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If God Was Scotty

I had a dream in which god was real and not a fictional character. However he was working hard in his “office” with a wall of a machine with knobs and levers. And he had a thick Scottish accent. And he was really trying to fix things for us on earth.

He even said so ” I can’t change the law of physics! I’m giving her all she’s got, Roshan but I just don’t have the powerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”

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Juices & Biriyani With Alapatt

Had a day out today. I meant to just go out for an hour or so and pay my internet and phone bills but as I was finishing breakfast my close buddy Anil Alapatt called me up and said he was on leave and in town and would I be free to hang out for  few hours. I said yes and I went to Bay Pride Mall (a little late but better than never) and met him at the entrance. Now it is a freakingly hot & humid day, as the weather has been brutal for the past couple of weeks and we were thirsty and tired. We went to the food court and bought fruit juices; he had a watermelon juice and I had something called a “sunrise” which is orange+musambi mix.

We sat at a table and waited for our drinks. We talked for almost 2 hours over there and enjoyed out cold drinks, which were delicious and refreshing and talked about a lot of stuff. We also called Madhu in Qatar and spoke to him for a while. At around 2pm we went across in the searing heat to Ceylon Bake House and ate chicken biriyanis and lemonades. Now a couple of things – most biriyanis in the hotels these days makes me depressed and the quality had dropped quite a bit. But hey atleast there were 3 pieces of chicken, which I rarely get these days in a single biriyani! The quality & quantity though leaves a lot to be desired.

Despite only going out in the sun for a few more minutes we were both tired and a bit scorched from the heat. Anil wanted to sit somewhere and talk and so we went to Coffee Beanz for something to drink. I went to pay my internet bill (the hub is 2 stores away) and then went to find Anil in the cafe. As Anil was nursing a cold he wanted hot coffee and I settled for a cold “lemon fizz”. They served me that which looked good but tasted bad! It honestly tasted like melted down lemon cough drops (like Strepstils or Vicks) mixed with soda and ice! I swear I am not making this up. I sent it back to add more soda and dilute that shit but it still was terrible and I could only finish half. We waited till 4pm and then went to the Marine Drive walkway for a few more minutes and then parted ways.

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My Two Left Feet

In my earliest memories of dancing, I’m under my auntie Nancy’s dining room table, (which had been pushed off to the side of the room), watching my mom, dad, aunties, and uncles all dancing on the hardwood floor to a never-ending stack of 45 records, dropping one after the other. I remember foot-high stacks of 45s all around the record player. The song that I remember playing most? Twistin’ the Night Away by Sam Cooke. Every time I hear that song, I remember auntie’s spontaneous dance parties. What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?

I’m not big on dancing. Mainly because I can’t dance. Also as a big guy, it’s not flattering for me to be seen shaking my booty. But also to a great extent, I can’t stand most dance oriented music. It’s stupid and silly and really annoying. I can’t stand 99% of the drivel that is pop / hip-hop / house and all that shit. There are very few songs of that nature that I like. Older disco is an exemption; some of that stuff is groovy!

I never could enjoy people in talent shows dancing; during the dance program sections of talent shows or functions for school or office, I’d get up and leave preferring to go to the loo or get a drink or a bite to eat. I could never clap along to the music and performance. Indian music & movies focuses a lot on dance and I can’t stand most of that stuff as well.

The only time I have danced is in dark floors with the lazer lights and after a few drinks. I’ve done that a couple of times. No inhibitions and no fear – danced my ass off! That’s a different story.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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RIP Paco De Lucia

Heavily influential & popular flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia died suddenly of a heart attack on Feb 26th in Mexico. The Spanish virtuoso, who vastly expanded the international audience for flamenco and merged it with other musical styles, was 66 years old.  A leading proponent of the New Flamenco style, he helped legitimize flamenco among the establishment in Spain, and was one of the first flamenco guitarists who has also successfully crossed over into other genres of music such as classical and jazz. Richard Chapman and Eric Clapton, authors of Guitar: Music, History, Players, describe de Lucía as a “titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar”,and Dennis Koster, author of Guitar Atlas, Flamenco, has referred to de Lucía as “one of history’s greatest guitarists.

