Changes

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

I’m actually down in the dumps right now. I’ve always wanted to have a good life, a great life. I’ve wanted to be able to live a comfortable and easy going life not over extravagant or one of being very wealthy with lots of cash to burn. But just a nice, comfortable with enough choices and not worrying about bills and/or spending a little extra on a few luxuries. And ofcourse I would want along with that financial security a happy home life with a loving woman who would be my life & love partner and maybe a couple of dogs and cats.

I am no where near my dream. These last couple of years has bee the worst of my life. What started in 2011 as a risky experiment turned out to be a disaster and I have just not been able to recover from that. Your mid to late 30s is not when you want to be broke and miserable and not knowing when the next cash flow is going to come. Only after that is solved can I even start to think about fixing other things and even trying to work on other aspects of my life. I’m very upset with myself and my situation and I’m not sure when things will change but I hope it will be soon cause I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

I’ve been considering leaving this place and making a big leap but I know that it will most probably not turn out well for me and I am scared. I’m going to wait it out and see. If I can just keep myself together and my sanity in check for a couple of more months maybe things will work out.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

Kill For Me

The young actresses who star in the led me to check out this film, along with a veteran actor like Donal Logue and Ryan Robbins (who is only it for a coupe of scenes). Kill For Me is a 2013 Canadian film that focuses on the lives of 2 young women who have had abusive pasts and are trying to move on with their lives. The movie stars Tracy Spiridiakos (from Revolution), Katie Cassidy (of Supernatural & Arrow) with Logue, Robbins, Leah Gibson, Adam Di Marco & Torrence Coombs and is directed by Michael Greenspan who also co-wrote the film.

College student Amanda lives in a house with her two roommates and her world is shattered when her close friend & roommate Natalie goes missing after her work shift at a bar ended. Everyone thinks she either eloped or found college too tough and went to travel the world but Amanda puts of posters around town. After the cops find no evidence of foul play, Natalie and the 3 roommate Zoe put out ads for Natalie’s room for sharing the rent. Along comes Hayley who also goes to the same college and she is shown the house and room and decides to rent the vacant room. Hayley shows signs of being an abused child; she has scars on her back and she goes to her family farmhouse to collect money that her dead mother was saving up and seems fearful of her father. When Zoe goes on a trip with her boyfriend Amanda & Hailey become close both sharing their stories of abuse; Amanda recently broke up from her abusive boyfriend Cameron but he is still obsessed with her and is trying to get back.

Hailey tells Amanda that her father Garret was abusive to both her and her mother and that he killed her mother, making it look like a suicide. One afternoon Hailey helps Amanda in beating and chasing away Cameron but he comes back with a gun and hits both of them, cornering Amanda to the basement. In the melee Hailey takes a hatchet that Amanda had picked up to defend herself and kills Cameron. Hailey then begs Amanda to help her bury the body and shows her Garret’s farmhouse – when Garret leaves late in the evening to head to a bar, the girls dig up a hole in the surrounding woods and sink his bike in the lake. The girls then go back home and spurred by their emotional experience shower and have sex. However Hailey alerts the cops and tries to frame her father but despite the fact that they find the dead body & the bike on his property, due to lack of solid evidence the case against Garret is dropped. Amanda feels betrayed but when she comes home she finds a beaten & bruised Hailey – her father knew it was she who tipped of the police and took revenge on Hailey. Hailey now asks Amanda to kill for her, just as she had killed Cameron for Amanda. When Amanda refuses, Hailey blackmails her with the hatchet; she had wiped her fingerprints off it but Amanda’s still remains.

When that doesn’t work, Hailey kidnaps Amanda’s friend Mark and threatens to kill him unless Amanda goes along with her plan. When Amanda agrees the two head for the bar that Garret frequents and it is the same bar that Natalie used to work at. Hailey knows her father’s pattern – he drinks till closing time and usually tries to pick up a young woman to have drinks & sex with at his house. Amanda dresses up and flirts with Garret, which initially does not work but she manages to get his attention and later they head to his house. Once there, Amanda is to poison his drink but Garret is suspicious and hence tells her a made up story – he tells her about his “troubled” daughter Hailey who was violent and abusive to his wife and who killed her mother and set it up as a suicide. Garret is about to drink the poisoned drink when Amanda stops him and tells him the truth. They stage his death taking photos of him lying “dead” on the floor to show Hailey. Amanda goes to Hailey claiming that the job is done and gets Mark released. Hailey suspects that her father tricked Amanda and forces her friend at gunpoint back to the farm. They find Garret lying in the barn but he attacks and shoots Hailey and then attacks Amanda. He then confirms Hailey’s story – he is infact an abusive father and killed Hailey’s mother. He is about to drag a screaming Amanda and drop her into a hatch opening in the ground when a dying Hailey grabs the gun and shoots him dead. Hailey dies in Amanda’s arm, finally free.

