Strange Going Ons

Well it’s been a strange and long, confusing week. We are having some changes at the office, some that are tremendously shocking and it will change the mood and atmosphere at the office. I am surprised that this much has happened in this week and I still have a day left to go to work for the week!

I guess the first three days working that dreadful 4:30 am to 1:30 pm shift took a lot outta me. I am 41 and no spring chicken. Those kinda hours is for younger folk. No sooner than I get back to my regular evening shifts (I went in at 7pm yesterday) and I get hit with these changes. I dunno how much change is good for you. Change is good but when it is this much in so little time, it’s bound to have repercussions. Things haven’t been all good these days.

People behaving strangely, all kind of funny stories around and stuff that I can’t keep up with. Also with people I thought were decent, turns out that they aren’t.

Star Trek Discovery : Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

We finally visit a planet on Star Trek Discovery. Our first away mission on a planet that looks alien and has an alien look & feel about it and which a non-corporeal life form.

Coming to the aid of another Federation ship, the Discovery is unable to prevent its destruction from a Klingon ship with their cloaking technology. Desperate for a way to detect these ships even when they are cloaked, Burnham, Tyler, and Saru are sent to Pahvo, a seemingly uninhabited planet with a naturally occurring crystalline transmitter that broadcasts the planet’s vibrational frequency into space. They hope to use the transmitter to create a sonar for the hidden Klingon ships. They discover that Pahvo is inhabited with indigenous life that introduce Saru to their higher understanding of peace, and he attempts to force Burnham and Tyler to remain with him on the planet forever. Burnham is able to fight off Saru and broadcast the new signal. However, the Pahvo lifeforms adjust the signal to contact the Klingons as well, hoping to end the war. Kol receives the signal, after sentencing L’Rell to death: she had tried to help Cornwell escape in exchange for protection from Kol, leading to L’Rell apparently killing Cornwell to try save face with Kol.

And we see some amazing character development in terms of Saru. In a lifetime of fear, where he has never been at ease in his own skin, of course Saru would finally find peace on Pahvo and want to hold onto it forever. That was really good. I also really like the Gagarin ship which is now the cover of my Facebook page. I don’t care if most people (including me) agrees that it is the Shenzou with the nacelles reversed. A space battle in which the Gagagrin is destroyed – oh no – even though Discovery comes to her aid. And the thing with L’Rell wanting to defect?

L’rell asks Kol to let her interrogate the Admiral who he had captured two episodes ago. Cornwell screams back at the Klingon when faced with a terrifying scream from her to be torturor. And then L’rell tells her as they discuss peacefully, that she wants to defect as she feels that Kol’s methods have no honour. They try to make their way out of the Klingon ship but Kol sees them so L’rell picks up the Admiral and hits her against a electric device which seems to kill her. L’rell drags the body to a chamber where she sees all of her men killed and their bodies laid out. She swears revenge but is captured and imprisoned by Kol.

Are the Pavhan’s similar to the spores? They seem to be able to transport you instantaneously, as they show bringing Ash to where Saru and Michael are fighting. And then they signal the Klingons in order to bring about peace – are they like the Organians? What will happen in the next episode when the Discovery comes face to face with the Sarcophagus ship? A 8 outta 10!

Do You Need To De-Clutter Your Life?

Do You Need to De-Clutter Your Life?

I think so and not as much as I needed to earlier, like a 3 to 4 years ago. At that time I had a bunch of stuff lying around or stored in cupboards and shelves that I did not need. I had to get rid of several old books, magazines and other stuff. I also had lots of cds that I could get rid off as I had ripped all of the songs into mp3s and saved them on my hard disk and backed them up on two external hard drives as well.

I also had a surplus of old batteries and stuff. Now, I had a computer chair in one corner with a bunch of stuff like old books and shit that is just collecting dust and lying there. I need to get rid of it and see what I need to save from the stuff lying on it. My inbuilt cupboard could also use a cleaning and seeing what I can get rid off. I had some dvds in there that are cheap knockoffs so I could get rid of them and upgrade the ones that I want.

