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88th Academy Awards Winners

The Oscars are done and the award goes to:

Spotlight – Best Picture · Steve Golin, Michael Sugar, Blye Pagon Faust, etc
Leonardo DiCaprio – Best Actor · The Revenant
Brie Larson – Best Actress · Room
Alejandro González Iñárritu – Best Director · The Revenant

Mark Rylance – Best Supporting Actor · Bridge of Spies
Alicia Vikander – Best Supporting Actress · The Danish Girl
Son of Saul – Best Foreign Language Film · László Nemes

Writing’s on the Wall – Best Original Song · Sam Smith, Jimmy Napes
Spotlight – Best Original Screenplay · Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer
Emmanuel Lubezki – Best Cinematography · The Revenant
The Big Short – Best Writing Adapted Screenplay · Adam McKay, Charles Randolph
Ex Machina – Best Visual Effects · Andrew Whitehurst,
Amy – Best Documentary Feature · Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees

Inside Out – Best Animated Feature Film · Pete Docter, Jonas Rivera
Jenny Beavan – Best Costume Design · Mad Max: Fury Road
Bear Story -Best Animated Short Film · Gabriel Osorio, Pato Escala

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Manchester United 3 Arsenal 2

Teenager Marcus Rashford scored twice and set up the third as Manchester United derailed Arsenal’s Premier League title challenge at Old Trafford. Rashford, who scored twice on his debut against FC Midtjylland on Thursday, steered in a loose ball for the opener then headed in three minutes later. Danny Welbeck nodded Arsenal back into the game, but Rashford picked out Ander Herrera whose shot was deflected in. Mesut Ozil’s volley gave third-placed Arsenal hope, but United held on. Arsenal – who have not won the title since 2004 – remain in third place, five points adrift of leaders Leicester having now played the same number of matches.

The Red Devils moved back into fifth position with their first win in three league games. With leaders Leicester snatching a late win on Saturday, and second-placed Tottenham fighting back against Swansea, Arsene Wenger’s side lost valuable ground on their title rivals. And it ended a miserable week for the Frenchman, who saw his side falter in three competitions. Wenger watched his team labour to an FA Cup draw against Championship side Hull, then put themselves on the brink of a Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona. “This is a fight where you keep going even when disappointment is there. Let’s show we are prepared for the fight,” he said.

Arsenal have not enjoyed their Premier League visits to Old Trafford in recent seasons, failing to pick up three points there since September 2006. And many felt the Gunners needed to finally win at Old Trafford if they are going to end an even longer barren run – becoming the English champions. The opportunity to beat United was probably the easiest for Arsenal than any other time during Arsene Wenger’s 20-year reign. But their defensive errors cost them dearly. “I cannot fault the commitment and desire but unfortunately we conceded two easy goals,” said Wenger afterwards.

Really? The manager & club are perfect for each other, lacking passion and commitment to winning the league. Can we please now throw that moron Arsehole Wenger outta this club he has fucked up? I think it’s time to look at the squad hard and long and chuck out a few players. And that manager! A big fuck you to Arsehole Wenger. Get the fuck outta our club!

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Deadpool

So for my first movie seen at the theatres since 2005 was at the VIP Cinepolis – a swanky theatre with reclining seats and food service at your seat – today and it was (it just had to be) Deadpool. A 2016 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, it is the eighth installment of the X-Men film series, and is directed by Tim Miller. Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the film stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, and Stefan Kapi?i?.

What can I say about this awesome flick? It is funny, bloody, gory, swear word fest, superhero action flick with elements of science fiction which delivers on it’s promise and a lot of the fans are lapping it up. The movie tells us about the origin story of Wade Wilson aka Deadpool, a former special forces operative who while working as a mercenary for hire in NYC meets and falls in love with Vanessa Carlyle. A years after they move in and he proposes to her, Wade falls unconscious in their bedroom – the diagnosis is terminal cancer. Though she sticks by him, Wade doesn’t want her to see him die. When he is approached by an executive for a secret program offering an experimental cure for his cancer, Wade initially dismisses it but then changes his mind and leaves Vanessa alone at home while he goes to meet the recruiter.

