Calm The Nerves

It’s the night before an important event: a big exam, a major presentation, your wedding. How do you calm your nerves in preparation for the big day?

I have a few things that I can do. One is to calm myself down with a cold drink and listening to some of my favourite music. At this point I might not go for the rockers and faster paced numbers but more laid back blues or softer ballads and happier tunes. Just to take the edge off and relax.

I can also get some good food and maybe a beer or some vodka and chill for a while. Watch some comedy show or movie to get your mind of things and laugh silly for a couple of hours. What more do you need to calm the nerves down before the big day?

Alternatively you can call a friend and / or go for a walk around the block and wind down.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Preston North End 1 Arsenal 2

Arsenal progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup as Oliver Giroud’s late goal saw off a spirited Preston at Deepdale. The Gunners had fallen behind to their Championship opponents when Callum Robinson took advantage of poor defending to finish from close range. Robinson then had a goal disallowed before Aaron Ramsey equalised early in the second half with a powerful drive. Giroud then sealed victory with his fourth goal in as many games. Wenger has now overseen 21 wins in the 21 FA Cup third-round games he has been in charge of at Arsenal, but it was far from a comfortable win after a disappointing first-half display in which Preston were unfortunate not to lead by more than one goal. Just four days ago, Arsene Wenger’s side produced a shambolic opening 45 minutes at Bournemouth that left them trailing 2-0 at half-time.

They managed to turn things around in the second half to rescue a 3-3 draw, but for Arsenal fans there will have been a worrying sense of deja vu during the early stages of the first half on Saturday. Preston, 11th in the Championship, have scored in every game they have played since 19 November and immediately had the Gunners defence on the back foot. Aiden McGeady’s creativity proved particularly troublesome for the visitors and the former Everton man played a pivotal role in Preston’s opener. He beat Ramsey with a clever spin before his pass between Nacho Monreal and Gabriel ricocheted into Robinson’s path and the forward fired home. The rest of the key chances in the first half fell Preston’s way, as David Ospina saved well from Ben Pearson before Robinson had a goal disallowed. But to Arsenal’s credit, they improved after the break. Ramsey’s strike came out of nothing as he drove in from the edge of the area and they were more successful at containing Preston’s attacks.

It looked like the tie was heading for a replay at Emirates Stadium but Giroud, who scored a 90th-minute equaliser against Bournemouth, left it late again and his deflected finish from Lucas Perez’s clever backheel in the final minute ended Preston’s resistance. Giroud’s long-term future at Arsenal had seemed uncertain as he started the campaign on the bench and had to wait until November to make his first start. However, the France striker has enjoyed a fine run of form since 26 December. He has scored four goals, including the winner against West Brom, the ‘scorpion’ goal against Crystal Palace and the dramatic Bournemouth equaliser. Against Preston he was made Arsenal captain for the first time – perhaps as reward for his recent resurgence – and the 30-year-old could prove crucial in their bid to end the season with silverware. Arsenal have progressed past the third round of the FA Cup in each of the past 21 seasons, the longest current run in the competition. Indeed, Arsene Wenger has never lost at this stage, with Arsenal last being eliminated by Sheffield United in 1996.

Olivier Giroud has scored in each of his past eight starts for Arsenal in all competitions, netting 10 goals in total. Despite having the same number of attempts as Arsenal in the first half (eight), Preston failed to muster a single shot after half-time. Arsenal have lost just one of their past 37 FA Cup ties against lower league opposition (0-1 v Blackburn in February 2013). Four of Aaron Ramsey’s five FA Cup goals have come in a third-round tie, with the other coming in the 2014 final. Preston have lost 15 of their past 16 FA Cup games against top-flight sides, with a solitary win coming at Derby in January 2008 (4-1).

Passengers

Passengers is a 2016 American science fiction adventure film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne and Andy García.

Set sometime in the future, the Avalon is a commerical starship on a long voyage from the Earth to the conly planet Homestead II, a journey that takes 120 years. There are 5000 travelers on board and a sizable crew sleeping in hibernation pods. Unfortunately a malfunction occurs when the starship goes through some space debris and a single passenger, mechanic James Preston, is woken up and comes out of his pod. Jim soon realizes that he is alone, except for the android bartender Arthur and though initially he lives it up and moves up to the more expensive suites, he becomes desperate and lonely. He tried fixing the pod and attempts to wake the crew but is unable to get access to their pods.

