Blogging For Readership & Money

To what extent is your blog a place for your own self-expression and creativity vs. a site designed to attract readers? How do you balance that? If sticking to certain topics and types of posts meant your readership would triple, would you do it?

This blog is a record of the person that is me. I blog about things I like & love, stuff that happens to me, things that interest me, things that are important to me and even things that I protest as that is important too. I will post videos of my favourite songs, interviews & fun stuff. I will review the movies & tv shows & sports games I watch and talk about the music I listen to and the books I read. I will share my dreams and thoughts and the ideas that come into this brain of mine. This blog is an extension of me and it’s is a place where I express myself and enhance my writing in a manner of speaking. I never set out to attract readers. Any and every reader who follows my blog and comments & likes my posts are all icing on the cake. They are important to me but I’d still be blogging even if no one ever reads these posts.

I’m not gonna write about stuff that doesn’t interest me just to attract readers. That is just not what this blog is about. Ofcourse I have done the odd paid blog post but I won’t do it if it means that this blog’s contents ceases to be something that is not inherent to me. I value the content a whole lot to do that. Luckily for me the few posts that I have written for money have all been about things that are of interest to me. And there is a certain pleasure to be taken for that. Getting paid for what you love to do.

If I wrote about things that I didn’t really care about but if my readership tripled and I made a lot of money out of it – I’d think a lot before I’d do that. I’d have to be really desperate for money to want to do that. Ideally what I’d be asked to blog more about or only blog about for more readers and money will be one of the things I hold dearest to me. I’d gladly do that.

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Early Bird, Or Night Owl?

Early bird, or night owl?

I hate getting up early in the morning. Some days I jut can’t sleep or go back to sleep and I wake up at 4 or 5am but usually I hate getting up early. I’d hate a job where I’d have to get to the office before 9am. I have done it on occasion but each time since I know it’s only for a few days I was ok with it. Back in 2005 I remember doing a 6am to 3pm shift for 7 days at a stretch but each day I left much after 3pm because it felt way too early for the working day to be done. While others who have done the 6am-3pm shift used to admonish me for staying back I just found it odd that quitting time was at 3pm under the hot afternoon sun. Similarly I hate that waking time should be 5am or 6am before the sun is shining out there in the sky properly.

So these days, other than for a week or two when I did an 8 or 8:30 am start at the office, I usually don’t wake up earlier than 7am. This is a perfect time. 7:30 am would be excellent but 7 am is perfectly fine to wake up daily. This doesn’t mean it’s the same for Sundays or any holidays. Oh no, on those days waking up before 8am is sacrilege. But otherwise 7am is good enough. I can’t complain on that. So what about nights? I can stay up much more longer than I can wake up early. Working late is fine, staying up at home and doing stuff or just watching movies is also fine late into the night.

However ideally I would like to knock off from work by 6pm or atleast by 7pm cause I like my evenings to be free. For doing stuff that is not work related. So if that means that I have to start work at an early hour just to make my evenings free, I would take it.

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This is one of those movies that just has to be seen by everyone. Unfortunately even though it is marked by an Academy Award–nominated and Golden Globe–winning performance by actress Felicity Huffman, the film only made $15 million (though on a $1 million budget). I found myself admiring everyone in this 2005 film and the way it was depicted. The script adds lots of humour to the story of a person about to go through a major change in their life and discovering that they are also a parent, albeit 17 year after the birth of the child. Produced by Huffman’s husband William H Macy (also a wonderful actor) Transamerica was directed by Duncan Tucker & co-written by the both of them and starring Huffman & Kevin Zegers with supporting roles by Graham Green, Fionnula Flanagan, Burt Young, Carrie Preston & Elizabeth Peña.

Huffman plays Sabrina ‘Bree’ Osbourne, a transsexual working in a Mexican restaurant in a Los Angeles suburb, who is about to under a vaginoplasty (to reassign her sexual organ from a male to female) when she gets a call from the son she never knew she had. Years ago while in college Sabrina was Stanley Schupak had a girlfriend and a sexual encounter has produced the son Toby. With his mother long dead Toby asks for Stanley to bail him out of a jail in NYC. Bree initially wants nothing to do with him but her therapist Margaret refuses to give her consent on the form for the operation unless Bree goes & sees him. So she does and finds out that  Toby is a drug user and a male prostitute. His mother committed suicide, after which he was raised by his stepfather, whom he does not want to see again. Pretending to be a Christian missionary, Bree asks Toby to ride with her in a rented car back West and plans to drop him at his stepfather’s place. At the house in Kentucky, Bree finds out that Toby was sexually molested when young by his stepfather and hence she agrees to take him with her to Los Angeles, where he plans to get work in the movies.