Some of his best known recordings include Río Ancho (later fused with Al Di Meola’s Mediterranean Sundance), Entre dos aguasLa BarrosaÍmpetu,Cepa Andaluza and Gloria al Niño Ricardo. His collaborations with guitarists John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola and Larry Coryell in the late 1970s saw him gain wider popularity outside his native Spain. De Lucía formed the Paco de Lucía Sextet in 1981 with his brothers, singer Pepe de Lucía and guitarist Ramón de Algeciras, and collaborated with jazz pianist Chick Corea on their 1990 album, Zyryab. In 1992, he performed live at Expo ’92 in Seville and a year later on the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. Starting in 2004 he greatly reduced his public performances, retiring from full touring, and typically gave several concerts a year, usually in Spain and Germany and at European festivals during the summer months. In 1995, he and Bryan Adams recorded the hit song and video Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman on the soundtrack for the American film Don Juan DeMarco.

Mexican authorities later said he had died on Tuesday at 7.15 local time while on holiday with his family on the Mexican Caribbean, after he was taken to a hospital complaining of pains in his chest.

Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomes aka Paco de Lucia (21 December 1947 – 26 February 2014)

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The Hurt Locker

Oscar winning film The Hurt Locker is a 2008 (released widely only in 2009) film directed & produced by Katheryn Bigelow on a screenplay written by Mark Boal, a freelance writer who was embedded as a journalist in 2004 with a U.S. Army EOD team in Iraq. It stars Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, and Brian Geraghty. The movie focuses on a 3 man  Explosive Ordnance Disposal (bomb disposal) team during the Iraq War.

After the death of team leader (Guy Pearce in a tiny role) of a U.S. Army EOD unit in the Iraq War, he is replaced by Sergeant First Class William James a battle-tested veteran who seems to do things his own way. The other two members are Sergeant J.T. Sanborn and  Specialist Owen Eldridge. James’s cavalier attitude and maverick ways make Sanborn & Eldridge uneasy and the tension increases. James even removes his headset at one point after Sanborn urges him to leave after they suspect hostiles watching them and possibly about to remote detonate a bomb, while they respond to a threat outside a UN building. Sanborn & Eldridge even openly contemplates killing James by “accidentally” triggering an explosion when they are assigned to destroy some explosives out in the desert as James returns to the detonation site to pick up his gloves, in another show of a devil may care attitude. Eldridge is nervous even though he had stated that his death would probably be because of James.

However the team encounters five a private military contractors and British mercenaries who need help with their  truck and are attacked by Iraqis. 3 of the mercenaries are killed but James & Sanborn use sniper tactics to kill 3 of the men, with Eldridge, guided by James, kills the fourth. The 3 of them unwind by drinking and punching each other to let off steam but once again James goes too far provoking Sanborn and the latter even pulls a knife on him. During a raid on a warehouse James discovers the body of a young boy, which has been surgically implanted with an unexploded bomb. James believes the boy to be “Beckham” a dvd seller with a potty mouth who he had bonded with and played a bit of soccer near their camp. James is visibly shaken by the sight of the dead boy During evacuation, Lieutenant Colonel John Cambridge (Christian Camargo), the camp’s psychiatrist and a friend of Eldridge’s, is killed in an explosion; Eldridge blames himself for the Colonel’s death. Later, James leaves the military compound seeking revenge for Beckham and breaks into the house of an Iraqi professor, but his search reveals nothing and he leaves. After the team is called to a petrol tanker denotation, James leads the other two on their own search against regulations and Eldridge ends up shot in the leg as insurgents capture him and his team rescues him. The following morning, James is approached by Beckham, who James believed was dead. The young boy tries to play soccer with James and sell him more DVDs, but the soldier walks by without saying a word. Before being airlifted for surgery elsewhere, Eldridge angrily blames James for his injury.

2 days before their unit is to go back to the US after their tour, an Iraqi man with a bomb vest strapped to his chest approaches them saying he has been forced to wear it at gun point by the insurgents and that he doesn’t want to die. James tries to cut off the locks to remove the vest, but there are too many to undo in the time available before the bomb will detonate. He has to abandon the man, who is killed when the bombs explode. Sanborn is left distraught by the man’s death; he confesses to James that he can no longer cope with the pressure and wants to return home and have a son. As their tour of Iraq ends, James returns home to his wife, Connie and their infant son but finds himself unable to adjust to civilian life. One night, playing with his baby son he confesses that there is only one thing he loves to do. Shortly thereafter, he starts another tour of duty serving with Delta Company U.S. Army EOD unit as they are starting their 365-day rotation.

