Tasted, Smelled & Heard

Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.

A taste – The taste of shawarmas or good khubus, not the crappy ones you usually get in Cochin, reminds me of my childhood in Kuwait. Shawarmas are one of my favourite foods to have and I just love it when it’d done just right. Our family weekend dinners back in Kuwait would be my parents, my sister & I joining my uncle (my mother’s brother), my aunt and later my cousin for a large dinner of khubus, hummus, shawarmas and falafels (my aunt is a vegetarian). And ofcourse pickles soaked in vinegar and olives. Big family fun and big family food. Ofcourse a movie or some good tv shows would follow.

A smell – You’ve got me here. I can’t think of a specific smell or smells that remind me of my childhood. Maybe smell of certain food? The smell of the olive oil – since that’s what we used a lot of in Kuwait as opposed to coconut oil which is predominant here in Kerala – in particular is linked to my childhood. For some reason the smell of glue reminds me of doing Arts & Craft projects in the school. The smell of the ocean reminds me of the beach we used to go to in Kuwait during my childhood.

A piece of music – It’s more theme music of tv shows that I watched & loved as a kid that brings me back to that time. The A Team, Remington Steele, Knight Rider, Battlestar Galactica (this one in particular is highly nostalgic), V, Gimme A Break & Misfits of Science.

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Armageddon

Ah, Armageddon. Originally I planned on watching it as a possible destruction of the world by a comet/asteroid double bill along with Deep Impact but I put it off for no particular reason. This movie came out in 1998 and I remember seeing it once in the theatre and once more on cable, perhaps a year or two later and then haven’t seen it since, which is atleast over 12, almost 13 years. Compared to Deep Impact, I remember this movie as being loud, over the top, filled with cliches, a Hollywood extravaganza, bad acting and typical one liners that could mean anything and one god-awful scene in which still brings nightmares to us viewers. And then as I watched this movie again after this long a gap and the titles flew on the screen, I see Michael Bay – and it all made sense!

1998’s science fiction disaster drama film, directed by Michael Bay, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and released by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures and starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affeck, Liv Tyler, Billy Bob Thronton, Owen Wilson, Peter Stormare,William Fichtner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Keith David, Jessica Steen and Steve Buscemi. Whew that is a long list!

  • There are massive meteor showers hitting New York City, the East Coast and Finland. NASA discovers that along with the space debris, a Texas sized (in the US, everything large is compared to Texas) asteroid is on a collision course with earth in just 18 days. Their plan is to plant a nuclear device deep inside the asteroid while it is on it’s way to earth and detonate it. NASA contacts Harry Stamper (Willis), considered the best deep-sea oil driller in the world, for assistance and advice.
  • Harry listens to their plan and tells head scientist Dan Truman (Thornton) that he cannot possibly train the astronauts to do the drilling using sophisticated equipment right before the mission. Rather he volunteers to join the mission and bring his crew along with him. The crew which includes AJ (Affleck) who Harry is trying to keep away from his daughter Grace (Tyler) join in but only if their long list of demands are met. After some rigorous training and some fun the team go into space – with two small teams of astronauts and the crew in two space shuttles, Freedom & Independence.
  • They dock with a Russian space station manned by a lone cosmonaut Lev Andropov (Stormare) to refuel but a fire breaks out and the crew escape just as it blows up, meaning Lev joins the mission. As the two ships try to land on the asteroid,  Independence hits the debris field and the hull is punctured and it crashes and both NASA and the other crew believe it have been destryed. Only AJ, Lev & Bear (Duncan) survive and they use the mobile drillers or “armadillo” to ride and meet the other crew.
  • Freedom meanwhile missed the landing spot by 26 miles which means that they have to drill through much thicker iron ferrite rather than softer stone which is what was planned. As they drill the fall behind schedule and the shuttle commander Col. Sharp (Fichtner) is order by the military to initiates “Secondary Protocol”; to remote detonate the nuclear weapon on the asteroid’s surface, which apparently will not have any effect. Harry & Col. Sharp fight and finally agree to still try drilling but crew loses their Armadillo and its operator (Campbell) when it strikes a gas pocket and is blown into space. Just as it looks like all hope is lost, AJ, Lev & Bear arrive to complete the drilling.
  • With time running out a dangerous rock storm hits the crew and damages the remote detonator for the bomb. One has to stay behind to manually detonate the bomb while the others escape. After all the non-flight crew volunteers, they draw straws, and A. J. is selected. As he and Harry exit the airlock, Harry rips off A. J.’s air hose and shoves him back inside, telling him that he is the son he never had and he would be proud to have him marry Grace. Harry is able to have a goodbye moment with Grace via video (“daddy no!” ) before the video goes out, a storm hits the area but Harry manages to detonate the bomb splitting the asteroid in two and they pass earth without causing more damage. Freedom lands, and the surviving crew are treated as heroes. The film ends with A. J. and Grace’s wedding, complete with photos of Harry and the other lost crew members present in memoriam.
  • Throughout the entire second half of the movie Live Tyler’s character Grace does a lot of dramatic staring at nothing in particular. No lines, no emotions, no expressions – just staring! Fascinating! And sometimes in different colours as she just happens to be near glowing screens of blue or green!