Along the way they get to stay in a large house where a transsexual gathering is taking place. One evening when Bree has to urinate, Toby catches her reflection in the mirror and sees her penis but doesn’t say anything to her then. He is open-minded about it, but is angry that Bree had not told him. They meet a hitchhiker who steals their belongings and their car so Toby prostitutes himself to a truck driver for some money, which he tells Bree he made selling some of his drugs. hey get a ride with a kindly rancher Calvin Many Goats (Graham Greene) to Bree’s parents’ house in Phoenix, Arizona. There Bree reunites with her somewhat sympathetic younger sister Sydney, her conservative and self-centred mother Elizabeth & her Jewish father Murray. Flannagan who plays Bree’s mother is hystericaly funny as she wails about seeing her son as a woman now. However Elizabeth is excited to find out she has a grandson and is kind & generous to Toby, who still has no idea that he is Bree’s son. Elizabeth wants Toby to stay with them in their house but Toby, though he likes the luxury and kindness, hesitates because he does not like how disrespectful they are to Bree. That night he tries to seduce Bree and kisses her – and Bree blurts out the truth that she, as Stanley, is actually Toby’s father. Toby goes mad and hits Bree as she tries to apologize. He steals some money from the house and goes away during the night.

Bree returns to Los Angeles and has the surgery successfully but is sad and cries on the shoulders of Margaret as she has messed things up with Toby. He, has come to Los Angeles, dyes his hair blond and becomes an actor in gay pornographic films. A few months later, a happy Bree, who is waitressing at the same Mexican restaurant gets a visit from Toby and the two reconcile as they catch up, starting their relationship anew.

Brilliant acting by some of the cast. 9 outta 10!

Woods Manor’s New Pizzeria

Time to discover an all new pizza place in good ole Cochin. Woods Manor is a long established hotel in the city on MG Road. They used to have a cafe called the Sidewalk Cafe. Well that is no longer there and the took apart the place and rebuilt it as a semi-open cafe called Pizzeria. Yes it’s just called Pizzeria and it’s a good little pizza place with some sandwiches, burgers and stuff as well. After attending an engagement today, I left early as there was a huge crowd in this small house and arranged for my cousin and I to have a couple of beers and then we went to have pizza.

I’m guessing they have a chef who has had some proper training in making pizzas because they are really serious about the pizzas here and they are really good. Really like the image on the front. Their furniture isn’t as good and they should replace them. It’s also a little too hot and no washroom in the near vicinity (you have to go to the main part of the building and then go past their normal restaurant to the washroom).

The pizzas are delicious. My cousin Sujith had a Chilli Prawn pizza – prawn as he was on a sea food roll for the week.

I had the Cajun Spiced Chicken pizza. Both were delicious and the thin crust were crunchy and everything was really good. We had Sprints (kinda like a very bad local imitation of Sprite) to wash them down.

Great pizzas – however they took almost 25 minutes to acknowledge us for the bill. No waiter or manager was around for a while even though there were one other table occupied at this late afternoon hour (we went in at 4:15 pm). If they improve some aspects of their service, this will be one great place for some slices.

The X-Files : Season 6

This season was the first to be filmed in Los Angeles, California, after production was moved from Vancouver, Canada. With the X-Files reopened, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully eagerly hunt for a deadly creature in the Arizona desert. What they find seems to support Mulder’s revived belief in aliens, but is discredited when the agents are not reassigned to the X-Files, with Jeffrey Spender and Diana Fowley taking over instead. With Mulder trapped in a car by a seemingly deranged man, Scully races to determine if the man is suffering from a deadly illness—and if Mulder is in danger of becoming the next victim of a government virus. Mulder goes in search of a ship that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in 1939. But when he gets on board, Mulder finds that he—and all the passengers and crew (as well as some strangely familiar ones)—are still stuck in the past. An anonymous tip finally brings Mulder and Scully to the mecca of all UFO lore—Area 51. But when the agents witness the flight of a mysterious craft, their lives are profoundly—and perhaps irrevocably—altered.

Scully begins to suspect that her partner’s strange behavior is more than it appears to be, while Mulder fights to return his life to normal before it’s too late. On Christmas Eve, Mulder convinces Scully to put aside her gift wrapping and stake out a reputed haunted house. But they discover a pair of lovelorn spectres living inside the house who are determined to prove how lonely the holidays can be. When a mother is accused of killing her unborn child, Mulder and Scully discover that the father has his own secrets, and he’s not the only one. In a small town plagued by drought, Mulder and Scully come upon a man who claims to be able to control the weather—at a hefty profit. Yet the agents discover a force of nature at work even more powerful than the weather, and just as unpredictable. Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) is poisoned. Mulder and Scully have 24 hours to save him, but in order to do so, they must determine who wants him dead, and why. Scully learns that she, but not Mulder, is being given a chance to prove her worth at the FBI, and—paired with a new partner—she investigates a crime scene photographer with an uncanny knack for arriving just in time to see his victims’ final moments. What she does not expect is for Death to play a role himself. When Cassandra Spender (Veronica Cartwright) is returned, Mulder, Scully and Agent Spender find themselves facing the exposure of the conspiracy involving extraterrestrials; while the worried Syndicate take evasive measures.

