How I’d Celebrate Good News

You receive some wonderful, improbable, hoped-for good news. How do you celebrate?

Ha, it’s been so long since I’ve had had some really wonderful good news that made me want to celebrate. Yeah, atleast not since 2009. Anyways, suppose I do get some wonderful, improbable, hoped-for good news I, like most people, will want to celebrate it. And my style of celebration may not be great compared to others but this is the simple way that I roll.

First, on receiving or getting to know the good news, I will smile and take a moment to myself to let the news and overall great feeling sink in. Then I will let those who want to congratulate me or join in the celebratory feelings shower me with wishes. Next I make sure that I have enough money for what I want to do and if not I go and get some. Then I will check – is this a celebration for friends and colleagues as well? In that case I tell the ones that I am treating to pile up in cars, bikes or taxis and head on to the restaurant in question. Once we get there, food is on me! Maybe a few drinks as well. We’ll talk, we’ll laugh and we’ll stuff ourselves and then waddle our way back home and store the good memory in our bank of good times.

Otherwise if it is family I will get some good food, check on the drinks menu and then call up my folks. We’ll sit in the comfort of my home and watch some tv while we wait for my sister’s family to come by. We’ll all gather round the tv on the sofas and eat for a while, enjoying the quite company and the good food.

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Star Trek Enterprise : Similitude

In season 3 of Star Trek Enterprise Captain Archer & the crew of the Enterprise are on a dangerous mission; a previously unknown alien race (or races as the Xindi are actually 5 distinct species) sends a probe to Earth and fires an energy blast at the western continents – killing 7 million humans and unknown number of animals & birds along with severe damage and destruction of cities and towns. Among the dead is Commander Trip’s sister. The Enterprise is called back to Starfleet and refitted as a warship, with more powerful weapons and a group of elite Military Assault Command Operations (MACOs) led by Major Hayes (Steven Culp). They travel through a region of space known as the Delphic Expanse to find the Xindi homeworld and prevent another attack against Earth. Along the way they must brave severe conditions that affect the ship and near death situations that cost more lives of the crew as the traverse mostly unknown space and unknown races.

In Similitude (S03E10) Trip Tucker is critically injured and left comatose in sickbay due to extensive neural damage. Dr. Phlox informs Captain Archer of proposes to use a Lyssarrian desert larvae to make a clone of Commander Tucker and harvest neural tissues from it. Because of highly sensitive ethical implications, Archer does not make a decision right away. However the ship is stuck in a field of particles, which are stick to the hull and the ship is unable to warp out of the field. The highly magnetic properties of the particles could become a problem if they are not able to clear the field in time. Archer agrees to allow the cloning procedure, sacrificing the ethical implications for the sake of the mission’s objective. Given the go ahead Phlox injects Trip’s dna into the larvae and lets the clone grow, which it does at an amazing fast rate. The clone grows from an infant to a child and eventually begins to ask questions about its existence. The captain tells him the truth. Since the clone, who they name Sim, has all of Trip’s natural engineering abilities, he soon begins to help out in the main engineering and helps out with repairs under Sub-Commander T’Pol’s supervision. He comes up with a solution to the particles problem. It is around this time that he confesses the feelings for T’Pol he has inside him, wondering if they’re his or Trip’s.

In a matter of 8 days he has grown to the age of what Trip is now and it is vital that Phlox harvests Sim’s neural tissues at the right stage of growth. However, after further tests, Phlox informs the captain that according to his predictions, Sim won’t survive the transplant. In a matter of days the clone had grown to a full grown man but what would only seem a couple of days for everyone else would seem half a lifetime for Sim. The doctor tells Archer about an enzyme he discovered about that could slow down the aging process, but after hearing an extensive report from T’Pol, Archer says that the odds are too thin and that he is not willing to jeopardize the mission. Although he understands that the sole purpose of his creation was to save Trip’s life, Sim wants to live out the rest of his days and also see if the doctor can extend his life by slowing down the rapid aging process in him. He states to the captain that since he is a clone of the chief engineer, he could very well do the duties expected of Trip equally as well as the Commander could. There is a debate on the ethical implications of making a being die to save another man’s life between Sim & Archer. Archer, although troubled by his decision, is willing to force the clone to undergo the procedure, as he says he needs Trip to carry out the mission and save humanity from being annihilated by the Xindi.

