In The Zone Of Day Dreaming

Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a simple activity — running, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, whatever. What’s it like when you’re in “the zone”?

I think I day dream more than the average person. Ever since I can remember I day dream. I do it when I’m even reading a book – in my mind I put faces, voices, mannerisms to the characters and I even dream up how the houses & places will look like as I read the chapters. I can get lost in several activities the most common is ofcourse when riding the bus. I don’t drive and don’t have a vehicle and so I usually take the bus to & fro work. For closer places in the vicinity I take an autorickshaw but I never day dream in there. So in the bus, in care rides to & back from work during night shifts, I zone out completely. I am in my own universe and it is big and it is grand and it is so exciting to be there. Why the fuck would I want to come back to reality? I love long rides as long as the bus / car can move freely and we are not stuck in crawling traffic.

My next favourite time to be in the zone is when I am in the loo. Yes pooping especially in the late evening or night times is a perfect time for day dreaming and I get lost in my universe and I dream up a lot of things. I particularly find it even more relaxing when I go to the loo and it’s raining quite a bit outside. It just adds to the atmosphere if you will and now that it’s the monsoon I am sure to enjoy quite a few evenings when I go to the loo to do my business and day dreaming. Although I hope I don’t lose track of time and stay in there too long, which has happened to me many times before.

Sometimes it has happened to me on slow work days at the office where I have nothing much to do and it’s a boring day. I can settle in after lunch and while waiting for more interesting stuff to come my way, I can daydream for hours. Although those are few and far between, if I want to break out of the zone I just look for something to do to change the monotony.

It’s Boston vs Chicago

Wow, I did not see that one coming. The Boston Bruins lam-blasting the favoured Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 and white washing their way through to the Eastern Conference title and hence the Stanley Cup Finals which are to start on the 12th of June. Honestly I am shocked that the Penguins who looked heavy title contenders lay down like sheep and were mowed down by the physical brute force of the Bruins. The Penguins will have some name changes in the squad during the offseason and some players will be looking for new homes for the next season. Expect some trades and some free agents to not get offers to stay.

Meeting the Bruins in the finals will be the Chicago Blackhawks and although they had a much tougher conference finals against the defending champions the Los Angeles Kings, I think it will be the Hawks celebrating on the ice at the end of the finals. Atleast I hope so as I do not much like the Beantown bullies. Chicago had a 4-2 series win against the Kings and will be a bit more tired than the =ir opponents but having done it all in 2009 the franchise will want to drink from Lord Stanley’s bowl once again. I hope it’s a 7 game series with Chicago coming out on top.

Dog Saves Baby From Thrash In Bangkok

On June 1st of this year, I posted this message on Facebook : “Every little boy should have a dog to call his own. Every little girl should have a dog to call her own. You believe in angels with wings and all that. I KNOW that the only angels are actually four legged furry & tailed kind.” along with two rather cute photos of a 3 year old girl hugging her equally beautiful Husky and a 3 year old boy walking with his St. Bernard. I meant it wholeheartedly. And then I read this bit of news today :

A dog in Thailand is being honored for rescuing a newborn who had been wrapped in a plastic bag and thrown into a garbage dump. Pui, a male Thai Bangkaew who regularly wanders around his community, found a white plastic bag at a roadside dump in the Tha Rua district and took it home to his master, Gumnerd Thongmak, according to the Bangkok Post. Thongmak’s niece heard the pup barking outside the house and went onto the patio to find the dog with a plastic bag. Inside was a newborn baby girl. The dog’s owner rushed the baby to the hospital, where doctors determined she had been born prematurely — at around seven months — and weighed just 4 pounds 8 ounces. On June 3, Pui received a leather collar and a medal from the Tha Rua district Red Cross Chapter for saving the girl’s life. Pui’s owner got a $300 reward, per the Bangkok Post.

Police Lieutenant General Jitkasaem Sonkom told Khaosod that investigators are currently working on finding the baby’s biological mother, who they think is a teenage girl who works at a nearby factory. Thongmak said she wants to adopt the child. This is not the only amazing canine rescue story to make headlines recently. Snickers, an adopted dog from Canada, was honored in May for saving his owner’s life after the man collapsed. Neighbors heard the animal’s frantic barking and pacing and checked inside the home to find Gregory Gould, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, on the floor. Another dog was credited earlier this year with helping save a 3-year-old girl in Poland after she wandered from her home and spent the night out in freezing temperatures in March.