Not much else. The area underneath my bed could some good cleaning up. I see dust bunnies under there. And that’s about it. Oh yeah, in the spare/common room I have a bunch of old clothes, mostly shirts that I can no longer fit into or that are too old that I need to get rid off. Other than that, not much else.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

The Clock

The ticking of the clock is what we judge the day by. What time to get up, what time to go to sleep. What time to go to work and what time to clock out. My life is a series of looking at the clock and thinking “oh it’s time to do this or it’s time for this”.

When it’s something you are looking forward to – to the start of a movie, to start of a football match or the start of a party, a date or the punch out time at work on a Friday! All these things can’t seem to come soon enough and it feels like the time is dragging it’s feet and doesn’t want to come for you. Just why is it like that?

What is it that they say – a watched pot does not boil? Yeah! Now what if you needed more time? You went to bed late and could use a few hours of sleep before you must wake up – all of sudden, time goes faster than the speed of light! You need more time to work on that project before it’s deadline time – wosh, it goes by at warp speed! Why the fuck is time like this?

Firefox Quantum Updated

Well will you look at that – there is life in the old girl. 11-12 years ago I switched over to Mozilla Firefox and vowed never to switch back to Internet Explorer. I loved Firefox and it has always been a really good browser to use but then I started using Google Chrome and it felt better and more flexible and faster than Firefox. Oh dear, what to do?

So for many, many years now I have been using both at home and at the office. At home I open both browsers and open up various tabs on each to go to various things I wanna see online. Though my current process at work works solely on Chrome so I end up using that a lot more. But now and then at work I will try to get online using Firefox if I feel like using the old familiar. This early morning as I switched on my laptop and started up Firefox she updated automatically to the latest version.

Mozilla claims its updated web browser is twice as fast as its last one, and uses a lot less memory than the competition—Google Chrome in particular. It’s called Firefox Quantum, and it might give the web’s most popular web browser a run for its money. Firefox Quantum is twice as fast as the previous build of Firefox, according to the company’s benchmark tests comparing Quantum to both Chrome and the previous version of Firefox. Its memory tests showed a noticeable decrease in memory usage compared to Google Chrome on Windows 10 and Linux; on macOS 10.12, memory usage was pretty much the same.

Try it out.

The Walking Dead Rosh

Yo people! I am tired. Beyond tired. For three days this week, I have to work in a 4:30 am to 1:30 pm shift. This is not a shift for people my age. I am so tired and I still have to go to work tomorrow morning at around 4 am so I can be there by 4:30 am! At that time of the day there isn’t any traffic and hardly any cars around anyway.

So Sunday night I tried to go to bed at 10 pm so I can get 4 hours sleep but I just couldn’t get any. I switched off the lights and closed my eyes but sleep never came. It was also hot as a furnace that night. I ended up not sleeping for over 24 hours and reached home at 2 pm and went to sleep for 3 hours or so. Then at 10 pm I went back to sleep for 3 more hours and at 2am got some coffee and was online for a while until I had to shave and shower and catch an Uber.

Today after work was done, I went to get an early lunch at around 12:15 pm, as I was feeling very hungry having had breakfast at 7:30 am, and lingered around for a while. I spent 30 minutes talking shop to a guy who is moving to our process in a few days and he wanted some details. Then I picked up an Amazon package that I had delivered to my office address and went to catch an Uber back and came home by 2:15 pm and slept till 7 pm.

Food Review #197

Burgeria is a nice standalone burger joint (though they have a new outlet up somewhere, I will have to confirm). This is their Mushroom cheese burger – mushrooms, beef patty, cheese, tomato and lettuce. I had French Fries and a peanut butter smoothie on the side.

Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me 3 is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures. It is the third main installment, fourth overall in the Despicable Me film series and the sequel to Despicable Me 2 (2013). The film is directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, co-directed by Eric Guillon and written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove and Dana Gaier reprise their roles of Gru, Margo and Edith and Julie Andrews returns as Marlena, Gru’s mother. Kristen Wiig and Steve Coogan return from Despicable Me 2, while Trey Parker, Jenny Slate and Nev Scharrel (replacing Elsie Fisher as Agnes) join the cast.