Sim seems to agree but then makes plans to escape in a shuttlepod. However at the last minute he aborts it. When the captain meets him in the launch bay, Sim says that what stopped him was the thought of his sister, insisting on the fact that she was his sister as well as Trip’s. He willing agrees to undergo the surgery and save Tucker. Just before the surgery, T’Pol comes to Sim’s quarters to say her goodbyes, giving him a kiss, something she had never done with Tucker. Sim returned the gesture, showing that he meant something to her, more than just being a clone to save Trip’s life. At the end of the episode the crew has a funeral ceremony for Sim, who didn’t survive the procedure. The crew, including a recovered Trip, pay their last respects as Sim is placed in a torpedo tube and fired out into space.

How does one make the decision to take the life of one being, even if it is a being or clone created for the sole purpose of saving another man’s life through harvesting body parts or neutral tissues, and even if it is done via a surgical procedure and not actual means of harming the being? Like Archer says in the episode, had they not being in the expanse, had the lives of the crew not been in danger what with them being stuck in the particle field, had they not been on an important  mission to save the rest of humanity – he might not make the decision to force Sim to undergo the fatal surgery. The Tet-a-tete between Sim & Archer is impressive and really make the episode. Sim making a case for his life and Archer making a case as to why he must do this even if it goes against everything he believes in. Another thing to watch is the interaction between Sim & Phlox. For all purposes, Phlox was a father to Sim as he raised the clone from infancy to adulthood, even if it only took 8 days. Just before the surgery Sim thanks him for being a good “father” and Phlox emotionally says, “you were a damn good son”!

Awesome episode.

Photographic Blasts From The Past

Here’s a couple of old photos from the past. My cousin Shekhar has scanned and posted them online and for the rest of us it was a rather pleasant blast from the past to see these old pics. Here is a pic of me with my sister and 4 of my cousins, sitting on the folding sofa in the living room of our grandmother’s house in Mattancherry.

From left to right it’s Shekar, Manoj, yours truly (with lots more hair and less kgs), Sandhya, my sister Sherine and Navin. Manoj, Navin & Sandhya are siblings. I think this photos is from 1991 or 92.

This next photos is from a couple of years afterwards, maybe 93 or 94. This is the stairway to the top floor of my house. From bottom left it’s Shekhar, Balakrishnan, Radhika, Navin, myself, Shankar & Jayakrishnan. Balakrishnan & Jayakrishnan are brothers, Shekhar & Shankar are brothers.

Hysteria : The Def Leppard Story

I love documentaries about rock bands or rockumentaries as they are called. I love movies where heavy metal bands or rock bands are involved or is about. Adding to my small but valuable list of such movies is Hysteria : The Def Leppard Story a 2001 VH1 tv movie about the band’s humble beginnings, Rick Allen’s near fatal car accident that caused him his left arm and the late guitarist Steve Clark’s battle with alcoholism. The movie shows events from 1978 leading all the way upto their triumphant “comeback” post Allen’s accident and amputation in 1987. Starring in the movie are Orlando Seale as Joe Elliott, Tat Whalley as Rick Allen, Karl Geary  as  Steve Clark, Adam MacDonald as Rick Savage, Esteban Powell as Phil Collen, Nick Bagnall as Pete Willis, Anthony Michael Hall as recording producer and unofficial 6th member John Mutt Lange & Dean McDermott as Peter Mensch (band manager).

The movie starts off in 1978 with factory worker Joe Elliot who meets up with guitarist Pete Willis and auditions to be the second guitar player for his band. Joining them at the house is bassist Rick Savage and then drummer Tony Kenning. While Joe’s guitar playing doesn’t impress the other 3 that much, his singing does. Hired on the spot Joe also shows them the artwork he has done for a prospective band name – Deaf Leopard which is then changed at the table to Del Leppard. The band works on their music and add guitarist Steven Clark who auditions for the second guitarist position. They then get their first gig and impress the audience. However Tony proves to be a problem; his demanding girlfriend seems to restrict the practising hours. The band then get a deal to record their EP in a studio, with monetary help from Joe’s parents but after a tiff about the time he spends away from the band, Tony leaves. Running short of time the remaining 4 members hold auditions and select a young 15 year old drummer Rick Allen as the replacement. They record their album and go on tour. Along the way they met and sign Peter Mensch as their manager. Throughout 1979 they hit the road and develop a steady following and Mensch gets them a gig supporting AC/DC.