As Amanda sits in the barn she hears movement from the underground section of the barn and investigates it to find her friend Natalie in it! A disheveled Natalie had been abducted and sexually abused by Garret as she left her bar job and he was keeping her prisoner for his pleasure. Amanda pulls Natalie out of the underground and calls the cops telling them that she & Hailey suspected Garret to be keeping Natalie prisoner and on investigation found Natalie but Hailey got killed while defending them from Garret who also died at the hands of his daughter. As the cop cars pull away with the girls the movie ends. Good low budget flick that really tries it’s best to surprise you with the two twists in the film. And while they weren’t really that surprising they do work well. Watch it for the storyline and the themes, I’ll have to give it an 8 outta 10 for the fact that it is a low budget flick that still engaged me throughout but overall as a film probably a 7 outta 10!

Arsenal 1 Bayern Munich 1

Thus ended Arsenal’s Champions League challenger after a 1-1 draw against holders Bayern Munich that saw the German giants win the round of 16 tie 3-1 on aggregate. Arsenal exited the Champions League at the first knockout stage for the fourth year in a row. A dominant Bayern, leading 2-0 from the first leg, had a Javi Martinez volley ruled out for offside before the break. Bastian Schweinsteiger gave Bayern the lead from close range before Lukas Podolski shot high into the net to level the score on the night. Thomas Muller had a late penalty saved as Bayern won 3-1 on aggregate.

Arsenal’s European exit leaves them just two more chances to end a nine-year trophy drought this season. Arsene Wenger’s men are in the FA Cup semi-final and seven points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea. The damage was done in the first leg at Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal will rue an early missed penalty by Mesut Ozil and the dismissal of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. Arsenal did go into the match with reasons for hope, having been the last team to prevent the German side from scoring when they beat them 2-0 at the Allianz Arena at the same stage last season, although the Gunners went out that night on away goals. Bayern’s defeat by Arsenal last season was the only game the Bavarians had failed to score in in their last 100 matches and a composed start by the hosts made the prospect of another shut-out an unlikely one. The difficult task became almost impossible soon after the restart as Franck Ribery cut inside on the left and squared for Schweinsteiger, who calmly converted from close range.

Arsenal hit back immediately though as Podolski nudged Philipp Lahm off the ball, before shooting high into the net from an angle, leaving them needing two goals again to progress. Now to make matters worse Arsenal will be without midfielder Ozil for a few weeks as he injured his hamstring during the match in Munich and was taken off at halftime. So – no Ozil, no Aaron Ramsey, no Jack Wilshire and no Theo Walcott.

Stubborn Or Easy Going

Are you stubborn as a grass stain or as easy going as a light breeze on a warm day? Tell us about the ways in which you’re stubborn — which issues make you dig your heels in and refuse to budge?

I think you have to be flexible when needed and when it is obvious that it is needed. Things will be tough if you do not accept change or a different way to accomplish a goal especially when you are part of a team or working on a project with other people. Easy going people are more popular and people seek them out as they like to work with them or be friends with them and hang around them. It goes without saying that popularity can get you a lot of things that you want; that favour, that extra mile and that preference might just be yours because you treated other people better and for them, being / working with you was a pleasant experience.

On the other end of the spectrum you don’t want to be labelled a pushover or a asskisser because you adjust and bend for everyone and everything. You can easily get the reputation of not having a consistency, integrity or a backbone if you are Mr.Anything Goes! It is a balance but pick and choose the places where you have to be firm and not yielding under pressure. People who find the balance are the most liked successful people.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

The Plane That Vanished

I suppose by now almost everyone who reads the news or watches it on tv or reads it on the internet knows about the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the Malaysian airline, Flight 370. The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines 777-200 suddenly vanished from radar screens last weekend, forty minutes after leaving Kuala Lumpur. 40 ships from nine countries as well as two dozen aircraft scoured an area within a 50 nautical mile radius of Flight 370’s last known position. The plane was at cruising altitude (35,000 feet) and weather was more or less clear. Air traffic controllers in Vietnam say contact with the crew disappeared about 120 nautical miles east of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, and radar signals suggest the plane may have turned around before losing contact.