Gru & his wife & partner at work Lucy are assigned to apprehend  Balthazar Bratt, a former child star turned evil, from stealing the world’s largest diamond. Bratt dances his way to MJ’s Bad onto a navy ship and steals the diamond but Gru is able to stop him but the villain gets away. Gru and Lucy are fired from the AVL by its unreasonable new director Valerie Da Vinci, following the retirement of Silas Ramsbottom. As Gru mops around disappointed in letting down his kids, he is visited by  Fritz, the butler of Gru’s cheerful twin brother Dru, who lives in a distant country named Freedonia and longs to meet him. Gru is shocked to learn he has a twin. He confronts his mother, who reveals that when she and her husband divorced, they agreed to keep one child each.

Gru, Lucy and the girls are greeted with much job by Dru and are amazed by his apparent wealth. Meanwhile the Minions, led by Mel, who had left the house as Dru refuses to return to villainy, get arrested for trespassing at a talent show set. Bratt manages to steal the diamond again, intending to use it to power a giant robot and destroy Hollywood as revenge for the cancellation of his show. Gru then tells Dru the family secret – the pig farm is just a front and their father’s super villainy is the real reason for their massive wealth. Dru was dismissed by their father as he was no good at being a villain and was seen as a disgrace. The brothers bond as they drive their father’s gadget filled car.

Lucy tries to balance her tasks as a mom, which she exhibits after turning away a young boy named Niko who had fallen for Margo in the midst of a traditional cheese festival, while Edith and Agnes stumble into a local tavern and learn from the bartender about a mythical unicorn which lurks in a nearby forest. Gru tries to convince Agnes that unicorns are imaginary, but decides against it to avoid hurting her feelings. The next day, Agnes and Edith set out into the woods to track the mythical horse, only to find a one-horned goat whom Agnes adopts and dubs “Lucky.” Meanwhile, the Minions’ longing for Gru motivates them to escape from prison. Gru goes to steal the diamond back from Bratt and Dru tags along almost ruining things.

Gru secretly intending to bring it to the AVL, which he hopes will convince Da Vinci to rehire him. Despite several setbacks, they manage to retrieve the diamond and are rescued by Lucy after narrowly escaping. After finding out Gru’s true motives, Dru confronts his brother about his lie. In return, Gru insults him and decides to leave Freedonia. Bratt, disguised as Lucy, kidnaps the children, and once again acquires the diamond. Gru and Dru resolve their differences and pursue him. Powering his large robot with the diamond, and superpowered gum, Bratt terrorizes Hollywood Lucy saves the children while Gru and Dru weaken Bratt’s robot with the weapons of their father’s car. Gru is knocked unconscious when the car is destroyed, and Dru manages to destroy the robot’s core from the inside when Bratt threatens to kill Gru.

When Gru recovers, he battles Bratt in a dance fight, using it as a distraction to grab his weaponized keytar, and defeats him. Having rendezvoused with Gru, the Minions manage to destroy the gum already covering the city, and Gru and Dru reunite. Soon afterward, Gru and Lucy are reinstated in the AVL and the newly united family celebrate in Gru’s home. Lucy is acknowledged by the children as their mother. Lured back to villainy, Dru and most of the minions steals Gru’s ship, with Gru’s emblem replaced with a “D” graffiti. Gru and Lucy decide to give them a five-minute head-start before engaging pursuit.

Funny and sweet, just like the others though I want more Minions, it is a good movie to watch even at midnight. I love it. 8.5 outta 10!

RIP Shyla Stylez

Shyla Stylez, a popular pornographic actress, has passed away on 9th November at the age of 35. Born Amanda Friedland in Armstrong, British Columbia, Canada she became interested in entering the pornography industry in her teens, and later moved to Vancouver where she worked as both a stripper and a webcam model, and appeared in nude pictorials. In her off-time, she would contact studios by email and phone to find out how to appear in movies.

She appeared in her first film in 2000 at the age of 19. She received her first AVN Award nomination as Best New Starlet in 2003. In 2005, she temporarily left the adult industry. She returned to pornography in 2006 and was nominated at the 2009 XRCO Awards for the Best Cumback. Stylez hosted the Los Angeles independent TV show Un-Wired TV in 2007.