As a rule I rarely watch American war movies as I have my own personal feelings about them. Especially something like Iraq which is an unjust war. Is the movie good? Yes I thought it was well acted and made, with Jeremey Renner doing an excellent job and leading other good performances. But I don’t see why this one the best movie at the Oscars and chalk it upto the Academy loving American war movies. It’s an 8 outta 10 for me!

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Thank You For The Music

Have you ever played in a band? Tell us all about that experience of making music with friends. If you’ve never been in a band, imagine you’re forming a band with some good friends. What instrument do you play in the band and why? What sort of music will you play?

Ever since I first got into rock music I’ve wanted to sing for a band. I’ve wanted to play screaming lead guitar but only took guitar lessons for a year and I had a crappy teacher in this institute and he irritated the shit outta me that by the end of that year, 12 year old me quit classes and never went again. My love for rock & metal started in 1986 from the age of 10 and was fed a regular diet of music fueled dreams since then. When I was 12 I also sang a couple of songs in my school – solo without any music accompanying me. I think one of the songs was Queen’s Friends Will Be Friends. A year later I was part of this group of singers at the school that were forced to sing some shitty songs, including the school song, for the annual day function. We were so terrible that the headmistress had the teachers cut the songs at 2 instead of the 3 that we had rehearsed. All of us were happy.

Since then I’ve never sung to more than my shower, the inside of a car and along with my cousins on drives. Or when we hung out together during the holidays. Or  me along in my room.In 2002 I joined a company in Calicut and as part of our training the trainer would make us do presentations for a whole day at the end of the 3 month initial period. And we all had to take part in group songs after we were split into separate groups. I picked the song for my group – Bryan Adam’s Please Forgive Me. The reason I chose this song was because, not only did I like it, but most of my colleagues and friends didn’t listen to much English language music and I wasn’t going to sing no pop / boyband number! But everyone liked Bryan Adams and so I picked that song.

And then ofcourse in 2007 as part of a big company, me and 3 others rehearsed for a few days and played 3 songs – with me singing, one guy on guitars, a bass player and another on keyboards with the drum tracks programmed into the keyboards. That was fun, except for a mic glitch that I had to face. You can read about that here in my rock band dreams.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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RIP Harold Ramis

Comedy actor and director Harold Ramis, best known for films such as “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day” and “Caddyshack,” died at his home in Chicago at the age of 69 of complications from a rare vascular disease as stated by his agent on Monday. Ramis, who had suffered from the rare illness since 2010, passed away peacefully on Monday morning, surrounded by family members. Ramis is perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Egon Spengler in the Ivan Reitman cult comedy Ghostbusters I & II with Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd & Ernie Hudson. Ramis & Akroyd co-wrote the two movies which are icons of the 80s and still extremely popular to this day.

The Chicago born & raised Ramis had a Jewish upbringing, although in his adult life Ramis did not practice any religion. After graduation from university he worked for several months in a mental institution, which he said helped him in his career and interacting with actors. He wrote parody plays while in college and was a substitute teacher before writing freelance for the Chicago Daily News. Additionally, he had begun studying and performing with Chicago’s Second City improvisational comedy troupe and his newspaper writing led to his becoming joke editor at Playboy. Post his stint at SCTV he moved onto film and co-wrote National lampoons Animal House,  directed Cadyshack, co-wrote /acted/directed National Lampoon’s Vacation before Ghostbusters. Among other films he directed are Groundhog Day, Multiplicity, Bedazzaled, Analyze This , Analyze That & Year One.

Ramis received The American Comedy Award, the British Comedy Awards and a BAFTA award for screenwriting. He is survived by his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, his sons Julian and Daniel, a daughter Violet and two grandchildren.

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Beer Types – Pumpkin Ale

Often released as a fall seasonal, Pumpkin Ales are quite varied. Some brewers opt to add hand-cut pumpkins and drop them in the mash, while others use puree or pumpkin flavoring. These beers also tend to be spiced with pumpkin pie spices, like: ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Pumpkin Ales are typically mild, with little to no bitterness, a malty backbone, with some spice often taking the lead. Many will contain a starchy, slightly thick-ish, mouthfeel too. In our opinion, best versions use real pumpkin, while roasting the pumpkin can also add tremendous depth of character for even better results, though both methods are time-consuming and tend to drive brewmasters insane.