While Cassandra reveals the truth about the alien conspiracy to Mulder, her ex-husband—The Smoking Man—does the same to Agent Spender in an effort to convince him to work with the conspiracy. Mulder and Scully are looking forward to cases again. Instead, Arthur Dales, now living in a Florida trailer park, calls the agents for help when a neighbouring family disappears; and, with a hurricane approaching, Mulder and Scully find themselves trapped with a group of residents in a building where there is something in the water. The world is trapped in a time loop, and only one woman seems to know. Each day the events that happen differ slightly; “free will”, as Mulder calls it. A bank robbery is committed over and over again until they can stop the eventual bombing of the place from occurring. Several disappearances at an idyllic planned community lead Mulder and Scully to go undercover as a married couple. However, they soon discover that the president of the homeowners’ association takes the community covenants and regulations more seriously than they could have imagined. An Asian dog, called the Wanshang Dhole, thought to be extinct is blamed for several killings. Mulder and Scully join an obstinate Sheriff, a seemingly eccentric hunter, and a reclusive canine expert to find it. However, there is more mystery to the expert than meets the eye. After a prison camp is destroyed by a tornado, an escaped inmate is suspected of killing the warden. As the inmate hunts down his old girlfriend, he finds out where his child is and attempts to take him back. Mulder and Scully set out to find him and discover that he has the ability to pass through conductive materials. A series of murders takes place where the heart has been removed from the victims. A writer that lives next door to Mulder is writing a novel about the murders before they actually happen. Scully finds herself confused and drawn to the writer, who has a romantic interest in her.

While working in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, young cop Arthur Dales (the brother of the Arthur Dales who started the X-Files) stumbles across a “negro” baseball player who is actually an alien with a love of the game hiding among humans. While at a conference in Las Vegas, The Lone Gunmen run into the enigmatic Susanne Modeski. After deceiving Scully into joining them, the trio soon find out that Susan’s fiancé is planning to use her new brainwashing drug for political assassinations. The skeletonized remains of a young couple are found in the fields of North Carolina. When Mulder and Scully go to investigate, they find that a giant fungal life form releases an LSD-like drug into the air with spores, and then slowly digests its victims. Mulder and Scully fall into its trap and are not sure of what is reality and what is fantasy. Mulder believes that metallic objects discovered in Africa are proof that life originated elsewhere in the universe. Skinner, now in contact with Alex Krycek and Agent Fowley, begins monitoring Mulder and Scully on the case. Mulder, due to the apparent influence of the artifact, falls mentally ill, which leads to Scully travelling to Africa alone.

Art Or The Artist?

Do you need to agree with an artist’s lifestyle or politics to appreciate their art? To spend money on it?

It does matter on certain things. When you appreciate a painting, a drawing, a song or an acting role does it really matter what the artist or creator behind it thinks or does in his / her free time? Does it matter who or what they have sex with and what else they are interested in? Not to me! Does it matter about their religious views, political views, views on abortion, morality, the LGBT community etc etc? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.

When I was younger I worried about liking gay musicians, thinking that my family & community will look down on it. I don’t anymore. I could care less if my any of my favourite musicians are gay or straight, as long as their music appeals to me. In my list of gay musicians I like are Rufus Wainwright, Elton John, Rob Halford, Melissa Ethridge, Teagan & Sara & the occasional KD Lang song. Some of the actors I admire include Ian McKellan, Ellen Degeneres, Portia DeRossie, Sarah Paulson, Dan “Bulldog from Frasier” Butler, Victor Garber, George Takei, Stephen Fry, David Hyde Pierce & Neil Patrick Harris to just name a few. And ofcourse I was a big admirer of Martina Navratilova. Does it matter? Ofcourse not! I love & admire these personalities and their work and I don’t care if they are straight or gay as long as they keep being amazing.

Overly religious musicians do bother me at times but I have a bunch of musicians in my favourite bands who are born again Christians and such and that hasn’t led me to change my opinion on their music. If a rock star is destructive or abusive and violent I may get turned off and not support them anymore. I stopped being a Michael Jackson fan by 1992 but the child abuse cases really damaged my opinion of him. He wasn’t right mentally anyway and I guess that softened the blow a bit. By the time of his death I managed to just respect his music and some of his songs for what they are and forget his weirdness but child molestation is not something I take lightly. Similarly what they say or do does act my judgement but it depends on what it is.

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A Miscarriage Of Justice

For the first time today I watched a show that I had never seen, well some of an episode on the tv in a cafe as I sat there enjoying a coffee and a sandwich. And I was appalled!

When great scifi & such shows are cancelled due to budgetary concerns against an audience who can’t understand the complex issues & themes in it, here is mindless drivel being shot and pumped up to showcase as a “cultural reference” of our times and it gets a lot more air time and maybe even viewers.

Star Trek TOS – cancelled after 3 seasons
Stargate Atlantis – cancelled after 5 seasons
Stargate Universe – cancelled after 2 seasons
Angel – cancelled after 5 seasons
Firefly – cancelled after 14 episodes
The River & Terra Nova – cancelled after 1 season each

Jersey fucking Shore – gets 6 seasons!!! This crap was on tv for 6 years???