Cold Squad – Season 2

The second season follows up where the first left off but we have changes in cast. Ali McCormick still heads Cold Squad with Tony Lugozo but he has put in a transfer request after the controversy that McCormick had unearthed causing the inspector to resign. Jill Stone (Joy Tanner), a regular member of the cold squad is reduced to having a supporting role as she passes the exams to be a bonafide full fledged psychologist with the police department. She is featured from time to time when Allie asks her for her expertize. Two new members of the cold squad to be transferred there are rookie detective Eddie Carson (Bob Frazer) & the Internal Affairs officer, Det. Jackie Cortez (Lori Ann Triolo) who was investigating Ali & the whole mess and got caught up in it. Hence she “demoted” so to speak and now has to report to Ali and the two butt heads over procedure and difference of opinions.Peter Wingfield plays Insp. Simon Ross who replaces the previous head of homicide.

All the others are reduced to guest roles or minor roles, although Jay Brazeau will retain his small role as the forensic doctor.. Linda Ko barely makes a handful of appearances and that too for just a couple of minutes per episode. Ali is assigned a new partner Det. Derrick Clark (Clark Johnson) who is killed in their very first case as he investigates on his own. Among the guest stars we see a young Paul McGillon, Brian Markinson (well isn’t there a rule that Markinson has to be in every show?), Anne Openshaw & Dmitry Chepovetsky. Cold Squad also pushed the envelop  in some of their cases; they are one of the first shows to feature the case of a hermaphodite, killed by the bullied man who actually loved her. When a Chinese teenager is found hanging in a jail cell the morning after being arrested, Ali and Tony investigate the similarities with another jail cell hanging 20 years before, when the police department was being investigated for brutality – touching some nerves along the way. The team also check out the story of an informant who claims he knows who killed a tow truck operator in 1991. Their case turns on the testimony of a woman who was a drug addict then, and who is now a hyper-religious housewife. When an abandoned warehouse is being torn down, a headless corpse is discovered sealed in an interior wall. Tony concludes that the body is an industrialist missing since July 1972 and the investigation shines a light on the dead man’s two deranged spinster sisters.

When a young woman claims to have a 17-year-old “recovered memory” of her sister’s murder, the whole squad tries to sort through the family’s secrets. Meanwhile, Ali attempts to get a confession from a terminally ill man long suspected of being a hit-man. Firemen responding to a house fire find a child’s picture displayed on a computer. Ali’s attention is aroused when the child is identified as a boy who disappeared and was declared dead 15 years before, but in the picture he is older than when he disappeared. After a body is found at a construction site excavation, Ali and Tony look into the case of an Anglican priest missing for two years. Simon asks Ali out on a date after accompanying her to an official function. After a social worker asks Ali for her opinion on a possible child abuse case, Ali looks into the death of a little boy three years earlier in the same household. Against her objections, Ali is given the job of investigating a doctor, whose husband died in a hospice, after one of her patients dies under nearly identical conditions in the same hospice. After reading a letter from a recently deceased hit-man, Ali connects the murder of an elderly woman to the murders of several informants used in a drug task force Simon ran in the 1980s, and finds out there is an leak within the police force.

At the of the season Eddie is shot but not killed, even though he lost a lot of blood. The chief is the leak and she confesses to her crimes. Ali becomes persona non grata in the Vancouver police force top brass eyes. She also starts a relationship with Ross, although we don’t get to see how far they progressed beyond the couple of dinners a week and drinks some evenings.

To Be A Rock And Not To Roll

I though that Ann & Nancy Wilson, Jason Bonham & the band did a really good job! I don’t really like choir singing for a rock song. I felt that they detracted from what was otherwise a classic performance. People in the audience made me laugh a bit, especially that lady who looked liked she was in a gospel church singing and having a religious experience. Makes me laugh remembering what a lot of commotion was created about Stairway being about devil worship!

Freedom Of & On Facebook

Facebook has recently come under attack for failing to enforce its own guidelines on hate speech and violent imagery. Is it a website’s job to moderate the content users post, or should users have freedom to say what they want? Is there a happy medium? If so, how would you structure it?

Ho ho, this is a topic that I seem to come against quite often and is discussed almost everyday among friends & acquaintances. I don’t think anyone reading this post will be unaware of Facebook. You may not have an account there due to either disinterest or maybe you can’t be bothered as you don’t have regular access to the internet or due to a job/work issue you have either chosen or been advised to get rid of your account. The rest of you will have one. Sometimes your cat or dog or goldfish will have one too!