The character of the particular spices, herbs and/or vegetables (SHV) should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that some SHV (e.g., ginger, cinnamon) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., some vegetables)—allow for a range of SHV character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of the SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. The SHV character should be pleasant and supportive, not artificial and overpowering. As with all specialty beers, a proper SHV beer should be a harmonious balance of the featured SHV(s) with the underlying beer style. Aroma hops, yeast by-products and malt components of the underlying beer may not be as noticeable when SHV are present. Appearance should be appropriate to the base beer being presented and will vary depending on the base beer. For lighter-colored beers with spices, herbs or vegetables that exhibit distinctive colors, the colors may be noticeable in the beer and possibly the head.

As with aroma, the distinctive flavor character associated with the particular SHV(s) should be noticeable, and may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of the SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. The balance of SHV with the underlying beer is vital, and the SHV character should not be so artificial and/or overpowering as to overwhelm the beer. Hop bitterness, flavor, malt flavors, alcohol content, and fermentation by-products, such as esters or diacetyl, should be appropriate to the base beer and be harmonious and balanced with the distinctive SHV flavors present.

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The Future Of Science Fiction Tv Shows

There’s a lot of talk about a new Star Trek tv show possibly being given the go ahead to be produced for television. Depending on the various reports 3-4 ideas are being discussed and are at various stages of being given the final go ahead. Paramount owns the rights to Star Trek and although the movies helmed by JJ Abrhams are in the alternate universe, the tv shows being discussed are not – which is a good thing. The proposed tv series are all set in the prime timeline and are all set after the events of Voyager. And while I am excited about those possible shows there are quite a few fan shows out there that merit a good portion of a Trekkie’s attention. Chief among them are the 2 episode old Star Trek Continues and yet to be shown Star Trek Renegades. The latter is also receiving a lot of attention from fans worldwide as a few Trek actors (like Tim Russ & Walter Koenig) are involved. With the success of Star Trek Continues and the hype around Renegades, one wonders if the studios should not just pump money into these shows instead since they are already have an audience and are well received. Anyways we will know more as the events unfold.

Outside of Trek it is hard to find any scifi shows that are space worthy. There was an article yesterday about a possible Farscape movie to be directed by Jim Henson’s son Brian Henson, who executive produced the original series and directed the Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars miniseries. Farscape, a popular Australian Scifi series about a modern day astronaut who finds himself thrown through a wormhole into a galaxy where the militaristic Peacekeepers hunt him and his new alien allies. I’m a huge fan of that show and was miffed, like most fans, when the series was cancelled after season 4’s cliffhanger of a finale. It took a multitude of fans ranting on the internet to make the mini-series come true. Hopefully we get more from that franchise.

A quick look at what else science fiction has in store for us and you will find no space operas. Most scifi is based in present times or a few years in advance. Defiance was promising with a revamped look of earth after an accident and awesome looking aliens but storywise I wasn’t too impressed with them. There’s a lot of lab based scifi shows Helix being the most hyped one and finally starting to get more life by the 7th episode – but the show’s infected zombie like characters seem to me too pale compared to shows like The Walking Dead! Where are the spaceships, the alien planets, the cool characters, the explorations and stuff. When you have aliens they all seem to be “twilighted” – the latest show Star-Crossed seems too much like a scifi version of 90210 and features white people with face tattoos as aliens. The show is best described as Twilight meets District 9! A bad one!

I want my space operas. Let’s go people!

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Deadfall (2012)

Deadfall is a 2012 crime drama starring Eric Bana, Charlie Hunnam, Olivia Wilde, Sissy Spacek, Kris Krisopherson, Kate Mara & Treat Williams. Although there seems to be older movies called “Deadfall” the plots don’t seem to be connected. The movie also has a theme of broken & dysfunctional families running throughout the plot.