At a laboratory, Wade meets Ajax and Angel Dust, whom he instantly resents. Ajax injects Wade with a serum designed to awaken latent mutant genes, then has him subjected to days of torture to induce stress and trigger the mutation without success. Wade discovers Ajax’s real name, Francis Freeman, and mocks him. In response, Ajax straps Wade into an airtight chamber which raises and lowers the oxygen level to keep Wade constantly on the verge of asphyxiation – leaving him over the weekend but not before Ajax reveals to Wade their true purpose: to make super-powered slaves to be sold to wealthy customers. While inside the chamber, Wade develops a healing factor that cured his cancer but left him severely disfigured as a side-effect. He escapes from the chamber and attacks Ajax, but relents when told that his disfigurement can be cured. Ajax subdues Wade, impales him with a rebar and leaves him for dead in the burning laboratory.

Wade survives and tries to get back to Vanessa but he stops short of contacting her as he sees others recoiling at his disfigured face. With the help of his best friend Weasle, Wade covers himself in a costume, uses the name Deadpool and hunts for Ajax. As a masked vigilante he also moves in with an elderly, blind black woman. He finally tracks Ajax making his way across a large bridge with a convoy of his goons and attacks them, killing of the goons and demands a cure for his condition from an impaled Ajax, when two X-Men, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who have been trying to recruit Deadpool, stop him from inflicting more damage. Ajax uses the distraction and escapes, Colossus handcuffs himself to Deadpool and begins dragging him away, in order to take him with them back to the X-Men’s mansion to ‘see the Professor’ (Charles Xavier / Professor X). Deadpool cuts off his own hand and escapes. His hand slowly regenerates overnight. Ajax goes to Weasel’s bar and learns about Vanessa. In response, Weasel calls Wade and tells him Vanessa is in danger. Wade goes to the strip club where she works but hesitates before he can face her. As a result, Ajax has time to kidnap Vanessa. He and Angel Dust tell Deadpool to meet them on a decommissioned helicarrier in a scrapyard.

Deadpool, after calming himself down, recruits Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead and ride to the scrapyard in a cab. While Colossus and Negasonic battle Angel Dust, Deadpool fights his way through Ajax’s henchmen, and eventually engages him in close combat. While Colossus and Negasonic battle Angel Dust, Deadpool fights his way through Ajax’s henchmen, and eventually engages him in close combat. Colossus urges Deadpool to be a hero and spare his enemy, but Deadpool kills Ajax anyway. Wade turns to Vanessa, who removes his mask revealing his face. Vanessa is angered that Wade left her, but still loves him. She accepts him, and they reconcile by kissing. Wade comically tells the X-Men to leave and stop watching them.

Hilarious (so many laughs in the theatre), cuss words filles, R-rated, black humour riddled, fun filled, action packed and boombastic blockbuster. The fight scenes are excellent and the special effects is awesome. What more do you want? Indian censors bleeped out the film and also cut 10 minutes from it. But I give it a 9.5 outta 10!

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Saturday Afternoon Out With Anil

For the first time this year Anil & I got together and met at Center Square Mall for a few hours. We agreed to meet there for coffee in one of the stalls in Food Court and then on the spot decided to go for a movie.

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After coffee we bough tickets for a movie and went to watch it with some popcorn. We then walked for a bit in the mall and then went for a late lunch.

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The Tandoor restaurant about 10 minutes away was the perfect choice and we went in to have some good food. We started with lime juice and a half tandoori chicken – the portion of which has shrunk so much since the last time I came here, which was back in 2012.

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We then moved on to butter naan and butter chicken. All of the food was delicious and bellies full we went back to our homes.

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My First PVR Experience

So…..I haven’t been to a movie theatre in almost 11 years! *Waits, hums a tune and twiddles his thumbs while that settles in* Yes it is true.

I used to go for a lot of movies till 2005, a movie or 3 in a month atleast and some months a bit more. I loved going to the theatre and usually went only for English language movies since my late teens. I remember going to one was my escape for the week or month. Those times we could bring our own food into the theatres and I would get a Coke or Pepsi with some popcorn or a sandwich or candy.

