, since Sam rebelled against his father while Dean remained obedient. Dean still refuses to say yes to becoming a vessel, but before they leave, he frees Gabriel from his trap and accuses him of simply being too afraid to stand up against his own family.

The brothers get the Colt back from Crowley, a demon, who states  that he wants Lucifer dead because he believes that eventually Lucifer will kill all demons after he destroys humanity. Jo & Ellen are killed while fighting off hellhounds and blows them up along with them. The Winchesters must also deal with the angel Anna, who travels back in time to stop Mary and John Winchester from conceiving Sam. Just as Anna is about to kill Mary, the Archangel Michael, having possessed John’s body, enters the room and burns Anna to death. Dean & Sam are killed by angry hunters and go to heaven where they find the happiest moments of their lives. On their way they meet Ash, living in an illusional Roadhouse. He says that the people sent to Heaven are rewarded for their good deeds with a replica of their happiest memory. They also encounter Pamela, who states that being dead and in Heaven is not so bad, after all. The angel Joshua tells Dean that God will not help them. It is revealed that He is the one who put them on that airplane in the begining of the season, brought back Castiel and now granted them salvation in Heaven. Joshua then returns them to Earth with their memories, where the brothers meet Castiel and tell him everything.

Dean leaves for a while to go and see Lisa and her son Ben, not knowing if he will ever see her again and tells her that he loves her. Meanwhile Zachariah uses Adam, their half-brother, as bait to get Dean to agree to be Michael’s vessel but when Michael descends, the three brothers flee but Adam is trapped inside and disappears. While on the road they then find a hotel in which a group of pagan gods, including Kali, Ganesh, Mercury, Zao Shen, Baron Samedi, Odin, and Baldur, who want to use them as bargaining chips to stop the Apocalypse.  Dean and Sam are soon joined by Gabriel under his Loki persona, who is willing to help them out. Lucifer is summoned by Mercury. He arrives and kills Mercury, and all of the other gods save for Kali. Gabriel shows up to help the brothers and sends them away. As he faces Lucifer for the first time in centuries, Gabriel tells him he’s not loyal to him or Michael, but to humans, because despite their flaws, they’re always willing to try harder and forgive. As Gabriel makes his move, Lucifer is onto him and kills him. Outside, Dean and Sam watch a movie Gabriel gave to them, in which the archangel explains to them that they can’t kill Lucifer, but they can trap him back in Hell. All they need are the four rings that belong to the Horsemen to do this.Dean goes with Crowley to find Death and get the last ring. They locate Death in Chicago, which according to Bobby is about to be wiped out by the storm of the millennium. Death explains that he is tied to Lucifer through a spell. This is the only reason he didn’t try to find Dean, but has instead had to wait for him. He offers to give him his ring, but there is one condition; agree to Sam saying yes to Lucifer so they can lure him into the trap. Dean agrees, receiving the ring and instructions on how to use all four of them to trap Lucifer.

In the season finale, Chuck narrates the story of the life of the Impala and how the boys spent their time in it. Sam and Dean confront Lucifer, who knows of their plan to use the Horsemen’s rings to trap him back in his cage. Despite this, Sam offers himself as a vessel, hoping that he can overcome Lucifer’s control and throw himself into the prison. Lucifer is too strong, and Sam disappears in his body.  Dean learns from Chuck the time and location of the final battle between Michael and Lucifer. The following day at the battleground—Stull Cemetery in Stull, KS (just outside of Lawrence, Kansas) — Lucifer tries to talk Michael out of fighting, but he refuses. However, Castiel interrupts the fight by banishing Michael with holy fire. An angry Lucifer kills Castiel, and then snaps Bobby’s neck when he shoots him. He then starts brutally beating Dean, but stops when he notices an old army man of Sam’s inside the Impala revealed earlier during Chuck’s narration. Sam remembers his life growing up with Dean, and manages to take control of his body. He uses the rings to reopen the door to the cage, and prepares to jump inside. Michael returns and tries to stop him, but he too is pulled into the pit while grappling with Sam. Castiel, resurrected again as an angel, heals Dean and brings Bobby back to life. He returns to Heaven, hoping to bring order now that Michael is gone. As Dean attempts to move on, he seems to turn his back on hunting and returns to Lisa. Chuck smiles after finishing his narration of the story, and vanishes into thin air. Later that night, a streetlight flickers out and Sam is revealed outside Lisa’s home, looking in the window at the “family” eating dinner together.