Addison & Liza are siblings who are escaping with a 3rd associate after a casino heist in Michigan that went wrong. Their goal is to sneak into Canada during a snow blizzard but they hit a deer and crash the car, killing the driver. Addison kills a state trooper who happened to be passing by and radioed the crash. Brother and sister change into warmer clothes and walk through the woods, separating after splitting the cash and hoping to contact each other when one or the other reaches close to the border. A few hours later Liza, shivering in the snow is found by Jay, a former medal winning boxer, who has just been released from prison. When he goes to confront his former coach, who had betrayed him, and demands the money the coach owes him the two get into a fight and Jay inadvertently and seriously injures him. Thinking he has killed him, Jay flees, fearing he will be sent back to jail. Jay is in the small town to see his estranged father and mother for Thanksgiving but isn’t happy with his father’s cold reaction to him. Jay tells Liza, who doesn’t tell him her name and hence calls her “Patricia” that he’ll drop her off in town.

Deputy Hannah (Kate Mara), visits Jay’s parents at their home, and they invite her to join them for their Thanksgiving dinner. After returning to the police station, she is treated poorly by her father, sheriff Becker (Treat Williams), who does not want to include her in the hunt for the unknown criminals. She has been accepted to be trained to become an FBI agent, and the station secretary encourages her to live her life and not worry about her father. Hannah is clearly torn and she excuses her father’s behavior because of the loss of his wife, even though it was years ago. Meanwhile Addison finds an older man working on a snowmobile and attacks and kills him to steal the vehicle but also loses a pinky finger in the process.  invades a cabin near the woods and kills the abusive father of the family. After dumping the man’s body, he tends to the distraught wife and her children. He “thinks” while drinking and talking to the oldest child, Lisa, whom he mistakenly called Liza earlier in the evening. In town, Jay & Liza stop at a bar for drinks and are told that due to the blizzard and the search for the trooper’s killer, the road are closed till morning. Liza sneaks back to Jay’s car and finds his address on letters and leaves a message for Addison that she will be at Jay’s house the next day. She goes back in and flirts with Jay and the two spend the night in a room having sex and getting romantically involved, telling each other their stories.

The next morning, realizing that she has feelings for Jay, Liza calls Addison to say that Jay left her, that she couldn’t proceed with the plan and that she’ll find another ride. When Jay notices Liza has left, he chases her and confesses his feelings for her. Liza starts by saying it was only a fling in an effort to protect Jay. Liza tells Jay that her brother Addison was her protector from their abusive father, who was killed when they were young. She confides in him how she wants to have a family of her own instead of being messed up. Hannah gets a call from the worried mother of the woman in the cabin where Addison has taken over and goes with two other deputies to investigate. Hannah finds the dead body of the husband but cannot warn one of the deputies in time as Addison kills him and takes off on a snowmobile. Hannah and the other deputy chase but Addison tricks the deputy into an accident, which kills him. Addison arrives at Jay’s house and holds his parents captive. When Liza and Jay arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, June steps out and tells him about the situation, startling Liza. They all eat dinner together. Addison realizes Liza is involved with Jay when she acts protectively of him and his family. Hannah receives a call from a Detroit detective about Jay’s coach who received only a concussion after the fight. She arrives at the house and is also taken captive by Addison.

The sheriff goes to Jay’s parent’s home and goes in to investigate, accidentally shooting his own daughter, whom Addison had wear his jacket. Her wound is not fatal but Addison then shoots the sheriff dead. A struggle between Jay and Addison ensues outside with Jay overpowering Addison, but releasing him when Liza begs him, reminding Jay that Addison is her brother. Addison points another gun at Jay and challenges Jay about whether he loves Liza, to which Jay says he does. Before Addison can harm Jay, Liza fatally shoots Addison. The movies ends as police back-up arrive.

It isn’t a great movie with an abrupt ending and not a very original but predictable plot. The acting is good but nothing to shout about. Overall I was disappointed as I expected more from a good cast. 6 outta 10!

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Arsenal 4 Sunderland 1

On a day that the club chose to unveil a statue honouring one of their legends Dennis Bergkamp, Arsenal played out a 4-1 win over lowly Sunderland, in a match that hopefully restores some of the confidence lost during the last few games. Olivier Giroud marked his return to action with two goals as Arsenal swept aside lowly Sunderland to stay a point behind Premier League leaders Chelsea. He stroked home an early opener after a deflected Jack Wilshere shot fell to him, and capitalised on a poor Santiago Vergini back-pass for his second. Tomas Rosicky finished a neat move and Laurent Koscielny headed a fourth. Emanuele Giaccherini produced a stunning late volley to end Arsenal’s run of five home league clean sheets.