The following year she was nominated for more AVN Awards, including Best Supporting Actress, for Best Tease Performance, and for her performances. In 2010, she was named by Maxim as one of the 12 top female stars in porn. Shyla Stylez was inducted into the Halls of Fame of the Urban X Awards and the AVN in 2011 and 2016, respectively. On November 9, 2017, Stylez’s mother found her unresponsive in her bed. She was pronounced dead shortly after, aged 35.

Odd To An Iconic Beverage Legend

Beer in a dark brown bottle

I was going through some old photos that I had uploaded in one of my Flickr accounts. My first Flickr account actually. I had uploaded pics from my Motorola Razor and then my Blackberry Curves and Blackberry Bold in it. I spent a good hour going through those pics and they brought a smile to my face. I’ve decided to showcase some of those pics here (though I may have posted them in my old Blogspot blog).

First up is an odd to an iconic beer – the Kingfisher. Granted that they are no longer my first choice when it comes to beer (or second or third or ….6th even) but they are still an icon. I spent many years drinking these beers until we started getting the Carlsbergs, Tuborgs, Millers and Heinekens. Nowadays I only drink Kingfisher if there are no other options left but still, I do value them. Here are two pics I took back in 2006.

11 Years of This URL

I have just renewed my website URL for the 11th year running. Awakeanddreaming.org is booked for the next year, 365 days from November 14th. I first booked this URL back in November of 2006 just a couple of months after I made the move from Thrikkakara to this apartment in Kacheripady. A friend of my cousin had started his own internet website service and webspace reselling business and I contacted him to set me up with a URL. I called him up and he asked me which url I wanted and I checked out a few.

It’s been over a decade so I can’t remember exactly all of them but I think I checked out and came up with 4-5 final choices :

  • countroshculla.com
  • roshanmenon.com
  • rgkonline.com
  • rgkmenon.com
  • awakeanddreaming.com

I finally decided to get awakeanddreaming but couldn’t get the .com version. So it was a toss up between awakeanddreaming.net or awakeanddreaming.org and I should have taken the .net but they had a discount for the .org URLs and I though, what the heck. I remember I had to pay him through the money order option for the first couple of years as netbanking was still new for us.

And like that this name stays on.

Social Media I Use

I dunno about you but I am addicted to Social Media – to the point that I prefer to stay indoors and not be very social and instead connect via my laptop or my smartphone.

Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram – these are the big four that I am usually always online at when I am not at work. Sometimes at work I can still check Facebook and Twitter. And ofcourse Flickr has all my photos that I shoot on a regular basis. I have an on and off love affair with Pintrest and even went a whole year or more without access it. But I am back on it and I love it again. I have two Tumblr accounts – one for general stuff and the other for just Star Trek – but I haven’t used it in about 3 years.

Something that is not the norm as far as Social Media is concerned is 500px which is a photo sharing website and it is awesome but they recently reduced the free upload option to 7 a week instead of the 20 pics a week which came with the free account. The payment for a year, with a discount that I have is almost $60 and since I live in India that is a big amount to pay for uploading pics, especially since I haven’t sold any yet.

Youtube is ofcourse my jam! It has replaced tv for me and I love it for the vlogs, the professional done channels and the music, especially the live concert clips which is amazing for me.

The Most Memorable Thing I Got In The Mail

What’s the Most Memorable Thing You Ever Got in the Mail?

I only started getting things in the mail in the past few years, like 2011 or 2012. And it’s only since 2015 that it has been on a regular basis. So a couple of hard drives, 3 I think, 3 phones and a bunch of other things from juice and snacks to mugs and decorative stuffs for the house.

But among all of these the best things that I have gotten in the mail – or courier/carrier – are my Star Trek starship models. Specifically the ones that Eaglemoss makes as part of the Official Star Trek Starship collection. These are things I dream about and marvel for hours and hours on my tv screen or on my computer. To have them in my hands and displayed on my shelves is a big dream come true.