In the absence of any evidence, the possible explanations for what happened to the missing Malaysia plane range all over the map: an explosion, a catastrophic engine failure, extreme turbulence, or pilot error, or even pilot suicide. Although no terrorist groups had come forward to claim credit, sabotage had not been ruled out, especially after it emerged that several passengers were traveling on stolen passports and that five passengers who had checked baggage had failed to board the plane (their luggage was removed from the flight, the airline said.) And an oil slick spotted in the South China sea originally thought to be a clue turned out to be a false lead.

But as loved ones of those on board Flight 370 struggle with shock and grief, some say their agony is being compounded by a lack of information from Malaysia Airlines. They have given one critical indication that after 30 hours of no contact the families & relatives have to told to expect the worst. The not knowing and waiting for information must be terrible for the family members.

Thor : The Dark World

Thor : The Dark World is a sequel to 2011’s Thor and 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers. It is the 8th installment in the Marvels film universe. The film was directed by Alan Taylor, with a screenplay by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander and Rene Russo. In this film Thor must team up with his brother Loki to save Asgard, and later earth as well as the other realms, from an old for who battled their grandfather and was though to be vanquished.

Many years ago Odin’s father King Bor battled and won against the army of the Dark Elf Malekith who sought to vanquish the universe and destroy it using a powerful weapon known as the Aether. As Bor defeated the Dark Elves and their enhanced warriors known as the Kursed, on their home world of Svartalfheim, Malekith and a small group of his men escaped into hiding and went into suspended animation. Bor stored the Aether in a stone column in a secret planet unknown to everyone else as it cannot be destroyed. Cut to present day and Thor, after having defeated marauders on Vanaheim alongside his warrior, returns to Asgard with Loki who is then imprisoned for his crimes. The Asgardians soon learn that the Convergence, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, is imminent; as the event approaches, portals linking the worlds appear at random. Meanwhile on earth Dr. Jane Foster and her intern Darcy Lewis are in London where they find portals in an abandoned factor leading to other realms, disrupting the laws of physics around them. Thor is alerted by Heimdall that he cannot see Jane on earth; she was teleported to another planet; the same one that houses the Aether and she releases it by accident and it enters her.

With the rainbow bridge between realms being restored, Thor goes to earth and meets Jane and she inadvertently releases an unearthly force, and Thor returns with her to Asgard. Odin disapproves saying that the force could kill her and destroy Asgard as well but has his doctors look at Jane. Malekith awakens with the return of the Aether and with his army descends upon Asgard with a sneak attack and searches for Jane. Thor’s mother Frigga is killed trying to protect Jane and Malekith and his men are forced to leave with the scientist or the Aether. Although Odin warns him not to leave Asgard, as their defense shields are weakened and the city has sustained much damage, Thorn sneaks Loki out of his prison and taking Jane with them they use a secret portal to get to  Svartalfheim, where they will use Jane to lure and confront Malekith, away from Asgard. Loki is promised a chance to seek revenge for the death of their mother and agrees, Thor’s warriors helping them to get to the Dark Elf ship that has crashed on Asgard. Once on the planet Loki tricks Malekith into thinking that he has betrayed Thor and Malekith draws out the Aether from Jane but the Dark Elf lord merges with the Aether and in the battle Loki is fatally injured. As the Dark Elves escape in their ship, Thor promises his dying brother that he will tell Odin of his sacrifice. Thor and Jane are able to find a portal in a cave that takes them to earth and they head to London.

The two reunite in London with Darcy, and Jane’s mentor Dr. Erik Selvig — who was briefly institutionalized due to the mental trauma he suffered during Loki’s attack on Earth. Selvig tells them that the convergence of the 9 realms has a central point – Greenwich in the UK. Thor battles Malekith through various portals and across multiple worlds until one portal separates them, leaving Malekith unopposed on Earth. Thor returns in time to help his mortal comrades use their scientific equipment to transport Malekith to Svartalfheim, where he is crushed by his own damaged ship. Thor returns back to Asgard and declines his father Odin’s request for him to take over the throne and tells Odin of Loki’s sacrifice. As he leaves, Odin’s form transforms to that of a grinning Loki. Thor’s warriors take the Aether, contained in an infinity stone to the Collector for safekeeping but the Collector seems to have ulterior plans. Thor reunites with Jane on earth as a frost giant is seen causing havoc in London.