I’ve always treated Facebook like this; what’s in my page is what I want to share. I don’t care who you are, you should not be bothered about it. If you don’t like what I post, there’s an unfriend button. Go on, press it, I don’t give a fuck. If you do defriend it, you weren’t worth it in the first place. I have had so called “friends” de-friending me on Facebook because of an anti-religious post I have posted. Usually it is a post that is a news article about the wrong doings of the priests in either Hinduism, Christianity or Islam and some believers can’t handle the truth. And yes since I hate religion and all it’s shit and all the fake gods and godmen & saints & fuckers that have benefited from these shameful religions I chose to report it. If you can’t handle the truth fuck off. You aren’t using your brain.

However hate speech is different. And people, please hate speech isn’t the same as criticizing the evils of a religious organization or religious people. If you want to see hate crimes just look at some of the religious fundamentalists in any of the religion calling for killing a person who has offended them by “insulting’ their dumb holy book, their stupid religion or their godmen/prophet. They have whole pages on them. That should be reported. Calling for the death, rape or injuring a person or persons, animals, organizations, places etc is not right. Making changes for the betterment of humanity by calling out immoral activities in the name of tradition, culture or religion is needed. That how we progress.

You may agree, you  may not agree.

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The Barrens

Never seen True Blood‘s Stephen Moyer in a movie before (that I remember) so here goes. The Barrens is a 2012 horror flick starring Moyer, Mia Kirshner, Erick Knudsen, Allie McDonald with Shawn Ashmore & Athena Karkanis in small roles. Directed & co-produced by Darren Lynn Bousman the movie takes a look at the Jersey Devil myth that originated in the Pine Barrens of the state of New Jersey.

The most accepted origin of the story, as far as New Jerseyans are concerned, started with Mother Leeds and is as follows: “It was said that Mother Leeds had 12 children and, after finding she was pregnant for the 13th time, stated that this one would be the Devil. In 1735, Mother Leeds was in labor on a stormy night. Gathered around her were her friends. Mother Leeds was supposedly a witch and the child’s father was the Devil himself. The child was born normal, but then changed form. It changed from a normal baby to a creature with hooves, a goat’s head, bat wings and a forked tail. It growled and screamed, then killed the midwife before flying up the chimney. It circled the villages and headed toward the pines. In 1740 a clergy exorcised the demon for 100 years and it wasn’t seen again until 1890.”

As the movie begins, two young lovers are trekking in the barrens after camping overnight, when the man notices that there are no animals or birds, not even the noises. Finding a pile of mutilated deer bodies, they decide to make their way back when something that seems like a mutilated deer runs towards the before dropping dead. A dark shadow like a swarm of birds seem to descend on them before the screen turns black. A couple of weeks later, Richard Vineyard is taking his second wife Cynthia, his daughter from his first wife Sadie and young son Danny for a family bonding trip to the Barrens and plan to camp there before spreading his father’s ashes in a lake where they used to go when Richard was a child. Danny keeps calling for his lost dog Oscar but the adults feel that the old dog probably died out alone. On their way to the forest, they almost hit a dear that has it’s guts falling out; it was trying to cross the road before falling down dead. Once they reach the barrens Richard is annoyed to find the campsite filled with youngsters playing loud music, drinking beer and making a lot of noise. Later that evening, when a fellow camper explains the origins of the Jersey Devil(the bastard offspring of the Devil), the campers pull a prank that scares the Vineyard family. Richard overreacts and is irate, much to the embarrassment and dismay of the rest of the Vineyard family.

Richard has occasional flashbacks to a traumatic event as a child in the Barrens and sleepwalks in the night.  He then proceeds to jealously accuse his wife of cheating on him, who responds by reassuring him of her love for him. Richard apologizes soon but after Cynthia goes back to the tent, he sees something that catches his eye and a deer carcass falls from a tree. The next morning we find Richard checking a wound from before the trip and taking medicines for it when a ranger chief comes to speak to the campers. It is also revealed that one of the campers involved in the prank the previous night has gone missing, and that the hikers from earlier in the story were found the previous week dead. After that Richard, who appears physically weak, leads his family deeper into the forest, away from all the other people. During a rest, we notice the dead body of the missing camper but the family doesn’t see it. Richard’s mental condition deteriorates further as they find another camp site with a torn tent & notice a deteriorating dog corpse, hanging furs, but no people. Due to possible rains they have to camp there while Richard goes to dispose off the dog’s body and runs into Ryan, a camper who Sadie seems to like. Richard reveals he saw the Jersey Devil as a child, and it begins to rain as Ryan leaves, a bit scared. It is revealed that Richard killed the family dog, before they left, after it bit him and it had rabies which is what is affecting Richard. That night, Sadie goes in search of Ryan, when she is scared by something in the woods that has his phone.