So the most memorable thing I ever got in the mail is the iconic USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. The one that you see in 7 seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation and the movie Star Trek : Generations. Which is probably the best of all starships out there in the known universe. My excitement and pure joy still amazes me when I look back at the video of me unboxing it.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Thor : Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and is the seventeenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Taika Waititi from a screenplay by Eric Pearson and the writing team of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, and stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor alongside Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor must escape the alien planet Sakaar in time to save Asgard from Hela and the impending Ragnarök.

This movie is just out and has already made $450 million plus and is a behemoth in the box office. It certainly is the best of the three Thor films. Let’s see the various aspects of the movie:

  • It is really funny. Thor himself is a more relaxed and chilled version of himself and there’s plenty of jokes at his expense. This is despite the rather sad experience of losing his father, Odin. Hemsworth intearctions with The Hulk & Bruce Banner are hilarious as is his banter with Tom Hiddleston / Loki is also great.
  • Good new characters introduced in Korg – who sounds so New Zealandish -, Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, Karl Urban as Skurge & Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie are all well done and well cast. Valkyrie will be a recurring character in more films with Thor and MCU movies in general and she is pretty good as a hard drinking recluse who left Asgard in shame after Hela killed all her fellow legendary warriors of the Valkyrior. The Grandmaster is basically Jeff Goldblum playing the Grandmaster playing Jeff Goldblum! If you can imagine that.
  • Karl Urban’s character Skurge is a predictable one – he is a lower rung Asgardian trying to come up in the world. He guards the Bifröst Bridge in Heimdall’s absence and aligns himself with Hela to survive. He becomes her executioner but his heart isn’t in killing his own people and in the end he sacrifices himself to save people.
  • The Hulk/Bruce Banner/Mark ruffalo is awesome in this – for two years he has been The Hulk and Banner has been in the backburner. The way that the Hulk talks is like a toddler and it is even seen in his behaviour. This is probably the best the Hulk has been done in.
  • Kate Blanchett – I might be biased but she plays an awesome villain who is just pretty damn awesome to watch. She is bored when challenged but kicks so much ass that she backs up that strut and boast of being the goddess of death. The reveal that she was the first born child of Odin and was once his executioner and general in his army was surprising. Also – how old do these Asgardians live? It kinda seems like Hela was imprisoned for very long and both Thor and Loki are unaware of her.
  • Waititi also provided the motion-capture performance for the fire demon Surtur, based on the mythological being Surtr, with Clancy Brown providing the voice for that character. Thor co-creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance as a man on Sakaar who cuts Thor’s hair. There are also several cameos in a sequence where Asgardian actors perform a play based on the events of The Dark World: Sam Neill, who Waititi previously worked with on Hunt for the Wilderpeople, plays the Odin actor; Luke Hemsworth, brother of Chris, plays the Thor actor; and Matt Damon plays the Loki actor.
  • Oh yeah and nice to Doctor Strange in a cameo appearance in it as well. That scene was really good.
  • The action is awesome, the fight scenes and battle scenes are great and entertaining, the special effects is awesome and the acting is really good. What more could you want? 9 outta 10!

Wednesday Out For A Movie

Well I am back to the evening shifts as of yesterday. I think I prefer the evening shifts for this process and company because I usually will get enough time to relax and rest, watch some tv for a while before I have to go to work. Day shifts take a lot outta me as I end up having to stay back at the office for 10,11,12, 13 or 14 hours at a stretch and then having to come to work at 8:30 am or 9:30 am still tired and sleepy.

This Monday & Tuesday as I had the morning shift I had more time yesterday as a)I left the office early as I wasn’t feeling very well and left at 5 pm and b) I was working a 5:30 pm yesterday. So I had time to head to Lulu Mall for a 1pm movie (Thor : Ragnarok) and then have a late lunch before heading to work and reaching a half hour early. The movie was good and the mall wasn’t as crowded on a Wednesday as it is on the weekend but still a lot of people were in it.

After the movie – and I just reached there in time to deposit my bag at the counter and buy popcorn and a large Pepsi and stepped in as they started the commercials. Ofcourse, I just had to get a seat next to two lovey dovey people who talked a bit during the movie and even hugged at one point – at the interval and I happened to stretch and look that side and then quickly looked away! Can’t stare at it for too long, just like the sun.