Their second album High N Dry gives them a hit and more fans and they set their sights on America. They approached noted producer Robert Mutt Lange who agrees to record their album, fine tuning and polishing their sound. Initially the band have a hard time as Mutt pushes them hard to make the sound perfect but they are impressed when Joe’s voice sounded better at a higher range at the producer’s suggestion. Also by this point both Steve & Pete start drinking heaving but Steve is able to not let it affect his performance. After an incident at a concert where Pete walks off during Steve’s solo to get a drink at the side of the stage and Joe pulls him back to the stage, the band have an argument. Pete who started the band has lost his role as leader to Joe and he is fired by the rest of the band. They see glam rocker Phil Collen perform at a club and ask him to join them as Pete’s replacement. The film shows Steve’s lack of confidence and insecurity as he feels that Phil is more technically gifted than him but Phil manages to win Steve over by confessing to admire his feel and soul in his playing. The third album Pyromania comes out in 1983 and is a huge hit making the band stars in the US as well and they go on a large tour in support of the album. At the end of the tour the band decides to take a break and Allen is most vocal about going on an extended leave as they haven’t take much time off in 3 years and now they have some money to relax with.

In 1984 drummer Rick Allen has an accident while driving his Corvette; he lost control while going at high speeds trying to overtake another car. Allen loses his arm in the accident and although the doctors initially reattach it, the infection spreads meaning that they have to amputate it. Without his left arm Allen feels his time as a drummer is over and goes into a depression. While the other 4 members rally around their comrade, it becomes apparent that Steve’s drinking is another accident waiting to happen. While his drinking buddy Phil manages to sober up after an incident, Steve goes on a downward spiral causing concern for his girlfriend. While Allen learns to drum with one arm, playing an electronic kit and arranging foot pedals to duplicate the drumming he usually does with his left hand, Steve falls ill and is admitted to a rehab center where the doctors warm that he might die if he does not quit drinking this heavily. The band on an extended hiatus must now wait for Steve to recover. He however walks out of the rehab at one point and it’s a talk with Allen that brings him back. After months of preparation, Def Leppard finally hit the stage with Allen back on the drums  at the 1986 Monsters of Rock festival in England. After Joe introduces him, Allen gets an emotionally charged extended ovation. Finally the band can get back together and in 1987 release their 4 album, the super hit singles packed Hysteria.

The movie ends at this stage after stating the reaction to the album and then mention that in 1990 Steve would be found dead after even more fights with alcoholism. Recording sessions suffered from this distraction, and in mid-1990, Steve was granted a six-month leave of absence from the band. Clark died from an accidental mix of prescription drugs and alcohol on 8 January 1991, in his London home. After the band release their next album Adrenalize without a second guitarist they do hire Irish musician Vivian Campbell to become the 5th member of their band. The movie can be seen as a tribute to the comeback and fighting spirit of Allen and a fond memory for Steve. I thought that the movie really takes off around the mid way mark. The actors (mostly unknowns at the time and still I only know of Adam McDonald who I have seen in a few tv series) do a good job of imitating the musical mannerisms of the actual members and dress like them. The movie does suffer from some production issues and not having a bigger budget but still I as impressed. Rock on! 7 outta 10!

Memories Of My Old House

When you think of the home you grew up in, what is one memory that really stands out?

We sold & moved out of our house in Thrikkakara, our home of 19 years, in 2006. I miss the house a lot, even if I don’t want to live in that area anymore. Not that it’s a bad area or a filthy area to live in; it’s actually a nice, peaceful and cleaner area of Cochin. However it is quite far from the city and if you don’t drive (like me) it is harder to get to the city and work areas due to the distance and traffic and also the fact that the buses do ply a little less frequently in the suburban area of Thrikkaraka. Also shopping for essentials and groceries – where  I now live, I can do most of my home’s shopping for the week done within 5 minutes of our apartment.

I miss a lot of things about the house. I miss the coolness of the place and thus the house was always quite cool, except for the really hot summer days. Less mosquitoes in the area. More green. We had plants & flowers in our garden and a small lawn and trees. And we kept a large bird cage with 6 love birds. And ofcourse you know that I miss having my dog – my dog Shawny who used to roam around the garden, lawn and the back yard like a landlord surveying her property! I guess the biggest memories of the house is my time that I spent with Shawny and playing on the ground, throwing a ball, running after her when she chases a squirrel, feeding her, giving her water and also giving her a bath (which I used to do in a big  metal tub kept outside and hose her with the garden hose.