Big, bombastic and a great movie to watch at the theatres. I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of the superhero movies but this one feels more science fiction like to me with a touch of fantasy thrown in. Other have also noticed the Star Trek / Star Wars influences running in the movie and it feels more at home in that genre rather than superhero. 8 outta 10!

We Built This City

What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?

Positives : Lots of good places to eat, lots of bars & hotels, overall it is a good place to live and grow up. Has a couple of beaches, lots of sea food, lots of cool people, lots of theatres and a couple of malls for hanging out. Seaside areas are a big favourite of mine and we have that. Lots of new organizations popping up. Influx of the best people from other parts of Kerala due to the city being the commercial hub of the state.

Negatives : Terribly cramped roads (and all that metro railway work blocking part of the roads is not helping), bad infrastructure, heavily polluted, mosquitoes, mosquitoes, mosquitoes, places gets very dusty very quick and when it rains the roads get mushy and water logged making travel difficult. Along with the good number of cool people, unfortunately there are a whole lot of assholes & motherfuckers and a lot of people seem to be still living in a 16th century, mindset wise. Lots of rats. Way too many stray dogs. Shameful to say, we have our share of homeless people.  Gets very hot during late February till late June.

Status : We’re like a 14 year old brat that shows flashes of being intelligent and levels of coolness that’s way ahead of our age (in terms of being a modern city) but we have a long, long way to go. I just hope that we solve our problems one by one in a sensible manner and not create more in the process.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

Asterix & Obelix

One of the comics that has stayed with me from childhood to current age (37 going on 17) and one that I can still read and enjoy with the same pleasure as when I first read it are the Asterix comics. The Asterix comic books, for those who don’t know and are missing out, is a series of French comicswritten by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo and features one lone Gaulish village that resists Roman occupation in France. The villagers are aided by the magic potion, created by their wise druid Getafix that gives them super strength and hence they bash al opposition, including the Roman army. Heading the brave warriors of the village is our hero Asterix, who is always joined in his heroics & exploits by his best friend Obelix and his little dog Dogmatix.

I think the first time I read the comics was a kid in Kuwait, way back at the age of perhaps 7 or 8, and I couldn’t even pronounce the names – I called them Astri, Oblee and Dogimatoo) and didn’t know anything about France or the Roman empire. The comic series has remained a loveable favourite, among a lot of my friends and relatives as well. One of the most enjoyable scenes, and something that I’ll always associate with the comics, are the fact that the villagers, especially Obelix, loves to eat wild boar! They hunt wild boar and then cook them over an open fire and also serve them at every dinner party celebration that they have. Even in the comics the huge racks & legs of wild boar looked delicious. Ofcourse when I first read it, I had never tasted pork before having been born and living in an Islamic country till the age of 11. Once back in India ofcourse I’ve eaten pork, ham and bacon and even once – just once – managed to get some excellent wild boar, cooked by a trained chef friend. It looked nothing like the wild boar roasted over open fires in the comic ofcourse and fueled in my imagination but it was delicious.

This post was inspired by a cooking video of wild boar ribs that I just watched. It reminded me of the comics and Asterix, Obelix and Dogmatix eating all those wild boars .

Arsenal 4 Everton 1

Playing at back to some what of their season best Arsenal defeated Everton FC by 4 goals to 1 in the FA Cup quaterfinals today. The Gunners got two goals in 2.5 minutes from substitute Olivier Giroud and more importantly Mezut Ozil was lively and looked very efficient as he played a good game setting up one goal and scoring the opener. Wenger started with Yaya Sonogo up front and both Giroud & Podolski on the bench and played Lukas Fabianski in goal. The Gunners started well and in the 9th minute Ozil scored off an assist by Santi Carzola. Also the Ox was playing quite well going from goal post to goal post.

Everton regrouped and played extremely well and challenged the Londoners and were rewarded when Romelu Lukaku left footed a shot from very close range to the centre of the goal, assisted by Kevin Mirallas following a fast break. 1-1. That’s how it ended at half time. But in the second half Arsenal looked to shore things up and win the game. In the 60th minute Giroud came on for Sonogo, who didn’t look at lively as he has been in recent games. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain draws a foul in the penalty area and Arteta scores but the referee replays it as Giroud had infringed on the start and earned himself a yellow card. No problem, cool as a cucumber Arteta scores once again.

Giroud then scored twice – a left footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Bacary Sagna and then left footed a shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner,  assisted by Özil following a fast break. Match to Arsenal 4-1 and a semi-final at Wembley will follow.

