Arsenal 1 Bayern Munich 5

Ten-man Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage for the seventh successive season following a second-half capitulation against Bayern Munich. A debated decision in the 53rd minute shattered any hopes of the Gunners becoming the first side in Champions League history to overturn a four-goal deficit, having also lost the first leg in Germany 5-1. They led through Theo Walcott’s stunning 20th-minute goal, before Bayern were awarded a penalty that also resulted in the sending off of defender Laurent Koscielny. The France centre-back was initially shown a yellow card by referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos for his foul on Robert Lewandowski inside the area – but it was upgraded to a red once he decided Koscielny made no attempt to win the ball. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger looked perplexed by the sudden change of heart by the official. Lewandowski placed his spot-kick beyond the reach of David Ospina to give Bayern a 6-2 aggregate lead and effectively kill off the tie.

The home side then folded as Bayern scored four goals in 17 minutes. Arjen Robben robbed Alexis Sanchez of the ball and beat Ospina, before Douglas Costa made it 3-1 with a stunning solo goal. Fellow midfielder Arturo Vidal grabbed a late double, first with an impudent chip before slotting in from Costa’s square pass. If this was to be Wenger’s final outing in the Champions League with Arsenal then what an embarrassing final act. Few expected the Gunners to perform a miracle, but they did at least expect to take the fight to the German giants. Aside from the goal, Walcott also went close when Manuel Neuer saved his effort and Olivier Giroud hit the base of the post with a header. Walcott was also denied a penalty after it appeared that Xabi Alonso had fouled him. But Bayern rarely looked stretched and bided their time before punishing an error-strewn second-half display by the home side. Some might debate whether Koscielny deserved a straight red but, under new laws regarding penalties, the referee was right to amend his initial decision to award the defender a yellow. The Gunners’ similarly folded when the Frenchman came off injured in the first leg with the scores 1-1.

Arsenal’s initial target of scoring four goals would have still taken the contest into extra time. Any chance of that happening ended when Robben nipped in to take the ball away from the feet of Sanchez, who was inexplicably trying to play the ball on the edge of his own area. The team lost heart thereafter and allowed Costa to run 50 yards before the Brazilian cut inside and curled in a brilliant 20-yard strike. Vidal’s double came late and in quick succession. First an error by Shkodran Mustafi was punished with a cheeky dink, before the Chile midfielder tapped in Costa’s pass. The final whistle could not come soon enough for Wenger and his team. While Bayern carried out their own protest against ticket prices by throwing toilet rolls on to the pitch, the main attention was on the ‘Wenger Out’ demonstration before kick-off. A large gathering of fans made it known outside the ground that they did not want the Frenchman in charge of the club. Wenger has yet to decide whether to accept the contract extension or leave the club he has managed since 1996. This week’s saga surrounding Sanchez, the protests and finally now this heavy defeat might have brought the 67-year-old closer to making up his mind.

If You Leave

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

I have not exactly quit the job I currently have but I have applied and gotten through to another process with a slight promotion as well. I had contemplated quitting my job but without a ready substitute to go to or fall back upon that would be considered foolish. It’s not like I have tons of money stashed away that I can rely on. No I don’t and I also have a large credit card debt!

I have wanted to quit my city and move away. I love Cochin but there’s a lot of stuff missing from this place, especially pub culture and a lack of rock music shows. Bangalore has that in plenty and I guess to an extent so do Delhi/Gurgaon and Chennai. My 2 week stay in Gurgaon showed me that I could easily settle in that city – with a lot more money than I am currently making though ofcourse – and make myself a happy life there. I would love to move but at age 40 I think it’s a little too late and I should have taken up chances earlier in my life.

I have left relationships – not the kind you are thinking of but just close relationships – but I do not want to talk about them. They are too recent and fresh in my mind so I am not comfortable yet in blogging about them. Someday though and soon.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Logan

Logan, the 3rd solo Wolverine film and the 9th X-Men film that the character appears in (granted two were small cameos) is a 2017 superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. The film, distributed by 20th Century Fox, is the tenth installment in the X-Men film series, as well as the third and final Wolverine film, following X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and The Wolverine (2013). It is directed by James Mangold, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Frank and Michael Green, from a story by Mangold, and also stars Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant and Dafne Keen.

This film is special as after 17 years of playing the same characters it will be the final appearance of both Jackman and Stewart as James “Logan” Howlett and Professor Charles Xavier. The film set in 2029 shows us an older Logan (based on the Old Man Logan comic book series) surviving by driving a limo for customers in Texas. With no new ones born for years the Mutants are on the verge of extinction and all the X-men are long dead. A heavily drinking Logan buys prescription drugs for Xavier who is now suffering from a neurodegenerative disease which causes him to lose control of his telepathic abilities to devastating effect. The professor is cared for by Logan with the help of the albino mutant Caliban, a tracker, and they live in an abandoned smelting plant across the border in Mexico. Logan himself is weakening due to the adatmantium within his body is now poisoning him and impeding his healing factor.