A further deteriorated Richard & his family leave the next morning but he disappears with Danny.While calling the police, Cynthia and Sadie stumble upon the disemboweled body of Ryan with Richard’s knife next to the body. They find Danny face-down in the river and resuscitate him. Richard reappears and has a seizure. He then attacks Cynthia, breaking her leg. Richard is knocked unconscious, and tied up. Saddie and Danny run to find help, leaving an injured Cynthia near the hysterical Richard. While waiting for the police to come, Richard goes mental and breaks free as Cynthia passes out from the pain of trying to fix her broken leg when Richard sees the Jersey devil appear. Sadie and Danny are found by a hunter, the police find the bodies of the campers, and Cynthia knocks out Richard with a rock. Richard comes to Cynthia is attacked by something off screen. The hunter and the kids stumble upon Richard, and then a bleeding Cynthia and Richard manages to knock the hunter down and take his shotgun. As the police corner the Vineyards, Richard corners his family with a loaded gun and notices the Jersey Devil behind his family. The rest of his family notice it as well, horrified. Richard attempts to shoot it, but is shot by police, missing his shot. The jersey devil then kills the police before returning to kill the Vineyard family.

After the credits scene at the ending it is shown that both Sadie and Danny had survived and are at the police station with the Officer repeatedly asking Sadie on what happen in the forest but no one believes her because of her saying that the Jersey Devil did it. So she decided to go with other hunters to avenge her parents and to hunt the Jersey Devil at winter. Good little horror story, different from most that I have seen. It’s unique enough and a little creepy rather than horror filled. 7.5 outta 10 for me!

Motive – Season 1

It’s a show & a season that just recently concluded a couple of weeks ago, the first of what I hope is a few seasons atleast as I did like this show a lot. Cop & crime dramas are dime a dozen and almost every actor wants to be a cop/detective atleast once in his or her career. Motive is a Canadian crime/cop procedural drama on CTV (ABC in the US) set in & produced in Vancouver. It premiered in February of this year and completed a 13 episode run of it’s debut season. The show stars veterans Kristin Lehman (around whom the show is centered around), Louis Ferreira, Brendan Penny, Roger Cross & Lauren Holly.

As a twist for this show, something different, each episodes starts off with showing us the victim & the killer. Which means there is no “who dunnit?” mystery for the viewer. However, what we don’t known and only find out towards the end of each episode is the – you guessed it – Motive, as the killer usually seems to have no connection with the victim until their paths cross. That motive often is not fully understood by the detectives until they catch the killer(s). It;s up to single mom & lead detective Angela Flynn (Lehman) along with her partner Oscar Vega (Ferreira) who also utilize  Brian Lucas (Penny), a rookie detective to find out the motive. For forensic & medical data is Dr. Betty Rogers (Holly), the lead medical examiner and support from Staff Sergeant Boyd Bloom (Cross). Cameron Bright plays a recurring role as Angela’s independent teenage son.

Often we will wonder why the killer (as identified in the very first scene) wanted to kill the victim. Like Tom, an often picked on high school student who kills his teacher, a popular singing science teacher who seemed to look out for Tom. Or a former public prosecutor and now the popular candidate for mayor, who murders his babysitter as she finds out he’s been videotaping her having sex with her boyfriend, and also a recording of him sleeping with another teenage babysitter which, if made public, would destroy David’s mayoral bid. Or my fav episode so far, a mild mannered cruise ship terminal customs agent who is setup by a pretty woman to kill Scott Hayward, a limo driver, who was found dead next to his still running vehicle in Stanley Park. episode 4 is a single mother who works at a grocery store who is going through a messy divorce and custody battle killing a lawyer for the winning lottery ticket. Next is a clothing store lady who killed a popular raw foods advocate for the photos of him raping her & other women many years ago. And the Toronto cop who recently celebrated his one year sobriety at his AA meeting but kills his estranged daughter’s ex-husband for a messy divorce and possible sole custody of her child.