Sometime in 2004 I went for a whole lot more movies, especially the James Bond festival that ran in one of the theatres. But then in 2005 I suddenly stopped going. I was 29 and I felt that there were too many college going kids making a lot of noise in there and I usually went alone and didn’t enjoy the last 3-4 movie going experiences because of the noise factor. I stopped going to theatres and it just stuck. The theatre going experience in Kerala and India has changed so much and many people have been trying to encourage me to go to a PVR and I would change my mind. I resisted so long – I dunno why – and finally today, almost 11 years later, I finally went to one. And it was awesome!

With my friend Anil, I went to Cinepolis and went to the VIP section to watch Deadpool and though it was expensive, Rs.500 for two tickets and Rs.150 for that medium popcorn (which by the way is too much enough for the two of us) and I would say that it was worth it. For once in a month or so. I mean, recliners so I can relax and watch and such an awesome theatre – just so wonderful to watch. And an awesome movie to choose as well. It was fantastic and I want to go for more.

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Pace Oddity

If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?

Slow down an action – if I could slow down anything it would be the good times and things that make you and give your pleasure. Everything, an outing that you enjoy, spending time with friends, drinking or eating. A personal high, a music concert that is rockin’, a soft kiss, a wonderful night sky with stars glittering and yes even an orgasm.

Speed up an action – all the things that are tiresome, boring and not pleasurable. Traveling, commuting, doctor’s appointment, standing in queues, the waiting before getting a highly anticipated package / purchased item reaches you, labour, operations, etc etc.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Bought A New Smartphone – The Samsung Galaxy J7

Goodbye BlackBerry and Hello Samsung. Bye to the BlackBerry OS which I loved and hello to Android.

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After a few short weeks of thinking and rethinking and doing research online on various videos and reviews of a few phones, checking prices online and in shops here, I finally settled on the Samsung Galaxy J7. I say settled because I was going for the A7 which costs 5-6 thousand bucks more but in the end I decided to go with my usual policy and not pay for a phone more or around the same for my current laptop. The prices for some smartphones are ridiculous.

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I bough the phone, a 16gb external memory card and a hard back cover for Rs.15000 ($240 approximately) and I was the first customer for a large mobile showroom this morning, having reached there by 10:20 am. I bought the phone and immediately came back home.

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Having installed some apps and played around with it for a bit, I am already in love with it. It will take some getting used to as I have never had a Samsung or Android smartphone. In particularly not using a physical keyboard. That is a major thing for me. But I love it and having had been a loyal BlackBerry user for a long time, I just had to give up as their current good phones are priced way beyond my budget. So bye to the BB, hello Samsung.

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A Positive Trait

Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.

Hmmm, very true and I can hardly find many things to say about me that I like. I am very friendly though and I like to meet new people (under some conditions) in smaller groups and make friends and keep my circle growing. I like finding out about them and am genuinely interested in what they have to share. And I like making them happy and putting a smile on their faces with my jokes and friendly persona.

I am loyal, I am a good listener, I have empathy and I like to see if I can do something – no matter how small it is – to make you, a friend, feel good. Even if it takes away your worries for just a few moments and you forget your troubles and woes, that means the world to me. I’d like to think that I am good at it and I wish that everyone would aim for doing something similar.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Arsenal 0 Barcelona 2

Lionel Messi effectively condemned Arsenal to a sixth successive exit at the last-16 stage of the Champions League with two decisive goals at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal battled gallantly to give themselves a chance going into the second leg at the Nou Camp in three weeks’ time – but suffered at the hands of Barcelona’s superstar trio Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. After Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud had come close to giving Arsenal the lead, Messi scored his first goal against keeper Petr Cech at the seventh attempt when he crowned a blistering counter-attack involving Suarez and Neymar to sweep home a finish after 71 minutes.

And further damage was inflicted seven minutes from time when Arsenal substitute Mathieu Flamini floored Messi with a mistimed challenge and he got up to send Cech the wrong way from the spot. It was his eighth goal against Arsenal in the Champions League. Suarez hit the post and Cech saved from Neymar as Barcelona took control – but this tie already looks well out of Arsenal’s reach. Arsenal went out to Barcelona in 2010 and 2011 and that was after a draw and a win at Emirates Stadium – so their chances can be all but written off after this defeat. The Gunners had their chances but they came to nothing, with Oxlade-Chamberlain a culprit when he allowed Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to save from a huge opportunity before Giroud saw a second-half header well saved. Such is the ruthlessness of this Barcelona side that even half-chances (or less) have to be accepted and, if they are not, there is almost an inevitability about the outcome.