More cliches than you can count, lots of posturing and fist pumping and loud cheers & claps. The ridiculous crew has more eccentrics than is ever possible in a small group of men. Apparently before going off to save the world, walking in slow motion with dramatic music (or cheesy music) must happen. The stupidest, most annoying and most unlikely set of heroes to ever save the earth. Loud noises, loud people and blowing up, destroying stuff. Ironically in a movie filled with cliches loud mouthed Americans who talk one liners that don’t make sense – it’s the Russian who is the most loud and most annoying! Apparently the way to start up a space shuttle worth millions is to hit it loudly with a spanner! And finally, the gayest moment in the life of Ben Affeck when his character crys out I love you Harry” – to the man who almost killed him at the beginning of the movie but now suddenly claims that he is like the son he never had and please marry his daughter. Really?

7 outta 10 for the special effects and the awesome soundtrack!

RIP Margaret Thatcher

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Hilda Thatcher has died today at the age of 87 of a stroke. The Right Honorable  Baroness  is the longest-serving (1979–1990) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of the 20th century, and the only woman ever to have held the post. The Iron Lady as she was nicknamed for her uncompromising politics and leadership style. Thatcher — born in October 1925 in the small eastern England market town of Grantham — came from a modest background, taking pride in being known as a grocer’s daughter. She married her husband, Denis Thatcher, a local businessman who ran his family’s firm before becoming an executive in the oil industry, in 1951 — a year after an unsuccessful run for Parliament. The couple had twins, Mark and Carol, in 1953.

Originally a research chemist before becoming a barrister, Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government. In 1975 Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election and became Leader of the Opposition, as well as the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election. In the midst of her 3rd term (relected in 1987) she resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990, after Michael Heseltine launched a challenge to her leadership. Thatcher held a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire, which entitled her to sit in the House of Lords.

As Prime Minister, she implemented Conservative policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism. She is the titular character in two films, portrayed by Lindsay Duncan in Margaret (2009) and by Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady (2011), in which she is depicted as having Alzheimer’s disease. There was never a lady leader like her and perhaps there never will be another.

 

Facebook vs Twitter

Do you feel like you “get” social media, or do you just use it because that’s where all your friends and family are?

I think every is on Facebook/Twitter and other such sites (I’m gonna use these two as the main talking points since they are the most popular) for a few similar reasons. Beyond the main reason – in that it’s where everyone is and it’s an easy way to keep in touch and communicated some ideas, thoughts, announcements, videos & photographs. Facebook has shown it to be easy to make a lot of new friends and reconnect with old ones that you had previously lost touch with. And ofcourse lose a few and make a few more enemies along the way! That’s a given.

But I think it’s also a way to reach out to like minded individuals, form communities, share important messages and conducts meetings. I’m not just there to share jokes and videos. There are people on it who just want to say hi to all their friends, wish them good morning/good afternoon/good evening/good night and happy weekend and share pics of babies, animals & flowers and goodies. I hate it when guys over here have their new picture taken, post them and then tag all the girls in their friends list. What the fuck is that all about? Ofcourse they should be able to do that if that’s what they want but have some substance in your posts atleast once in a while. I’d post food, animals & the occasional cute baby in a funny costume pic as well but there is a lot of other stuff that I write about and post pics/videos about.

And ofcourse since I am an atheist it’s even more annoying when some people continuously posts the ‘i am nothing without god’, ‘throw yourself at the feet of god’ type posts all day and nothing not one one valuable thing to contribute. How un-uplifting is that? god is great and we are shit! Bunch of morons. I can understand the few posts here and there but come on grow a pair of balls and get on with your one and only life. And my last rant is those Facebookers who only posts images of things that they like but don’t say anything at all. I mean no words, no comments just image after image after image.

Atleast Twitter is different. No one remains on Twitter unless they have some stuff to say. And it’s always interesting. Some people may start an account at first but soon lose interest when they can’t come up with stuff to say or share.

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Republic Of Doyle – Season 2

As we start off the second season, Jake is on the trail of a group of bold daytime kidnappers; Leslie and Jake take steps to move on from each other as Rose tries to figure out the next steps after Mal’s heart attack. Mal is told by Rose in no uncertain terms that he has to take it much easier. Jake plays prisoner when he goes “inside” to find out the location of some stolen diamonds from a gang of incarcerated criminals; Mal finds out that Rose has been keeping a big secret from him; Tinny’s money-making scheme starts to take root. Gordon Pinsent, Alan Doyle & Mayko Nguyen guest star in this one. The Doyles are employed to help a comedian (Don McKellar) on the edge of a comeback find a dangerous stalker; Leslie defines the boundaries for the men in her life, including Jake; Allison reveals something to Jake that could be a game-changer.

