Arsenal 0 Swansea 1

Lazy, lackadaisical, unimpressive, toothless and uninspired – all describes last night’s performance by Arsenal as they missed the opportunity to move level on points with Manchester City in second place in the Premier League as Swansea snatched a dramatic late win thanks to Bafetimbi Gomis’s header. The Swans’ disciplined six-man midfield frustrated the hosts in a goalless first half. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made a flurry of saves to deny Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey among others as the Gunners attacked relentlessly after the break.

But with less than five minutes left, substitute Gomis nodded in – as goal-line technology showed Arsenal keeper David Ospina had failed to palm the ball away. That gave Swansea a first league double against Arsenal since the 1981-82 season, after Gomis had also scored the winner when Garry Monk’s side beat the Gunners 2-1 in November. The hosts remain three points behind Manchester City in the Premier League table, albeit with a game in hand. The hosts looked more dangerous after the break as Chile forward Alexis Sanchez skipped clear in the box and shot into the side-netting. However, Arsenal’s first shot on target did not come until the hour mark, though Giroud’s low effort was comfortably held by Fabianski. He made an excellent save moments later to deny Cazorla from 12 yards, before blocking an attempt from Ramsey as the Gunners put Swansea under intense pressure.

A brilliant double save thwarted Sanchez and Theo Walcott and the Poland international’s efforts were then rewarded with a dramatic winner, as Jefferson Montero crossed for Gomis to head in at the back post. At first glance, it seemed Ospina had saved from the France striker but, with the aid of goal-line technology, referee Kevin Friend awarded the goal to seal an improbable victory for Swansea. Arsenal next face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday and host Sunderland on Wednesday.

Musical Choices & Tastes

How Much Is Your Taste in Music Based on What Your Friends Like?

Not much at all. I mean, I like the music I like and if some friends like them as well – great! If not, no problem at all. It’s great when you have a group of friends who all like the same music and you can sit in one place or travel in a car or some bus and play the songs really loud and all sing along. Great fun. Even if it’s just 3-4 people singing with enthusiasm it is fabulous. I have some friends who do like some of the music that I like and hence it strengthens the bonds a lot more.

When I was quite young, like 10-15 I listened to and got introduced to a lot of music that I still like by older cousins and some seniors at my school – Scorpions, The Beatles, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Queen, CCR etc etc. And in turn I introduced some of my cousins to bands that I listened to before them – Metallica, Guns n Roses, Aerosmith, Mr. Big to name a few. This is the way that things go and it is great if you have a large number of cousins and friends who all like music and listen to different stuff; you end up with a huge list of artists and bands that you all tend to like a lot. Although a lot of my cousins have not stuck to the music scene that we loved during our teens and early 20s, a lot of those songs brings nostalgic tears of joy to us, everytime we hear them.

As the years went by I was listening to music more and more on my own and collecting music albums on tapes & cds and spending a lot of time listening to them in the seclusion of my bedroom. When I started chatting online and making friends I got introduced to a lot of bands and artists that people around the world liked and that we have never heard of over here and my musical landscape expanded a lot more. Now I listen to what I like and don’t care what anyone else thinks. If they like it too – awesome! And if they don’t – oh what the heck do you know about music any?

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Rest & Relaxation

So…..long weekend is almost over. I took Monday off for personal reasons and will only go back to work on Tuesday evening (office cab will come to pick me up at 5:15 pm and work is 6:30pm-3:30 am) and so it will be a long rest. And rest it mostly is as I didn’t go out this weekend at all, except a brief 20 minutes this morning for going to the ATM about a 4 minute walk away and then to the corner store to buy groceries. I bought some chips and a 7up for the day and vegetables for the next few days.

This Saturday, Sunday and today was spent mostly in my bedroom (get your mind outta the gutter – I WISH) sitting at my desk and using my laptop to go online. I watched a bunch of Youtube videos and relaxed and watched a bunch of my tv show episodes to catch up. Also I watched a movie (check yesterday’s movie review) and tonight I will watch a football game to close off the 3 day weekend. I drank some cognac and a Pepsi and this afternoon a 7up. I slept a bit more than I would usually do and ate a lot of chicken.

This weekend was nice, it rained a bit and was hence a bit more cooler weather wise than the last few weeks and I hope it continues. Next week I might go out for a few hours and might even look up that tattoo place that I have checked out online. Time for a tattoo – finally!