The episode I watched today had one chick, so drunk, she kept dancing and falling on her ass in the middle of the day. She went on claiming herself to be a “meatball” and made a huge spectacle of herself. Finally she was dancing on the street and blocking traffic so the cops arrested her! Another two fugly females went to the hospital cause one of the girls had a sprain that turned out to be a minor ankle and this idiot friend of her says “Well I’m disabled because I’m pregnant and now you are disabled so let’s be disabled together!” A pregnancy is a disability?!!!?

Fuck me sideways!

The Mummy (The American Adventure Versions)

Just like Hammer Horrors 4 movie series, Stephen Sommers created The Mummy series (1999-2008 ) which is loosely based on the original Mummy movies from Universal Studios. Sommers recreated the series as more Indiana Jones meets Ancient Egypt and in the 3rd movie, Ancient China, focusing more on the action/adventure style with horror elements thrown in. After approaching a host of actors for the lead role, Brendan Fraser was cast as the leading man for the series.

1999 saw the release of The Mummy starring Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Oded Fehr & Arnold Vosloo as Imoteph the Mummy. The plot is loosely based on 1931’s The Mummy starring Boris Karloff. In 1209 BC high priest Imoteph has an affair with the Pharaoh Seti I’s mistress Anck-su-Namun, which leads to them being caught by the paraoh and they both kill him. Making the priest leave, Anck-su-Namun kills herself before the royal guards can catch her.  After Anck-su-Namun’s burial, Imhotep and his priests steal her corpse and travel to Hamunaptra, the city of the dead, where they begin the resurrection ceremony but are stopped by the royal guards.  Imhotep’s priests are mummified alive; Imhotep is cursed to immortal agony as he is buried alive with flesh-eating scarabs. He is buried under high security, sealed away in a sarcophagus below a statue of the Egyptian god Anubis, and kept under strict surveillance by warriors known as the Medjai. In 1926 two groups; one of American treasure hunters and the other much smaller is led by English Egyptolgist Evelyn, her brother Johnathan & former French Foriegn legion member Rick O’Connel, who was in a jail in Egypt – are in search of Hamunaptra and the treasures she holds in the pyramid. Rick leads Evelyn & Johnathan to Hamunaptra where they are warned by the Medjai, led by Aderth Bay, not to proceed.

Ignoring the warnings both groups continue to excavate in separate portions of the city. As the find some treasure, Evelyn discovers the Book of Amun-Ra, a solid gold book reportedly capable of taking life away, but comes across the remains of Imhotep instead. The team of Americans, meanwhile, discover a box containing the black Book of the Dead. Reading from it, Evelyn awakens Imoteph who then proceeds to kill the American explorers to regain his form. The survivors flee to Cairo but Imhotep follows them with the help of Beni, an unscrupulous guide, who bargains with Imhotep in exchange for his life. Imoteph kills again and takes Evelyn as his prisoner to resurrect his lover Anck-su-Namun. Rick, Johnathan & Bey follow them back to Hamunatra and after an intense battle with Imhotep’s mummified priests, and Evelyn reads from the Book of Amun-Ra. Imhotep becomes mortal, and Rick stabs him, forcing him into the River of Death. Beni is killed after setting off an ancient booby trap and Hamunaptra sinks into the sand. With some treasure the heroes leave the desert and settle in Cairo.

In 2001’s The Mummy Returns set in 1933 Rick and Evelyn O’Connell explore a ruined mortuary structure in the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes with their son, Alex. Alex inadvertently puts on the bracelet, which shows him a vision with directions to the Oasis of Ahm Shere. Alex has seven days to reach the oasis, or the bracelet will kill him the moment the sun’s rays shine on the Scorpion King’s pyramid; at that point, the Scorpion King and his army will reawaken. The Scorpion King is from 5000 years before Imoteph’s time and will unleash the army of Anubis to conquer the world again. An Egyptian cult kidnaps Alex and also resurrects Imoteph; they wish to use Imhotep’s power to defeat the Scorpion King, which would give him command of Anubis’ army. The cult also includes Meela Nais, the reincarnation of Imhotep’s love Anck-su-namun. The bracelet gives Alex visions and directions to Ahm Shere, where the pyramid of the Scorpion King is located. Rick, Evelyn, Johnathan & Bey follow behind them, guided by clues left behind by the precocious Alex. As Imoteph does a ceremony to unlock Meela’s memories of being Anck-su-Namun, it also unlocks Evelyn’s memories of being the former’s rival Neferti and daughter of Pharoah Seti I. In the jungle of Ahm Shere the cult & our heroes are attacked by pygmy mummies killing off almost all of the members.