Two SyFy Horror/Creature Feature Films

SyFy channel has it’s own range of tv shows and low budget movies made for television. They also dabble into the horror/supernatural genre and today I watched two of their 2013 movies. The first one is Scarecrow which stars Lacey Chabert (who’s only other work I was familiar with is as a 14-15 year old in Lost In Space and my how they she has grown) & Robin Dunne and is about a legend of a monster in a barn in a small town that comes alive and haunts the members of a single family that owns the place.  100 years have passed and the monster has not been seen or killed anyone but the legend lives on and each year in October the town has a festival based on the scarecrow like monster but almost everyone has forgotten how the legend got started. As the movie starts two teenagers Chad & Marcy from the local school head out to the barn next to the abandoned farmhouse to scare their enemies Nicki and Tyler for posting sex pictures of them on the internet. Inside the old barn they climb the rickety ladder when it breaks and both of them fall through the floor and crash into an unknown and dark basement. Marcy has badly injured her leg and blood is flowing everywhere and as Chad tries to help a large dark hand comes out and grabs Chad’s head and crushes it. Next an unseen creature heads for the screaming Marcy.

A day later school teacher Aaron Harris is taking 6 students who are in detention – Tyler (Richard Harmon), Nicki (Julia Maxwell), Daevon (Reilly Dolman), Calvin (Iain Belcher), Beth (Brittney Wilson), and Maria (Nicole Muñoz) – to the old barn and help him take the old scarecrow from there to town. As they reach there Aaron’s ex girlfriend Kristen Mills also arrives to help – the abandoned cornfield & farmhouse belongs to her family. Also at the scene is Eddie, Aaron’s former best friend who also liked Kristen which caused a fall out among them. Kristen called him to join in so that Aaron & Eddie could finally patch things up. The teens go to the scarecrow as the adults stay behind, arguing. As the three reach the scarecrow they find that Nicki & Tyler are missing and while the look for them a creature attacks & grabs Beth, dragging her away. As the other Kristen finds Beth, who is still alive, but is dragged herself but is found by Aaron & Eddie. All of them run into the old house and they board up the doors and windows as something is trying to get in. They see Tyler’s dead body (Nicki is presumed dead but is never shown) and see the creature – a dark, smoky creature (kinda of a cross between 1999’s Mummy & Mama) that glides in and out of the ground and moves very fast. Daevon & Calvin are killed while trying to outwit the creature and the rest make it out in a truck but the creature appears outta nowhere, crashing their vehicle and Eddie is killed a bit later.

So now Aaron, Kristen, Beth & Maria run through the woods to a house for help where an old man tells them about the legend of the scarecrow monster of the Mills’ family. The creature of unknown origin kills indiscriminately but was trapped under the barn by Kristen’s relative over a 100 years ago and the festival originated as a reminded of the evil that lurks there but over time almost everyone has forgotten. The old man tries to escape from the house in fear but is killed by the creature. Beth tries to hod Kristen hostage saying that the creature might stop if they hand her over to it. However Beth is killed when she gets sucked along with the creature into a machine that cuts crops. Maria is killed when the creature impales her as she is being carried by Aaron on his back and it injures him as well. Kristen helps Aaron into a boat tied upon a dock but he too is killed by the creature as it stalks her as it’s final kill. She manages to elude it and blows up the boat with the creature trapped in it when she uses a light and throw it into the boat that’s leaking flammable fuel. The movie ends as Kristen, the lone survivor, walks sadly away.

The second SyFy movie I watched today was Tasmanian Devils also from 2013 and starring a host of science fiction tv show regulars. Danica McKellar (yes Winnie Cooper herself), Kenneth Mitchell (Odyssey 5), Mike Dopud (Stargate Universal & BSG), Rekha Sharma (V & BSG), Terry Chen, Roger Cross. 6 rich adults are in a helicopter headed to a dangerous & forbidden section of the Tasmanian woods to indulge in some base jumping off a high cliff. First timer Stone (Olympian Apollo Ohno) jumps off to battle his nerves and fails to pull his chute in time and hence plummets into the trees and falls into a hole in the ground and lands on a spiky stone formation that goes through him. A bleeding Stone sees that he is in an underground chamber with lots of cave paintings and his blood, that falls off the spike into these holes in the ground awakens something supernatural and ancient. His screams are heard by the 5 who come looking for him and Anderson goes down to check on their friend only to find his partly eaten carcass. This spooks the 5 friends and they decide to head back to civilization. However they run into the path of 3 forest rangers who responded to the sightings of the helicopter headed to a forbidden zone.