Wenger can make the usual optimistic noises about the second leg in the Nou Camp but it would be the greatest result of his reign if he managed to inspire a turnaround from this position. It is, perhaps, on nights like these that those calls for Wenger to sign a world-class striker carry greater resonance because even the smallest opportunities have to count and Arsenal were unable to do so. Arsenal and manager Wenger will be desolate after this result effectively consigns them to yet another last 16 exit – but they deserve a measure of credit for their display. In the first half they were hugely disciplined to keep Barcelona at bay, indeed in the first 30 minutes the holders only had two touches in Arsenal’s penalty area compared to 11 from Wenger’s team. Goalkeeper Cech was immense while Nacho Monreal and Aaron Ramsey were also excellent. Ultimately, however, Arsenal were not good enough – no shame in that – but all that is left is for Barcelona to complete the formalities in Catalonia in three weeks.

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Money! Give A Sackload Of It

I want more money. A lot more money. Barrels and barrels of it. A shit load of cash and gold and precious stones to boot. I want it all and I want it now. I want to be able to buy so many things, all the things that I want and desire and I want lots of money for that. Gimme some, right now.

Frustration as I am still paying off an EMI on my credit card for my laptop that I took in October and that seems like a long while ago. But in reality I still have 2 of the 6 month EMI to pay off. And I would like a new Smartphone but would like to pay it off on another EMI. But the cost of it is worrying me. And then there is this stupid 12 day trip to Gurgaon coming up on the 13th of March. I am going to need to save money for that as I have never been to the place before and I would like to go shopping there.

I need cash. So do I wait a while and get the new phone? Or buy the phone now (I hate waiting for buying a new phone once I have made a selection) and skimp the rest of the month or two? Or go for a lesser priced on? The funny thing is the prices I am looking at are termed as midlevel and not the higher ones. I also bought mom a new phone this month so there was that added cost. Hmmm, let’s see what happens.

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Drawing A Blank

When was the last time your walked away from a discussion, only to think of The Perfect Comeback hours later? Recreate the scene for us, and use your winning line.

All the time. I mean, I am not the smartest at comebacks but sometimes I draw a blank and leave the argument or discussion or even just a simple conversation and a while later it hits me – “Man, I could have said this and it totally would have been a mic drop moment”! Or a “ba dum pum tish”!

There are some incidents when I get the perfect reply back, even if I do think that sometimes what I say can be a bit harsh or inappropriate for the situation, but it can kill. And I love when that happens and I don’t care if it isn’t too politically correct. But a lot of times I go back and a cup of coffee later I feel “Damn, what I should have said is actually this!”

I am reminded of a situation when a GM asked me about money as in “in money the only thing and what about loyalty to the company” when it came to people resigning from that employers because of lack of pay when compared to other companies and I said a very detailed reason by reason case of why people choose to leave. What I should have said is “lady, we work for money! If you want loyalty, get a dog!”

Ba dum pum tish!

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Back To 2011

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.

I know if offhand and I don’t have to  think about it at all. January 5th 2011 – the day I had to make a decision and resigned from my job at a place because it was becoming a personal hell for me because of the asshole who was in charge of the center. Let me say that it was the same for quite other folks as well but I think me and 2 others had it the worse and I was the first one to leave of his own accord but in retrospect that was the start of a terrible long spell for me financially and career wise and I wish I could go back in time to make some changes.

You see, I put down my resignation papers due to the lying, the constant harrassment and mental torture that this asshole inflicted on me and partly on my team and I had just about had enough the past October and asked my direct reporting manager (who was in in another city and had 9 of us reporting to him) to check for possible transfers for me. None were available and by December things were getting out of hand and the straw that broke the camel’s back was when he tried to put the blame on me for a decision he made and I refused. That was the end of it. After speaking with my reporting manager, I agreed that I would leave after serving two months notice because there were important stuff happening and they needed to find a replacement for me. I started searching for a new job and unfortunately the one I choose was with a startup that would fail less than a year later.