Rick grabs Alex and rushes to the pyramid just before the sunrise hits it, causing the bracelet to detach from the boy’s hand. Anck-su-namun stabs Evelyn and kills her. As Imoteph walks in the pyramid, Anubis takes away his powers making him fight the resurrected Scorpion King as a mortal.  Imhotep tells the Scorpion King that he is the Scorpion King’s slave, but Rick was sent to kill him. Meanwhile Jonathan and Alex collaborate to steal the Book of the Dead from Anck-su-namun. Alex uses the book to resurrect Evelyn, who duels with Anck-su-namun. In the end Rick kills the Scorpion King with a sceptre meant to destroy the ancient king and the pyramid starts to crumble and Anubis’ Army, which had awoken and was fighting the Medjai soldiers, disappear. The Scorpion King’s death breaks his oath with Anubis, causing the oasis to turn back into a desert, and the oasis to be sucked into the pyramid. Rick and Imhotep are hanging from the edge of a pit that leads into the underworld. Evelyn risks her life to save Rick, but Anck-su-namun refuses to do the same for Imhotep, and abandons him. Heartbroken about her desertion, he lets go of the ledge, falling into the underworld, to his death. Anck-su-namun, running away from the pyramid, falls into a pit of black scorpions, where she is suffocated and stung to death. The O’Connells are able to escape in a dirigible that a friend had brought them in with Johnathan stealing a large diamond on the at the top of the pyramid, just before it sinks into the ground.

The third movie 2008’s The Mummy : Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor has some changes; gone is ancient Egypt and instead we have the Ancient China and Qin Shi Huang – a brutal warlord who destroyed his enemies and became the Dragon Emperor. He later built the great wall and ordered the sorceresses  Zi Yuan to perform a ritual that will give him immortality. However Zi falls in love with the emperor’s General Ming Gou and they have an affair. After she seemingly chants a spell, the Emperor has Ming executed and tries to kill Zi. She however casts another spell immolating him and transforming him & his army into terracotta figures. In 1946, a grown up archelogist Alex, finds the Emperor’s tomb and although is attacked by a mysterious woman named Lin, brings the  the Emperor’s coffin to Shanghai. Rick & Evelyn (here portrayed by Maria Bello as Weisz did not like the script) join Johnathan, now a nightclub owner in Shanghai, as they are asked to bring the Eye of Shangri-la to the Chinese government. A rougue faction of the Chinese army led by a General, wants to revive the Emperor and they use Wilson, an associate of the O’Connell’s to get them in. The Emperor is awoken when accidentally the magical fluid within the Eye lands on his body. With the rogue general’s men, the Emperor heads off to find Shangri-la, where the Eye can grant him immortality and grant him special powers.

Lin, who reveals herself to be the 2000 year old daughter of Zi & Ming,joins the O’Connells towards Shangri-la. With the help of  Yetis  summoned by Lin, the group hold off Yang’s soldiers but the Emperor discovers Shangri-La’s location. Rick is mortally injured and Lin takes them to her mother who heals him. The Emperor eventually arrives and attacks them in Shangri-La, taking the dagger and shattering his terracotta form before bathing in the mystical waters. It restores his human form and youth, replenishes his powers, and gives him the ability to shapeshift. He transforms into a gigantic three-headed dragon, kidnaps Lin, and flies to his tomb where he raises the Terracotta Army, now aided by General Yang’s soldiers. The O’Connell’s & Zi attack the army and fight them off.  Zi Yuan sacrifices her and Lin’s immortality to revive the workers killed and buried beneath The Great Wall, creating her own undead army, led by a vengeful, revived General Ming. Rick & Alex fight the Emperor killing him with the special dagger that is the sole weapon that can kill him. The Teracotta army crumbles to dust and the victorious army of Ming also disappears. Zi dies of her wounds, leaving Lin in Alex’s hands as the two are in love. The O’Connells return to Shanghai and celebrate their victory but Johnathan leaves for Peru with the eye, intending to be where no mummies are! Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh & Isabella Leong also star in this film.

The first two movies are fun & exciting and are well done. The last one pales in comparison with a rushed feel, too many characters and Mario Bello’s fake British accent distracts you and makes you yearn for Rachel Weisz. Having a 40 year old & 39 year old play parents to a 26 year old actor – totally believable right? Makes for awkward scenes of parenting. I’d give an 8 outta 10, 7.5 outta 10 & a 6 outta 10 for the movies respectively!

Displayed On The Walls

What do you display on the walls of your home — photos, posters, artwork, nothing? How do you choose what to display? What mood are you trying to create?

I currently have just two pieces of artwork on my bedroom walls. I have a large 3D picture of two parrots (green with red breasts) sitting on a tree branch surrounded by some leaves. This one is special to me as it is one of the gifts that I received from my beloved team members on my 34th birthday back in 2010. They had pooled their money to get me the large framed pic & a nice leather wallet. The other smaller is an artwork of two old style ships in the sea.

Elsewhere in the living/dining room my dad has a framed black & white photo of his mother, my grandmother or achamma, up on the walls above the largest sofa. All my four grandparents are now dead, with my maternal grandmother or ammumma having died in 2008. Above the dining table there are three small copies of Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings on the wall against which the dining table is pushed against. We have some small knick knacks and a couple of show case items also in the living room – my favourite is a crystal horse.