8mm

Directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker, 8mm is a crime-thriller mystery style movie from 1999 starring Nicholas Cage along with Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare, Anthony Heald, & Catherine Keener. A younger Norman Reedus has a small role as well. The movie dwells into the world of snuff films and the shady part of adult films.

Tom Welles is a private investigator, who having just wrapped up a case in Florida is contacted by Daniel Longdale, attorney for wealthy widow Mrs. Christian, whose millionaire husband has recently died. Tom was highly recommended and Mrs. Christian urges him to discretion. Apparently while cleaning out her husband’s private safe she came across an 8mm film in which a young girl is brutally treated and a man in a mask appears to kill her. The widow wants Tom to find out if the murder is real, which he agrees to after sitting through the disturbing film. Tom says good bye to his wife and baby, and heads to Cleavland to start the investigation of missing persons. Eventually he finds that the girl’s name was Mary Ann Mathews and he contacts her mother Janet. While searching the house with her permission, he finds Mary Ann’s diary, in which she says that she went to Hollywood to become a film star.

Tom next heads to Los Angeles and searched stores that sell S&M, Bondage and hardcore porn magazines and films. He meets and enlists the help of a sex shop employee and former musician named Max California to penetrate the underworld of illegal pornography. This leads them to find out that the masked man, named “Machine” who is a frequent performer for noted director Dino Velvet’s violent pornographic films. This leads them to talent scout Eddie Poole and after tapping his phone Tom has him agree to arrange a meet with Velvet, pretending to be a client interested in commissioning a hardcore bondage film to be directed by Velvet and starring Machine. Velvet agrees and arranges a meeting in New York City. All this while it is shown that someone is following and tracking Tom’s movements. Tom does not want Max to continue with him fearing that the events that follow will be dangerous and gives him a ticket to go back to LA. At the meet Tom finds attorney Longdale there who explains that Mr. Christian had contracted him to procure a snuff film – confirming that the snuff film was real and that Mary Ann is dead.

Longdale had contacted Velvet informing him that Tom might come looking for him and Eddie & Velvet drag a bound and beaten Max. They force Tom to bring them the only surviving copy of the illegal film. He delivers it, but before he turns it over, they kill Max and beat Tom and then burn the film. Before they can kill him Tom tells Velvet that Christian had paid $1 million for the film but as Longdale had only handed over a lesser amount for the film, Dino thinks that Longdale cheated him outta his proper fee. Velvet and Eddie corner Longdale and in the ensuing argument both Velvet and Longdale are both killed while Tom wounds Machine and escapes. Tom warns his wife to get out of the house and stay in a motel and he goes to see Mrs. Christian after calling her ahead of going there and telling her the details. After meeting his wife Tom goes to see the widow but finds that she committed suicide and has left him a large sum of money as well as some for Janet Mathews. Tom decides to take matters in his own hands and tracks Eddie, taking him to the run down shack where Mary Ann was killed.

Finding Eddie with no remorse for the murder of a young girl, Tom is unable to bring himself to kill him at first but he calls Janet and tells her the truth about her daughter’s fate and asks a devastated Janet for her permission to punish those responsible, to which she says yes. He then kills and burns Eddie’s body along with the shack and also throws out all the porn stuff he found during the investigation. He then tracks Machine at his home and finds behind the mask a balding, respectable man and is surprised at how ordinary he looks. Machine asks if Tom expected some kind of monster and attacks Tom, telling him that has no ulterior motive for his sadistic actions; he does them simply because he enjoys it. They struggle, and Tom kills him. After returning to his family, Tom receives a letter from Mrs. Mathews, thanking him for killing the men responsible and suggesting he and she were the only ones to care about Mary Ann.

Quite brutal in places but I was expecting a lot more. It definitely shows the sleazy, grimy side of the adult industry and how filthy people can be. I dunno why I waited so long to watch this film. 8 outta 10!

Scary Books & Films

Do You Like Scary Movies and Books?

Hell yeah! Have you not seen my past blog posts where I do reviews of horror flicks? Though I must say that this year, with the new job, I haven’t had much chance to watch many movies lately and hence I think I have only seen one horror movie so far in 2015. Yeah but in the summer, now that a lot of the shows that I watch are winding up their seasons, I will have more time to watch movies.