Indefinite Bus Strike In Kerala

The indefinite bus strike launched by private bus workers since midnight demanding wage hike has hit the mobility of people across the state. Starting from today we have an almost total strike for buses as the state run KSRTC has failed to run additional services (as usual the government fails to help the public when it is needed) and they have used more buses for the Sabirmala area for devotees & pilgrims in that area. Reports from various districts said the impact of the strike was severe in northern and central districts, where people depend heavily on private buses for their movement.

All bus workers unions affiliated to major central trade unions including CITU, INTUC and BMS, are participating in the strike demanding an immediate payment of 50 per cent interim relief. Union leaders said the workers were “compelled” to launch the strike, causing difficulty to the people, as bus owners had refused to honour a commitment on pay increase made during a tripartite negotiation three months back. Therefore a heavy rush was seen by people in the available KSRTC buses in the cities, like in Cochin.

To make matters worse government offices will come to a standstill from tomorrow after employees and teaches start an indefinite strike seeking withdrawal of the government decision to introduce contributory pension. A section of KSRTC employees too have supported the strike and will protest from 6 am to 6 pm tomorrow. Wonderful, just wonderful my dear Keralites.

Emerging Kerala my ass! We can’t even get to work properly.

Which Diseases Would You Cure If You Could?

If you were a mad scientist and could create a cure for any disease, which disease would you cure and why?

Stupidity, arrogance, racism, hatred, malice, rape, murder, incest, war mongering, terrorism, creationism, religion, infanticide, bullying, etc etc etc. Please add to it as you join me in listing the list of diseases that plague us. We need to get rid of them and if I could become a mad scientist or a normal one and find a cure I would concentrate on finding a cure for these diseases and rid mankind of them. Come on people, animals behave much better than us!

Now that rant is out of the way let’s talk about diseases as defined by medical doctors. Everything, everything that plagues us. I want a cure and even a prevention or an outright eradication of each and every disease that affects us. Cancer, AIDS, arthritis, malaria, all kinds of flu, ALS, breathing disorders like asthma – everything. Even the common cold, coughs & headaches. Out with you all disease. I wish we could find a cure for everything and then whoosh! get rid of them once and for all. Hopefully in the future all these diseases will be wiped out and humans will be immune to all of them plus a host of new ones that we haven’t heard of yet.

Oh wait, all diseases that affect dogs, cats and another animals too! None of them should have to suffer anything. Hey how about old age? What about death? What if we could get rid of death? We’d colonize other planets & moons and terraform them to fit our needs and we’d spread out to all these worlds, traveling in huge highly advanced spaceships, taking our animals & birds with us too, and explore the galaxy and increase our knowledge of the universe. Diseases, what diseases?

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Ted

2012 has seen a bunch of movies being released and some highly expected ones were successful and some weren’t. A highly anticipated and successful movie, in fact it is so far the highest ever grossing R rated comedy movie ever, is Ted. Directed, co-produced, co-written, and starring the voice of Seth MacFarlane alongside Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis in leading roles. Giovanni Ribissi, Joel McHale, Jessica Barth, Sam T Jones, Jessica Stroup & Laura Vandervoot have supporting roles and Tom Skerritt & Ryan Reynolds have cameos.

This hilarious film is all about a young boy named John Bennett who not having any friends gets a teddy  bear for Christmas and wishes for it to be alive. As fate would have it, a wishing star happens to pass the night sky above him and his wish comes true. Ted & John become the best of friends and Ted also gets a few years as a celebrity, going for interviews and appears on magazines & newspapers across the globe but that dies out soon. 27 years after they become friends, 35 year old John is a slacker working in a rent-a-car company and best buds with Ted. They live together in an apartment with Lori, John’s office worker girlfriend of 4 years, while watching their favourite movies & tv and smoking a lot of pot. Lori feels that John can only mature if Ted moves out and after a couple of embarrassing incidents, John helps Ted find a job, in a supermarket, and an apartment and wants to move on to become a more mature individual. However he & Ted keep getting into trouble and having fun, causing a rift between him and Lori.