And a former Czech surgeon who is recognized by an ex-Canadian soldier who was in the UN peacekeeping unit and who wants her to pay for not stopping crimes committed by the Communist regime in her former country and watching while innocent kids were killed. A really good one is two fathers, who agree to kill for each other & provide strong alibis for each other – an Indian father who has a contracter kill the boyfriend, a former junkie, of his daughter. In return the contractor wants the father of the girl to kill his brother in law who he blames for his young son’s death. Next is an aging mother with a bad back who kills a lady who works for an art gallery. The motive – her son had his heart broken by the lady when he asked her out for a date and the lady bought a painting from the mother, a new painting on an old canvas for some money; the old painting is a lost treasure item and will fetch a large sum! A young man, fired from his last job, kills a priest who cared for him growing up but who hid stolen money that the young man’s father had informed him about. A former Olympic boxing champ is killed by his crippled younger brother for disagreements on how their struggling gym should be run. A lawyer for a plastics company is the intended target but the man she was having a secret affair with is unintentionally killed by a dying victim of the same company’s products and the lawyer’s case helped the company go scott free.

The season finale is a different case – a manipulative psychiatrist & sexual predator who influences troubled young men who come to see her professionally. She is having an affair with one young man and when a new one enters her life she has to chose between them. The older one kills the younger and is made to commit suicide by the doctor. Angela & Oscar find out that it’s the doc who is the real criminal and she is killed by Angie as she points a gun to shoot her. Really good show and I can’t wait for season 2.

Say My Name, Say My Name!

Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

I was almost named Sheffin instead of Roshan. My mom told me that she & my dad almost gave me that name just to match it with my sister Sherine. However just after I was born, a nurse who my mom befriended suggested ‘Roshan’ instead, stating that I looked like a ‘Roshan’!  I have no idea what she meant by that but I am certainly grateful for her suggestion and that my parents decided to take it. Even thought for a few years I remember that I didn’t like my name, thinking it wasn’t ‘grand’ enough, I love it now.

Just a point about the pronunciation. North Indians and central Indians pronounce it making the “Ro” sound separate from the “shan” sound. It kinda sounds like “Ro~shun”! I don’t really like this pronunciation. I notice North Americans pronounce my name as “Ro-shaan”, more emphasis on the “shan”.

How is it pronounced you ask? Simple – tack an “R” in front of the word “ocean” and pronounce it in the same way. Rocean. Simple and sweet!

I did a check on my name in Wikipedia and this is what they threw me :

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Alien Quadrilogy : Part 1

In April of last year I finally got myself the Alien Quadrilogy of movies after ignoring the franchise for so long. Well, I was very familiar with the franchise and had seen the first movie many years back and parts of the second movie. It’s no doubt that the Alien franchise is the most popular & probably the best in the scifi-horror genre and it set the bar pretty high. I just wasn’t into it that much for so long. I guess in part was the alien – I can’t think of anything more disgusting looking other than somethings from the Starship Troopers universe. Anyways I decided to watch them, got a copy of each 4 movie (prior to Prometheus being released) but only completed watching them recently.

The franchise started in 1979 with the original Alien movie directed Ridley Scott and starring and starring Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto. The screenplay was mostly written by Dan O’Bannon inspired by previous works of scifi & horror. The film continues to be popular & set standards all these years later. As most of you know the commercial towing spaceship Nostromo, on it’s way back to earth is alerted by the owners Weyland-Yutani corporation to intercept a distress call on an unknown planetoid. The 7 crew members discover that the signal is coming from a derelict alien spacecraft and find the carcass of a large alien. One of the crew gets an alien creature, which has just come out of an egg like form and which we will come to call as a facehugger, jump onto his head and attach itself onto his face. Once onboard the rest of the crew find that they can’t cut through the alien as it’s blood acts like a corrosive acid. Later the creature appears to be dead and has detached from his face but the crewman, Kane, is killed in a stunning memorable scene where the crew are at dinner, when his chest bursts open and an alien creature comes out and escapes.

The crew search for the creature which grows fully and is a biped, attacks & kills the rest of the crew until only Ellen Ripley the female warrant officer (Weaver) is left. She also finds out that Ash is actually an android and has been ordered to bring the alien back at all costs, even the lives of the human crew. She is able to initiate the ship’s self-destruct and leaves in an escape pod with her cat but the alien has sneaked it’s way in. Putting on a spacesuit, Ripely opens a hatch and the pressure pulls the alien out into space and is killed by the activated engines. Ripley and cat go into statis and head for earth.

