The New Elevator Is Now Working

Well the elevator thing has been replaced and the wirings and switches are done and the tests have been completed. Hallelujah! We can go home now. After over 3 weeks away, staying at my sister’s place, dad mom and I can get back to our apartment. I hope this is the end of all the elevator shit that has been happening for the last few years.

Last night I went back to our apartment and was happy to see the new elevator in working condition and waiting for someone to board it. I pressed the down button and wow, music. Haven’t lived in a place that had before (my sister’s place and some others do) and the voice tells you the floor and greets you, wishes you a good day. And there’s all these lights and indicators that are better than the older one. Fancy!

So I will pack my stuff today and keep it ready. We moved back in tomorrow. About time too!

Captain America : Civil Wars

It was being touted as the biggest Marvel Movie yet and the best and in some ways I think it was both. Captain America: Civil War is a 2016 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the thirteenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast that includes Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt and Daniel Brühl. In Captain America: Civil War, set one year after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, disagreement over international oversight of the Avengers fractures them into opposing factions, one led by Steve Rogers and another by Tony Stark.

The movie starts off in 1991 in Siberia where a brainwashed Bucky / Winter Soldier is sent by Hydra to intercept an automobile carrying a case of super-soldier serum and assassinate its occupants. Approximately one year after Ultron’s defeat in Sokovia at the hands of the Avengers, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson, and Wanda Maximoff stop Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos. Rumlow blows himself up, but when Wanda tries to displace the blast into the sky, it destroys a nearby building, killing a number of Wakandan humanitarian workers. The repercussions are massive; despite the fact that millions see the Avengers as heroes, some question how they can be contained and controlled. At the team’s headquarters, U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross informs the Avengers that the United Nations is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish an international governing body to oversee and control the Avengers. The team is divided: Tony Stark supports oversight because he feels responsible for Ultron’s creation and Sokovia’s devastation while Rogers has more faith in his own judgement than the government’s.

Rogers goes to attend Peggy Carter’s funeral and speaks to her grandniece, former SHIELD agent and now CIA operative Sharon Carter. Romanoff comes to the funeral and tries to convince Rogers to join but he is steadfast in his belief. At the conference in Vienna where the Accords are to be ratified, a bomb kills King T’Chaka of Wakanda. Security footage indicates the bomber is Barnes, who T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa, vows to kill. Sharon Carter tips off Rogers to Barnes’ location and that the government does not plan to take him alive. Because Barnes is an old friend and war comrade, Rogers decides to capture Barnes himself, without authorization. Rogers and Wilson track Barnes to his hideout in Bucharest and attempt to protect him from the authorities and T’Challa, but Rogers, Wilson, Barnes, and T’Challa are apprehended. Bucky is chained and taken to a Berlin facilty for questioning. Meanwhile Helmut Zemo kills Bucky’s former HYDRA handler who is now living a retired life and and steals a book containing the trigger words that activate Barnes’ brainwashing. He infiltrates the Berlin facility where Barnes is held and recites the words to make Barnes obey him. He questions Barnes, then sends him on a rampage to cover his own escape. Rogers stops Barnes and sneaks him away.

When Barnes regains his senses, he explains that Zemo is heading for the Siberian Hydra facility where the other brainwashed super-soldiers are kept in cryogenic stasis. Knowing that they will never catch Zemo in time if they wait for authorization, Rogers and Wilson decide to go rogue, and recruit Wanda, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang to their cause. Convincing Ross to let him bring his renegade comrades in, Stark assembles a team comprised of Romanoff, T’Challa, James Rhodes, and Vision, as well as high school student Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. Stark and his team intercept Rogers’s team at Leipzig/Halle Airport, where they fight. Romanoff allows Rogers and Barnes to escape. The rest of Rogers’s team is captured and detained at the Raft prison, while Rhodes is partially paralyzed after being accidentally shot down by Vision. Stark finds evidence that Barnes was framed by Zemo and shows it to Wilson, who gives him Rogers’s destination. Without informing Ross, Stark goes to the Siberian Hydra facility and strikes a truce with Rogers and Barnes, unaware he was secretly followed by T’Challa. They discover that the other Winter Soldiers have been killed by Zemo, whose real goal was to search Hydra’s archives for proof that it was Stark’s parents whom Barnes killed in 1991.