What you’ll love in the movie is the racy language & jokes and the hilarity that ensues each time Ted talks or does anything. Ted doing lewd stuff to impress Tammy Lynn the hot cashier girl, Ted throwing a party which has his & John’s childhood idol Sam T Jones (who played Flash Gordon), drinking beer, smoking pot, – Ted partying with 4 hookers, one of whom shits on the carpet on a dare!!! – everything is funny. Oh add to the mix is Lori’s boss who wants her and Donny (Ribisi in an odd role for him) a father who wants to buy Ted for his kid. After the Sam Jones party, Lori breaks up with John for leaving an event they were together at without informing her and John blames his friendship with Ted for losing the love of his life. Ted tries to patch things up with John, only for the two of them to come to blows, breaking stuff in John’s motel room, before making up and then trying to get Lori to take John back. That’s when Donny & his son Robert steal Ted and take him to their house to be Robert’s playmate. Ted tries to escapes from the house and calls John for help (while evading Donny dancing to I think we’re alone now by Tiffany) but gets caught.

John & Lori chase Donny & Robert who have Ted in their car. After a crash, Ted runs into Fenway Park stadium to run away from Donny and John decks a charging Robert. Ted gets ripped in two with a lot of his stuffing coming out (“I look like the android in Aliens 2” ) while Donny is forced to flee when a police car shows up. As John and Lori gather his stuffing, Ted relays his wish that John be happy with Lori, as his life fades away. Unable to accept Ted’s death, John and Lori return to her apartment to try to repair him, but it proves useless. That night, Lori makes a wish on a falling star. The next morning, Ted is magically restored and the couple reconcile with Ted, who encourages John and Lori to resume their relationship. With that resolution, John and Lori get married and Ted continues to live with them, while dating Tammy Lyn.

Hilarious, belly laugh inducing funny stuff. Enjoy it but beware of the lewd stuff if you have kids with you. 9 outta 10!

Ghosts?

I do not believe in ghosts. Makes for good stories and scary movies but it doesn’t hold up in real life. Ghosts are one of those things like vampires, zombies and werewolves – only difference is many more people, a whole lot more people in fact, believe that ghosts are real. They even come up with instances of them seeing the ghosts of a deceased family member or a friend and having the apparition interact with them. Nonsense!

Ghosts – like the other monsters and gods, angels, demons etc – are all figments of an active human imagination, fueled by centuries of ignorance and superstition. Ofcourse some of it makes for a good tale, one you can enjoy rehashing around a camp fire at night,  or while on a trip with your friends. I love a good ghost story and a good ghost film – I can enjoy it even when I know that it’s not true and will not happen in real life. That doesn’t help me for getting a good scare and enjoying the film – that’s what film is; an escape from reality and you can enjoy it in that sense. A fantasy element to make life seem more exciting than it really is.

Never for a moment have I thought that ghosts were real in my adulthood. As a kid it’s a different thing but I think I outgrew the fear that ghosts were real by the age of 10-11, inspite of  having watched a lot of horror movies during the years before hand and since then. I’ve always read scary stuff and yes I do get scared at times but I know what is real and what is not. People who tell you that ghosts are real and that they have seen one are either lying or mistaken or mislead. Get proof, solid proof that will establish beyond a doubt and I’ll believe. Otherwise it’s just bullshit!

Beer Types – Black Lager

Lagers would likely have been mainly dark until the 1840s; pale lagers were not common until the later part of the 19th century when technological advances made them easier to produce. Dark lagers typically range in colour from amber to dark reddish brown, and may be termed dunkel, schwarzbier, Vienna, tmavé or Baltic porter depending on region or brewing method. Tmavé is Czech for “dark”, so is the term for a dark beer in the Czech republic – beers which are so dark as to be black are termed ?erné pivo, “black beer”.

Dunkel is German for “dark”, so is the term for a dark beer in Germany. With alcohol concentrations of 4.5% to 6% by volume, dunkels are weaker than Doppelbocks, another traditional dark Bavarian beer. Dunkels were the original style of the Bavarian villages and countryside. Schwarzbier, a much darker, almost black beer with a chocolate or liquorice-like flavour, similar to stout, is mainly brewed in Saxony and Thuringia.

Vienna lager was developed by brewer Anton Dreher in Vienna in 1841. Austrian brewers who emigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century took the style with them. Vienna lager is a reddish-brown or copper-colored beer with medium body and slight malt sweetness. The malt aroma and flavor may have a toasted character.

Guiness, Vancouver Island, Samuel Adams, Heineken are just a few breweries that have their own black lagers. Pictures here is the Brewmasters Black Lager from the Okanagan Spring Brewery in British Columbia.