His life changes when a Mexican nurse from Transigen asks his help to get a young girl named Laura to the border and into Canada. At the same time Logan is approached byDonald Pierce, Transigen’s cybernetically-enhanced chief of security, who offers him a job, but he refuses as he too is looking for Laura. Logan agrees to help get Laura to safety but the nurse is killed and the girl sneaks into Logan’s car and goes to the plant with him. But Pierce and his cybernetically-enhanced enforcers, the Reavers , have made their way to the plant as well. We soon learn – in some awesome and brutal fight scenes – that Laura is a mutant too, with similar claws like Logan. Transigen was breeding mutant children with DNA samples from several mutants that are born from female employees for the “X-23” project, but found they were difficult to control as they grew up. Upon completion of the “X-24” project, the children were deemed unnecessary and were to be put to death. Laura is Logan’s “daughter having his dna. Logan must get Laura and Charles safely on a long trip from Texas to North Dakota where a  group of similar children have gathered.

Add to the mix is X-24, who is sent to kill Logan and capture Laura and the other children, who looks just like Logan but is more like a machine to do his master’s bidding having no emotions. Charles needs to be medicated to avoid the devastating effects of telepathic abilities as we see in one scene where several people in a large hotel get injured as he loses control but luckily among the injured are Reavers with guns. A family that gets the help from Logan and Laura in getting their horses back and offer a decent meal and beds for the night are also victims of the Reavers. Charles is killed by X-24. Logan and Laura find the hideout in North Dakota but the Reavers are able to track them and take them captive. Logan takes a heavy dose of a serum given to him by Rictor, the oldest of the kids, to restore his healing factor and fights off the Reavers and the kids use their powers as well. Logan then pleads the children to go and decides to remain, after which X-24 lifts up the truck and attacks Logan off-guard and drags him and then impales the latter on a tree branch before Laura is able to kill X-24 with an adamantium bullet. Logan feels love and family for the first time before dying in Laura’s arms and is mourned and buried by the kids before they move on.

Brutal and devastating this film is a fitting end to the legend of two characters. I have never been a fan of Hugh Jackman but this film is great. Patrick Stewart is awesome as ever and there is even talks of him getting a nod for best supporting actor in several award shows. I hope so. The kid, Daphne Keen, is excellent in her role and does great in her fight scenes. Though gritty there are moments of humour and thoughtful tenderness in the film. 9 outta 10!

Liverpool 3 Arsenal 1

Liverpool secured a vital advantage over Arsenal in the battle for a place in the Premier League’s top four with a well-deserved win at Anfield. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gambled by leaving Alexis Sanchez – his leading scorer with 17 Premier League goals – on the bench but the ploy failed miserably as Liverpool took control by the break. Roberto Firmino’s far-post finish put Liverpool ahead after nine minutes and Sadio Mane confirmed their superiority with an emphatic strike just before half-time. Sanchez, predictably, emerged as a substitute at the start of the second half and set up a goal for Danny Welbeck that gave Arsenal hope but Georginio Wijnaldum struck on the break deep into injury-time to seal Liverpool’s win. Liverpool are now up to third, level with Manchester City on 52 points – but Arsenal are now in fifth trailing that pair by two points.

Arsenal and Arsene Wenger had so much riding on this game – a meeting where they knew defeat would leave them outside the Premier League’s top four. It made his decision to leave his most dangerous attacker Sanchez on the bench totally inexplicable, Wenger’s tactical ploy backfiring badly as Liverpool assumed control in those crucial first 45 minutes. Brave or desperate? Or a touch of both? Either way it was consigned to the dustbin at the interval. Wenger preferred the physicality and aerial threat of Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck but Arsenal’s failure to arrive in any attacking positions in the first half totally negated any impact he hoped they would have. The folly of Wenger’s selection was further exposed by the manner in which Sanchez transformed Arsenal’s approach when he emerged as a substitute, setting up Welbeck’s goal – although the Chilean’s energy levels dried up as the half went on. Wenger’s decisions will come under the closest scrutiny as speculation continues about his future, and if Arsenal miss out on the Champions League failed moves like this will understandably be portrayed in an unflattering light.

Sanchez’s demeanour at the final whistle told the tale. As Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrated with his backroom team, he offered the briefest of gestures to Arsenal’s fans before going straight down the tunnel. Arsenal haven’t won any of their last 11 Premier League away games against the other teams currently in the top six (W0 D5 L6). The Gunners find themselves outside the Premier League top four at the end of a day for the first time since 13 January. Alexis Sanchez has been directly involved in a league-high 26 goals in his 26 Premier League games this season, scoring 17 and assisting nine. Arsenal welcome Bayern Munich to the Emirates for the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on Tuesday, 7 March with a 5-1 deficit to turn around.

Scifi Rewatches

Rewatches! I love rewatching my fav shows. But I have noticed that I tend to rewatch mainly scifi shows. I mean, that’s what good scifi is all about. Unlike drama, cop shows, crime etc etc scifi shows make me want to rewatch them over and over again. Star Trek (TOS, TNG, DS9, Voy & Ent), Farscape, Firefly, Stargate (SG1, Atlantis & Universe), BSG (TOS, 1980, reboot, Caprica), Babylon 5! Anymore? I love watching these show again and again.