And that’s it. As a teenager back in our old family home in Thrikkara my room was filled with posters of rock bands & artists, football & tennis stars. I remember how I would use a ladder and measure the distance to make sure that there was a uniformity in poster placement – distance from posters’ edge to each other and the wall or ceiling or floor. I was that crazy. One of my aunts used to be amazed and she would love to look at the posters in my bedroom. From that to almost bare walls is a bit extreme, I know, but I just don’t feel like doing the walla up anymore.

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Flashpoint – Season 5

One is always sad when a good show winds down. When a really good or great show like Flashpoint winds down after just 5 seasons, it feels like an injustice, a tragedy. However we are grateful that the show’s creators meant to wind it down and that it wasn’t due to ratings or anything external. The show’s creators husband & wife team Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern had announced the decision well before season 5 started airing. So there’s that.

It’s also ironic that the show’s best & most emotionally tragic episode is the season opener. Team One tears through the city looking for James Mitchell (Ty Olsson), a man hunting his ex-wife Michelle (Lisa Houle). The end result has Ed taking a shot he wasn’t prepared for – he has to kill the daughter who approaches her abusive father with a gun in her hand. Ed will struggle throughout this season as this decision, although correct in the eyes of the law, plagues him. The rest of the team also struggle with this. Next Team One is called to an office building where Dr. Jason Alston has been taken at gunpoint. As the team clears the building, the gunman gets the drop on Sam, forcing him and Jason into a van and revealing a critically injured child. Sam helps Jason stabilize the child’s condition, and discovers a history between Jason and the gunman – just as armed men close in, gunning for Brendan and trapping Sam and Jason in the crossfire. Rafik ‘Raf’ Rousseau leaves the team as he applies for a transfer unable to come to terms with some of the cases he has seen. As Leah Kerns (Raf’s replacement) returns to the team, Team One responds to a bank robbery committed by the Business Card Bandit. As they discover, two teenage girls were involved in the robbery and the gang they belong to has an abusive leader who picks up homeless kids to carry out these heists. When Sarah decides to cut him from their lives, Jules and the team race to stop her before she becomes his next victim.

The team chase after a reclusive and handicapped hacker (Kris Lemche) who hacked into their computers, displaying a theft of an eighteen-wheeler full of volatile chemicals. Apparently, the hacker has learned that his student’s boyfriend is part of a hijacking ring, but he doesn’t get caught as intended. Now the boyfriend’s boss, who hides his criminal operation behind a legitimate front, holds his girlfriend hostage, demanding he find the leak. Team One responds to the abduction of Peggi Walsh (Sarah Manninen), a young nurse taken by a man (Chad Donella) at knifepoint. With time running out, the team finds the killer’s brother (Andrew Francis) and must convince him to unlock the secret of his tragic past to save Peggi’s life. Also, Ed is required to hear from the mother of the teenager that died in “Broken Peace” to hear her take on the situation. A car bombing goes off at a children’s party, killing a married couple. As Team One discovers, all the fathers are members of the Brigadiers biker gang, the leader having been killed in the explosion. At first it seemed like an attack from a rival gang, but as they later find out, it is in fact a coup being pulled off by a few of its members. Worse yet, an undercover informant, who was the best friend of the leading detective’s deceased son, is exposed and Team One is in a race against time to prevent the coup and save his life. A young man named Elliot (Sebastian Pigott) with a brilliant memory is abducted and forced to remember the specifications for a new “smart gun” in a high tech research facility, which his kidnappers intend to sell on the black market. Things get worse when Ed is taken hostage. Thus, he works with Elliot to find a way to disable the smart gun before their kidnappers flee the country and kill him.

Jules and Sam receive some personal news, she’s pregnant, but don’t know whether to share it with the team. While the SRU is called in to stop some ex-soldiers robbing an armored truck with millions of dollars, they learn more about the background of the group leader who tries to maintain a place for ex-army men and women with nowhere to go. When Dean and Clark go on a ride-along with Team One, a shootout breaks out at a drug den. As the Team learns, a trio of undercover cops are trying to take down the neighbourhood drug gang that inducts teenagers. Now, the gang leader is out for retaliation, starting with one of the cops’ wives, whom the Team fails to save. Meanwhile, Dean and Clark spot one of the cops fleeing the scene and dropping a bag full of guns in a garbage bag. They go to investigate, only to be confronted by the leading sergeant of the undercover unit, who has decided to forgo following the law to take down the gang leader after he was acquitted. A Senator is abducted in the midst of a bomb hoax. Team One soon learns that the Senator is planning on developing vast farmland into an airport and his two kidnappers are farmers who live on that land. One farmer is seeking to keep the land his deaf nephew feels comfortable with but his cohort seeks to ransom the Senator, having learned of bribes set by farm owners to keep their land. The situation becomes even more tense when the nephew returns, mistakenly assuming that the Team shot his uncle. Meanwhile, Dean receives his acceptance into university but later tells his father that he wants to be a cop. In flashback sequences, Ed tells his psychologist how Team One races to catch a disturbed and armed man on a ferry. This man, Harold Beamer (A. J. Buckley), had kidnapped his neighbour’s baby girl, convinced it is his own daughter as a baby once again. At the same time, Ed is still wracked with guilt over the events of “Broken Peace” and feels that he’s not fit to be team leader.