7 years later (that’s awfully long to wait for a sequel isn’t it?) James Cameron directed Aliens starring Weaver returning as Ripley along with Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Paul Riser, William Hope, and Bill Paxton (in so annoying a role, you’re actually cheering on the alien to get him). Aliens was more action adventure compared to the horror themed original and picks up where we left off. Ripley and the cat are rescued in space and brought back to earth. At a debriefing at Weyland-Yutani the panel of executives disregard her statements as she has no physical evidence and also tell her that LV-426, the planet where her crew first encountered the Alien eggs, is now home to a terraforming colony. Her actions are deemed badly and she loses her license. However she is later recruited by corporate representative Carter Burke and Lieutenant Gorman of the military to act as a consultant for a mission to the planet as all contact with the colonists has been lost. Her pilot status being reinstated, Ripley decides to join the mission.

Ripley & Burke are introduced to the marines & the android Bishop (Lance Henriksen) against whom Ripley will show fear & hatred due to her experience with Ash. The expedition reaches LV-436 to find the colony seemingly abandoned except for a little girl, Newt, who hid in the ducts. They find two facehuggers in containment tanks in the medical lab and a large Alien nest filled with the cocooned colonists clustered in the nuclear-powered atmosphere processing station. The aliens start attacking picking off the marines one by one. A stowaway alien also gets into the dropship and kills the pilots and destroys the ship that came to pick up the surviving humans. Ripley discovers that it was Burke who ordered the colonists to investigate the derelict spaceship where the Nostromo crew first encountered the Alien eggs, and that he hopes to return Alien specimens to the company laboratories where he can profit from their use as biological weapons. Bishop crals through several 100  meters of piping ducts to get to a transmitter so he can remote pilot the remaining dropship to get them out of there. Burke meanwhile lets the two facehuggers lose as Ripley & Newt sleep in the lab but they are rescued by the other marines.

The electricity goes out as the aliens attack killing off most of the marines, injuring Hicks and capturing Newt. Ripley gets him to Bishop at the dropship but goes back for Newt and encounters the alien queen and her egg chamber. Ripley destroys most of the eggs, enraging the queen, who escapes by tearing free from her ovipositor. The queen stows away as the drop ship reaches their spaceship and impales Bishop and tears him in half. Using a mechanizes huge suit Ripley attacks the alien queen and expels it through an airlock. Ripley, Newt, Hicks and the still-functioning Bishop then enter hypersleep for the return to Earth.

I’d give Alien and Aliens an 8.5 each. The first sequel is probably my favourite of the 4 films. We shall look at the other two sequels in a few days.

Fancy A Blog Switch Mike?

If you could switch blogs with any blogger for a week, with whom would you switch and why?

I don’t really want to switch blogs with anyone, rather I’d want to make mine a lot better, a lot more popular and a lot more glamorous. However if there simply must be an answer, well I guess I’d like to switch blogs with only one blogger and that’d be Mike Boon aka Toronto Mike from www.torontomike.com!

Once you have checked out his blog a bit, you should know why but if not I’ll spell it out for you….really slowly cause you must be slow (no just kidding). Mike has been blogging at his blog since November 2002. I’m not sure about this but I think he’s also blogged at another blog before this. The reason I say this is because I first started blogging in October of 2002 (using a blogspot account) and I’m pretty sure that Mike’s was one of the first blogs I read which made me want to go start blogging myself. I can’t be sure of that and I guess I just have forgotten to ask him or put a comment in one of his posts.  Anyways as far as I can remember I’ve been following his blog, reading & commenting on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

I will admit to having been inspired by one of his weekly posts – he used to have a Friday Five (top 5 lists of various things) that he used to post earlier but hasn’t in a few years. This was the inspiration for me to start my Roshan’s Eleven (a pun on Ocean’s Eleven) posts that I do from time to time. He blogs a lot about things I like including tv shows, music (Pearl Jam, The Tragically Hip being among his favs), movies, etc etc. Also he gives me a taste of Canadiana in the form of posts, photos & videos from time to time. He also gets to try out different gadgets, a couple of cars as well and gets free tickets for sports events and some other free stuff from companies because of the popularity of his blog and for his reviews. That is awesome. Also I am a big fan of his & Rosie’s banter on The Toronto Mike’d podcasts. Oh yeah – he also does podcasts – he hosts 2 and produces 3.