After a year of living alone he almost ends his life by nearly jumping out of an airlock. He then notices a beautiful woman named Aurora hibernating in one of the pods. Her video profile reveals a humorous personality and that she is a writer. Jim struggles over the morality of manually reviving Aurora for companionship, but eventually does. He leds her to believe that her pod also malfunctioned like his and shows her around. Aurora, devastated that she may grow old and die before the ship reaches Homestead II, attempts a fruitless effort at re-entering hibernation, just as Jim once tried and failed to do. She comes to accept her situation and begins writing a book about her experiences. Jim and Aurora grow closer, becoming lovers. One evening, exactly a year later, Arthur lets her in on the secret that Jim told him and she is furious! She is distraught, alternately berating, shunning, and physically attacking Jim. Soon after, however, another pod failure awakens Gus, a Chief Deck Officer. The three discover multiple failures in the ship’s systems due to a failed component overloading other components. Gus attempts repairs with Jim and Aurora’s help, while Aurora still blames Jim for stealing her life, claiming it is tantamount to murder.

Gus’s body starts failing and his organs start shutting down caused by the malfunction his pod. Medical tests in the Autodoc, an automated medical diagnostics and treatment pod, show that he has but hours to live. Before his death, Gus gives Jim and Aurora his ID badge to access crew areas and repair the ship, which is experiencing more severe failures each day. The two of them trace an asteroid’s path through parts of the ship’s hull, caused 2 years ago which led to the malfunctions, that damaged the computer administering the reactor. Jim realizes he must vent a fusion reactor by opening an outer vent hatch. Aurora assists Jim while admitting she is terrified of losing him and living on the ship alone. Aurora, from inside the ship, and Jim, outside it, successfully vent the reactor. However, Jim’s tether breaks loose and his damaged spacesuit loses its oxygen supply. Aurora retrieves the seemingly deceased Jim and resuscitates him using the Autodoc.

Jim learns that using the autodoc he can hibernate one person to survive the trip till the ship reaches Homestead II. He offers Aurora the choice of going back to sleep, and she realises this choice would mean that she would never see him again. After 88 years, the ship’s passengers and crew awaken shortly before arrival on Homestead II. They discover vegetation and domestic animals in the ship’s concourse area. Aurora’s completed book is found, and it is revealed that she chose to stay awake with Jim and finish writing her story.

Stunning visually and the special effects are awesome. It is a beautiful movie to watch and well acted. It’s more like a love story set in a starship in space rather than a real science fiction film. I liked it a lot and give it an 8.5 outta 10!

RIP Om Puri

Veteran actor Om Prakesh Puri OBE, 66, has passed away after a massive heart attack early on Friday morning. He was an Indian actor who appeared in mainstream commercial Indian, British, Pakistani and Hollywood, independent films and art films. His credits also include appearances in American films. He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India. Om Puri’s friends and colleagues from Bollywood reached his Andheri residence to pay their last respects to the actor. Puri’s body was taken to Cooper hospital for postmortem, following which the funeral will take place. His close associates confirmed that he had a massive heart attack.

Puri was born in Ambala, Haryana, to a Punjabi family. Puri graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He was also an alumnus of the 1973 class of National School of Drama where Naseeruddin Shah was a co-student. Puri was on the forefront of what was called art films movement in the 70s. He has worked in acclaimed films such as Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992). Among his other roles are Maachis, Wolf, Chachi 420, City of Joy, The Reluctant Fundamentalist etc.

Puri married Nandita Puri in the year 1993. The couple had a son named Ishaan. They separated in 2013.

Gone And I Don’t Care

Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

To be honest the way I feel right now, I wouldn’t care less if no one thought about me even for a second after I am gone. I couldn’t care less about leaving a legacy. I am done with life and expecting good things from it. I expect the worst. I have given up.

Nothing I planned with the best of intentions has ever worked out. I have been unlucky in most of the things that I set out to do. I have the worst luck possible and in the end I always end up feeling guilty, lost, lonely and with a terrible sense of regret. I do not want that anymore and I wouldn’t want that to be my legacy either. So why both with one.