Zemo is Sokovian and wants to tear the Avengers apart in revenge for his family’s death. Rogers confesses that he knew of this, which pushes Stark over the edge. In the ensuing fight, Stark blasts off Barnes’s robotic arm and Rogers disables Stark’s armor. Rogers departs with Barnes and leaves his shield behind. Satisfied that he has irreparably fractured the Avengers, Zemo attempts suicide, but T’Challa apprehends him. In the aftermath, Stark provides Rhodes with exoskeletal leg braces to let him walk again while Rogers breaks his comrades out of prison. In a mid-credits scene, Barnes chooses to return to cryogenic sleep until a cure for his brainwashing is found in Wakanda, where T’Challa has granted him and Rogers asylum. In a post-credits scene, Parker is recovering from his injuries when his web-shooters project a Spider-Man symbol on his bedroom ceiling.

Simply awesome and amazing to see all these heroes in action. I think Spider-Man played by Tom Holland kinda steals the show, playing him exactly like how a raw, 6 months into getting his super powers, teenager who is awe struck by seeing the Avengers would be and act like. In his 20 minute role he draws many laughs and gets the “oooh” moment when he is first seen in his spidey coustume and flicks the shield away from Cap and his “Hey, everyone”. Paul Rudd as Ant-Man also has some laughs. Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther is also awesome in a hero who has his nations’ and people’s best interests at heart and follows in the tradition of being the Black Panter. The stage is set for more awesome action flicks for the Avengers and more of the individual heroes. There is bound to be Spider-Man films, Ant-Man flims and possibly a Black Widow film and maybe even more. I give this film a 9.5 outta 10!

Burger City

It is a good time to be a burger aficionado in Cochin / Kochi. In the last few years many burger joints have popped up in the city and it’s crazy that we have so many choices for really good burgers when we only had a couple until recently.

Yes we have 3 McDonald’s in the city, yes KFC chicken burgers and MarryBrown (the Malaysian franchise) has been around and yes Burger King is finally opening up an outlet in Kochi. And for a while we had a whole spate of KFC copies in the city that offered a chicken or perhaps a beef burger option (Chick King is the only one that seems to be going strong though they do not have beef). Yes we had some cafes that offer you a beef burger in their menu (like Coffee Beans which has a decent one) but they are known more for their sandwiches. And for decades we had restaurants that served you a small cutlet type patty and called it a burger.

But now we have – Burger Junction, Mash 24, The Grill Lab, Burger Lab, Burger Bees, Burger Spot, along with good cafes that serve delicious burgers like Cafe Papaya, Cocoa Tree, Tonico Cafe etc. What happened that suddenly Kochi is the newest place in India that serves you good beef burgers? No clue, but we the foodies of Kochi, love it! Bring on some more.

Beach

The beach is always an interesting place. I have only good, fond memories of the beach and I get a feeling of nostalgia about the beach as the last time I’ve been to one was back in 2008. And before that in 2002. In 2002 I used to live in Calicut and my friends/colleagues and I would go often to the beach even on weekdays. We’d spend hours there sitting near the sand, talking about stuff and enjoying simple snacks and fruits that the vendors had on carts nearby. Those were simple fun times back when we didn’t have much money.

Before that and even now the beach meant Fort Kochi beach which is near to my ancestral home (in Mattancherry). My cousins and I would go to the beach and play in the waters. We’d play Frisbee on the beach. The beach also meant excellent fried fish and later on in life, beer. Kovalam beach is a place I’ve been to twice. They also have a separate beach for the foreigners, women who like to sunbath topless. Yahoo! That was a sight for a 17 year old! Trivandrum beach is also good and again when my cousins and I could go there, playing frisbee on the sand was a lot of fun when you are kids.