It gets personal when the Doyles band together to protect someone they love from the cops and from a killer; Tinny gets in a little further with her new hobby and her new friends. She pulls in Des as her way to get some things done and the poor dude has such a big crush on her that he will stumble into anything for her. It’s matrimony – Doyle style – as Jake and Mal are tasked with finding the person responsible for sabotaging an upcoming wedding; Mal and Rose fix a bump in the road in their relationship as Jake and Allison hit a stride in theirs; Des comes to Tinny’s rescue but ends up exploding her plans in the process. When an old Doyle family friend accidentally goes missing at sea, the Doyles are hired by his daughter to find out what really happened. Turns out he fakes his own death. Oh and Jake is forced to bail out Christian and picks up another line of business and a pile of new debt.

Jake and Mal are called to check into some death threats that have been made to a respected psychiatrist; an old “friend” from the past shows up and makes an interesting proposition to the Doyles; after Leslie’s close call, Jake and Leslie find themselves struggling a little in their new romantic relationships. The Doyles reluctantly take on a case from dodgy Martin Poole (Nicholas Campbell) when he promises them a big payday; Jake and Allison encounter friction when their professional lives impose on their personal relationship; Jake gets an interesting job offer from an unlikely source. When Des finds himself in a very bizarre and compromising position, the Doyle clan works overtime to get him off the hook; Jake meets someone who has been complicating Allison’s life; Tinny and Des start coming to terms with their feelings for each other. Crime novelist Garrison Steele (Victor Garber) returns again to both hire and torment Jake to help him research a murder case; Jake and Leslie struggle to keep their mutual affection for each other in check; Allison receives some much-needed help from Jake.

Jake buys an expensive gift for Allison only to have it stolen by a thief; The Mayor finds himself in a compromising position and asks for Jake’s help and his silence; Mal has trouble telling a lie to his kids; Leslie thinks she’s being followed. The Doyles are hired by a real estate agent to investigate a series of strange occurrences at the site of her controversial housing development; Leslie uncovers some suspicious facts about the Mayor; the tension between Jake and the Mayor hits a high point; Allison makes Jake a serious proposition. When Tinny and Des are snatched from the safety of the Doyle home in broad daylight, Jake is forced to confront a dangerous man from his past (Paul Gross) to get them back; Leslie loses something else very precious to her; Jake makes a decision about his future with Allison.

I’ve Seen Better Days & Times

Things aren’t going so great work wise. I’m depressed and feeling really bad about it. But you gotta enjoy the weekend right? Especially since we only get 1 day a week off and not the actual 2 day weekend that a lot of others enjoy. Wasn’t sure as to what to do for the evening so I decided to wing it. Mom was away for the weekend and dad was going to the club.

By 6pm I knew that I wanted some pizza for dinner and wanted to see if I could get a couple of beers to wash it down. Unfortunately the sea of humanity (or just men) in front of the BevCo nearest to me dissuaded me – by the time I would reach the counter it would be past 8pm at least! I wasn’t in the mood to go to a bar so I just came home. On the way I bought some 7up.

By 7:45pm the pizza delivery guy reached my apartment. Looks great right? It’s a Chicken Italia from Pizza Hut – chicken chunks, sausages (chicken and not pork), cheese, onions, sweet corn, olives & jalapenos. It was yummy.

The only thing that I was upset about was that I didn’t get the beer that I was looking for. Instead I drank cold 7up. Well since its also very good and my second favourite soft drink (after Sprite) I did enjoy it. It’s so hot in Kerala right now and I keep drinking a lot of 7up. However after I was done with my dinner my dad came back home and he had bought beer from the club. Kingfisher Gold and yeah I had some of it as well. Cheers my Saturday night was complete.

Five Foods

You’ve being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?

Let me get this straight; I’m captured and exiled to a private island for reasons that I have no idea about and my captors/kidnappers will feed me any 5 foods of my choice? What kind of captors are they?

Anyway here is what I would pick if I could only get 5 foods:

  • Pizza
  • Grilled chicken
  • Noodles – Chinese preferably
  • pork chops
  • Biriyanis

Yum so now I am hungry like a wolf. Well would I not need some drinks to wash them down? Here’s the 5 that I will give to my captors to provide for me

  • Sprite
  • 7up
  • Fruit juices from Tropicana – apple preferably
  • Vodka
  • Beer

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ICICI Bank’s Service Sucks

I am wondering how low can bank service go in India and the King of them all ICICI Bank shows me that they are definitely deserving of  their status – as the worst in how to deal with customers. They are utter useless and pathetic. They don’t have the decency to call back a customer who has sent them several emails asking for an explanation or clarification and their managers cannot be bothered to call you back unless you have called them several times asking for a status update.