Another memory is off relatives gathering in my house. Other than my grandmother’s house, my home was the place where most relatives would gather for a couple of holidays in a year. We had the space and hence could put up a lot of relatives. After a big lunch, we’d all sit in the large living room/dining room, close all the doors and switch the big ac on. Then it will be a lazy couple of hours watching some sports on the tv or watching a movie. Those were the good ole days.

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If Time Stood Still

For a moment today, time stands still — but you can tweak one thing while it’s stopped. What do you do?

Jeeze, that’s so tough! I dunno but – being a science fiction fan – I remember atleast 2 or 3 movies/tv shows were someone using either a special power or a device is able to stop everything from moving, stopping time on it’s track. Except for them ofcourse. They are able to move and explore around but everything else, every person, animal, bird, insect, vehicle – everything else other than than has stopped.

In such a situation, if I had control over time and could anything I want to tweak life as it is, I dunno what I would do. Put all the corrupt politicians behind bars, ensure that when time starts moving again the cops can catch them redhanded with solid proof of their wrong doing? Catch some terrorists and confiscate their weapons and bombs? Beat up some rapists and thieves and bad people? Steal money from the crooked rich and give it to the poor?

I dunno what I would do – the above sounds worthwhile to me – I guess I can only say that if something like that situation actually does occur. What would you do?

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Pacific Rim

Now for one of the big budget movies of the year, after one of the smaller budget scifi movies I watched & review 2 days ago. Pacific Rim is a much awaited 2013 American science fiction monster film directed by Guillermo del Toro, written by del Toro and Travis Beacham, and starringCharlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, and Ron Perlman. The movie is based around the Japanese concepts of kaijus – giant monsters. In the film, Kaiju’s are alien creatures from another dimension that come to earth – not from the stars – but through an interdimenonsional portal under our oceans. The opening was created after the tectonic plates shifted above the portal, allowing the creatures to slip though a large gap.

To combat these large creatures that create havoc & destruction in their wake, the nations of the world joined forces in creating the Jaegers – colossal humanoid war robots/machines each manned by two pilots whose brains are linked to share the overwhelming mental load of piloting the sophisticated machines. The Jaegers are effective but the creatures are able to adapt and their numbers seem to increase. After their initial appearance in 2013 and now in 2020 during a mission off the coast of Alaska, Raleigh Beckett & his brother Yancy combat a large kaiju but in the attack Yancy is killed, traumatizing his younger brother. Raleigh is able to make it to the beach in the broken jaeger but he leaves the program and spends the next 5 years working in construction. By 2025, the Pacific Rim governments have discontinued the Jaeger project and resort to building massive coastal walls to protect humanity from the Kaijus. The four remaining Jaegers are redeployed to Hong Kong to defend the unfortified coast until the wall is completed. Stacker Pentecost (Elba), commander of the Jaeger forces, devises a plan to end the war by using a nuclear weapon to destroy the portal.

What follows up next is a few predictables, some expendables, a handful of cliches and big things going bang. Pentecost, the former boss, approaches Raleigh and convinces him to return and pilot Gipsy Danger, the Jaeger he and his brother Yancy once piloted. Arriving at Hong Kong and after trying out a few possible candidates for a co-pilot, Raleigh happens to befriend and select Mako Mori – an untested, inexperienced pilot, who happens to be the adopted daughter of Pentecost, rescued by the latter when she was just a child in the wake of the first wave of Kaiju attacks. Also in their first test together Mako freezes and – since their brains are linked – Raleigh is able to see just what happened when she lost her parents and how she barely escaped being crushed by a kaiju and saved by Pentecost. Her freezing up nearly destroys the center hence she is told to stand down and removed from the combat list. There are the annoyingy loud speaking cliched brainy scientists who don’t see eye to eye and who compete with each other but eventually in the end they come together and join forces which give the fighter the intelligence needed. There is the brat – Chuck Hansen, another pilot who works with his father, who taunts Mako & Raleigh and who comes to blows with them. But he heroically gives his life up in the battle.