And now the series finale – an explosive package planted at the 911 call centre is just the beginning of the most challenging call of Team One’s career. A series of bombs in public buildings tears the city apart with terror as the team members juggle high-risk rescues, multiple defusions, and fear for their own loved ones. Team One singles out a suspect, Anson Holt, a former psychiatrist and sadist. The SRU manages to track him down, only to find him strapped into a bomb vest as bait for the police. Team Three leader Donna Sabine and one of her colleagues lose their lives to the deadly trap as the search for the true suspect goes on. The members of Team One have no time to mourn the loss of their friend and colleague as they learn that the perpetrator is Marcus Faber, one of Anson Holt’s students and a victim of his sadistic experiments. Team One races across Toronto to defuse all of the remaining bombs. As Greg Parker attempts to disable the last bomb in the catwalks of Fletcher Stadium, Faber catches up and engages him in a firefight. Parker succeeds but is gravely injured, while Ed Lane saves his life by fatally shooting Faber. One year later, Greg retires to teach at the police academy, Spike and Winnie are officially a couple, Sam and Jules have their daughter Sadie, Sam is the new leader of Team Three and Ed is promoted to Sergeant.

A great show, great cast, great storylines and episodes. I will miss this show but – there’s always playing the episodes again on dvd!

Nonic English Pint Glasses – Set of 2

On March 7th I placed an order on for a set of 2 Nonic English Pint glasses (583 ml capacity) from British manufactures Ravenhead. I was quite looking forward to these authentic English pint beer glasses. Now I opted for the cash on delivery option and waited for a week. With no information coming after that, I called their customer care up. Initially their delivery dates are within 5-7 days of making the order but this one now shows 48-55 days instead!

Apparently, instead of only showing things that they have for sale, for items like this, they take in the orders and place bulk request from Ravenhead and wait for it to be shipped to India. Once it reaches their godown in Bangalore, the online retailer then proceeds to sort the various packages out and send it to the customers. This took 61 days for me. Terrible!

Anyway finally today I got a package. But wait, this is the photo of my package. I actually got a much bigger package from the courier guys at 4pm. I signed and paid for it and then went to my room to open it up – wrong package! In the cartoon I found a white alarm clock, a nylon masher & a large curry dish. What the fuck! I called Zansaar to have them check.

A few minutes the courier delivery guy called me on my cell – it was a mix up on his end. The big package had no stickers on it, although mine did, and he mixed it up with mine. The big package was for a lady named Reshma Menon in Kaloor and you can see how  he mistook Roshan Menon for Reshma Menon! Anyways, no harm done, he came back to my place and gave me my box and took the other one away.

So then I opened my box and unpacked my little purchase. Here is the 2 piece set in a little paper holder. Nice aren’t they? These are the ones I see quite a lot on beer videos and beer reviews on Youtube and love the way they look. Now if I only had some really good craft beer to drink – Irish red, stouts or porters – but I guess a Pepsi will have to do for now. Will get some beer later in the week. Cheers!

Here are the two videos I shot of the unboxing

The Devil’s Ground

So looking for some good horror movies I glanced upon the title and cover for this film. And then I see the name Daryl Hannah attached to it as it’s leading actress. Might be good, so let’s take a look at it. Directed & written by Michael Barfaro, The Devil’s Ground is a 2009 Canadian horror, slasher-ish movie which he claims is based on a true story. The movie was shot on a low budget, which is very obvious to see and looks like it was shot in the Czech Republic. The cast is mostly unknowns with the exception of Daryl Hannah and, if you are watching tv’s Rogue, Leah Gibson – who has a memorable realistic sex scene against a wall to wall sliding door. Yowza!

As the movie starts we see a distraught and slightly bloodied Amy Singer (Gibson) running in the woods with a machete in her hands. She comes across a body being burned, which causes her to panic and puke, and run in the opposite direction, dropping the machete. A masked figure picks it up and runs behind her but loses sight of her as she hid into a small covered hole in the ground. Next we see Carrie Mitchell driving through the country (she is on a drive from California headed to Maine in honour of her husband who went missing while on a similar drive) and stopping for gas. She meets the big burly gas station attendant Jimmy, who advices her to stay in a hotel as it as already 9pm but she goes on. A while later she almost hits Amy on the road and gives her a lift when she sees that the young girl needs help. Amy proceeds to tell her the story.