So after I’m gone it should be like I never even existed. Gone out in fumes of my funeral pyre and never to be remembered. Done, dusted and dead.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Bournemouth 3 Arsenal 3

Arsenal completed a dramatic comeback at Bournemouth as they rescued a point in injury time having fallen 3-0 behind. The Gunners looked destined for a third away league defeat in a row before a late rally that began with a diving Alexis Sanchez header and gathered momentum when a stunning Lucas Perez left-footed volley reduced the gap to a single goal. Bournemouth went down to 10 men when Simon Francis was sent off for a challenge on Aaron Ramsey and Arsenal capitalised as Olivier Giroud headed a 92nd-minute equaliser. The home side had overwhelmed the Gunners early on and taken the lead when Charlie Daniels cut inside Hector Bellerin and stroked a shot past on-rushing keeper Petr Cech.

Callum Wilson scored a penalty to extend Bournemouth’s lead and Ryan Fraser sent a shot through Cech’s legs for the Cherries’ third before the hour mark. But the hosts buckled under Arsenal’s late pressure as Arsene Wenger’s side moved eight points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, who play Tottenham on Wednesday. Arsenal had produced a feeble display for 70 minutes and were second best in the face of Bournemouth’s energy and desire but that all changed when Sanchez headed in at the far post following Giroud’s flick-on. The momentum of the match changed and five minutes later Giroud clipped a lovely ball to substitute Perez and he sent an angled volley inside the far post. Francis’ sending-off helped Arsenal, although Cherries boss Eddie Howe felt it was a “harsh” decision by referee Michael Oliver. Giroud headed in from a Granit Xhaka cross as Bournemouth failed in their desperate attempts to hang on during six minutes of added time.

Arsenal have been accused of lacking the character to maintain a title challenge in recent seasons and they did little to change that perception before Sanchez’s goal. They were continually second best to the home side and frustrations rose to the surface in the first half. Sanchez and Ramsey exchanged angry words at 2-0 down, while Giroud showed his annoyance when Shkodran Mustafi failed to find him with a pass that went harmlessly out of play. That they regrouped in such thrilling manner was doubtless a relief but not one that entirely satisfied goalscorer Giroud. Even with the Arsenal comeback under way, Howe’s men had a chance to go 4-2 up when Dan Gosling turned superbly in the visitors’ area only to shoot well wide of Cech’s goal. A point keeps the Cherries ninth in the table.

Arsenal came back to draw a Premier League game from three goals down for the first time. Only Hull (nine) have conceded more Premier League penalties than Arsenal this season (six, level with Southampton). Charlie Daniels has provided more assists than any other Premier League defender since the start of last season (eight). Sanchez’s goal was Arsenal’s first shot on target in the match, in the 70th minute. Sanchez has now matched his Premier League goal tally from last season (13 in 20 games this season, compared with 13 in 30 games last season).

Star Trek Movies Rewatching Done

It took me a while, longer than I thought I would take but I did finish my rewatching of the entire collection of Star Trek movies which is something I do every 2 years. This year with Star Trek Beyond being released (I have watched it once in the theatre and once at home on dvd) I knew I just had to. So a few weeks ago I sat back and watched Star Trek 2009, Star Trek Into Darkness and Beyond for the second time. Then I made up my mind to watch the 10 movies from the original timeline / prime timeline back to back in order.

It took me a long time as initially I planned to only watch them on the weekends. I started on December 8th with The Motion Picture and slowly worked my way through and infact I only watched Star Trek Nemesis, the last movie in the list after midnight on New Year’s Eve but I am counting that as a win. So I guess I am good till 2018. Well actually I might watch them again, perhaps not all of them in order back to back, but some of them sometime this year.

Why? Because it’s Star Trek and I love it.

Blair Witch (2016)

To be honest I wasn’t that impressed with The Blair Witch Project which is a 1999 found footage horror film that was a trendsetter and heavily influential. I also watched it many years later after I knew the story and the film had been talked out over and over again. Well, we get a second sequel to the film in Blair Witch. Directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett the movie stars James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson, and Valorie Curry.