As for books, sure I love to read them but you know what? In the past few years I have stopped reading books as I find that I am engrossed in stuff like Youtube and Facebook and Twitter and find reading a lot more tedious and hence can’t finish a book. It is a bit annoying that I can’t concentrate and commit to finishing a book in a week or two whereas I used to devour books at rates of like 3 in a week up till 2008. The internet is too much of a distraction I tell ya!

I think I need to set aside a week or so, get some of my vacation time and find a quite place to lay low for a few days and read a few books. I miss books.

Prompt from The Learning Network from The New York Times

Can I Be Your Superman?

What Superpower Do You Wish You Had?

Who doesn’t wish that they had superpowers? I’m sure everyone at one point or the other has wished that, if not a superhero per se, they could have some super power or the other. Like turning back time for instance or going back in time. Everyone has those regrets that they wish that they could undo and or go back and do things better again.OR stop an event from happening.

How about super strength? To do even odd jobs or massive stuff you wish you could summon super strength at times. And fly at the speed of light and not have to wait long hours to travel. I’ve thought about that a lot. How about being able to swim like a fish and breath easily under water so you can swim with the whales and the dolphins and see the wonders of the ocean world. How about x-ray vision? You know to look at what happens inside the dormitories of college chicks evil doing happening around the world behind closed doors and to expose them to the rest of the world for the crooks that they are.

I think of a whole lot more superpowers that I could use, like shooting lazers from my fingertips, scaling walls like a spider and etc etc but the one that I would like the most is immortality / invincibility.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Unboxing The Intrepid Class USS Voyager

And here comes a very popular model, and it was hard to get one not priced at ridiculous amounts, the star of the Delta Quadrant – the Intrepid class USS Equinox NCC-74656. Featured as the main ship in Star Trek Voyager for 7 seasons of the show, captained by Katherine Janeway and launched in 2371. The crew’s first orders were to track down a Maquis ship in the Badlands. An alien force called the Caretaker transports both Voyager and the Maquis vessel across 70,000 light-years to the Delta Quadrant, and she’s trying to find a way home. She’s finally here.

It’s All A Zoo

How Do You Feel About Zoos?

On one hand I feel it is great for kids and adults as well to learn more about, see and learn to appreciate the animals of the wild a whole lot more. It is a great educational system and if maintained properly and housed animals that would be safe in proper enclosures and with plenty of food and areas to roam, it could be a good thing for the animal. The animals might even be kept safe from any predatory ones in the wild.

However it seems cruel to keep animals in confined spaces and displayed for the entertainment (no matter that there might be a lot of well meaning people out there who have genuine love for and want their families to be educated about these animals) and often the conditions are crueler than what they appear to the layman. I have often wondered that should a majestic lion or tiger be in a cage and in a zoo or out free to roam the jungles. We humans have taken up so much of the land and the wild has less and less space to roam about every year. I wish we could get a compromise – like another planet or something.

So back to the question at hand, I am so-so on the zoos. If it is a like a safari then I think it would be much better for the animals.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

An Ideal Community IMHO

What does your ideal community look like? How is it organized, and how is community life structured? What values does the community share?

  • No religion or worship of imaginary deities and hence no religious differences or biases or nonsense of any kind
  • Treating everyone equally and with mutual respect and courtesy
  • Clean & large roads and automated clean up crew with robots
  • No illness or diseases (not even fever or the common cold) and no early deaths
  • Learning the arts, history and music
  • Furthering science to make our lives so much better and even have protective shields around us (homes, spaceships, vehicles and even whole planets) that make us invincible
  • No murders, killings, accidents, attacks, fights or violent arguments – just peaceful debates and dicussions
  • Every person has a nice place to stay, every family has a big house with a yard and play space
  • Every dog and cat has a home to stay in with a human or a couple or a family to love them and feed them
  • The same goes for all kinds of animals (except nasty insects and bugs which do not exist anymore)
  • Everyone works for the betterment of society and the human race, of furthering knowledge of the vast universe that we are a part off
  • Explore and visit alien planets and find out if there is life out there and if so make peaceful contact with them

It seems a lot like Star Trek. I would say my ideal society / community is a futuristic world that takes the concepts of Star Trek and cranks it up a notch and takes it to the next level.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

You, The Sandwich!