Then there is Penetcost – the benevolent yet tough as nails, ultimate professional and mission leader, who is dying and will give his life up to save the rest of the team and has that one last tear jerking moment with his daughter before the final moments! Edris Elba even does his version of the President’s speech from Independence Day : “Today. Today… At the edge of our hope, at the end of our time, we have chosen not only to believe in ourselves, but in each other. Today there is not a man nor woman in here that shall stand alone. Not today. Today we face the monsters that are at our door and bring the fight to them. Today, we are cancelling the apocalypse!” I almost expected him to say “Today we celebrate our Independence Day!” And we have Raleigh the down on his luck and broken hero out to prove something. So when the other jaegers are crushed and beaten Mako & Raleigh are called int action and are able to kill off the kaijus one by one, with a little help from Chuck & Penetcost – who suits up as Chucks dad gets injured. The scientists discover – by joining minds with the kaijus that they are not wild beasts, but biological weapons fighting at the behest of a race of alien conquerors. Then there is Hannibal Chau, a trafficking don who gets swallowed up by a baby kaiju but post credits cuts his way out of the newborn’s stomach.

Pentecost co-pilots the Jaeger carrying the weapon, but they are forced to detonate it early, sacrificing themselves in an effort to destroy the powerful Kaijus guarding the portal. Raleigh and Mako seize the final Kaiju with Gipsy Danger and use it to enter the portal. Running out of oxygen, Raleigh ejects Mako’s escape pod, initiates the nuclear reactor’s overload sequence, then ejects himself. Gipsy Danger‘s nuclear core detonates, laying waste to the alien conquerors and destroying the portal. Mako and Raleigh’s escape pods surface safely in the Pacific, and the duo embrace as rescue helicopters arrive. Although the portal is closed we will find a way to create a situation for the sequel(s). Hunnam & Pearlman reunite from Sons of Anarchy and Hunnam’s character is basically a softer Jackson Teller! I didn’t expect much from the characters or acting from the movie but visually – this movies rocks. 8.5 for the special effects and the production which is awesome. You’ll never care for any of the characters and won’t even remember their names by the end credits too! Still awesome enough of an action movie!

Lost Art Of Writing On Paper With A Pen

Writing! Such a essential part of learning and especially learning a language. Remember the first time, as a small child, you were handed a pencil or perhaps a crayon and a blank piece of paper and your parent or some other older relative guided your hand that held the pencil/crayon and you scribbled your first scribbling on a paper? Your child mind couldn’t fathom that – “That! I made that. With this thing in my hand!” Thus starts the fascinating with using a pencil or a pen or a crayon on blank white paper. Then the colouring books and finally to writing alphabets and whole words, sentences and paragraphs in a book.

I feel like it has become a lost art to write. To actually write with a pencil on paper. I do so little of it these days that when I have to write a bit – like a couple of weeks ago I was filling out a large form for a job application while at an interview – I found out a couple of things. 1) my hand tires out so easily from holding the pen as I am no longer used to writing for more than a minute or so and 2) my handwriting has become so bad since I do not write as much as I used to. I mean, not that my handwriting was so elegantly beautiful back in the day. Oh no, not at all but atleast I got it to a stage where I felt that, especially with a really sharp ink pen or ball point pen, I could make a very decent yet simple handwritten text if I could also write it slowly. I used to have atrocious handwriting, so bad that my Chemistry teacher in high school said jokingly to me “Roshan, you handwriting looks a lot like dead insects and ants to me!”

But now when I say ‘write’, it means on the computer. I wouldn’t be able to write as much if I actually had to write it all up using a pen on paper. That’s just not feasible anymore. And when was the last time anyone wrote a letter? Not me anyway – I think it was the last century! OMLFG – I haven’t written a letter to anyone since 1999! Holy crap! Anyways, I do not think that in this day and age companies should make you fill up forms on paper anymore. It is ridiculous! Plus the forms have smaller blank places for you to write things down that you are always having to adjust what you are writing down. Get to the 21st century Indian companies.

Talents I’d Love To Have

Tell us about a talent you’d love to have… but don’t.

Anything really. Lol, it would be so nice at having a talent that people would love to see and enjoy and me, I would enjoy expressing my talent for the people to see/hear and enjoy.