The beach in Kuwait was also one that I liked to go. The beach there meant me, sis, my parents, my uncle and aunt and my cousin sister spending an evening there and then going for a meal at KFC or getting shawarma and khuboos and hummus at a local place. Good times.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Stages Of The Barfster

Barfi the pug tends to sleep a lot. He is more like a cat in that way. He sleeps maybe like 12-14 hours a day. His favourite spot is near the front door.

And then I wake him up. And he’s all like “dude, why did you have to break my sleep? I was dreaming of lady pugs and chasing them in lush green fields”

Even when he is sleepy he looks so adorable. Look at that face. Just look at that face.

And when is wide awake and wants a treat he knows just how to get it. By posing and looking really cute for the camera. Like this!

When you got it, flaunt it!

The Watch

The Watch is a 2012 science fiction comedy film directed by Akiva Schaffer and written by Jared Stern, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. It stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade. The film a group of neighbors who form a suburban neighborhood watch group. When they uncover an alien plot threatening the world, they are forced into action.

In a small town in Ohio a night security guard at the local CostCo is brutally murdered by an unseen creature. The local police have no leads, and show no interest in investigating further. Determined to find the killer and bring him to justice, the manager Evan decides to form a neighborhood watch. However, he only manages to recruit Bob (Vince Vaughn), a construction worker and loving father; Franklin (Jonah Hill), a high school dropout who dreams of being a police officer but failed the written, physical, and mental-health tests; and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), a recent divorcé. To Evan’s annoyance only he is taking it seriously while the other three use the watch as an excuse to drink and make jokes. While driving on patrol, they accidentally hit something. They discover a strange metallic orb that acts as a highly-destructive weapon, and deduce that it is of alien origin. Meanwhile, several more townspeople are mysteriously killed.

The watch responds to the murders and encounters an alien, which attacks them. Evan (apparently) kills it with a lawn gnome before the group returns with the creature to Bob’s house. The creature regains consciousness and escapes, stealing the metallic orb and warning them that the aliens have already infiltrated the town. They realize that the aliens are killing humans and stealing their skins to blend in. Realizing that anyone in Glenview could be an alien. Bob confides to Evan that he is worried about his daughter Chelsea, and does not trust her boyfriend Jason. Evan admits that he has been avoiding his wife Abby because he is infertile, and revealing that to her may cause her to leave. Evan also suspects his creepy new neighbour of being one of the aliens, mainly due to the stiff way he speaks because he always seems to be watching him. As the watch scouts the neighbor’s house, Bob learns that Chelsea is at an unsupervised party with Jason. Bob disobeys Evan’s orders, and rushes to the party with Franklin. Bob prevents Jason from raping Chelsea, but Jason beats him until Franklin intervenes.

Evan and Jamarcus investigate the odd neighbor alone, discovering that he (only) hosts orgies in his basement. When Bob returns, he and Evan argue over his putting his daughter above the watch. Evan and Bob argue and Bob is made to leave the group. Evan goes home and admits his infertility to Abby, who accepts the news and tells him they will work things out. Jamarcus comes to Evan and admits that he is actually one of the aliens but has changed his mind and sides with the humans after experiencing human culture and his first orgy. He warns the group that the aliens are building a transmitter (beneath the Costco store) which will summon their armada to destroy the earth, and is expelled from the watch for his deception. Bob, Franklin, Evan and Abby arm themselves and infiltrate the Costco to destroy the transmitter. Bob encounters Jason who reveals that he is also an alien, and they fight. Evan and Franklin attempt to disable the transmitter, but are surrounded by aliens.

Jamarcus arrives and saves the pair, revealing that the aliens’ brains are located in their crotch; Bob kills Jason by ripping off his penis. Evan discovers that the transmitter is powered by the metallic orb and removes it, disabling the machine. More aliens arrive, forcing the group to flee. The watch uses the metallic orb to destroy the Costco building, killing all of the aliens inside. As the movie ends Evan and Abby adopt a young girl, Bob is closer to Chelsea, Franklin is accepted to the police force and Jamarcus continues participating in the secret neighborhood orgies. The group maintains the watch, continuing to protect Glenview from criminals (and aliens).