So if I do get to switch blogs with anyone, it will be him. Because, and big props, I’d get to be in Canada for a week. Yeah I know it’s only Toronto (not Vancouver or Ottawa or Montreal) and also I’d be close friends with his good friend Rosie of My Toronto Scoop! Anyway, thanks Mike for some inspiration, a lot of entertainment and keep blogging & doing podcasts.

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The Next Technological Innovations?

What will the next must-have technological innovation be? Jetpacks? Hoverboards? Wind-powered calculators?

My answers will sound like gadgets & convenience items from science fiction shows, especially Star Trek but then – what is Star Trek if not to showcase a possible future for mankind and what we can achieve.

Hmmm how about much more advanced medical equipment that is so efficient that it can detect possibilities of dangerous illnesses and diseases and hence can help you treat/prevent them. How about medicines that can be easily administered to patients and that cure all the known diseases no matter what stage they are in. How about organ & limb regeneration equipments. And how about advancing medicine so much that it can prolong human and animal lives and even people of really old age will be healthy, vibrant & active.

How about food replicators that are easily available all over the world so that hunger, malnutrition & thirst are wiped out. No child or adult or family pet animal will ever have to go hungry again. Replicators that also make medicine and other stuff for you as well will be awesome. No more time spending on cooking or getting the ingredients. Unless ofcourse you just want the ingredients and you want to cook for the enjoyment of cooking. That’s cool too.

How about free education to all, if needed made available to them in their homes via excellent quality video conferencing with 3D capabilities. No more excuses for sticking to dumb ideas and ancient superstitions. And ofcourse getting to know more & more about the universe we live in.

How about advancing the space exploration technologies with adequete shielding, transportation and easy access to traveling between the stars in comfort nay luxury with groups of like minded people, with friends and family. Wanna go for a picnic? Hmmm the 3rd moon of the biggest planet in the next solar system seems like a lovely spot – get them in an hour or less with your loved ones, enjoy a lovely spread with awesome food and wine and then come back at the end of the day.

Let’s just start with these for the moment!

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West Of Memphis

In March of last year I watched & wrote a blog about the Paradise Lost triology of documentaries about the triple murder of 3 little boys in West Memphis, Arkansas and the trial of the 3 teenagers who were accused of the murder and sexual mutilation of three prepubescent boys in 1993. he boys on trial for the crime were Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin. Damien (then 18 ) was close friends with Jason (16) and they both knew Jessie (17) but were not close with him. They were accused of killing 3 8 years olds – Christopher Byers, Michael Moore and Stevie Branch – whose bodies were found in a ditch in a wooded area of West Memphis called Robin Hood Hills.

2012 also saw the release of another documentary, West Of Memphis, produced by Peter Jackson and Damien Echols, directed by Amy J. Berg, and released in the US by Sony Pictures Classics. Just like the other documentaries, West Of Memphis follows the case of the the triple murders but this time, it was made after the release of the WM3, hence there was more input from Echols in particular. Jackson & his partner Fran Walsh became interested in the case in 2005, financing much of the investigation covered by the movie and bringing in its director, Amy Berg ( Deliver Us From Evil). A key figure is Lorri Davis, who read about the case and contacted Echols. She became deeply involved in the defense effort, eventually marrying Echols.

The documentary is almost 2 & a half hours long and again shows us the location of the murders, the initial reports and the trials that led to the WM3 being convicted for the murders. As one critic puts it the film shows us “”a devastating account of police incompetence, civic hysteria and prosecutorial behavior that was totally at odds with a vastly persuasive body of evidence uncovered in a privately funded investigation.” The latter half of the film also focuses on Terry Hobbs, stepfather of Stevie Branch, one of the victims of the 1993 crime, as a potential suspect due to physical evidence linking him to the crime and damaging statements made by his ex-wife, former neighbors, and most recently his own nephew, who claims Hobbs confessed to him. Hobbs also has a friend of his, supposedly his alibi, break down on camera as the alibi shows to be fragile. The film also has a lot interviews with the lawyers, , judges, journalists, family members, witnesses, and the West Memphis Three themselves. The West Memphis Three were released from prison in April 2011, but there was a catch. They were required to enter Alford pleas, which means that they asserted that they did not commit the acts they were accused of but admitted that the prosecution had enough evidence to convict them. That is a bitter victory.