The rangers arrest the 5 and bind their hands and put them into the back of the truck, despite their protests and of their friend being killed by some creature. Simon also tries to bribe his way out but is rejected. THe head ranger Whitfield & Danz check out the underground cave, while Alex monitors the 5 tourists and see the paintings but still head into town. As evening falls the truck stop as Whitfield spots a wild creature in their path and tries to shoot it with his shotgun. The creature double back and attacks him from behind killing him. As Danz & Alex go off to find him, Danz is attacked by the creature and it then runs after Alex. Jayne manages to unbind himself and starts the truck and crashes it against the creature killing it and saving Alex but the truck is busted as it crashes into a tree. The 6 of them climb up a tree to spend the night as they hear more roars from creatures. The next morning they hear moans from Danz who wasn’t killed but got himself pinned to a tree as a shark piece of wood has gone through his cheek. His loud moans alert one of the creatures and it kills him and then attacks the 6 who make their way to the damaged truck to collect flares and guns. Jayne traps the creature inside the truck by making it chase him into it and Alex kills it with a flame thrower. They then go to the underground cave and Alex investigates the cave paintings – it seems that an ancient legend about sacrificing a human with it’s blood will awaken 6 ancient creatures, forerunners of the Tasmanian devil but much fiercer & larger in size. These supernatural creatures will kill anything that makes noise.

They try and trap the remaining 4 creatures inside the cave by luring them in to it and blowing it up but they escape and Lisbon is killed. Her husband Walsh is the next to be killed as Simon and Anderson get to their chopper and try and pick up the rest but a creature jumps into the partly open door and pulls Simon out, killing both him & itself as they hit the propeller blades and crashing the chopper. Anderson escapes and the remaining 3 trap one of the creatures in the chopper and make it explode and then head to an outpost. Anderson manages to kill one more creature but is killed by the final creature and then it topples the cabin in which Alex & Jayne are hiding. They manage to trap the creature between planks and as it climbs out Alex uses the final 3 bullets to kill it. Jayne & Alex can finally relax as they walk in the night headed towards civilization.

Despite poor CGI effects, especially in the second film I found both the films watchable and good for made for tv movies. The budgets for these films are pretty low and they employ working class actors and give them a chance to be in the main roles and showcase what they can do. I give them both a 7 outta 10, with an eye to the fact that they are what they are – low budget (2.5 million each I think) tv movies. Against normal films they are a 6!

Silken Laumann On “Unsinkable”

Sportsmen & sportswomen are human too. Already an iconic figure in the sport of rowing, Canadian athlete Silken Laumann inspired many by winning a bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics despite having had a horrific & serious injuries to her leg just a few weeks prior! The collision with another rower’s scull was so serious that it shattered her right ankle and shredded her calf muscles in that you could see the bone but five operations and a total stay in the hospital of approximately three weeks, Laumann was back on the water training by late June. Her efforts paid off with a bronze medal, and she was subsequently named Canadian of the Year by the Canadian Club in recognition and was selected to carry the Canadian Flag in the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.

This year, age 49 Silken had published her book Unsinkable which focuses on her life & troubled childhood and also opens up in particular about the terror she felt and the verbal and physical abuse she experienced at the hands of her troubled and erratic mother, abuse that caused her feelings of unworthiness she battles to this day. She says this book took 5 years to write and came about as she did open up bits of her life during her long stint as a motivational speaker . Here is an interview with her by Fiona Forbes on The Rush.

Overheard Conversation

Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?

I can’t think of that many or any that were scandalous or earth-shattering but I remember once at a former place or work I overheard someone say lies and complain about me and some other colleagues. At the work place we had the men’s bathroom with 4 closed stalls and a few urinals and I always use a stall even if I only need to pee, for privacy. So I had just entered the stall and was about to unzip or just had when I heard 3 junior employees come in and one of them was talking very loudly.

This asshole lied to the other 2 guys and said that it was easy being me and any of the members of my department because we hardly did any work and yet we got paid a lot more than they did. He said that whenever he checked we were in the cafeteria. Which was so incorrect because for that month I hadn’t used the cafeteria as I was availing the food at a small canteen next to our office building for lunch. So it had been atleast 4 to 5 weeks since I had even stepped into the office cafeteria and among the colleagues of my department that I was in, the same went for 2 others. And this guy went on lying his ass off but the other two were not buying it and instead they were defending us. They told the guys who was ranting to shut up and not simply spread lies about other people and said that me and the others in my department were actually helping them.