I got it into my head that I finally needed a credit card and applied for one for the first time in my life. Unfortunately my current bank, Federal Bank, does not have credit card services and hence I had to apply elsewhere. So I did to ICICI, HDFC & Citibank which are the three major ones and to some others as well. The other banks have terrible online services and I am still to get a call back from several of them despite registering for a card back in February. Citibank rejected me while I applied online. That left me with HDFC and ICICI and I applied to them both. Frustrated with the online option for ICICI, I went down to their office in MG Road and asked to speak to someone regarding credit cards. I was guided to a manager and I told her all my details and showed her the documents I had with me for the card. She looked it over and said that I would need a signature on my bank statement (from Federal bank) and that once I get it she would send an agent over to my office to collect the details and to help me fill the form. When I told her that I had already filled the online form and that I got a call back from a girl who said that an agent would come to meet me, she said that the online format was not reliable and that she would send me someone.

OK, so the next day the agent came to my office and I gave him all the documents and filled out all the forms. Since my current company does not provide Pay Slips to employees I got a Salary Certificate from the HR department and gave that to him. Now both he, the agent, and the lady manager said that this would be enough. So I signed everything, filled in everything and he took the form and went back to the office. I was told that I would have to wait for a month. Ok not a problem! About 10 days later I got an email from ICICI’s credit card section saying that:

Dear Roshan Gopal Krishnan,

We thank you for your interest in ICICI Bank Credit Card.

We have processed your application ID 6089359969 using the information and documents submitted by you and additional criteria as applicable, which includes the following:

1. Eligibility criteria of ICICI Bank
2. The viability of the proposed purposes of the credit facility
3. Past borrowings by you (if any)
4. An existing Credit Card application under process (if any)
5. Your prior experience in respect of the proposed purpose and
6. The regulatory and statutory provisions governing ICICI Bank.

Based on the above, we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you the credit facility at this point in time. However, this is not a reflection of your credit worthiness.

For any clarification or more information regarding this matter, please e-mail us at creditcard@Loans.ICICIBank.com.

Sincerely,
ICICI Bank Credit Cards Team

Not understanding why I was rejected I called the agent. It took him 5 days to answer me – I called him once he said he would get back. I called him the next day, he said he would call back. I waited two more days and he finally tells me “I forgot to check”! Then he said he would get back to me, which he finally did – “Sir, there is no issue. We just need additional documents”. What documents? He did not know. Frustrated I called this lady manager – it took me 10 days of calling her to finally get through. She was on leave due to health issues or something and she said she would call back – she didn’t for several days. Finally I called back “I forgot your number”. Finally she said she had checked and it was because I don’t have a salary slip and since my salary is in a non-ICICI account they have kept the application on hold. But she said that usually a salary certificate would be ok and she said she will check and call me back. 2 weeks pass by and I get no call from her. I sent her an email – she does not reply back!

Finally I called her but she was on another call and she called me back. The status is the same – my application is on hold as there is no salary slip. Did she not know this would be the case when I applied? Did the agent not know this? They work for the same bank and yet she tells me “from Chennai it is the decision!” like she isn’t part of the company. What’s more the email id that the bank gave me to send for any clarifications “creditcard@Loans.ICICIBank.com” is useless. I have sent 6 emails to them asking for a clarification but no reply back till date.

Do they treat all prospective customers this shabbily or did I win some fucking contest that they ran?

The Hammer Mummy Movie Series

The first movie in the series was 1959’s The Mummy starring Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing. In 1895’s Egypt archaeologists John Banning (Cushing), his father Stephen (Felix Aylmer) and his uncle Joseph Whemple (Raymond Huntley) are searching for the tomb of Princess Ananka, the high priestess of the god Karnak. As John suffers from a broken leg, he is unable to join his father & uncle as they enter the tomb. Despite the warnings of a local man named Mehmet Bey, forbidding them to enter the tomb and telling them or a curse, Stephen and Joseph ignore him, and discover within the sarcophagus of Ananka. While alone for a few minutes Stephen reads from the  Scroll of Life and screams off camera and is found in a catatonic state. 3 years later he comes out of the catatonic state back in England and sends for his son and tells him that when he read from the Scroll of Life, he unintentionally brought back to life Kharis (Lee), the mummified high priest of Karnak. Kharis s sentenced to be entombed alive to serve as the guardian of Princess Ananka’s tomb as punishment for attempting to bring her back to life out of forbidden love. Now, Stephen tells his disbelieving son that Kharis will hunt down and kill all those who desecrated Ananka’s tomb.