Certainly the one talent I wish I had was musical talent. I wish I could play the guitar as proficiently as some of my musical heroes. I’d love to be able to play music for an audience. For friends, family, colleagues and even a general audience. I get so much joy from music, from listening to it and watching live performances or recordings. I would even more enjoyment & satisfaction from playing it for others and to see their enjoyment of it.

The other talent I wish I had is – doing magic tricks. I wish I were good at magic tricks. Again, I’d love to perform for others. But especially for children and specifically for sick children, orphaned kids, poor & needy kids. To see the amazement, wonder and joy in their eyes as I pull out all the stops. That would indeed be….pardon the pun….magical.

Alas I have neither talent or any other to speak off! Unless being proficient at air guitar, with all the faces & expressions, is a talent!

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Europa Report

This movie almost slipped underneath the radar among the big budget and big name stars releases of 2013. Europa Report is a a 2013 science fiction film starring Anamaria Marinca, Karolina Wydra, Michael Nyqvist, Daniel Wu, Sharlto Copley, Embeth Davidtz and Christian Camargo, directed by Sebastián Cordero. It is a found footage film but – before you roll your eyes – it’s good quality cameras and uses a space shuttle cameras for their found footage stuff and also what appears to be a documentary of the mission’s headquarters back on earth.

The story is told in the form of a documentary or news report and is told by Dr. Unger, CEO of Europa Ventures of the mission of Europa One, which is a privately funded mission. The 6 astronauts are to travel to Europa, one of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, to try to find potential sources of life. The 6 are captain Willam Xu and pilot Rosa Dasque who launch the ship with chief science officer Daniel Luxembourg, marine biology science officer Katya Petrovna, chief engineer Andrei Blok & junior engineer James Corrigan. During the mission the 6 members interact with each other and the cameras to record their journey and messages to family & friends. After a year of traveling in space a solar flare hits the ship knocking out communication with mission control on Earth. Andrei & James try and fix the system while on space walk. However an accident punctures Andrei’s glove and his oxygen levels drop. James grabs the tether and drags Andrei back to the airlock but they notice that James has hydrazine splashed on his suit from the accident. It is decided that the suit cannot be decontaminated and if James enters the ship, the air will become irreversibly toxic. With time & oxygen running out for the senior engineer, James pushes him into the ship against Andrei’s protests. This maneuver pushes causes James to float away, away from the spaceship and he records his goodbyes to his crew as he disappears from view and dies.

The ship finally reaches Europa and lands but a thermal vent throws the ship off course from the original target zone. They begin the drilling through the ice which is much thicker than the area where they intended to land and several quakes occur while they are drilling.  Andrei, who is sleep-deprived and eliciting concern in the rest of the crew appears to witness a light outside the ship but is unable to record it or otherwise convince the crew. A probe is sent under the ice surface and into the ocean below but is soon damaged by a heavy dose of radiation from the depths. Katya dons a spacesuit and goes out onto the surface to get more samples from their target zone. The samples, which Daniel examines remotely contains several single cell organisms. Katya sees a light in the distance and moves in that direction, away from the direct line of sight. As Katya approaches the light glowing through the ice, the ground below her breaks and the crew watches her on remote cameras in horror as she plunges downwards through the water. Daniel suspects that the light from Katya’s suit attracted a larger, more complex creature and the crew agree to leave so that they could bring their exciting findings back to Earth. However just as they launch they experience a malfunction and the ship crashes back to the surface ironically landing at the originally intended spot. William is killed as he unbuckled his seat to activate the shielding and he falls hard breaking is neck on impact.

The ship now damaged is leaking oxygen and losing heat. To try and make repairs Andrei & Daniel don suits and open the airlock only for a radiation surge to hit them and Daniel disappears from sight while he is stepping out. Unable to patch the fuel line, Andrei suggests that a repair of the communication array is possible, if he cannibalizes parts from the ship’s life support system. This means sure death for the two of them but Rosa agrees and records a short video of herself giving a current situation summary. As Andrei finishes his work, Rosa notices light sources behind him that surround the ship. Rosa successfully re-establishes communication with Earth and all the collected images and data that have been saved over the blackout months (as well as real time data) are sent, just as the ground cracks and the ship begins to sink. Knowing she will die, Rosa opens the airlock to let the water in, in hopes of revealing the source of the light. The water rises beneath her and fills up making it’s way to the cockpit and the last part of the video sent is of the source of the strange light, a large bioluminescent animal that looks like a comb jelly (ctenophore) common in our oceans on Earth. The movie ends with Dr. Unger and several experts commenting on the ground-breaking implications of the discovery of non-alien life on Europa and honoring the sacrifices of the expedition members.

