RIP Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died at the age of 82 as first confirmed by his music label, Sony Music Canada. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. “My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.” Cohen was the dark eminence among a small pantheon of extremely influential singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties and early Seventies. Only Bob Dylan exerted a more profound influence upon his generation, and perhaps only Paul Simon and fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell equaled him as a song poet.

Cohen’s haunting bass voice, nylon-stringed guitar patterns and Greek-chorus backing vocals shaped evocative songs that dealt with love and hate, sex and spirituality, war and peace, ecstasy and depression. He was also the rare artist of his generation to enjoy artistic success into his Eighties, releasing his final album, You Want It Darker, earlier this year. Leonard Norman Cohen was born on September 21st, 1934, in Westmount, Quebec. He learned guitar as a teenager and formed a folk group called the Buckskin Boys. Early exposure to Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca turned him toward poetry – while a flamenco guitar teacher convinced him to trade steel strings for nylon. After graduating from McGill University, Cohen moved to the Greek island of Hydra, where he purchased a house for $1,500 with the help of a modest trust fund established by his father, who died when Leonard was nine. While living on Hydra, Cohen published the poetry collection Flowers for Hitler (1964) and the novels The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966).

Frustrated by poor book sales, and tired of working in Montreal’s garment industry, Cohen visited New York in 1966 to investigate the city’s robust folk-rock scene. He met folk singer Judy Collins, who later that year included two of his songs, including the early hit “Suzanne,” on her album In My Life. His New York milieu included Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground, and, most importantly, the haunting German singer Nico, whose despondent delivery he may have emulated on his exquisite 1967 album Songs of Leonard Cohen. His next two albums, Songs From a Room (1969) and Songs of Love and Hate (1971), benefited from the spare production of Bob Johnston, along with a group of seasoned session musicians that included Charlie Daniels. During the Seventies, Cohen set out on the first of the many long, intense tours he would reprise toward the end of his career.

Cohen’s relationship with Suzanne Elrod during most of the Seventies resulted in two children, the photographer Lorca Cohen and Adam Cohen, who leads the group Low Millions. Cohen was well known for his wandering ways, and his most stable relationships were with backing singers Laura Branigan, Sharon Robinson, Anjani Thomas, and, most notably, Jennifer Warnes, who he wrote with and produced (Warnes frequently performed Cohen’s music). After indulging in a variety of international styles on Recent Songs (1979), Cohen accorded Warnes full co-vocal credit on 1984’s Various Positions. Various Positions included “Hallelujah,” a meditation on love, sex and music that would become Cohen’s best-known composition. Cohen returned to the label in 1988 with I’m Your Man, an album of sly humor and social commentary that launched the synths-and-gravitas style he continued on The Future (1992).

In 1995, Cohen halted his career, entered the Mt. Baldy Zen Center outside of Los Angeles, became an ordained Buddhist monk and took on the Dharma name Jikan (“silence”. Cohen broke his musical silence in 2001 with Ten New Songs. To replenish the funds that his longtime manager, Kelley Lynch embellished from his account, Cohen undertook an epic world tour during which he would perform 387 shows from 2008 to 2013. He continued to record as well, releasing Old Ideas (2012) and Popular Problems, which hit U.S. shops a day after his eightieth birthday. In October 2016, he released You Want It Darker, produced by his son Adam. Severe back issues made it difficult for Cohen to leave his home, so Adam placed a microphone on his dining room table and recorded him on a laptop. Cohen was survived by his two children and two grandchildren.

Never Been Used

A very distinguished lady was on a plane arriving from Switzerland. She found herself seated next to a nice priest whom she asked: “Excuse me Father, could I ask a favor?”

“Of course my child, What can I do for you?”

“Here is the problem, I bought myself a new sophisticated hair remover gadget for which I paid an enormous sum of money. I have really gone over the declaration limits and I am worried that they will confiscate it at customs. Do you think you could hide it under your cassock?”

“Of course I could, my child, but you must realize that I can not lie.” “You have such an honest face Father, I am sure they will not ask you any questions”, and she gave him the ‘hair remover’.

The aircraft arrived at its destination. When the priest presented himself to customs he was asked, “Father, do you have anything to declare?”

“From the top of my head to my sash, I have nothing to declare, my son”,he replied. Finding this reply strange, the customs officer asked, “And from the sash down, what do you have?” The priest replied, “I have there a marvelous little instrument designed for use by women, but which has never been used.”