Rock Of Ages

2012 saw the release of a rock musical movie – Rock Of Ages  is an adaptation of the 2006  rock  jukebox Broadway musical of the same name by Chris D’Arienzo. The movie is directed by Adam Shankman and has stars country singer Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta as the lead pair with an ensemble cast of Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman and Tom Cruise supporting them. The film features the music of several 1980s rock artists including Def Leppard, Journey, Scorpions, Poison, Foreigner, Guns N’ Roses, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, Bon Jovi, David Lee Roth, Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, and others.

Here’s what I like about the movie:

  • It’s about the love of rock music. It’s got several great songs in it and some cool cover versions. It’s rock, hard rock and soft rock. For a rock & metal fan that’s awesome in a movie! Althought, for being set in the year 1987, some of the songs were originally released post that year. But hey, it’s entertainment!
  • Tom Cruise – he is awesome as the famed rock star Stacee Jaxx. Looks wise, he pulls off a Bret Michaels but the character is all his own and hey Tom can sing! His duet with Malin Akerman, the song I Wanna Know What Love Is by Foreigner is really good. He also is able to look the part.
  • Alec Baldwin is believable as the aging rocker who helped Stacee Jaxx and his band Arsenal get their first shot at stardom and set the ball rolling for them. I’ve always like seeing the eldest Baldwin brother in film and television.
  • Always a pleasure to see Malin Akerman – she does sing well and does a nice gyrating dance with Cruise. Hot bod Malin!
  • Paul Giamatti – is it just me or does he sound just like his character in Tim Burton’s Planet Of The Apes. He just sounds and acts a lot like that. But he was great as the sleazy manager.
  • Watching Kevin Nash after a long time. Big Sexy plays a non-vocal part as one of Stacee’s bodyguards!
  • The monkey that Stacee has in his entourage – deserves and Oscar for best animal in a movie!

Now what I didn’t like about the movie:

  • Having a pop style & country pop style singer doing hard rock numbers – come on! Both Boneta & Hough have good voices but they don’t have good rock music voices. Especially Julianne who even manages to irritate me with some Christina Aguilera style nasally vocal style.
  • Mary J Blige for Rock of Ages – what the fuck? And her hairstyles, sheesh! I can never stand her singing or her music or her!
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones was miscast in this movie. Her dance & singing and her facial expressions seem painful and she just looks out of sorts in this movie. Just watch her during the song in the church, Hit Me With Your Best Shot!
  • The uncomfortable gay love thing between Dennis & his right hand man Lonny – Russel Brand is just ridiculous! Baldwin & Brand look stiff during their love being addressed. And I thought Brand was miscast as well. Oh well, he is a rocker!
  • Overall the story is so cliched and cheesy and it fails.

I was really excited about this movie until I heard that it bombed. Now I usually do not let things like box office and rating deter me from giving it an unbisased viewing and a chance but I have to agree. This could have been so much better. A shame really. 6.5 outta 10! Watch it just for Tom Cruise.

A Brief Absence From The Net

I’ve been having issues with my laptop and finally decided to take the help of the tech team at our office and have them take a look at it. Basically my pc was slow in starting up – two nights ago it took it exactly 20 minutes to boot up – and I also noticed that two folders – one filled with the various wallpapers I use for my desktop and the other, sadly, was a large collection of images from the 5 live action Star Trek tv series & the 11 Star Trek movies as well as various Trek related images – had become corrupt. I could no longer open them and when I double click on these folders, I get an ‘I/O error’ popup message. In fact the latter issue had come up weeks ago but the slowness to the boot up just started a few days ago. But it hadn’t taken this long – 20 minutes is a terrible nightmare – and so I got scared.

I brought my laptop to the office and handed it over to the tech guys. On booting the system they thought that it must be either a virus or that there were some hard disk issues. I asked them to format the hard disk and re-install Win 7 for me from the disk I have. So they did and it looks like there isn’t any issue with the hard disk but it was a possible virus. The drive is now clean and other than Windows 7 files it is empty and waiting to be filled again (kind of like shaving your head bald and waiting for the individual hairs to grow back to full glory). I will take the laptop home this evening and starting installing all the softwares & application that I use. Before bringing the laptop to the office, I had backed up all my files and music and movies that I had on the hard disk. That 1TB drive I bought back in November turned out to be quite handy and critical. So no lost data except for those two folders.

Will be back online this evening I hope!

Update : It was a virus that was creating all the issues. Got my hard disk formatted and reinstalled Windows 7 on it. Works much better now.