Set 20 years after the events of the first film, Heather’s younger brother James is obsessed with finding what happened to his sister and her crew. He finds an uploaded video from a camera found in the woods and it shows a brief reflection off a mirror of a woman running into a house. James is sure that the woman is his sister. He heads into the woods, accompanied by friends Peter Jones, Ashley Bennett, and film student Lisa Arlington, who wants to film the search for a documentary and hence ofcourse a bunch of cameras and a drone. They meet the Youtubers, Lane & Talia, who found the film and uploaded it and they agree to show them into the woods to the place where they found the film, provided they can join for the rest of the trip. James agrees and the 6 of them head into the woods.

What happens next is stuff pretty much from the first film. Noises in the night, waking up from their tents to find strange stick figures hanging from the trees and even accusation of Lane of setting it up when they find twine in his bag. The group walk in circles coming back to the same spot though they left hours ago. Lane and Talia come back after being banished for a day but they claim that it has been 5 days for them wandering through the woods and that the sun has not been seen for those 5 days! Is it possible that the witch is manipulating the woods? Ashley becomes sick due to a wound on her foot, forcing the group to camp again. Peter is chased by an unknown entity, gets wounded, and disappears. Believing that he is hallucinating, Lane runs off. The next morning, James and Lisa are stunned to find that it is still dark outside and discover larger stick figures. Talia sees clumps of her hair tied to one of the figures. Ashley accuses Talia of crafting them and snaps the figure in half; Talia’s body is then snapped in half.

They are chased by an unseen force that lifts up their tent Ashley finds the drone and climbs a tree to recover it but falls and is pulled off-screen by the force. James and Lisa run and find the cabin from the first film and are separated when James feels he sees his sister and he runs into the house. Lisa sees a humanoid creature and runs from it into the house and finds a disheveled and older looking Lane who traps her in an underground tunnel. Lisa is again attacked by Lane, whom she fatally stabs. She finds James and they are chased by the force. As per the legend, James makes Lisa stare at the wall and tells her not to look at the entity. He however is tricked into turning around, believing that he hears Heather’s voice, is attacked and dragged out of sight. Lisa uses Lane’s camcorder to indirectly view what is behind her and begins walking backwards. However, hearing James’ apology again, she turns too, and is attacked.

Most of the film is a bit similar to the first film and it’s only towards the end when things pick up. I liked the sequence from when Peter is attacked till the end so I’m going to give the film a 6.5 outta 10!

Last Day Of 2016

I forgot to blog about what I did on the 31st. Well, I woke up after 10:30 am and settled in front of the laptop till noon. I had planned to treat two young ladies from work – two very young ladies who I have trained when they first joined the company we work for as I am a trainer – who I am close with. I’ve been meaning to treat them for lunch or dinner for several weeks as they live in a hostel/paying guest and food isn’t that great there. They told me they enjoy going out on Sunday to eat at a nice restaurant whenever they are still in town.

So as they had plans to go shopping in the morning, I told then that I would meet them around 1pm. I fixed the venue for Golden Dragon in Ravipuram as they didn’t know most places here but they said they loved Chinese. And it’s my favourite place to go for lunch or dinner. We met a little after 1pm and we took a table. They wanted fried rice so I ordered that and Golden Dragon’s special dragon chicken and Hong Kong chicken. We enjoyed the nice meal till they had to go (they had been working the later shift the previous day and had only had a couple of hours of sleep)  and I walked them out. I then took an Uber to Center Mall.

I had booked a ticket for the 3:20 pm screening of the film Assassin’s Creed and it was so boring! I managed to stay awake (I was feeling sleepy too as I had little sleep the previous night though I was doing a 2:30 pm to 11:30 pm shift) and needed my coke and caramel popcorn to keep me awake. About 20 minutes after the interval I couldn’t bother to stay in my seat and so I walked out, went to the loo, returned my 3d glasses and went to the Big Bazaar outlet for a few things. About 20 mins there and I was back on my way home. As my folks were going to go to some place for the night, I thought I’d just stay home, drink some vodka and eat a pizza.

So I ordered a pizza from Dominos and a Sprite which I added to my vodka and enjoyed a few drinks with my pizza dinner until 11pm. I started watching tv shows and a movie and went to sleep quite late. Even after I switched the lights off at 3am I couldn’t go to sleep till about 5 am. I’ll post a blog entry about what kept me awake in a day or two. I feel good about 2017 and I am ok with what happened.