Mehmet Bey, a devotee of Kharis, comes to England in the guise of a businessman and has the mummy shipped to him. While being transported to Bey’s mansion, the two men driving the cart drop the box into a bog. Later, using the Scroll of Life, Mehemet exhorts Kharis to rise from the muck, then sends him to murder Stephen Banning. When Kharis kills Joseph Whemple the next night, he does so before the eyes of John Banning, who shoots him with a revolver at close range to no effect. With John being the next possible victim, the unbelieving & skeptical Police Inspector Mulrooney is assigned to solve the murders. While Mulrooney investigates, John notices that his wife Isobel bears an uncanny resemblance to Princess Ananka. Mehemet Bey sends the mummy to the Bannings’ home to slay his final victim. However, when Isobel rushes to her husband’s aid, Kharis sees her, releases John and leaves. Suspecting Bey, John later pays a visit to the foreigner’s house, much to the latter’s surprise. Once John leaves, Bey has the Mummy go on a second attempt on John’s life. Kharis first knocks Mulrooney down and then finds and starts to choke John. Alerted by John’s shouts, Isobel once again causes Kharis to release him. When Mehemet orders Kharis to kill her, he refuses and kills Mehemet instead when he tries to finish her off himself.

The mummy carries an unconscious Isobel into the swamp, followed by John, Mulrooney and other policemen. John yells to Isobel and when she regains consciousness, she tells Kharis to put her down. The mummy reluctantly obeys and when Isobel has moved away from him, the policemen open fire, causing Kharis to sink into a mire, taking the Scroll of Life with him.

The Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb came out in 1964 produced, written and directed by Michael Carreras, starring Terence Morgan, Ronald Howard, Fred Clark and introducing Jeanne Roland. The plot is unrelated to the first one and features a different mummy legend. In 1900 a mummy known to be Prince Ra is discovered in a tomb by Egyptologists John Bray, Sir Giles Dalrymple & French Professor Eugene Dubois. Professor Dubois’ daughter, and Bray’s fiancee, Annette is also part of the crew as an Egyptology expert. As the movie opens, Dubois is fleeing across the desert, pursued by Bedouins. They catch the old man, stab him to death, and then cut off his left hand. All the artifacts in the tomb are brought back to London by the project’s backer, American showman Alexander King (played boisterously by Fred Clark). King who plans to recoup his investment by staging luridly sensational public exhibits of the Egyptian treasures, goes about promoting the exhibits and has several photographers and news reporters around at all times.

However things start to go bad for all concerned when the mummy starts to come to life and proceeds to kill off various members of the expedition. Characters are bludgeoned to death, blood spilt and in the film’s most memorable scene, the mummy crushes the head of an unlucky Egyptian beneath his huge foot. Annette acquires an admirer, an amateur Egyptologist by the name of Adam Beauchamp (Terence Morgan), who seems to know a little too much about Prince Ra-Antef and the circumstances of his death. Beauchamp reveals that Ra was killed in exile when his younger brother, Be, sent assassins out to get him and that the assassins cut off the prince’s left hand as proof that they had accomplished their mission. Beauchamp turns out to be Be reincarnated and is out to get a bride for himself in the afterlife. Bray, Hashmi Bey (an Egyptian trying to get the artifacts sent back to Egypt) and an English policeman attempt to figure out what’s going on and put a stop to it.

Adam convinces Annette into running away from England with him. The mummy chases after Adam who uses the words from a medallion to stop him but gets clocked.  The cops, John and Hashmir Bey find Adam & Annette who tells them of the mummy. Later, the mummy attacks John and when Hashmir pleads with the mummy he crushes the Egyptian’s head and escapes. Annette ponders why the mummy is after Adam. He takes her to his lair filled with Egyptian artifacts. The pharaoh had cursed Be for killing Ra; Bea is cursed with eternal life until RA’s mummy kills him. Later the Mummy appears and attacks Annette on Beauchamp’s command. When John and the cops head to the rescue, Beauchamp has the mummy carry Annette off. The mummy takes the medallion and keeps Adam from stabbing Annette. The mummy kills Beauchamp and while walking tears the ceiling down which collapses on him. John and the cops find Annette.

3 years later The Mummy’s Shroud was released by Hammer which was directed by John Gilling. Set in 1920 a team of English archaeologists on an expedition find the lost tomb of the boy Pharaoh Kah-To-Bey. In flashback scenes we see the story of how Prem, a manservant of Kah-To-Bey, spirited away the boy when his father was killed in a palace coup and took him into the desert for protection. Unfortunately, the boy dies and is buried. The expedition is led by scientist Sir Basil Walden and funded by business man Stanley Preston. Preston’s son Paul, expert linguist Maggie Claire de Sangre and Harry Newton are the others in the expedition. They ignore the dire warning issued to them by Hasmid, a local Bedouin about the consequences for those that violate the tombs of Ancient Egypt and remove the bodies and the sacred shroud. Just as they open the tomb Sir Basil is bitten by a snake; he recovers, but has a relapse after arriving back in Cairo.