Breaking out in laughter, the customs officer said, “Go ahead Father. Next!”

As Seen On Tv

Write a script for a late-night infomercial — where the product is your blog. How do you market yourself? What qualities do you embody that other “products” don’t? What are the benefits of reading your blog?

“Have you wanted to read a blog free of pretension and pretending? Have you longed to reach the life and thoughts of a single guy who is 40 and who lives the life of a lonely bachelor and sometimes gets depressed because of the loneliness? Want insights into movies, music, tv shows and sports teams that he loves? Well look no further; have we got the blog for you!

Get your mouse clicking to the URL section of your browser and type in http://awakeanddreamingorg right now. You will love it. What are you waiting for? Best of all it’s free. It has also got some photos of food and scenery – anything that catches the blogger’s fancy. Not by a professional camera but the camera in the blogger’s smartphone that he happens to be using at that time. Get views, reviews and more about stuff that he likes and uses and loves.

So go now and be in love with the blog that delivers everything that it says it will. Go now, it’s free!”

Now to find the hot busty blonde who will present in in the infomercial

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Rs.500 & Rs.1000 Notes Banned

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a special address to the nation, announced that currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations will be illegal starting 12 midnight on November 8. That is not even four hours after the surprising announcement was made. “Currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 will be just paper with no value,” Modi said. The move comes as a strike against the hoarding of black money. “A few people are spreading corruption for their own benefit,” he said, adding that “corruption and black money is (sic) something we have fought for immediately after assuming office…There is a time when you realise that you have bring some changes in society, and this is our time to feel the same.” It was then that he announced that the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will be deemed illegal starting midnight.

The news comes days after Twitter was buzzing with photos of bundles of currency notes of Rs 2,000 that were being shared with the idea that the Reserve Bank of India might be issuing them into the market soon. Well, now the wait for those notes – and new Rs 500 ones – is almost painful. People wanted to know what this scheme was initiated? The incidence of fake Indian currency notes in higher denomination has increased. For ordinary persons, the fake notes look similar to genuine notes, even though no security feature has been copied. The fake notes are used for antinational and illegal activities. High denomination notes have been misused by terrorists and for hoarding black money. India remains a cash based economy hence the circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes continues to be a menace. In order to contain the rising incidence of fake notes and black money, the scheme to withdraw has been introduced.

Banks will remain closed tomorrow and some ATMs will also not function tomorrow and day after as RBI stocks banks and ATM machines with lower denomination notes, Modi said. The prime minister expressed confidence that the staff of banks and post offices will rise to the occasion to introduce the new order within the available time. He said he is hopeful that political parties, workers, social organisations and the media will go further than the government in making it a success. Following the announcement, there were huge crowds outside ATMs across the country as people lined up to withdraw currency of smaller denominations.

Pause & Experience

If you could pause real life and spend some time living with a family anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Simple, I would want to get off here and go and live in Canada. What is this poutine you speak so highly off? A double double from Tim Hortons? Why is he giving us coffee? Maple syrup shacks? Sure. Donairs? Hockey on ice! A touque, a chesterfield and milk in bags? Coffee Crisp? Nainamo bars? Beeeeeerrsss!

Lol, no I like the country, I like their towns and cities and I like their musical bands and tv shows and I would love to live in Canada. My hope is that before I die, I get a chance to go and see Canada for a month or two if possible. Any others places? Sure lots of them.

Parts of the US – especially Seattle and San Francisco. Spain, Italy, Germany, Australis, England, Scotland, Ireland & Wales (yes all different), Belgium, Hong Kong, Japan, France, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Portugal and some cities in places like Latvia and Lithuania and Ukraine.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Domain Renewal For Another Year

Yet another year and Awakeanddreaming.org lives on! I have just renewed the registration for the domain name for another year. This makes it the 10th year that this blog/website will be in existence.

I haven’t gotten tired of it yet and in all likelihood I will continue to blog regularly at this blog for years to come. I can’t see myself ever stopping. This blogging thingy has given me a lot of pleasure and it’s also a outlet for me to release some creativity and even frustration and anger at times. I find it almost like a confidant and even almost like a person and there are many things that I might post here but haven’t spoken about it to people.

The cost has gone up over the years a bit. I remember I got a discount the first year and only had to pay Rs.100 for the first 365 days! Then it was Rs.500 for a few years and then it jumped to Rs.700 something and it’s Rs.810 now. Still a low price I believe.