Funny and silly in typical Stiller fashion, I enjoyed the film and thought it was a good time waster. I was watching this movie on a cold Thursday in Gurgaon after breakfast and while waiting for the time to get ready and go to the airport. I give it a solid 7 outta 10 for entertainment!

Forward Drive

What is the one thing that drives you to wake up in the morning and do whatever it is you do? Is it writing, family, friends, or something else entirely?

Money! Money is the only thing that is driving me to wake up in the morning and get going to work. Let’s face it we all need money and we could all use a little bit or a lot more of than what we are currently getting. I want money cause money buys me medical support, food, drink, keeps me and my family with some luxuries and stuff that we need. It gives me a sense of comfort and security and I want more of it.

That’s more than enough drive for me to go and do evening shifts at work at a process that I do not like or enjoy even a little bit. I work because I have to. I hope things change and I can get more money at a place that I really like and can take some pleasure in doing it. That would be cool. But if I had lots and lots of money and I didn’t need to work, would I continue with a job? No. It’s not like in Star Trek where people work for bettering themselves and gaining more knowledge. We aren’t there yet. Not at all. We are a 100 years away from something like that atleast. Maybe future generations will do that and things will be all good.

But for now, I gotta go and therefore I do.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Not Your Normal Lemon Slushy

When life gives you lemons… make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an unorthodox way.

  • 8 cups water
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 fresh lemon
  • 2 orange (fresh)
  • 6 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups grapefruit juice (fresh)
  • 4 cups lemonade (such as Sprite or 7Up + extra for mixing)
  • 5 cups vodka

Recipe

  1. Make a simple syrup by bringing the water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan and stirring in the sugar until it’s completely dissolved.
  2. Pour the simple syrup into a large container (I recommend this 17-cup container or this 29-cup container) and leave to cool to room temperature. When cooled, stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Freeze the contents of the container for at least 24 hours. When ready to serve, scoop out as much frosty stuff as you need to fill your glass and top with lemonade. If the drink is still largely frozen after adding lemonade, mix it up a bit with a spoon or a straw to help dissolve the frostiness.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Mother’s Day (2016)

Mother’s Day (2016) is a different one from the horror-esque movie from a few years ago. This one is a 2016 American romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall and written by Tom Hines, Lily Hollander, Anya Kochoff-Romano and Matt Walker. The film stars an ensemble cast, led by Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Jason Sudeikis, and featuring Sarah Chalke, Robert Pine, Cameron Esposito, Timothy Olyphant, Britt Robertson, Héctor Elizondo, Jack Whitehall and Jon Lovitz. Considering that his other two ensemble comedy-romance films Valentine’s Day (2010) and New Year’s Eve (2011) – he has a thing for these days!

So the basis of this movie is that everything about estranged families and relationships can get solved on this magical day of all days. A racist mother who hasn’t seen her older daughter in years, because she was dating a “towelhead” (actually an Indian-American doctor) and doesn’t know that the two have married and have a young son and also doesn’t know that her younger daughter is gay and married and adopted the child of her wife, will not suddenly turn over a new leaf and become a very good grandma and accepting of her Indian son-in-law and her gay daughter in law in a day or two – just in time for Mother’s Day! Also a younger woman, who is a mother and lives with her boyfriend / father of her baby and is has commitment issues because she was adopted and believes she was rejected by her birth mom, is egged on by her friends to go meet her birth mom – a famous celebrity who just so happens to be on a book signing tour and in the same city a few days before Mother’s Day!

Not only that but this celeb is shooting commercials for a mood reflecting pendant is peddaling it as a perfect gift for — I will give you one guess! You got it, Mother’s Day! And the number of times they say Mother’s Day is quite a lot. A float / parade for Mother’s Day? Is that a thing? Anyways, there are some laughs in the film and watching Jennifer Anniston & Julia Roberts & Kate Hudson with also Sarah Chalke and a new beauty Shay Mitchell to boot – is a sight for sore eyes! Still the film is corny and cheesy and there is no proper storyline and the writing is terrible. There is a supreme lack of effort and relying on hopelessly dated and predictable scenes and outcomes is just so wrong! There is hardly anything exciting about this movie. And now I will come to the final point, and the only one that pisses me off!