Preston takes advantage of this and commits him to an insane asylum, to take credit for finding the tomb and Prince’s mummy himself. Preston, much the hero of the media as he has led a rescue search to find the expedition that they had considered to be lost, soaks up every extra minute with the press and poses for photos as often as he can, much to his wife Barbara’s embarrassment. Meanwhile, after being placed in the Cairo Museum, the mummy of Prem is revived when Hasmid chants the sacred oath on the shroud. The mummy then proceeds to go on a murderous rampage to kill off the members of the expedition, beginning with Sir Basil after he escapes from the asylum. The mummy kills of the others in various fashions having photographic acid thrown in Harry’s face and throwing Basil from a window. The local police conducts several investigations following each murder and forbid the remaining members of the expedition from leaving the country. Stanley Preston attempts to bribe his way out and sends out his assistant Longbarrow to purchase tickets. Longbarrow is killed in the night when he breaks his spectacles and doesn’t see the mummy lunging for him. Barbara meanwhile chooses to stay back in Egypt until the investigations are over.

Scared for his life Stanley Preston, after repeated attempts to evade the murder investigations and flee for his own safely, is murdered in a Cairo sidestreet by the avenging mummy. All ends happily thanks to the intervention of remaining members of the party, Paul Preston and Maggie, who succeed in destroying the Mummy in a very dramatic and beautifully staged finale.

And finally the last movie is the series, Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb came out in 1971 and stars Andrew Keir, Valerie Leon, and James Villiers. Directed by Seth Holt the story  was adapted from Bram Stoker’s novel The Jewel of Seven Stars. An expedition led by British archeologist Professor Fuchs (Keir) attempts to locate the cursed tomb of an evil Egyptian princess, who name has been eradicated from history. Her body, found 2000 years after her death, is still youthful and perfectly, unnaturally preserved. At the same moment that they find an amulet bearing her name – Princess Tera – and they say it out, Fuch’s wife back home in England delivers a baby and dies immediately. Obsessed by her beauty, Fuchs has her shipped to his house where he builds secret shrine in his basement. Each member of the expedition is given one of the artifacts surrounding her tomb – a cat’s statue, a skull head of a wild cat and a snake statue – for safe keeping.

As his daughter Margaret grows, it is clear to see that she bears an uncanny resemblance to the Princess. As she approaches her 21st birthday she starts experiencing strange dreams about Tera in the past. Corbeck, one of the members of the expedition, is working to restore Tera to life and a new reign of terror, and with his help Margaret – under the influence of Tera – kills the other desecrators of Tera’s tomb one by one and brings the artifacts back to the makeshift tomb. Even Margaret’s boyfriend who tries to intervene gets killed in a car crash caused by Tera’s power. Corbeck, Margeret and her increasingly unhinged father start the ritual to awaken the princess. Professor Fuchs finally sees sense and convinces her to stop the ritual; together they overpower and kill Corbeck. Tera awakes, and in the attempt to stop Tera, the Professor is killed. After a long struggle, Margaret stabs Tera in the heart and she dies. In the end, Magaret wakes up from unconsciousness and finds herself in the hospital. Her whole body is wrapped in bandages and she is trying to say something.

Whew that was a long post. I’d have to say that the Mummy series pales in comparison with the Dracula series (even the bad ones). The first one from 1959 is excellent, with great performances by Lee & Cushing, and I give it a 9 outta 10! I give the second two movies a 5 outta 10 – the stories are very similar and the acting talent is at best passable. For the last one, the biggest draw is Miss Valerie Leon’s twin assets and man is she gorgeous! 6.5 outta 10!

Lady Banana Hits 300 Comments

For those of you who frequent the blog you’d know that I have a regular reader & commenter named Lady Banana. She’s an English lady from London and she is awesome. She blogs at Lady Banana and has been a long time blog, email & twitter friend of mine. She’s always been there for me ever since I’ve known her; whenever I feel down if I reach out to her, I know she will make me feel so good about myself. Not surprising as she is also a longtime nurse, a profession that I have a lot of respect for.

That Diana has stuck with being my friend for this long is something I consider to be cherished. I just love her so much. She is my cheerleader and she is so kind and sweet.

She has two cats Mabel & Freddy and has a daughter and a son and a grandson. Check out her blog when you do get the time.

Q1. State your name, location and what you do for a living?

Name – Diana – better known as Lady Banana

Q2. Do you remember how you came to know about Awake & Dreaming?

I really don’t remember, I seem to have known Roshan forever, in the nicest possible way

Q3. How often do you visit my blog?

I visit 2/3 times a week, sometimes just in my feed reader.. Often I’m too tired, lazy or at work – don’t tell the boss, lol, so I can’t always comment as much as I could/should.

Q4. What is it that you like so much about Awake & Dreaming that you visit frequently and post a lot of comments?

I like the mix of posts, sometimes personal about yourself, some about sport and movies and books.

Q5. What are the kind of posts that you like the most in my blog?

I like your personal posts the best, the ones that help me get to know the real you, your likes and dislikes

Q6. Is there any topic that you would want me to blog about (that I haven’t yet)?