I never recovered truly after that and I have had to take jobs (although I am getting better pay right now) by compromising as I really needed them. I went through a jobless period as well and it was hell as the second place I went to, also a startup had so many financial constraints 6 months after I joined and salaries were being delayed. So I struggled for a long time and I am ok now but still I think I would have been better off if I could have looked around a lot more back in 2011 and made a wiser and better informed decision.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Arsenal 0 Hull City 0

Arsenal must travel to Hull for an FA Cup fifth-round replay after failing to turn dominance into victory against the Championship leaders. The Gunners had two penalty claims denied and had chances to win the game through Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck. Hull keeper Eldin Jakupovic made a string of saves, most notably touching Joel Campbell’s free-kick on to a post. The Tigers created little, but defended admirably to frustrate Arsene Wenger in his 100th FA Cup game as Arsenal boss. The two sides made a total of 19 changes between them from their previous games – nine for Arsenal and 10 for Hull. But Steve Bruce’s Tigers not only ended a 14-game winning run in the FA Cup for the Gunners, they also prevented a repeat of their defeats by the Londoners in the 2014 final and last season’s third round.

Arsenal’s priorities undoubtedly lie elsewhere, with Wenger’s side only two points off the top of the Premier League and a visit of Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie coming up on Tuesday. Europe is particularly pressing for the Gunners, who have failed to go past the last 16 in any of the past five seasons, which meant there was no place for key man Mesut Ozil in the squad, while Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez were restricted to contributions from the bench. Despite the team bearing little resemblance to the XI that started in the 2-1 win over Leicester City last week, the Gunners were good enough to control the game from start to finish and created enough chances to have secured a comfortable victory. However, the draw means Arsenal are still in with a chance of becoming the first team to win three consecutive FA Cups since Blackburn Rovers accomplished the feat 130 years ago.

Arsenal’s only issue came in front of goal, as they moved the ball around with precision to carve out 24 shots – 11 on target – compared to the six shots mustered by Hull. But they could not find a way past Jakupovic, who allowed himself a self-congratulatory moment after taking time out to watch a replay of one of his saves on the big screen at the Emirates. January signing Elneny, making only his second start for the Gunners, put in a standout performance for the home side. The Egypt international was always available for the ball in midfield and dictated the pace for Arsenal from the middle of the park. And there were promising signs from 19-year-old Nigerian Iwobi, who found plenty of space behind striker Theo Walcott to attempt through balls into a congested Hull penalty area, only for the hosts to draw a blank every time.

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Ringing Bells Freedom 251 : What A Phone

Everyone in India and their grandmother has been talking about the Freedom 251 smartphone. Ringing Bells, a company based in Noida, is called the cheapest smartphone in the world, priced at just Rs.251 (less than $5) – yes you read that right. The next cheapest priced phone in India is around Rs. 4,100 and it has lower specs than the Freedom 251 phone. Whaaaat???

The smartphone is 3G-enabled and features a 4-inch WVGA resolution display. It is powered by a 1.3 Ghz quad-core processor coupled with 1GB RAM, 8GB total storage space and sports a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back. It will have 0.3 megapixel camera on the front and has a 1450 mAh battery. You would otherwise have to pay atleast Rs.4000 for these specs. Here are the problems though, and it seems like a typical scheme that rings around in India ever so often. Firstly, the initial ads showed us a much better looking phone than what it actually is. The actual phone is posted to the left.
Secondly it’s not a made in India phone as they claim it to be (as part of the Make In India initiative that this government seems to dangle in front of the public). It’s actually a phone from Chinese manufactures AdCom and you can see that they have hidden the logo with a whitener. On all the phones! The cheapest phone you could get in India till date was the Rs.1449 – and the Freedom 251 actually has better specs than the other phone! Experts say that the cheapest phone in China, with these specs, will cost $28 to make and $40 to ship and sell in India. How are these folks at Ringing Bells making it available at just Rs.251? It remains to be seen. The review phone sent to a couple of tech magazines & websites seem to be working well for it’s spec and dirt cheap price.