New Year’s Eve Vlog Attempt

I was alone at home for New Year’s eve and so I ordered a pizza which I washed down with some Smirnoff Green Apple vodka & Sprite. It was meant to be a review but since I have done this review already, it turned into a year end vlog – sort off. I was a little emotional and lonely at the time so I apologize.

Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 0

Olivier Giroud’s incredible scorpion kick set Arsenal on the way to a victory over Crystal Palace which moved them up to third in the Premier League. With a cross from Alexis Sanchez delivered behind him, Frenchman Giroud elastically reached the ball with his left foot, looping it over his head and in off the underside of the bar. An Alex Iwobi header gave Arsenal a scrappy second before Palace briefly rallied to force saves from home goalkeeper Petr Cech. The win moves the Gunners back to within nine points of leaders Chelsea, while Palace stay 17th, two points above the relegation zone. The visitors have won only once in 13 league games, with manager Sam Allardyce awaiting his first victory since taking over from Alan Pardew.

Giroud marked his return to the Arsenal starting line-up on Boxing Day by scoring the only goal in the win over West Bromwich Albion, and followed up here by pulling off one of the most memorable moments of this or any other season. Indeed, it was made all the more remarkable for its echoes of a similarly breathtaking goal scored by Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the defeat of Sunderland on Monday. If anything, Giroud’s was even more impressive, an acrobatic finish to a head-high cross delivered from the left by Sanchez at the end of a pacy Arsenal counter-attack. As the ball arrived, a sprinting Giroud turned to stick out his left foot, flicked the ball over his head and saw it arc over the leap of Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, off the woodwork and into the net.

Arsenal lost ground in the title race with defeats by Everton and Manchester City, and began this game in fifth place following Tottenham’s win at Watford. Giroud’s goal was the highlight of an otherwise lacklustre first half in which the only other moment of note was the Frenchman missing his kick attempting to meet a cross inside the six-yard box. Still, the Gunners’ threat was always apparent, particularly in the shape of the forward running of full-backs Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal, who tormented the Palace defence throughout. Monreal was involved in the second goal, providing a cross that was not dealt with, Iwobi heading in despite the efforts of Palace defender Joel Ward on the line. Olivier Giroud has scored eight goals in his past six starts for Arsenal in all competitions.

Sam Allardyce has never won at Arsenal as a manager in all competitions, drawing four and losing 12 of his 16 visits. Since joining the club, Alexis Sanchez has had a hand in 88 goals for Arsenal in all competitions (56 goals, 32 assists) – 26 more than any other Gunner. Arsenal have won 130 of their 200 Premier League games at the Emirates under Arsene Wenger (65%) – they won 72% of their league games at Highbury under the Frenchman (134/186). The Gunners have kept consecutive Premier League clean sheets at home for the first time this season, last doing so in their final three games of 2015-16.

Happy 10th Blogaversary To Me

Happy 10th birthday to my blog Awake & Dreaming & a happy 10th Blogaversary to me.

It was on the 1st of January that I setup this blog in a day with the help of my cousin (over the phone), who guided me through the process and by night I had the thing setup. Then I installed WordPress and started blogging.

This isn’t my first blog; I first started blogging in 2002, through blogger.com,  when I lived in Calicut and continued with it when I moved back to Cochin. I was an inconsistent blogger, nothing having an internet connection at home & from 2003 till 2006, not having a computer at home. By 2005 I started getting more & more into blogging and I created a new one in blogger.com and called it Count Roshculla : Awake & Dreaming. I started spending more time in internet cafes and hence could blog a lot more consistently. But I always wanted my very own website & domain and I wanted to install WordPress. That was achieved on January 1st, 2007.

I am still going on, blogging everyday, with a few scattered exception days here and there. For the most part I blog for myself and I will keep doing it for as long as I can. I don’t see why I can’t keep going for another 10. Cheers people!

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN: First 11 Songs Listened To In 2017

  • Without You – Van Halen
  • If Today Was Your Last Day – Nickelback
  • I’d Do Anything For Love – Meatload
  • Criminal – Justin Nozuka
  • Brandy Alexander – Feist
  • Underwater Balloons -Jarah Jane
  • Nine Million Bicycles – Katie Melua
  • Cover Of The Rolling Stone – Poison
  • Crystal Planet – Joe Satriani
  • Wheat Kings – The Tragically Hip
  • Sailors Eyes – Joel Plaskett