I am just completing season 4 of Atlantis (for the 6th time) and in the middle of DS9. Once Atlantis is over I will start on Babylon 5 and BSG reboot soon after. I can rewatch sitcoms but hardly anything else. Sitcoms are the only genre that I can sit and rewatch many times over. In one way, since it’s mostly for laughs and light-hearted humour, sit-coms are the type of tv shows that one could easily rewatch. You are mostly looking for the laughs and comedy bits though there are some touching bits that hit you in the feels. So I have found rewatching Friends, Frasier, Corner Gas, Mind Your Language & Coupling rather easy to do over and over again. The Big Bang Theory is still on the air and I haven’t watched it other the current time but will get to that show for a rewatch again.

There is something about scifi, good scifi, that tells you a story and teaches you something or makes you think about something amidst the special effects, spaceships, aliens and alien landscape and the wonders of space. Good scifi takes a current or past situation and puts it in a futuristic setting and in space or on an alien setting and makes you think about the situation and look at it from many angles. And it will make you think about the core theme long after you have switched the screen off. That’s what I love about scifi.

I Plead The Fifth

What question do you hate to be asked? Why?

My fellow Indians, well my fellow Malayalees atleast, are a very inquisitive bunch. No wait, that was waaaay too polite. I meant they are too fucking nosy for their own good. They are way too curious for their own good and do not think twice about asking questions that they should not ask. I have faced this issue with Uber drivers as well and it is awkward as I cannot get out of the car until I reach my destination.

The question that these morons tend to ask is – other questions are “where are you from?”, “where do you work?” “are you married and have kids?” – is “Why haven’t you gotten married yet?” Thanks dude I just met, when did you become my mother? This is an irritating question because I am not comfortable in answering that from people I know, forget about nosy jackasses I just met a few minutes ago.

I get so annoyed but I never say that I am pissed. I tell some lie and make them shut up for a few minutes as I curse the bugger’s parents for not having taught him some basic manners and the school teachers who failed him as well.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Let It Be

A restaurant that removed your favorite item from the menu, a bad cover of a great song… Write a post about something that should’ve been left untouched, but wasn’t. Why was the original better?

Pizza Hut India. I am not sure about all the centers in India but certainly the two that are in my city (that I know off) are in Lulu Mall and Center Mall. The one in Center Mall, because it is in close proximity to me and because Cinepolis – my favourite multiplex – is in the same mall, is the one that I go to mostly. I have only been to the Pizza Hut in Lulu Mall once and that was last year in February.

So Pizza Hut had a pepperoni pizza that was with real pork pepperoni. And it was delicious! Sometime in late 2015 I went in and ordered the pepperoni pizza and they told me they don’t serve pork anymore. Why? “Because of religious reasons” was what I was told. Ofcourse the investment in the mall is with Gulf Investment and hence no pork as muslims don’t eat pork. “So don’t serve it to them!” Religious reasons! This is why I don’t try religion and stay away from it.

Well atleast Dominos still has it. And there’s 360 and other smaller restaurants that still serve pork.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

A Change Of Seasons

I’m going to be changing processes at work (I work for a BPO) by the end of the month. It’s a little bit of a promotion which also comes with a little bit of a pay increase. I applied for the post in January and completed two rounds – one of which was a presentation and the other was an interview – by the end of January and then had to wait till the 28th of February (there were some other applicants) to get the result.

I was told on Monday and show a mail declaring that I was through and that my release date from this process to the other one was to be on the 30th of March. I am happy about it. I hope I can do really well in my new post and I can succeed with some satisfaction. I wasn’t happy in my current process and really wanted a change. Truth be told I was getting impatient. I was in this process for 2 years and 2 years in a process that you do not like or enjoy is a bit too much. So I am happy about the change. I am going to have issues with not working next to the Training & Quality team that I have been with for these 2 years but we work in the same organization and will be just 2 floors apart and we only have the one main cafeteria so I will see them a lot.

So I will spend March getting the new guy, or guys if they add more folks, prepared to handle the stuff that I have been doing and mostly the administrative tasks which are many and has a lot of reports and stuff. And I will look forward to a new profile and process. I have a good feeling.

A Little Sneaky

Are writing prompts a useful exercise, or do you find them to be too limiting and/or hokey?

Absolutely. I find that the less time I have at home, the easier it is for me to rely on prompts for blog posts. Sometimes I need them and sometimes I don’t but I have come to rely on them more and more as the years have gone. Sometimes you just don’t have enough juice in the tank.

I think there were several ideas and posts that I had in me when I first started blogging and it has lasted many years (I started blogging back in 2002 but got into daily blogging maybe by 2006) and now that it this long I need help. Sometimes you read a prompt and the ideas just flood your brain as it has always been in the back of your mind or it reminded you of something you had meant to put down on the page but just haven’t till now. I like it when just reading the prompt gets me to what I want to write about.

Prompt from The Daily Post from WordPress.com