Original and sincere it is a good effort by the makers to tell a good scifi story. They also deserve respect for meticulously researching the real science behind its fictional story. There is some limitation because of the found footage style of shooting and you are left with sincerely hoping that this movie was a larger big budget venture with proper style filming. Still a good movie to enjoy for the science fiction enthusiast. I’m giving it an 8 outta 10!

The Borg In Star Trek Enterprise

What did you all think of the Enterprise episode ‘Regeneration’? Having the first Borg vs human contact on earth and then a fight in space and on the Enterprise 2 centuries before Q introduces Picard & crew to the Borg in TNG? Did you think it was a nice tie-in with the movie ‘First Contact’ or did you not like it? I only felt it odd that Archer’s crew could defeat the Borg without much damage and just a couple of people lost when 24th century Starfleet ships have struggled & lost the fight……however to be fair it is just one small ship with mostly recently assimilated Borg members.

The episode is an indirect sequel and a prequel to the events of Star Trek: First Contact – at the end of the movie, in which the Borg go back in time to conquor earth but the Enterprise E with Picard & crew had followed them in and defeats the Borg. In the destruction of the Borg, a few of them fell back onto the earth, landing in the frozen tundra of the Artic. In the 22nd century, about a 100 years after the incidents of the movie, a research team of humans finds the frozen bodies of the Borg and the crash site. While the bodies are thawing in their labs they come to life and assimilate the humans and take off in their ship taking the remains of their craft with them. When starfleet arrive they find the members of the expedition missing along with the craft and track the ship, also alerting Captain Johnathan Archer who takes the Enterprise on an intercept course.

The Enterprise receives a distress signal from a Tarkelian freighter but they are too late to do much. They find two faint biosigns and bring the two Tarkelians to their sickbay. However the two aliens have been infected and they start attacking Doctor Phlox and the security guard stationed at sick bay – Phlox is infected but the guard is only knocked unconscious.  The assimilated Tarkelians try and access the ship’s controls and altering them and when weapons fire has little effect on them, Archer has no choice but to blow them out into space. The Borg have modified the craft they had stolen with parts of their own craft and it now looks more menacing and advanced. When Enterprise catches up the Borg, the alterations that the assimiliated Tarkelians did to the ship come online and the Borg boards the starfleet vessel. The Borg gives an ominous warming that  “You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.’

With changes made to their weapons the crew have to battle the boarding Borg and Archer & Reed beam to their ship, plant chargers and after warding off a few more attacks by the Borg, beam out before the charges detonate and blow up the Borg. Later, T’Pol goes to see Archer in his ready room. He has had the computer analyze a sub-space message that the aliens sent to the Delta quadrant (where the Borg reside) – the message contains Earth’s coordinates. T’Pol tells him that there is no immediate worry as a subspace message would take at least two hundred years to get there, providing it even makes it at all. This does not comfort Archer, however. He surmises that the invasion has merely been postponed…until the 24th century. Thus setting the events of the movie First Contact when the Borg do finally arrive to earth – 200 years later.

So what do you, the Star Trek faithful think? Did the makers of the show introduce te Borg in this time of history as a means to boost the ratings of the show? The Borg remains unnamed in this episode and starfleet doesn’t learn too much about them but a total lack of knowledge about the species when Picard & crew do meet them in the 24th century? And did it feel that there were hardly any damage to Archer’s Enterprise and so little loss of people/crew when the much advanced 24th century ships had lots of difficulties and many were destroyed or assimilated. Did Archer & team beat the Borg too “easily”? The only excuse for that I can think of is that most of the Borg that Archer & co had met were newly assimilated (except for 3) and hence not yet in full power. Same for their ship, which is a human transport vessel being modified by the Borg and not a Borg ship per say. I have mixed feelings about this episode.

Recipe Failures!

A recipe fail… It happens!

The blog prompt I happened to choose from Idea Bank is about sharing a recipe fail. I shall share two such recipe failures but only one was with me trying it out!