I was so angry and fuming with rage inside the stall that had I come out I would have yelled all out at that asshole moron for trying to spread lies about me and others. I was happy though that 2 others are better opinion of us and hence calmed down a little and waited for a few minutes after they left to exit the bathroom. I informed my friends about what happened and we decided to just let it go as the dude was indeed just being a jackass and we had better work to do.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

Food Review Video #1

I just realized that I totally forgot to share my food review videos with you readers on my blog. I have done just a few and uploaded them to Youtube but forgot to add them here. Anyways without much further ado, let’s start with the first one I did back in November of last year.

Yes it’s the Chicken Maharaja Mac burger from McDonald’s; the much talked & bandied about Indian answer to the Big Mac (since at a national level beef is not legal). A shame as McDonald’s should have bee given permission to use beef in all their outlets in Kerala and the 6 states in North East Indian were beef is legal. I mean, if I can get a beef burger from a local restaurant in Kerala why not in a McDonald’s outlet in Kerala? The same for bacon/pork!

All political/religious debate aside I love this burger. It is my second favourite burger that I can find it Cochin, next to the beef/cheese burger in Fort Cafe. Enjoy the brief video.

Hello Hemsky

Not really the player I wanted to be traded to the Ottawa Senators but the Edmonton Oilers have traded forward Ales Hemsky to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2015 third-round draft pick and a 2014 fifth-rounder. Edmonton is believed to be retaining half of Hemsky’s remaining 2013-14 salary to complete the deal.

In 55 games with the Oilers this season, Hemsky has scored nine goals and added 17 assists. Hemsky has long been a subject of trade rumours that had him moving on from the Oilers, who made him the 13th overall selection in the first round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He is in the final year of a two-year, $10 million deal he signed with the Oilers prior to the 2012-13 season.

In 652 NHL games, Hemsky has scored 142 goals and 335 assists, he has also played in 30 playoff games during his career. The Pardubice, Czech Republic native has two 20-goal seasons in his career and also produced a career high 77 points during the 2005-06 season, helping lead the Oilers into the Stanley Cup Final where they were defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Ottawa Senators have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $2.5 million per season with defenceman Chris Phillips. Phillips’ deal reportedly includes a no-trade clause. The 35-year-old has appeared in 52 games with the Senators this season, scoring one goal and 12 assists.

12 Years A Slave

Based on the true story and an adaptation of the 1853 memoir of the same name  by  an African-American named Solomon Northup, a free man from New York state who was abducted and sold into slavery, 12 Years a Slave is a 2013 multiple award winning British-American film directed & co-produced by Steve McQueen. The movie stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup with Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt and Alfre Woodard in supporting roles.

Solomon is a carpenter & musician, who is known for his violin playing, living with his wife & two kids in Saratoga Springs, NY. While his wife & kids are away visiting family, he is offered a 2 week job playing violin in Washington DC by two white men, who drug him and have him chained to be sold to slavery. Despite his protests about being a free man from NY, is shipped to New Orleans, renamed as Platt and beaten by the slavery merchants. He is sold to plantation owner William Ford and is on good terms with him, a benevolent white master. However, after engineers a waterway for transporting logs swiftly and cost-effectively downstream, Solomon earns the wrath of carpenter John Tibetts who also works in the same plantation. Tibetts begins to verbally abuse Solomon and when tension increases, he attacks him but is beaten back. In retaliation Tibbets and two other men attempt to lynch Northup, who suffers many hours in the noose but he is saved by Ford who tells him that in order to save his life he must sell him to Edwin Epps. Although a weary Solomon tries to tell Ford that he is a “free man”, Ford explains that he also has a debt to pay to Epps.

Epps is a harsh man, believing that slavery is biblically sanctioned and treats his slaves badly. He whips any slave who doesn’t reach his/her quota for picking cotton and in the middle of the night wakes them up to dance for his & his wife’s amusement. Epps favours a young slave named Patsey, who works better than anyone else and rapes her several times, much to the chagrin of his wife Mary. For this Mary humiliates and abuses Patsey in front of the others on several occasion. Due to an outbreak of cotton worms Epps, who believes that the slaves have earned the wrath of god, leases them to a neighboring plantation for the season. While there, Solomon gains the favor of the plantation’s owner, who gives him a coin after he plays the fiddle at a wedding anniversary celebration. Once back at Epps farm, Solomon uses the coin to get a white farm worker to mail a letter to Northup’s friends in New York. The man agrees to deliver the letter and takes the money, but betrays Solomon to Epps who comes to question Solomon, who narrowly manages to convince his master that it is a lie. He then burns the letter in tears. Patsey is missing from the farm one day, which enrages Epps and when she returns she says that she had gone to get a bar of soap from Mistress Shaw (Alfre Woodward) as Mary refuses to give her any. Epps has her stripped and tied to a post and encouraged by Mary makes Solomon whip her. When Solomon is hesitant Epps vows to kill all the slaves if he refuses so Solomon uses the whip on Patsey.