Giroud had sat out the Gunners’ previous two games, with manager Arsene Wenger insisting the French striker needed a rest. And he looked back to being fresh as he tormented a Sunderland team with one eye on their Capital One Cup final appearance next week. Meanwhile an injured Mesut Ozil was kept out of the squad and hopefully a couple of weeks rest will re-energize him and get him back to playing in better form. Former Arsenal goalie Vito Mannone, back at the Emirates for the first time since his summer move north, was left helpless when Vergini gifted the Gunners a second. Making his first Premier League start, the Argentine central defender failed to notice Giroud lingering in the box when he attempted to pass back to his keeper and the Gunners striker clinically slid the ball past the exasperated keeper. There was further pain for Mannone just before half-time as Rosicky sealed a wonderful Arsenal passing move with a close-range finish. The midfielder took return passes from Wilshere and Santi Cazorla before finding Giroud in the box and running on to the forward’s cute pass to clip the ball over the keeper.

Arsenal keep pace with league leader Chelsea who just a point ahead at 60 points. Arsenal at 59 points have 2 more than 3rd place Manchester City but they have a game in hand over Arsenal as do 4th place Liverpool who have 53 points.

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What Is A Life Well Lived To You?

What is a life well lived to you?

I know a full life or successful life or whatever you want to call it means different things to different people. For me it’s pretty simple : it’s having done all the things that you’ve ever wanted to do and having them mean as much (or more) to you once it was done as before it actually happened!

Confused? Simple, if you want to do something it means a good deal to you. Once you have completed doing it, it – the result or just the fact that you have completed doing it – should mean a whole lot more! Suppose, you have wanted to get married to the girl of your dreams. Getting married to her and having a wonderful and successful & happy marriage that is even beyond your expectations with both of you having worked at it, will mean a lot more! That’s what I mean. Don’t just restrict it to marriage, employ that thought! Visiting Paris a big dream? Going to Paris and having a wonderful time should mean even more.

So if I had a handful of things or 50 or 100, getting them done and having it mean a lot more to me would be my idea of a full life / successful life. I still have ….75% of the things that I want to do left to be done. I have some big ticket items that are all on the backburner. I hope I get to do 50% more before I kick the bucket, whenever that is.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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Morton’s Fork

If you had to choose between being able to write a blog (but not read others’) and being able to read others’ blogs (but not write your own), which would you pick? Why?

What a weird choice! Ok, I’ve been blogging in different websites since 2002. Regularly from 2004. Extremely regularly from 2007 onwards, like daily once or twice. I don’t think I want to stop anytime soon although there are times when I question as to is it worth keeping on writing – who the heck is reading it but me and a handful of faithfuls?

And then I think, this is more or less for me that I am doing it. I find writing therapeutic and I love also logging in and reviewing the movies, tv shows that I watch and the music that I listen to. From time to time I have also made some money outta this blog and that makes it really worthwhile. So the answer is a clear one – I’d pick being able to write my blog but not read others.

But only if the option is given this way. Ofcourse I’d love to keep reading other people’s blogs even though most of my favorites have either stopped blogging and moved to Facebook completely or blog sporadically. But I still keep checking and reading the ones that do. But there is no way that I’d give up my own humble blogging.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Jason And The Argonauts

Here’s a great film from 1963 – directed by Don Chaffey in collaboration with stop motion animation expert Ray Harryhausen Jason And The Argonauts is an adventure, fantasy film based on the story of Jason & the Golden Fleece from Greek mythology. Well, they call it fantasy, let’s call it mythology. Let’s have a look at the movie which Tom Hanks calls the best film of all time.