Just keep on doing what you’re doing, you do it so well

Choose the following

Q7. Admit it: you have a big crush on Roshan and that is why you are here a lot : Choices (true/very true/absolutely true/damn right it’s true/hell yeah and I’m proud of it! ) ).

Q8. This is for you; say anything you like and I’ll post it here (cause you deserve it)

Your’s is the blog that makes me happy when I open my reader and see you have posted!

You are a good friend, far far away but I know that if I ever need a natter, a cheer up then Roshan is there for me. Long may it last {kiss kiss kiss}

Hope the answers are ok, and here’s to the next 300 comments.. (They are more than ok Diana, they are excellent)

Mad Mission : 1 & 2

Here’s a huge blast from my past. Mad Mission (or Ace Go Places as it was known in Hong Kong) is a series of action-comedy movies that are parodies of the James Bond film series. The series began in 1982, with the first two films directed by Eric Tsang. Although a total of 5 movies were made with the same main cast and a further 6th with a new set of actors, it’s the first two that we shall be talking about here in this post. These are the two that I remember from my childhood in Kuwait and which my friends and I loved a lot;  so much that we would try and reenact some of the scenes with dialogues (which are dubbed in English).

The first movie was called Aces Go Places or Mad Mission or Mad Mission 1: Diamondfinger (in the US) came out in 1982 directed by Eric Tsang, and starring Samuel Hui, Karl Maka & Sylvia Chang. A suave, smooth burglar Sam known as ‘King Kong’  steals a set of illegally purchased diamonds during a transaction being done in a large skyscraper – in a daring caper followed by ride his bike through the building stairways and taking it inside an elevator. However his associate was killed before he could divulge where he stashed the diamonds. The diamonds are also being tracked by a European criminal known as ‘White Gloves’, hired by the Chinese mafia who had setup the sale of the diamonds. Caught by the cops Sam tries to make up for his thieving ways by teaming up with an Cody Jack (called Albert ‘Baldy’ Au but named for famous tv detective Kojak), a bumbling police detective from the United States. Both work together to try to find the hiding place. Sam’s associate had left clues by having coordinates tattooed on the butts of two girls he had dated.

The two heroes are supervised by Superintendent Nancy Ho (called Hot Tongue in the English version), who has a temper. What follows is a mad & hilarious chase to find the two girls and get their rear ends photographed in order to get the full coordinates. The two heroes almost get killed by the father of one of the girls and his men. The walrus-like Don wants Sammy dead…or rapidly approaching rigor mortis. As Kodyjack and Hot Tongue befriend our five-finger discounter (hoping to trick him into revealing the whereabouts of the cut carbons), their lives all become endangered as elaborate plots and ambushes meet their every move. After one dangerous event when both of the guys gets hurt, they avoid getting in trouble with Hot Tongue by pretending that Cody Jack has the hots for her. On hearing this, the tomboyish Hot Tongue turns all weak-kneed and goes ga ga for the bald detective and they have a double date dinner with Hot Tongue’s sister joining them. As they finally find the diamonds and are able to fight off the villains.

In the sequel Mad Mission 2 or Aces Go Places 2 which came out in 1983 sees the return of our friends Sam, Cody Jack & Hot Tongue. The Hong Kong Mafia hire Black Glove also known as Filthy Harry (a Clint Eastwood lookalike dressed in a combination of Dirty Harry & The Man With No Name) to retrieve the diamonds from Sam & Cody Jack. Sam is attacked in his apartment by a huge robot and he fights it off by smashing his tv onto it’s head. He jumps out to the pool and takes off in his awesome bike chased by goons on bikes as well as in cars. And guess what – his bike turns into a water bike as soon as it hits the sea! However, a local gang lord who also wants the diamonds sends his rather cute & pretty employee Juliet (Sue Wang) to his new place, pretending to be running away from goons. Sam fights them off easily and falls for the pretty girl. She tricks him into helping her robbing a bank and he just manages to escape from chasing cops and heads straight to the wedding of Cody Jack & Hot Tongue. Later he asks the newly married couple of help against the gang lord – Cody Jack & Sam try to crash their office but in typical Cody Jack fashion he bumbles and they barely make it out with the help of Juliet.

However she double crosses them again, leading them to her ‘uncle’ who is in charge of a large bank/ jewellery vault and she robs them leaving Sam & Cody Jack in the lurch again. Sam & Cody Jack run from the chasing cops (not once did Cody think of flashing his badge at them) and though Sam escapes, Cody lands in the police station. Later our 3 heroes are given the go ahead to try and capture the mafia goons with support from the Hong Kong police. After a funny incident in which Cody finds Sam a date, Juliet reconciles with Sam and promises to be truthful with him. Sam makes Cody pretend that the girl is Cody’s date instead, which is seen & overheard by Big Wang and the snitch calls Hot Tongue, who proceeds to hit Cody with a baseball bat and the detective literally lands his face in a bowl of soup. Later Sam & Juliet attempt to get the warring couple back together at a Valentine’s day party in a club. When Hot Tongue is propositioned by a man in the club, a huge fight ensues with Sam, Cody Jack & Hot Tongue beating off a bunch of guys.