Arsenal 1 Tottenham Hotspurs 1

Harry Kane marked his return from injury with the equaliser that kept Tottenham as the only unbeaten team in the Premier League after a north London derby draw at Arsenal. The England striker, sidelined since 18 September with an ankle injury, scored from the penalty spot early in the second half after Kevin Wimmer’s own goal three minutes before the interval gave Arsenal the advantage. The Gunners knew victory would put them top of the table, and Theo Walcott almost put them ahead, crashing a shot against the post, before Wimmer glanced Mesut Ozil’s free-kick past Hugo Lloris. Spurs responded well with Kane’s spot-kick after Laurent Koscielny tangled with Mousa Dembele. They then threatened to take all three points, Christian Eriksen forcing a fine save from Petr Cech before his angled free-kick bounced back off the post in the closing minutes.

Arsenal could have gone top of the Premier League with victory here – moving ahead of Chelsea and Manchester City – and all the omens seemed good for them. The Gunners were in prime form – they remain unbeaten since the opening day of the season – and faced a Spurs side in reduced circumstances, without a win in six games and missing the influence of injured defender Toby Alderweireld and midfielder Dele Alli. With Kane also returning after a seven-week absence, Arsenal would have entered this north London derby high on optimism – yet had to settle for a draw. Arsenal were pushed on to the back foot for the first 20 minutes but then exerted their authority to lead by half-time, only to be knocked off track by the concession of that cheap penalty. The Gunners still showed plenty of grit but in the end they did not possess enough guile to unlock a resolute Spurs defence, who held out in relative comfort for a point.

Arsenal v Spurs is now the highest scoring fixture in Premier League history with 139 goals. Mauricio Pochettino is the first ever Tottenham manager to remain unbeaten in his first five top-flight north London derbies. Harry Kane is now Tottenham’s joint-top scorer in Premier League games against Arsenal with five goals (level with Gareth Bale). Tottenham have stayed unbeaten in their opening 11 top-flight games for the first time since 1960-61 – which is when they last won the title. Laurent Koscielny conceded twice as many fouls in this game (4) as he had in his previous nine Premier League games this season combined (2).

Doctor Strange

Yet another superhero movie (the 14th infact), bringing in a new to us hero, from the Marvel cinematic universe Doctor Strange is a 2016 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film is directed by Scott Derrickson, who wrote the film with Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton.

We start off with rogue sorcerer Kaecilius and his zealots enter the secret compound Kamar-Taj and murder its librarian, keeper of ancient and mystical texts. They steal a ritual from a book belonging to the Ancient One, a sorcerer who has lived for an unknown time and taught all at Kamar-Taj, including Kaecilius, in the ways of the mystic arts. The Ancient One pursues the traitors, but Kaecilius escapes with the pages and some of his followers. Switch to Doctor Stephen Strange, an arrogant but acclaimed brilliant neurosurgeon, who has an eidetic memory. He is involved in a major car accident while on the way to attend a speech and loses most of the usage of his hands due to nerve damage. He tries several methods of healing but other than making him more desperate and broke, nothing comes out of them. He even lashes out at fellow doctor & former lover now friend Christine Palmer when she tries to tell him of other things he can do with his life. Hearing of Jonathon Pangborn, a paraplegic who mysteriously was able to walk again, Strange seeks him out, and is directed to Kamar-Taj, in Kathmandu. While asking around he is attacked by goons who want his watch but is saved by Mordor, who takes him to the Ancient One.

What happens next is that the Ancient One, a Celtic woman and protector of the earth from inter-dimentional beings of great power who shows Strange some awesome trippy stuff, taking him outta this reality. Strange’s mind is blown and he even is shown how to astral project and he asks to be taught. Initially the Ancient One rejects him but she is convinced by Mordo to give him a chance. Though he starts off very slowly, Strange picks up quickly and advances in the ranks in several months, quickly devouring the knowledge from the books. He even manages to secretly read from the text Kaecilius stole from and learning to bend time with the mystical Eye of Agamotto. Mordo and Wong, the librarian, warn Strange against breaking the laws of nature, comparing his arrogant yearning for power to that of Kaecilius, who believes, after the deaths of his loved ones, that everyone should have eternal life. Kacelius and his goonsegin summoning the powerful Dormammu of the Dark Dimension, where time does not exist and all can live forever. This destroys the London Sanctum, and sends Strange from Kamar-Taj to the New York Sanctum.