Epps eventually takes the whip away from him, savagely lashing the woman until her back is filled with scars that have ripped her skin & flesh. This is a hard scene to watch without being affected. She is then taken by her fellow slaves to be treated. Later while talking to a Canadian labourer named Bass, who had previously expressed his opposition to slavery to Epps, Solomon talks about his life as a free man. Solomon asks for help in getting a letter to Saratoga Springs from Bass, who is leaving in a day and who agrees to do that with risk to his own life. A while later the local sheriff comes to Epps’ farm with a shopkeeper who knows from Saratoga. The shopkeeper is there to vouch for Solomon’s status and the sheriff allows him to take Solomon back with him despite Epps’s protest. As Solomon leaves he hugs Patsey goodbye. A few days later Solomon is reunited with his family after a long separation of 12 years. His daughter is now married and has a baby son herself and the family tearfully hug. The closing credits recount the inability of Solomon Northup and his legal counsel to prosecute the men responsible for his being sold into slavery, as well as the mystery surrounding details of his death and burial.

Touching film that will surely move you and it is certainly worth the 2 hours time you spend on viewing it. Earning over $140 million on a production budget of $20 million the film won three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Nyong’o and Best Adapted Screenplay for Ridley. It was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, and theBritish Academy of Film and Television Arts recognized the film with the Best Film and the Best Actor award for Ejiofor. 9 outta 10 for me!

610ec6c019651eb925148d165b7509849d63e79e9a1ac590f1

Award Winners & God

What people really mean when they thank god when they win an award :

“I am so important that an almighty being, who allegedly created the whole universe and everything in it, is omnipotent, omnibenevolent & omniscient blah blah blah responsible for everything and anything in that universe that – out of all the people in the earth (cause you know, we haven’t found any sentient life in other areas of the universe) he chose me to help. And not just for anything that’s life-threatening or otherwise dangerous & harmful or catastrophic or pain, hunger, thirst, morally wrong.

Nope but it’s for an ego boosting award for something that many others could have easily won. So sorry starving kids, people, animals around the world; sorry people who are being raped, looted, murdered, tortured or otherwise wronged; sorry everyone who is going through a struggle, hardship, pain etc – my god is supporting me tonight

Goodnight, hallelujah and amen motherfuckers!

My Old Computer + Music Room

Sometimes I miss the house my family lived in Thrikkakara from 1987 to 2006. The house was completed by 1985 but we only moved in permanently in 87 and for the most part loved living in the house. The only problem was the location which was difficult to get to the city from unless you drove a car or a bike. And buses weren’t that frequent until the early 2000s. So shopping even for the basic stuff was difficult. We relied on shopping in town or one of smaller shop that eventually started creeping up as the population of the small semi-rural suburb grew. In terms of entertainment there was nothing. I usually stayed indoors unless I had to go out.

We had 4 bedrooms, 3 with attached bathrooms and 1 room that was intentioned to be the den/common room in the upstairs floor. My sister got 1, I got the smallest one and my parents used the other big main bedroom until a few years later when they still used the bathroom and kept their clothes in there but slept in the bedroom downstairs. For a long while the common room was not used until the early 90s when I commissioned a carpenter to take some wooden planks and stuff and build us a big book shelf that could also store a few other big items. This boo shelf and two old tables were the only pieces of furniture in the common room until late 1996 when I got my first desktop computer and it became my computer room. I put a nice big chair in the room as well and it became my room, except for sleeping which I did in my bedroom.

I spent many long hours in the room reading or listening to music (I moved one of my stereo systems into the room, placing it on one of the tables) or playing on my computer. During the years I had that system I didn’t have internet at home as it was still too expensive for me to get a connection at home and the desktop died on me back in 2003 (after quite a few parts were changed). But I still enjoyed my time spent in the sanctity of my room. If only my mom had allowed us to raise my dog Shawny indoors (she had this irrational fear of dogs because of something stupid her father did when mom was a child) – if so me & Shawny would have spent most of our lazy afternoons in the room accompanied by music. I still do miss that room.