The throne of Thesally is usurped by Pelias, under the protection of the god Zeus, by storming the palace of King Aristo and killing him; but learns a prophecy that he will be overthrown by a child of Aristo wearing one sandal. When Pelias kills one of Aristo’s daughters it angers Zeus wife the goddess Hera as it was done in her temple. Before Briseis is killed, she places the infant son of Aristo into the arms of the statue of Hera. Hera, disguised as a priestess, informs Pelias that it is the infant son of Aristo who will bring the end of him but if Pelias harms the boy, he too will die. Zeus and Hera discuss strategy like the moves on a big chess board and 20 years pass (which is but an instant on Olympus). A fully grown Jason, Aristo’s son, saves Pelias from drowning not knowing who he is. Pelias, however, recognizes who he is from the fact that Jason has only one sandal having lost the other in the water.  Jason reveals his plans to go steal the golden fleece which is encouraged by Pelias as it keeps his enemy away from him. However, later the god Hermes appears before Jason and takes him to Olympus.  Zeus offers his direct aid to Jason, but Jason declares that he can organize the voyage, build the ship, and select a crew of the bravest and most able men in all of Greece by holding an Olympics. Zeus, observing that those most worthy of the aid of the gods are those who least call upon it, agrees and sends Jason back to Earth to make preparations for the adventure.

Hera however is taken by Jason and chooses to help him when called upon but can only do it 5 times as restricted by Zeus. On learning of Jason’s mission, men from all over Greece compete to be selected to join him. Among those chosen are Hercules and Hylas. Acastus, the son of Pelias, is sent by his father to sabotage the voyage. Jason selects a new ship the Argo by builder Argus, who also joins the mission and finds that the mast is of the likeness of Hera. The men are dubbed the Argonauts. As they run out of supplies after days on the water, Hera is called by Jason and she guides him to the Isle of Bronze where she warns him that they are to  take only foods and water and nothing else. Hercules takes a giant brooch pin the size of a javelin which awakens a huge statue of Talos that then begins to attack the men. Jason again turns to Hera, who guides him to open a cylindrical plug on the back of Talos’s heel, releasing the latter’s vital lifeforce. As the bronze giant falls it crushes Hylas to death, unseen by the others. Hercules, blaming himself, refuses to leave the island until he finds Hylas dead or alive and the rest of the men refuse to leave the strongest man behind. Jason calls Hera again, who reminds Jason this is the last time she can help him and confirms that Hylas is dead and that Hercules is not to continue with the others, and directs them to seek the blind soothsayer Phineas. The old man is tormented by two Harpies sent by Zeus as a punishment for misusing his gift of prophecy; each time Phineas sits for a meal the winged female creatures steals it, leaving him only scraps.

Jason & the Argonauts capture and trap the Harpies and in return Phineas gives Jason an amulet and directions to Colchis. To reach Colchis, they must sail between the Clashing Rocks which come together and crush any ship attempting to pass them. As the Argo gets trapped and is about to be crushed, Jason calls upon the gods and thrown the amulet into the sea as an offering; Triton appears from under the waters and holds the rocks back allowing the ship to pass safely. They pick up three survivors of another ship, among them Medea. As the reach Colchis Jason & Acastus disagree on strategy and fight and when the latter is disarmed he jumps into the sea believed to have drowned.  Jason and his men accept an invitation from King Aeëtes to a feast, where they are captured and imprisoned. Medea, who is a priestess in Colchis and is enamoured by Jason, helps him and his men escape. She takes Jason to the golden fleece which lies on a tree but as he approaches it, Jason is attacked by its guardian Hydra. Jason is able to kill Hydra but the many-headed snake monster kills Acastus, who tries to steal the fleece for himself. Aeëtes, in pursuit, sows the Hydra’s teeth after praying to the goddess Hecate, producing a skeletal warrior from each. When Medea is wounded by an arrow in the resulting battle, Jason uses the fleece to heal her. He orders Argus to take Medea to the ship, while he and two of his men fight off the skeletons. When his two companions are killed, Jason jumps off a cliff into the sea, “drowning” the skeletons, and escapes to the ship; whereafter he, Medea, and the surviving Argonauts begin their return to Thessaly. In Olympus Hera is victorious as her champions has won but Zeus who is pleased by Jason says he will call upon him again.

The film ends on a high note without completing the journey (I don’t know why they ended things here) and the end of the mission. However it is a great film and a lot of fun to watch. The stop animation is good for the era. Any film buff, especially those of you who love to watch ancient stuff like Greek & Roman mythology should watch it if you already haven’t. Two points of note: Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore in Goldfinger) and Nancy Kovack (Nona in a season 2 episode of Star Trek TOS) play Hera and Medea respectively. 8.5 outta 10!