Amy that tells that her friends from the Boston University Mike, Greg, Tammy and Lisa and she had traveled in a RV to Arrowhead to research the area as part of a discipline in their course. When they stopped in a gas station, the attendant Billy advised them to avoid the place in Bradford City called “Devil’s Playground” by the locals. Amy is the only one nice to Billy, who has lost both hands and is using a crude fake metal device on both to pick & hold things. As they stop at night, their RV is rocked back and forth – the students can’t find anyone when they step out and Mike thinks it’s Billy & his friends out for revenge. The next morning while digging in an area where a mine collapsed on 19 December 1967 killing 239 coal miners, they find preserved bones that they believe belonged to the Indians. However, when they find teeth with golf fillings and a watch on the wrist of an arm, they realize that the deaths have recently occurred and they are in a dangerous location. Ok now, when you are digging and you find skeletons of humans – stop fucking digging and go call the police! Or drive away and get the cops if you can’t get mobile reception. Instead these idiots keep digging and unearth a bunch more of these dead bodies in various stages of decay! As they finally stop in the evening, they find someone in their RV who has hotwired the vehicle and proceeds to attack at them. Lisa is killed immediately when the RV crushes her against a tree and the others run away. The masked burly figure takes a machete & a shotgun and Mike is killed next.

The next morning Tammy is killed as she comes back to join the other two after moving aside to take a pee in the woods (this girl pees twice in the morning and shame she dies at this point cause she is the hottie of all the women) and then it’s only Greg & Amy. Greg falls into a deep hole, so he gives Amy a map with the graves spots marked and makes her go for help. She goes to the gas station and asks Billy for help – only he is the burly masked man’s brother! Billy explains that due to the toxic waste dumped by a plant in the area, the water is bad and affected a lot of people, including their mother and Tobey the brother who is mentally deranged. Tobey reaches the gas station at this point and Jimmy sends him back to get the map from Greg. Amy uses this distraction to hide the map in a cooler and when Jimmy drinks a coke, she smashes the bottle against him and soon kills him with a machete. She takes a jeep and head back to find Greg but instead finds his dead. Tobey then chases her – we then see her being caught by him. At this point of the narration Carrie asks her how she got away but Amy has no recollection of that. Carrie promises to help her and stops at a different gas station to call the police and to fill her car’s tank. When she tells the police the story, they rebuke her for playing a practical joke and tell her that Amy Singer was found dead 5 years ago!!

Yes, Amy is a ghost and vanishes from the car. Carrie steps out and finds her husband’s vehicle in the back (he was obviously killed here too) and sees a huge man approaching her. She runs and stumbles and the man, Jimmy clams her down. He says that he is the twin brother of Tobey and Billy’s older brother but he moved out from them when they started killing people. Now he wants to end the killing and help her. When Tobey attacks the two twins fight but a young gas station attendant (probably the young boy from 5 years ago who is briefly shown and now grown up a bit) shoots Jimmy and let’s Tobey use the machete to kill Carrie. Thus ends the movie.

There are some good elements to the movie but the cast has problems with some bad acting and bad dialogues. It does give a few scares and jumps. For that 5.5 outta 10!

I Want To Believe

What are the six impossible things you believe in? (If you can only manage one or two, that’s also okay.)

I’m gonna have fun with this blog prompt; these answers are for stuff that I just am interested in and may believe but I don’t hold them that dearly or base my life around it. It’s just the imagination & the scifi/supernatural/fantasy lover in me. But I find them to be plausible but at the same time they are not proven scientifically and hence….you know.

  1. Aliens not only exist but quite possibly have visited earth many many times in the past though not quite frequently since modern times. You see, when aliens first came to earth it was tens of thousands of years ago they found us humans to be highly primitive and influenced our development and our history. Some of the aliens were kind hearted and helped us but the vast majority of them used us for their own gain. Their superior intellect & technology scared us and we made them gods. All the religions, except for a couple smaller ones, were due to this aliens who did all these miracles. That explains a lot doesn’t it? However as humankind grew & developed, the aliens decided to leave us and around 1400 years ago, the last group left. From time to time their descendants, who have no interest in enslaving us, have visited in much smaller numbers but they leave quickly without establishing contact.
  2. Atlantis was a real place, a real huge island of much more advanced humans. They were infact descendants of the offspring between the said aliens and human beings and all the children thus produced were sent to live on Atlantis. Thus the inhabitant of Atlantis were all a new breed of alien-human hybrids if you will. They were mostly human looking but they had two hearts, superstrength compared to the strongest humans and highly intelligent. They lived to explore, discover & study and had little or no time for superstitions or religious nonsense. However Atlantis the island was doomed to sink below the ocean water and hence the Atlantians were evacuated into giant spaceships and they set forth for a nearby planet in the Milky Way. One day we shall meet them again.

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The Clone Wars Of Roshan

If you could clone yourself, how would you split up your responsibilities?

Attack of the clones eh? I dunno I think it depends on what I want to get done and how many things I want. If I had the control I’d have a few clones of me – two or three of which I will arrange to go to work in different areas of the city and I will have control of all the money that comes in from them. Wait for it, rub your hands together and go like this….Bwahahahahaha! (Evil laugh)

My economic needs being met by the 3 of them and with money coming in, I’d assign 2 of my clones to get things done for the home – go pay the bills, do the shopping for the stuff needed for the home, do household chores and fix things up. Hmmm, that should be good. And maybe another 2 to go and do charity work around the city.

And what will I do? Enjoy myself, watch movies & tv shows all day and eat & sleep and relax. Hahahah – time to get off my ass and do all these things by my lone self!

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