Along the way, in some cool scenes, Strange gets his levitating cloack and fights of and even captures Kacelius but is forced to kill one of the goons, which goes against his oath as a physician to never do harm. The zealots then attack there, where Strange holds them off with the mystical Cloak of Levitation until Mordo and the Ancient One arrive. Strange and Mordo become disillusioned with the Ancient One after Kaecilius reveals that her long life has come from her own use of Dormammu’s power. Kaecilius mortally wounds the Ancient One, and escapes to Hong Kong. Strange brings her to Christine and she operates on her but the wound is fatal. She then dies, despite the best efforts of Strange and a bewildered Palmer. The Ancient One tells Strange that he, too, will have to break the rules, to balance Mordo’s steadfast nature. Strange and Mordo arrive in Hong Kong to find Wong dead and the Sanctum destroyed, with the Dark Dimension already engulfing Earth. Strange uses the Eye to turn back time and save Wong, before creating an infinite time loop inside the Dark Dimension that traps himself and Dormammu in the same moment forever. Strange agrees to break the loop if Dormammu leaves Earth, and the latter takes Kaecilius and the zealots with him.

Mordor leaves as he is disgusted by the Ancient One’s and Strange’s breaking the laws of nature. Strange returns the Eye, which Wong calls an Infinity Stone, to Kamar-Taj, and then takes up residence in the New York Sanctum to continue his studies. In a mid-credits scene, Strange is visited there by Thor, who has brought his brother Loki to Earth to search for their father Odin. In a post-credits scene, Mordo visits Pangborn and steals the energy he uses to walk, stating that Earth has too many sorcerers.

What did I think of it? Visually it is stunny but is this really superhero stuff? Superhero movies and characters are either set in reality or a scifi reality setting with science doing the explanation. This is all magical, mystical, hocus pocus (well not really), astral projection, hippie-dippie, strange trip after an a dose of magic mushrooms or LSD and stuff you get in fantasy and Harry Potter films/books. I dunno how much I like that in this Marvel universe. The villain, played by awesome actor Mads Mikkelsen is too one dimensional but isn’t given much to work off. Rachel McAdams has some funny scenes but she too is wasted in this role. It’s a shame that she is shown as a comedic relief who is astonished by the things she sees in a movie that has Tilda Swinton kicking ass and looking brutal. But the film itself gets a 7.5 outta me mainly for the awesome visuals and the moments of humour.

Unboxing The Vulcan D’Kyr Type Ship *Star Trek Starships Collection*

And it’s now time for a friendly alien ship that looked awesome on screen. I just wish the model could have been as awesome but it’s still good and I am happy to have it in my collection. As seen in Enterprise only, I am talking about the Vulcan ship the D’Kyr type or class!

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The D’Kyr-type was a type of Vulcan starship operated by the High Command during the mid-22nd century. Some of these vessels were given the designation of combat cruiser in the 2150s. In 2154, a number of these starships were present at the Battle of Andoria, carrying out the ill-wishes of then – Administrator V’Las, which included not only attempting to invade Andoria – but almost going to war with Earth by trying to destroy Enterprise NX-01.

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Later that year, several of these combat cruisers were incorporated into an Andorian-Earth-Tellarite-Vulcan fleet, consisting of 128 ships, combined to create a sensor grid formed to detect a Romulan marauder that threatened to destabilize the entire region. In the mirror universe, Vulcan rebels utilized this class of vessel to engage the Terran fleet in 2155, and were among the rebel ships that attacked the ISS Avenger.

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The outboard plan of the Vulcan combat cruiser’s design consisted of a flattened, conical shaped hull that flared out and around the circular warp nacelles and coming back together at the aft section of the ship, where the impulse engines were placed. Ships of this class were armed with both photonic and particle weapons, as well as deflector shield technology. Particle beam emplacements include a forward emitter, two ventral emitters, and two aft emitters. In combat, these vessels were superior in firepower to Starfleet’s NX-class and nearly comparable in firepower to the Andorian battle cruiser. This class was inferior to a force of three Tholian starships, and in the vessels utilized in the mirror universe were significantly inferior to a single Federation Constitution-class starship.

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This class was capable of traveling a hundred light years in a few weeks. (ENT: “Future Tense” When the warp drive was not in use, the ship’s annular-warp nacelle was dropped into the vertical position; when the engines were powered down, or preparing to launch its auxiliary craft, the nacelle was folded horizontally into the primary hull. D’Kyr type starships had at least thirteen decks. The bridge for the D’Kyr-type included a panel where the commanding officer stood when speaking over the comm. Starships of this type were equipped with a large shuttlebay (part of which was located on deck 7) that spanned from bottom to top of the mid-section of the ship, just in front of the warp-ring area, and the auxiliary ship that docked inside the warp ring. Vessels of this type were usually equipped with at least two shuttlecraft.