If a restaurant were to name something after you, what would it be? Describe it. (Bonus points if you give us a recipe!)

I would want something juicy and delicious. Let’s see now, how about a sandwich? A nice big sandwich that goes down well with a beer in the afternoon for lunch. A huge brioche bun or french bread, with mayo or Dijon mustard with lettuce, onions, pickles, jalapenos and huge slices of Swiss cheese with porchetta or roast pork with ham and bacon and tomato slice. Or leave off the tomatoes.  Or I could even go for some barbecued pork or beef.

What about pizza? Pizza is my favourite thing in the world. So a two cheese pizza with pepperoni, bratwurst, mushrooms, olives, jalapenos and peppers. Or tandoori chicken with mushrooms and onions and peppers with a couple of cheeses. Hmmm, my mouth is already watering at the idea of it. Let’s make it I say.

Or a nice, big meaty burger. A huge beef or bison patty with bacon and onion rings, onions and a tomato slice on nice toasted buns with a fried egg on top and some fries on the side. Amazing! All washed down with a beer. Hmm beer, how about a bacon flavoured oat meal stout? That’s a thing you know. Or a chocolate stout that goes down as well as a thick shake. Name a beer after me! Yeah!

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Nope. Not even a doubt that there is such a thing as a ghost. I’ve watched way too many horror movies to be fooled by nonsense stories that spread faster than the speed of light around the wold (thanks to the interwebs) about the ghosts of people who have died. Not one shred of evidence that there are ghosts or an afterlife in the way it is being said, read and depicted in movies, books, tv and word of mouth.

Now I am not saying for certain that there is no such thing as a ghost or ghosts. But since no one can give me any proof that there are such things, I am saying no I do not believe that they exist. Prove it to me and I will see for myself and understand that yes there are ghosts. But until that time I have no reason to believe in them as they don’t seem to want to come and say hi to me. Not even one. Would I like to believe that are ghosts? No, I don’t see why! An afterlife? Yes.

Now, an afterlife does not automatically mean heaven and your god(s). Nope. They are two separate things. But if such an afterlife exists and you do get to be reunited with your loved ones, then yes ofcourse I would love to live in an eternity. But don’t spread stories without any real basis in the truth. Sorry, I am not that gullible.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Hull City 1 Arsenal 3

Arsenal moved level on points with second-placed Manchester City and heightened Hull’s relegation worries with a superb display at KC Stadium on Monday night. The Gunners also have game in hand as Sanchez, who now has 24 goals this season, banged in 2 goals. Hull are left just one point above the bottom three. The Gunners were sensational in the first half and Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring with a deflected free-kick. Aaron Ramsey netted the second with another deflected strike before setting up Sanchez to beat keeper Steve Harper. Stephen Quinn’s header gave Hull hope, but the defeat sees the Tigers slip to fourth-bottom on goal difference. Hull drop below Leicester and to within a place of the Premier League’s relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s home game against bottom club Burnley, but they will be cheered by the resolve they showed in the second half.

They went into the game buoyed by victories against Crystal Palace and Liverpool, but they could do nothing to prevent a slick Arsenal side dominating the first half. The Gunners enjoyed 83% possession in the first 10 minutes but, for all their ball retention, they looked just as much of a threat on the break. With Santi Cazorla sliding cute passes through and Ramsey causing problems when driving inside from the right, it was no surprise when the visitors took the lead. Sanchez dusted himself down after being fouled on the edge of the box and bent in a free-kick via Michael Dawson’s head. There was also an element of fortune about the second Gunners goal, as Ramsey’s clipped effort looped over Harper after taking a deflection off Robbie Brady. Cazorla’s sublime pass set up the second, but Ramsey’s assist for the third was even better – the Welsh midfielder playing a reverse ball inside the Hull defence and Sanchez had the simple task of rounding Harper and putting the game beyond doubt.

The Gunners had plenty of chances in the second half – either side of Quinn’s header from Ahmed Elmohamady’s deep cross – but they could not take them as they stretched their excellent run of form to just one loss in the last 14. A further boost came in the form of Jack Wilshere, who came off the bench for his first appearance since November.
The England midfielder impressed with a trademark jinking run, and also saw a shot blocked after a late run into the box. The north London side, who have a game in hand on Manchester City, are in control of the race for the runners-up spot behind champions Chelsea and are all but assured of a top-four finish. They also have an FA Cup final against Aston Villa to look forward to on 30 May.