What you will also see are the celebrities who helped get the case into the public eye by putting their support behind it – in particular Natalie Maines (The Dixie Chicks), actor Johnny Depp, Henry Rollins & Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam). They also participated in a 2010 benefit concert for the WM3. After their release we see the 3 men celebrating with their families & loved ones. Jesse goes to his parents place and hugged his family & relatives and they had a big barbecue. ince his release, he has become engaged to his high school girlfriend and enrolled in a community college to become an auto mechanic. Jason Baldwin, met a close friend of his from childhood, and who kept visiting him all these years, in a hotel room and they celebrated with food. He has stated that he plans on enrolling in college to become a lawyer helping wrongfully convicted persons prove their innocence.Baldwin stated in an interview with Piers Morgan that he now works for a construction company and he is learning how to drive. Since his release, Echols has published a non-fiction book about both his childhood and incarceration, Life After Death (Blue Rider Press, 2012), which includes material from Echols’ previous memoir entitled, Almost Home: My Life Story Vol. 1, self-published while still in prison. Echols has relocated to Salem, Massachusetts with his wife and has no intentions of returning to Arkansas. In an interview with Piers Morgan, he stated that he would like to have a career in writing and visual arts.

If the West Memphis 3 are innocent, which seems to be the case, who in fact killed those 3 boys?

Sherlock : The Blind Banker

The second episode of BBC’s television series Sherlock is The Blind Banker. This episode takes the concept of coded messages from The Valley of Fear (using book references) and The Adventure of the Dancing Men (using pictorial messages).

This case starts off at the National Antiquities Museum, Chinese pottery expert Soo Lin Yao (Gemma Chan) sees something that frightens her, and disappears. Meanwhile Watson, having found himself running short of cash and gets a job, temporarily filling in at a local surgery with Sarah Sawyer (Zoe Telford). As soon as he retuns Watson is taken by Sherlock to  “the bank”, which turns out to be a high-powered international finance house. There Sebastian Wilkes (Bertie Carvel), an old university acquaintance of Sherlock’s, asks for help, in return for a large fee. A break-in occurred in which nothing was taken, but an apparently meaningless pair of symbols were spray-painted onto a portrait of a banker. Using his skills Sherlock arrives at the conclusion that the symbols were meant for only one man – Edward Van Coon of the Hong Kong desk – who hasn’t shown up at work that day. The two head over to Van Coon’s apartment and find him dead, apparently a suicide as the cops think it is but Sherlock is sure that it is a murder. Journalist Brian Lukis is also killed inside his locked apartment. Sherlock and John investigate, and in a library where Lukis had been they find the same mysterious symbols painted on a shelf.

Sherlock & Watson find out the link between the two dead men –  both had just returned from China, and both went to an oriental curio shop, “The Lucky Cat” in London and inside the shop John discovers that the symbols are ancient Chinese Hangzhou numerals. Sherlock also breaks into Soo Lin’s apartment (right near the shop) and is almost killed by a masked assailant. At the museum they discover the same symbols on a statue. Then, with the help of graffiti artist “Raz”, Sherlock and John find more symbols painted on a railway yard wall, and struggle to decode the message. They find Soo Lin hiding out in the museum’s antiquities wing at night and she explains to them  the code is the work of the criminal “Black Lotus Tong”, of which she was once a member. Unfortunately, before she can fully decode the message, the assassin, who is revealed to be Soo Lin’s brother, strikes again. Sherlock realizes that Van Coon and Lukis were members of the Tong, involved in smuggling valuable antiquities from China to sell in London, and that they were killed because one of them stole something. That night he & John spend awake trying to decipher the code, leading to a tired Watson falling asleep in the consulting room on his first day at the job. Sarah covers for him, and Sherlock arranges a date for the three of them at a travelling Chinese circus.

While Sarah & John enjoy the exotic & dangerous acts of the circus Sherlock snoops around backstage and is attacked, but with Sarah and John’s help, the three escape. However John & Sarah are kidnapped from the flat while Sherlock finds the clue he is looking for in a tourist book and breaks the code. Sherlock tracks them down and saves his friend and his date from the villains. He also realises that the elusive “treasure” has been in plain sight all the time; a jade hairpin (worth 9 million pounds) belonging to the Chinese royal family being worn by Van Coon’s secretary/mistress Amanda, who had received it as a gift from Van Coon. However, Shan, the leader of the gang, escapes, making excuses in her report to a person identified only by the initial “M”. The episode ends with Shan’s assassination by a sniper sent by “M”.

Not as good as the first one but it still stand out. The addition of Zoe Telford as Watson’s possible love interest is welcome. Can’t wait for episode 3.