The scene towards the end when the cops ask all the folks in the trailer to come out and when Asif Mandvi’s character comes out, they raise their guns and act like he is a terrorist. He is forced to lie on the ground as they shit scared and racist cops look at his brown skin – one of the cops is black! And despite the protests of the white folks – “he’s my husband”, “he’s my son-in-law” it takes the black lady cop to recognize him and say “it’s ok, he’s my doctor. He fixed my knee” for the other cops to relax! Oh so now it’s ok? What the bloody fuck? Are we expected to accept this bullshit?

I’ll give the movie a 6 outta 10 but for that last bit of nonsense alone I should have given them a 0!

6 Year Old

You get to be a 6-year-old kid again for one day and one day only — plan your perfect 24 hours. Where do you go, what do you do, and with whom?

Ok, I am just trying to remember what all I did as a 6 year old. It has been a while since I was that age. Ah yes, well if I get only 24 hours as a 6 year old I know what I would want to do!

I want to wake up and watch cartoons all day as I eat cornflakes and eggs and drink juice while sitting near the tv. After that I want to play, play, play with other 6 year olds and laugh silly until I pee my pants. Then for lunch I want hamburgers and fries and ice cream and then go to the nearest theme park and have fun until the late, late evening.

After all that playing and having fun, stopping for candy or drink breaks, I will then want to go for a Disney movie followed by a pizza dinner or a KFC dinner and then go home and get to bed. Watch more cartoons just as I drift off to sleep.

Kids want simple fun stuff and that’s what I would want as a 6 year old!

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Arsenal 1 Norwich City 0

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had to endure calls for his departure as his side beat a Norwich team whose Premier League future looks increasingly bleak. Fans protested inside and outside Emirates Stadium, voicing frustration at their team’s failure to mount a title challenge in recent years. There was little for Arsenal to cheer until substitute Danny Welbeck put them ahead with a crisp half-volley. Norwich are two points from safety with three games left. They had chances – twice Petr Cech stopped Nathan Redmond from scoring. But for all their endeavour, Norwich left north London with nothing and with Newcastle beating Crystal Palace and Sunderland securing a draw against Stoke earlier in the day, their hopes of survival appear slim.

Wenger and his players had been warned there would be a toxic atmosphere at the Emirates, and protests calling for the end of the Frenchman’s 20-year tenure began outside the stadium. Fans from the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, the Black Scarf Movement and Red Action handed out posters with the message ‘time for change’ and some fans held them up after 12 and 78 minutes – 12 being the number of years the club has gone without winning the league. Various banners were held up, one saying ‘Wenger – 12 years of excuses, Ranieri – 9 months, champions’ in reference to Leicester’s march towards the league title. Stoking the flames this week were Wenger’s pre-match comments – that fans had gone “overboard” with their criticisms, and that his team had played in “a very difficult climate” at home over recent months, contributing to their failure in the league. In a divided stadium, there were those who supported their manager, singing “there’s only one Arsene Wenger” in response to the 12th-minute protest. They would point to the six FA Cups, three league titles and 18 consecutive seasons of Champions League football the club have enjoyed under Wenger.

Victory over Norwich moved them to third in the table, three points above Manchester City, and a step closer to securing another season in Europe’s elite cup competition. There was little to unite the factions as the first half played out like the majority of Arsenal’s games this year: plenty of possession, but little bite. For the fourth time in their past nine home league games, Wenger’s men failed to conjure a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes. At the other end of the pitch, and despite the visitors having just 30% of possession, Cech twice stopped Redmond from scoring, while a third effort from the striker before the break bounced just wide. It was the 56th-minute introduction of Welbeck that turned the match in Arsenal’s favour. The striker gave his team much-needed spark and, within three minutes of coming on, he placed Olivier Giroud’s well-directed header into the bottom-left corner. Welbeck’s goal came from his team’s first shot on target.

The Gunners have two games to play – against fourth-placed Manchester City and relegated Villa.