When I was 16 or 17 years old I remember wanting to try out how to make a milkshake at home. I had no clue as to how to make it. A friend of mine said it was easy and gave me instructions. I came home and as it was just me and a cousin at home I looked to see what I had in the kitchen and fridge. There was milk, cold milk and I had some chingam pazyam (a green skinned soft & sweet banana; no clue as to what it’s called in English). So I tried what my friend suggested and so I took 4 of these bananas and chopped them and put them into the blender along with some sugar and lots of the milk. In them went and -brrrrrrrrrrrr- for about 5 to 7 minutes. I poured the stuff into two glasses and it smelled bad! The milk had spoiled and what we ended up with was thick foul smelling slop! It took me several days to get over the fear and I tried it again – this time they tasted delicious!

Around the age of 15, my sister & cousin sister had picked one evening, when my parents were out for a party, to cook or should I say experiment with cooking. They wanted to make dinner and banished me from the kitchen, only saying that it would be good and it would be delicious and that I was to come only when dinner was served. I said ok and they proceeded to cook up a storm while I went to watch tv. A few hours later when I checked I saw that they had concocted some sticky ash grey matter with lumps that stuck to the sides of the cooking pot – it was supposed to be Chinese Chilli Chicken. And next to that was a smaller bowl filled with, what looked to me like dried up shampoo or conditioner that had been rinsed – that was supposed to be a souffle!!!! In no way did either of the dishes look remotely like, I dunno, food!! The two of them looked exhausted and messy and well, we ended up eating it. Just to keep the peace!

Matrimonial Merry-go-round!

Write about a time when you gossiped about someone or something and you got in trouble for it.

Well not really gossiped about it and I didn’t get into any trouble at all but there was this once incident back in 2007 or was it early 2008. At the place where I worked one of my colleagues, who I was good friends with had transferred back to Bangalore (the city he lived in and from where he was temporarily transferred to Cochin when the office here was started) after 6 months here. I kept in touch with him as much as I could (he would do odd stuff like call me at 3 am after he had been drinking all night to shoot the shit!). He had a girlfriend in the Cochin office, a woman who had moved to Cochin from another city. They had an affair going on and everyone thought that they would get married to each other soon (even though they had only seen each for 6 months).

A few months after he had left we began to hear stories about his life and past. He has already been married once and gotten divorced and then was with this other chick for a while before he meet our common colleague. However we still thought that they would still married once she got a transfer to the same city where he lived. And then I got to know from a very reliable source that this guy was currently already married! Since the information was from a reliable source I wasn’t quick to dismiss it as a rumour but I wasn’t sure. He was a friend but how do I ask him? So I did the next best thing – or so I thought at that time! I casually asked a mutual friend if this was true. She said she wasn’t sure but that she had also heard the same thing. And you know what she did – she went and told the other colleague that I was asking everyone around the office if my friend was married!

She came to meet me and said that she was “appreciative” of my concern but that the rumour was not true. I said ok and cursed the other stupid colleague who went and babbled to this colleague. But hey – it turns out that there was some truth to it! The two of the got together and did get married but it turned out that the marriage was declared void as he was still married legally to his second wife!! Holy crap that was a mess. I still reel from all the stuff that went around in their life but it isn’t my shit to be bothered with. I’m still friends with him but lost contact with her after a while – she kept her Facebook relation status as “it’s complicated”! Yeah, no shit genius! Anyway they weren’t a match for each other so all’s well that ends well I guess. He is single now!

On Buying & Collecting Stuff

mindbump suggested by Altered Words“Sheryl Crow sings that “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.” Do you derive happiness from shiny new things, or do you cherish the items you already own? Explain. “

I don’t see what’s the big deal in wanting new things or buying new stuff. I don’t want useless things but I like stuff that means a lot to me and keep a collection of some of things that mean the most. Things that I might use on a regular basis or even once in a while. The only things I can think of collecting at this moment are dvds/blurays, books, music cds, Star Trek spaceship models and character sets from other such scifi shows.

At the same time I do appreciate the things I have. I treasure them and hope that they don’t get damaged or too dirty. I should probably take better care of the stuff that I have. I don’t have much so I should keep them clean and neat but not enough. I have no issues with people buying things that give them happiness. I have a limit on certain things. Like shoes – how many pairs could you possibly want to get? But collectible things that aren’t too expensive and cost more decent rates, that’s ok.