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Hope you liked the pics and now enjoy the unboxing video!

Sunday Plan

Thank Godzilla it’s the weekend. The weekend is so welcome though a bit disappointed as it’s only a regular 2 day weekend instead of last week’s 3 day weekend. And the plans are filled for the two days already. I have tickets booked for Sunday for my cousin and me to watch Benadryl Cucumberpatch as Dr. Strange. I have two coupons for discounts on the VIP section seats and that is awesome. Using one of the coupons I booked our usual seats and got Rs.121 off! Sweet!

Booking my tickets online has become the norm nowadays ever since I started going to movies theaters again after a gap of 11 years. The first two movies I went to I went to the theater and bought the tickets – Deadpool & Batman vs Superman. Then I found out that you can book the tickets online either through Book My Tickets.com or through the websites for PVR or Cinepolis. That is pretty sweet. And you also get discounts from time to time or combo discounts! Nice!

Ofcourse we like the popcorn at the movies as well. What’s a movie going experience without the lovely caramel or cheese flavoured popcorn to munch on. They have a bunch of other stuff as well but I don’t like to have anything other than snacks like popcorn. My cousin and I will go at 12 and get a good pizza and enjoy a couple of hours outside before we go to the theatre and enjoy the film.

Locked And Sealed

Can you keep a secret? Have you ever — intentionally or not — spilled the beans (when you should’ve stayed quiet)?

I think I am a good listener, have been told that on more than a few occasions. So I think after some folks get to know me then naturally I tend to become a person that they feel that they can confide in or just let out some of the issues that they are facing. Or if they just want to unload then they do that, over a cup of coffee or just hanging out.

But sometimes I think I am told something and I feel like I need to say that back to someone else. It’s usually because I feel like the second person can benefit from this knowledge as just information or something that they can really use. It just happens and usually afterwards I feel guilty about it. I don’t like to gossip and especially not at the office but it just comes out at times.

Unintentionally, yes I may have spilled the beans a few times – not too many but just enough to count on all 10 fingers and perhaps a toe or two – and that is usually one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Just hope that you can recover from them.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Sweet Sixteen

Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.

Ah, 16. I think I was still quite innocent and naive. I was a doe in the headlights – ok no, not that innocent. But I guess I was an eager to please, loving and friendly guy who just wanted to get through the things that were in front of him and do well. I had no idea what was in store for me and I wasn’t prepared. I was also very, highly influenced by peer pressure.

Back in the 80s and 90s and uptil the 90s we had school till 10th grade and you did your 11th & 12th in a college as only some schools had 11th & 12th grade. I did the same and was initially happy that I would no longer have to wear a school uniform and could be all cool and stuff. But my studies would suffer as I chose the wrong majors – I should have gone with Economics or Commerce but I was stupid and chose Engineering Science, so I could join my immediately older cousins in engineering college. It was a dumb choice and I should have listened to reason. Anyway I joined and I made a few friends, none of who I was friends with a few years later and who I haven’t seen since I was 20.

I would fall in love, hard, well atleast that last a few years and was my first sexual experience (that would not until a couple of years later though) and little did I know it but I was bound for pain, heartbreak and my life would never be the same again. The end of innocence was nearby in just a couple of years. I miss the ole Rosh who was the teenaged dreamer. He was a great kid just got on the wrong path.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Carved In Stone

Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?

Hmm, I don’t know what statue I can ask a sculptor to make for me representing a person, thing or event from the last year. Well, I suppose something signifying me turning 40 (which was in August of this year) would be good. Like R40, the 40 year celebration of the forming of the rock band Rush. Perhaps get a sculpture done of me at age 40 and with devil horn symbols on my hand, a beer in the other. Have a large event with a recording of the unveiling available on dvd & BluRay.

I dunno, what other thing in the last one year was significant for me? I got to see Gurgaon and spend 12 days there which was nice. I even wanted to move there. I started getting feelings for a girl again, but that is another story, and anyway it’s not gonna work out because of a big age difference. I started using Uber more and more for commuting to work and back which is not significant enough. Oh – I started going to movie theatres again after a gap of 11 years and that is significant in an entertainment and leisure time sense to me.

Ugh, I give up!

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com