Later they set out on their mission; Cody Jack & Sam meet with the ganglord who sets bombs with timers on each of them and tells them to meet up with Filthy Harry in an enclosed barge. Inside the barge they are attacked by a huge robot –  but this time Sam is prepared. He has his “magic box” which contains a set of smaller robots armed with missiles and lasers and they destroy the larger robot. After the come out they find that the ganglord has been captured and is killed by drowning. The duo then ride off to meet with Hot Tongue who awaits them in a special car fitted with gadgets and missiles and fight off Filthy Harry’s men and destroy them. Later Sam finds that the bomb strapped to him is defective and he removes it easily but Cody Jack is almost out of time. A deranged man claiming to be the FBI cuts the straps and it explodes, saving Cody Jack.

Silly, lots of fun, fast action kung-fu, gadgets & cool stuff and funny. Give it a watch. I give both movies an 8 outta 10!

A Little Bit About Racist Slurs

I was discussing racist slurs on Facebook yesterday after I heard someone – a white Roman Catholic member of the church (not a pastor but a practising member, as he so proudly put it) – who called in an Atheist tv call in show and referred to the previous caller, who was an Indian, as “Curry Eater”. I didn’t get that at the first listen and had to replay that part to get what he exactly meant. He said it with a little laugh; a smirky little gesture to the hosts of the show as in “hey fellow white guys, THAT curry eater”. Now he said this just as his call ended and therefore the hosts didn’t get a chance to speak to him about it. When they clarified with others in the studio that it was what he said, they got pissed off. Guess what, the atheists on the show also happen to be humanists and they hated that the caller used that term, albeit a mild/moderate racial term, for the Indian caller. Infact, one of the hosts remarked “I eat curry, fucker!”

That was the first time I had ever heard that term being used. As a brown man living in India, I have not faced much racism – the most I have ever heard was from an African-American lady who was hired as a trainer for Ameircan culture & accent training by a BPO company I worked for in Calicut back in 2002-03. When she got angry she would blast at us and say stuff about Indians and Indian culture. Once she said something like “Indian women are only good for making babies” at the girls. Some of us complained to the management and she had to apologize to the girls in question. And I don’t really think of her being a racist; she has many moments of affection to us and even gave each batch of hers a party at the end of the training period. When she got upset she would have moments of outburst and some of the words happened to be racist.

What I have faced is something different – Indians who differentiate & discriminate based on state and culture. The Southern states have a much different culture than Central and Northern India. As do the states in the North East. Language & food is very different too. Can we call such discrimination as racism? I guess when you look at it as descendants of Aryans and Dravidians being the differences in us, maybe. The worst thing I hear is “you bloody South Indians”! To which some of us have countered as “you bloody North or Central or East Indians”! South Indians are ofcourse those from the four southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Kerala plus Pondicherry. We descended from Dravidians and hence the differentiation. What I hate most is to be called a ‘Madrasi’ from an ignorant idiot!

Madras is the old name (read that the English name) for Chennai, which is in Tamil Nadu. I have never been to Madras/Chennai – ever. My family is from Kerala. I am a Keralite. An Indian, not from the South ofcourse, using the term ‘Madrasi’ to anyone from the 4 southern states is more ignorant and idiotic and, yes if I may, a whole lot racist as well because he/she clearly has no idea about his own country and people. India is large yes – it’s not that not that large! I remember blowing up at a shopkeeper in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) who asked me where I had just dialed using his payphone, as he didn’t recognize the are code. So I said that I had called my parents back home in Cochin. He didn’t know where Cochin was, so I said Kerala state. “Oh Madrasi!” When I corrected him he refused to acknowledge that he was wrong, claiming to know more about the area where I was from than me! So I swore at him and storm out of the shop after slamming the money down on his counter.

A couple of years before that while I was in Bangalore, I was approached by two hostel mates – one guy from Haryana and the other a Sikh from Punjab – while I was chilling in the hostel terrace. We spoke casually for a while and introduced ourselves and all was fine until they asked me where I was from. So I said “I’m from Cochin, Kerala”. “Are you a Hindu, Muslim or Christian?” At that time being 19 I didn’t always tell people I was an atheist so I said “Hindu” as that’s what my family is. “Oh you’re a Brahmin“. In the old Hindu caste system, Brahmins were the priests, scholars & ascetics. My family’s caste is Nair-Menon and we are not from the Brahmin caste. I told them this – but they refused to believe me! Those morons said “If you are from South India and you are a Hindu then you must be a Brahmin!” Again – claiming to know more about me & my family than I do. I was red with rage and told them that if you are from the states that there were from and didn’t accept when they were wrong – they must be idiots! And I walked away!