International Package Rant

I gotta rant here. I find Indian postal service to be heavy handed and highly bureaucratic. Earlier I only used to make online purchases from seller in India, not having a a credit card or an International usage enable debit card from websites like ebay India or Indian websites like Snapdeal, Myntra and Jabong. I also lived in a country where PayPal usage is also allowed for transferring money to and fro (currently India only allows you to receive money, which automatically is withdrawn towards your bank account) which makes it a pain in the ass when making payments. I only got my credit card in February and have made good usage of it.

I’ve been buying a few Star Trek ship models which are all from sellers abroad and hence I need to make them payments in dollars or pounds and it is done by the credit card via PayPal. Now this is fine, although there is a charge for doing so, which I don’t understand, but it’s like Rs.64 and I am not complaining. My complaint is on the Indian postal service & customs department, which only seems to be affecting packages from Hong Kong for some reason. I have made 3 purchases from Hong Kong, 3 from the US (all from one seller) and 1 from Germany. The second purchase from Hong Kong had 3 ships in it. The 2 packages from the US and the one from Germany, I received in10 days – 10 from the date that the seller ships it, which is usually the same day I make the transaction or the very next day.

10 days from the USA or Germany is totally fine and reasonable. But from Hong Kong – it takes so long. The seller ships it on the same day or the next and it reaches India in 3 – 5 days! Then it goes to the Customs office nearest me, which is about 25 minutes away, and it just sits there. Take this purchase for example; I made the purchase on the 14th of April, seller ships it to Hong Kong post on the 15th, it goes on a plane on the 17th and reached India on the 18th of April. It goes to the Customs office on the same day, in Cochin, and it just sits there! It is the 4th of May today and I still haven’t received it. This is ridiculous! The German seller used his IPS (Indian Postal Service) equivalent Deutsche Post and it reached me in 10 days. The US seller sends the packages via USPS and reaches me in 10 days. Hong Kong is closer to me than the US or Germany – and still!

Ugh, rant over!

RIP Grace Lee Whitney

Grace Lee Whitney, 85, most famous for portraying Yeoman Janice Rand on the original series of “Star Trek,” died this weekend in the town of Coarsegold, California, her family confirmed. No cause of death was reported. Whitney, a recovering alcoholic, spent the last 35 years of her life helping others with addiction problems, often at women’s correctional facilities or the Salvation Army, her family said. They said she was credited with having helped thousands of people successfully complete 12-step addiction programs.

Whitney was born Mary Ann Chase in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1930, and was raised by an adoptive family. After several years as a dancer with big bands, she was cast as Janice Rand, a Star Fleet yeoman who was personal assistant to William Shatner’s Capt. James T. Kirk, in the first season of the original 1966-to-1969 run of “Star Trek.” When the series was reborn as a movie franchise in 1979, Whitney returned, now promoted to chief petty officer, in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” She appeared again in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), with another promotion, as Lieutenant (JG) Janice Rand. Five years later, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the franchise, she returned to Star Trek in 1996 in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Flashback” along with George Takei. She has filmed roles in two Internet Star Trek episodes: “Star Trek: New Voyages” and “Star Trek: Of Gods and Men” (reprising her role as Janice Rand in both). “New Voyages” premiered on August 24, 2007. “Of Gods and Men” made its debut in late 2007.

For other roles she was in the movies Top Banana (1954), Some Like It Hot (1959) and was credited as Tracey Phillips in the 1962 drama A Public Affair, and as Texas Rose in the western The Man from Galveston (1963) with Jeffrey Hunter. Billy Wilder then gave her the featured role of “Kiki the Cossack” in the 1963 film Irma la Douce with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. In the 1960s and 1970s, Whitney sang with a number of orchestras and bands, including the Keith Williams Orchestra. Later, she concentrated on jazz/pop vocalizing while fronting for the band Star. In the 1970s, with her then-husband, Jack Dale, she wrote a number of Star Trek-related songs

Grace Lee Whitney (born Mary Ann Chase; April 1, 1930 – May 1, 2015)